star_wars

Blockbuster Loves Me!….and yes, i’m still an idiot.

Well, the weekend is just about done, and I figured I would update this week with SOMETHING. Lynda’s having a great time in Joisey, and we’re staying in contact every other day. It sounds like shes having some frustration over the efforts, or lack thereof, from her sister-in-law-to-be. She is claiming that not a lot has gone into the preparation of this wedding, and that she is being put in a position to try and resolve some of the ensuing issues. Better her than me. I’m glad she’s taking this one for the team, because I am as useless as tits on a raincoat in areas such as this.

I’ve been by myself just 2 days, and already i’ve frequented my local Blockbuster twice now. I know, what a pathetic little monkey am I. Of course, when you’ve got an LCD device projecting 86 inches of cinematic goodness onto the screen, shrouded in rich sounding dolby 5.1, you tend to prefer watching your movies at home, and often, rather than put up with the madness today’s cinema provides. I purchased a movie as well as rented one (which I watched last night) yesterday, only to go back again this evening to rent more. The Blockbuster staff might just have to start opening a special line just for ME…Hahahahaha! *sigh* Holy shit, man. *burying face in hands* I’m WRITING this garbage, and even I can see this last paragraph was completely devoid of humor and/or interest, and generally makes me look like a fucking imbecile. Writer’s block kiddies – what can I say? Err, allow me to change pace…

One of the movies I watched was Lucas’ new digitally remastered DVD version of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Of the three movies in this series, ROTJ is definately my favorite. Lucas has added subtle new CGI complexities into most of these re-release’s background scenes, showcasing new computer generated characters, landscape depth never seen in the originals, and explosions are more vivid and realistic-looking. Not bad, Mr. “4-years-ago-I-was-anti-DVD” Lucas. The new additions don’t tend to detract from the original storyline, but there are some notable exceptions. A few of the new scenes just…didn’t “bode well” with the theme of this series. You see, when Lucas made these flicks, oh so many years ago, real effort was made to ensure audiences that we would never see anything like it, and it showed. These young (at the time) lads at ILM basically worked themselves until they shat blood to create these effects, mainly because no one had ever attempted it before. Special “new” state-of-the-art cameras were used. Elaborate miniature sets were painstakingly built to scale for believable effects. Crews worked night and day to make sure scenes weren’t put in the can until they perfectly aligned with Lucas’ vision.

Cut to now. Two decades later, the present “modern world” has evolved technology used in special effects and sound down to a push of a button, your imagination being the only limit. Worlds that once took months or even years to come to fruition can now be created and digitally rendered to big screen via computer at highest resolutions possible within a few days or even hours. To me, the best thing about the original Star Wars series was its slight imperfections. Some examples would be that in The Empire Strikes Back, you could almost tell that the big robotic ATATs, as well as the tauntauns on planet Hoth were scale models filmed in stop motion. Yoda looked much more “muppet-like” than in the current series incarnations. These factors, though a little rougher looking, illicited merely a tiny suspension of belief in contrast to an almost perfect, bigger-than-life storyline. CGI has made said imperfections all but obsolete. With breakthroughs in texture mapping, movement, and creative new lighting methods, these CGI “worlds” have become nearly impossible to distinguish from reality when seen upon the big screen. New characters can be conjured up from mere pixels, deeming previous practices of relying on living, breathing actors a thing of the past.

There are drawbacks to this level of technology however, in that the industry has grown dependant upon such easily utilized methods. Computers have made the art of special effects almost too easy. Case in point: Jar Jar Binks. I’m sure Lucas had all of the best intentions by introducing this character into the latest prequels, but for some, like myself, this character left a really bad taste in my mouth. Coupled with the loud, faux-jamaican accent, and the chinsy, bumbling personality, I found this new artificially generated ‘character’ cartoonish and boring. I suppose you can still go “too far”, even when working with the “perfect tools”. This, I believe, blatently showed in Lucas’ choice of lead actors for this film series. Putrid. Both actors. The kid who played young Anakin Skywalker, and Hayden Christenson, the person who plays the character currently in Attack of the Clones and the upcoming release, Revenge of the Sith, are truly talentless, which I feel takes a lot away from the merit of the series in itself.

Nevertheless, this new ROTJ is still the fun and exciting movie it has always been, new effects aside. I thoroughly enjoyed this refined release. Visually, it is even more stunning than the original. Coupled with Lucas’ patented THX sound, there is really no camparison. The ONLY gripe I have with ROTJ is the last remaining 3 minutes of the movie, after the death star has been destroyed yet again, and all is right on Endor, with Luke, Leia, Han, 3PO, and R2, chillin wit da Ewoks. Leia confesses to Luke that they are indeed siblings, much to the relief of Han, and that they share powers of varying degrees within “The Force”. Yee haw! Remember the final scene where the ghosts of Luke’s dad Anikin, Obi Wan, and Yoda are standing on, nodding in approval to the “good job!” actions of our fellow crew? Well, Lucas felt it necessary to digitally replace Sebastian Shaw’s Anikin (who was the original actor, unmasked in ROTJ) with Hayden Christianson’s Anikin. Blasphemous!! That goddamn kid was probably unborn, or at least still shitting his pampers when that movie originally hit the big screen! Unbelievable. Shit, I had to have been 4 or 5 myself when I saw the first one with my big brother, Matt, and I KNOW that talentless hack is much younger than I! Still thought it was the best.movie.evar, tho. Other than that major faux pax, this new ROTJ is definately worth watching.

And on that note, ~goodbye.