Monthly Archives: June 2015

The Star Wars Community offers our full support to Jake Lloyd and his family

Jake’s story is another revelation about the trials and tribulations of former child actors.

By now I’m sure most of you have heard the recent news about Jake Lloyd (Anakin from Episode 1). If you have not, you can read the details by clicking HERE.

This is not a gossip site. I would not report on this if I didn’t think it was important. Jake Lloyd suffers from schizophrenia. His recent run-ins with the law were not because he is a bad guy or a spoiled Hollywood star. In fact he has not acted in 10 years.  Jake Lloyd is sick.

Regardless of how you feel about the prequels, Jake is part of the Star Wars family. That is what we are. A family. If you were at Celebration you know this. It doesn’t matter how you feel about how he acted when he was 9, or how you felt after seeing The Phantom Menace. The Star Wars family does not ignore things like…

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The Ape, the Dinosaur and Me

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On June 20th, 2015, the Historic Bal Theatre in San Leandro, CA hosted it’s fourth “Godzilla Night”. GN is a mini film festival of movies featuring the king of the kaiju. This night, they were playing Godzilla, King of the Monsters and a collection of newly discovered monster films called Kaiju Gaiden.

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But the film I went to see was the ultimate beast brawl, King Kong vs. Godzilla. It was the first Godzilla movie I saw as a child. Released in 1962, KK vs G pits the ultimate American movie monster (Kong) against the ultimate Japanese movie monster (Godzilla). A Japanese pharmaceutical company that collects narcotic berries from some jungle island (I forget where), is pressured by a tv exec whose show is sponsored by the company, to go back to the island and “find him a monster”. So two men named Sakurai and Furue go to the jungle island. Did I mention that the natives there worship a giant god? Did I also mention that the two explorers give the gift of cigarettes to the natives (including a child)? Did I forget to mention that a giant octopus attacks the village? Seriously, why aren’t we talking more about the giant octopus?

As I said previously, a giant octopus attacks the village. One hut in particular has a young woman and her son in it. In the nick of time, Kong shows up and fights the octopus. After that long and tedious fight, he needs a couple of drinks. Cue the berry juice which puts him to sleep. The natives show their thanks with song and dance. How he sleeps through it is anyone’s guess. A knocked out Kong is brought back to Japan.

But wait, someone else has returned. Why it’s none other than Godzilla whose only objective is to…um, uh, destroy Tokyo! How do we stop him? With rocket launchers? With a nuclear bomb? No! To fight a monster, we need a monster! Bring in the giant gorilla! An awaken, cranky Kong and Godzilla duke it out. There’s much destruction in the process. People flee! Camera’s roll! And Kong and Godzilla tumble into the ocean. Godzilla disappears and Kong, fed up with civilization and radioactive dinosaurs, decides to swim back home.

While not as strong a classic like the original 1954 version of Godzilla, it was a fun movie experience. I arrived at the theatre at 2:30 (the program started at 3 pm). Flashed the ticket I bought online. Went to purchase some popcorn, soda and candy and sat down to an orchestral recording of the Godzilla soundtrack and watched a slideshow of kaiju artwork done by children and local artists (you then could go online and vote on which artwork you liked best). Then the announcer came on stage and introduced two people dressed as King Kong and Godzilla. A woman handed them two “boulders” (they were grey beach balls) to throw into the audience. Whoever caught them won a free Godzilla t-shirt. I know what you’re thinking. No, I didn’t win one, I was sitting too far back.

After the film, I went to three different kiosks that were selling Godzilla merchandise. I bought a small Godzilla figurine for $5.

There wasn’t a huge crowd for the afternoon event but it was a sizeable assortment of people of all ages from the young to the old with some avid Godzilla fans sprinkled in. I’m not a huge Godzilla fan myself but I recently bought the Criterion Collection release of Gojira, which I was impressed with because of it’s message of nuclear disarmament and it’s depiction of Japanese culture. It’s one of the best films of the 50s.

I also went because I prefer smaller, more intimate, “Geek” events as opposed to larger, more lucrative, commercial events like Comic Con. The former (for me) is much more affordable, more easygoing and requires less travel than the latter.

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A Sci-Fi Movie Fan’s Incredible Collection

We all have favorite things we like to collect. Some people collect Barbies. Some collect Beatles or Elvis memorabilia. There are people out there who still like to collect stamps. I like to collect Star Wars action figures, Beanie Babies and SF art trading cards. But every collector, sooner or later, faces the dilemma of where to store his or her finds.

That’s not the case with Cho Woong.

