Archive for September, 2011

Darth Plageuis Novel Delayed

September 30, 2011

Del Rey announced today that the Darth Plageuis novel has been pushed back to January 10, 2012. No reason was given.

Stuff You Can Buy

September 26, 2011

A frequent bone we have to pick around here is the prequel trilogy getting the short end of the merchandising/collecting stick.

But it’s not absolute. In the interest of being fair and balanced, here are some new things at your local store that don’t ignore the prequels:

General Mills Blu-Ray promotional campaign: the cereal boxes, once you collect them all, make a pretty picture featuring all the main players from the saga.

Wal-Mart: Keep an eye out for popcorn tins. There are four different ones, including two different kinds with heroes and villains from all of the movies, one with all of the Drew Struzan posters, and one with the new Blu-Ray cover art.

Target: I don’t know if these items are exclusives or not, but on my last Target run, I picked up a deck of “3D” lenticular cards featuring characters from all of the movies and I spotted a cool puzzle featuring the Padmé art recently popularized on Her Universe’s line of tees. (I’m buying that one this week.) Also, check the dollar bins for Clone Wars swag: mini puzzles, an Anakin yo-yo, pens, small paper pads, and mini activity packets (I’ve seen three different kinds).

Clone Wars Debriefing: Water War/Gungan Attack/Prisoners

September 24, 2011

Season Four swims out of the gate with a three part arc that I watched all in a row; the DVR recorded episodes finished just as “Prisoners” began. Nice timing, huh?

This aquatic adventure was an echo of TPM. Two diplomats–this time it’s Anakin and Padmé, the latter in a fashionable diving suit–try to smooth the waters over what seems to be a provincial dispute. The Mon Cala (name change!) and the Quarren live out the rivalry first concocted in West End Games’ RPG material, torn apart by the question over whether aioli dipping sauce is better than the traditional tomato-based cocktail sauce. The Mon Cala king is murdered and his teen son is now in charge. The Quarren don’t want to recognize him and they quickly ally themselves with the Separatists. The Seps’ big fish here is Tamson, a shark-like alien who attacks his victims very much like a real shark does. Raise your fins if you were so not surprised that Jabberjaw here was responsible for the king’s death.

Unlike Queen Amidala, who at least was elected to the position, the young prince is full of doubt about his abilities to lead as he finds himself in the middle of a civil war, then an invasion. The rest of his arc is devoted to him finally rising to the position fate dumped upon him.

The Mon Cala and the Quarren start fighting, with the Republic’s army showing up to the pool party with reinforcements. But even they are overwhelmed, so the Jedi have to call up the Gungan army on Naboo to go save their Senator. But they are quickly overwhelmed and the Republic is fresh out of anybody who can swim to help them. The prince and Ahsoka are forced into hiding. Anakin, Padmé, Jar Jar, and Kit Fisto are captured by Tamson. And the Quarren are thinking this deal is getting worse all of the time.

What’s a Clone Wars episode without a little good old-fashioned torture? This time it’s Anakin and Kit Fisto getting electrocuted by eels, then Tamson ups the douche factor by poking a hole inside Padmé’s diving helmet. Anakin is prevented from doing very much because of the eels and because of Fisto’s presence, so Jar Jar lobs one on Padmé’s helmet to plug the hole. As Seinfeld said, “That is one magic loogey.”

Just as Padmé once got the Gungans on her side to fight the Trade Federation, the prince convinces the Quarren to break their alliance with the Separatists and join with the Mon Calas to drive the invaders off their planet. The prince finds himself in a final battle with Tamson; if you’ve seen “Jaws” you know how this ends, heh heh. What’s a Clone Wars episode without a violent scene that pushes the envelope? This time it’s bits and chunks of the blown up Tamson, including a lovely close up of his decapitated head. What’s a Clone Wars episode without a truly evil villain killed off after a short stint, guaranteed never to return?

What impressed me most about these episodes was the animation. Boy did they go all out. Not only were the battle scenes impressive, even the underwater scenery and the close attention to detail were impressive as well. This was an episode where it truly paid to watch it in HD if possible.

Our old pal Ackbar is a young firebrand here, who helps the prince in battle. I loved where he’s yelling like Rambo as he fires a pair of blasters.