According to Star Wars.com, the South Korea native has quite a collection of movie statues and figures beautifully displayed above his restaurant in Daegu (I’m guessing that’s where he gets the money to buy all these beautiful props and accessories ’cause if I tried the same thing, I’d be living in my car). Most of his collection consists of Star Wars characters, vehicles and weapons but he also has stuff from Alien, Predator, Avatar, Terminator, E.T., Lord of the Rings, Marvel and even The Creature From the Black Lagoon.

But don’t take my word for it, see his website here.

Check out his restaurant here. (This is for those of you who have more interest in his culinary skills than his collecting skills. Hope you can read Korean)

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“Ewoks: The Battle for Endor” Review

 

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Warning: Some spoilers but not too many details.

This November, another Star Wars film will be turning the big 3-0, but it wasn’t released in theaters. It was released on television, November 24, 1985, yet the story takes place before Return of the Jedi. It’s a sequel to Caravan of Courage and if you want to learn more about that film, read this excellent post by my girl, Lazypadawan. In fact it was her article that made me want to watch the film on YouTube. I watched the film and it wasn’t until the end that I realized I had watched the wrong film. Oops. Oh well. I loved it anyway and I watched it again on May the 4th of this year. Before I talk about the story, let me share some background information about the production for the film.

Despite the success of Caravan of Courage, directors Jim and Ken Wheat were disappointed with the results and told Lucas they wanted to make another film starring the Towani family. During the story board sessions, George Lucas revealed that he had just watched Heidi with his daughter, Amanda and decided to make Cindel an orphan and have her befriend a grumpy old man who lived in the woods of Endor who would adopt her. So that means killing off her family folks!

Among the cast was Warwick Davis, who was reprising his role as Wicket (and speaking perfect English), Aubree Miller as Cindel, Wilford Brimley as Noa, Carel Struycken as Terak, leader of the Sanyassen Mauraders and Sian Phillips as Charal, a Nightsister.

Now on to the story.

Cindel tells Wicket that she will be leaving Endor with her family soon but then she gets a message that her family is in danger. They return to the Ewok village to find it’s under attack from Sanyassen Mauraders who’ve killed most of its inhabitants, including her parents and brother and enslaved the survivors, among them Wicket and Cindel. With the help of the other Ewoks, they escape into the forrest, are nearly attacked by a condor dragon and are cold and hungry to boot.

Enter Teek, a little imp who runs superfast but has a kind heart. He leads Cindel and Wicket to an empty home where they can stay for awhile. Like a scene out of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, the girl and the Ewok clean up the home and make some dinner. But uh-oh, who’s this coming up the path? It’s Noa, a grumpy old hermit who actually owns the house and he’s not happy with intruders. Eventually he comes to accept Cindel and Wicket as house guests and even helps Cindel get over her family’s deaths (the dialogue in the scene would be used again in the 1988 film, The Land Before Time, produced by Lucas). We also learn that Noa has a crashed ship in the forest which he’s been trying to fix since the day he came to Endor many years ago.

Meanwhile, back at the castle of Terak, king of the Mauraders, Terak is throwing a fit because he has a power generator that he thinks will give him “the power”. He threatens his lackey, the Nightsister, Charal, with death unless she brinsg him the girl, believing that she knows how to harness “the power”. Charal takes the form of a raven and flies off. She finds Cindel, captures her, and takes her to the castle.

Cindel tells Terak that she knows nothing about magic and that he’s mistaken about the source of this “power”. Enraged, he throws Cindel in prison with the aforementioned captured Ewoks. But fear not, star warriors! Noa, Wicket and Teek are here to save the day! They break into the castle, free Cindel and the Ewoks and a battle ensues. Terak is killed, Charal loses her powers, the Marauders are defeated and Endor is free to fight the Empire! Hooray! With a fixed ship and a new family, Cindel says goodbye to Teek and the Ewoks and she and Noa fly off.

What I like about this film is that it’s the first Star Wars film to have two female leads: Cindel is without a doubt, the hero of the story and her adversary is the Nightsister, Charal. This is also our first introduction to a Nightsister a type of dark arts, force wielder that would be explored further in The Courtship of Princess Leia and later The Clone Wars. It’s a film that every female star warrior should see considering the recent demand for more female inclusion in the GFFA. My only dislike of this film is that Peter Bernstein (son of Elmer) didn’t incorporate any of John Williams’ music (not even the “Ewok Parade” theme) into the score.

I also wish that Lucasfilm would create merchandise tie-ins for this movie: a Teek plush toy, action figures of Cindel, Noa, Charal, Terak, Wicket and Teek. Maybe Disney will do it, but I doubt it.

Nevertheless, this film is a great addition to your Star Wars DVD collection.

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