Jar Jar brought a little levity to what could have been a heavy set of episodes and Jar Jar’s always welcome with Ahmed Best doing the voice. One of the laugh-out-loud moments was at the end of “Gungan Attack” where he’s “caught” in the arms of a Mon Cala babe.

They made the most out of the potential peril a human could get into beneath the waves, including a moment where Anakin loses his helmet. I just kept wondering though how they were able to keep up their strength swimming for so long. Padmé must be one hell of a scuba diver. I won’t even get into the possibilities of laser guns and lightsabers working underwater.

With this wet dream coming to an end, I think we’re all ready to head back up to the surface for dry land and outer space. Tune in next week where the action goes over to Naboo and Jar Jar lives out “Kagemusha” in “Shadow Warrior.”

TPM Revised Visual Dictionary

September 23, 2011

DK Publishing will release an updated and expanded version of the TPM Visual Dictionary on January 12, just in time for the film’s re-release. Based on the sample pages, it looks pretty similar to the original book published twelve years ago but with different typeface. I’m guessing the Yoda entry will have the digital incarnation.

The Neglect Continues

September 21, 2011

One of the ongoing issues with official fandom is the way the prequels are often shoved into the back seat when it comes to promoting Star Wars or licensing Star Wars stuff. Yes, I’m aware there’s a small number of re-published stuff coming out around the time of TPM’s re-release. I have been reading the Qui-Gon comics mini series and just yesterday I noticed a cute but cracktastic LEGO retelling of TPM from Darth Maul’s point of view in the children’s book section at Wal-Mart. Maulsy seems to be picking up in popularity with new belts and wallets from licensee Rock Rebel, what with the re-release on the horizon and his possible posthumous involvement with Clone Wars. It’s a start.

Nevertheless, there’s still a long way to go based on a couple of recent promotions. The General Mills cereal box promotion for the Blu-Ray features all of the movies but the Pringles promotion, which assigns a character with a flavor, only focuses on characters from Eps IV-VI. I hate to be critical of the Star Wars partnership with the Stand Up To Cancer campaign. After all, it is a good cause and I did buy the Yoda t-shirt. But I noticed most of the stuff up for charity auction are, you guessed it, from the latter half of the saga (aside from the 2012 Passat). Despite the presences of Clone Wars’s Jaime King and Samuel L. Jackson, the Stand Up To Cancer promo video with several celebrities only re-enacted scenes from ANH, TESB, and ROTJ. It bugs me that those films are continuously treated as classics while the prequels remain afterthoughts. That has to stop.

Good News For TPM 3D

September 20, 2011

Reposted from my LiveJournal

Without a whole lot of pre-release hype and with a limited release (though they might extend it now beyond two weeks), “The Lion King 3D” topped the box office this past weekend. Sure, higher ticket prices helped but in a summer where ticket sales have dropped and people were writing off 3D, this is a very encouraging sign for TPM’s prospects when it gets re-released in February. I’m sure Lucasfilm and Fox are breathing a big sigh of relief. But I hope they are also now strategizing on how to top $30 million opening weekend ;).

Dear People Who Send Press Releases

September 20, 2011

SWPAS is more than happy to receive your press release on various Star Wars-themed projects. However, don’t get your feelings hurt if I don’t always post what you send. I have only two requirements:

1) To be of interest to readers, who come here for prequel apprecation, it must pertain to at least ALL of the Star Wars films if not just any of the prequels specifically. If it’s just about Eps IV-VI, then it’s not relevant to the site.

2) There can be absolutely, positively nothing negative about Episodes I-III.

Thank You,
The Management

Clone Wars Debriefings Season Four

September 14, 2011

Just a warning that I will be out of town and unable to post a review of Friday’s Clone Wars season premiere until sometime next week.

Song About Padmé

September 14, 2011

firehearts132 had posted on her site a YouTube video of “Padmé’s Song” by Danny Winn And The Earthlings. It’s a couple of years old but it’s new to me and probably to you too.

Interview With Joel Aron

September 14, 2011

Big Shiny Robot has a new interview with Clone Wars animator Joel Aron. Read about his cinematic influences and all of the cool stuff they can do now with the show (and if you’re not spoiler adverse, there’s also a link to a review of Friday’s season premiere).