Archive for March, 2012

Time To Stuff The Ballot Box

March 22, 2012

TFN brings attention to the Behind The Voice Actors Awards, where you can vote on nominated voice actors for their work on t.v., movies, and video games. You do have to register and you can vote only once, but you can help show some love to the following Clone Wars nominees:

Best Male Vocal Performance in a Television Series in a Supporting Role
Corey Burton as Count Dooku
Tom Kane as Yoda

Best Female Vocal Performance in a Television Series in a Supporting Role
Barbara Goodson as Mother Talzin
Nika Fetterman as Asajj Ventress

Best Vocal Performance in a Television Series in a Guest Role
Liam Neeson as Qui-Gon Jinn

Best Vocal Cast in a Television Series
Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Winners will be announced April 1. So hurry!

TPM 3D Japanese Box Office

March 20, 2012

TPM 3D has racked up $2,132,578 in its first week according to Box Office Mojo.com, creeping closer to #9 on the global b.o. list and closer to about $100 million in its worldwide re-release.

H/T Phantom Menace Holiday

Clone Wars Season 4 Retrospective

March 20, 2012

Spring has sprung, the flowers are blooming, the grass is growing, and the Easter Bunny is on his way, which generally means another season of Clone Wars is in the can.

Even though there isn’t an official release yet saying that Cartoon Network has renewed CW, there is a fifth season underway and I don’t see why it wouldn’t be back in September. I think everyone would have loved to see a trailer for the next season but that may be why one wasn’t shown at the end of last week’s episode.

Overall, I think Season Four was in many ways the strongest and most consistent yet. The animators keep pushing the envelope, making the environment of the show look as photorealistic as possible in spite of the stylized look of the characters. There are many shots now almost indistinguishable from a visual effects scene from any one of the films. Not only are they just trying to make it look cool, there’s genuine attention paid to make the show look cinematic. “Lighting” and editing are often used to optimum effect. As I said a year ago, they need to shackle Joel Aron to the floor and make sure he never leaves! Matthew Wood’s sound work is as great as always. No one can say that at least in terms of animation, sound, voice acting, and design, they don’t try very hard. These guys genuinely care about putting out the best product possible.

The stories this season relied less on one-shots and more on multiple-episode arcs. So far the format seems to work, allowing for strong storytelling in the Umbaran arc, the Slaves of the Republic arc, etc.. Who ever thought you could wrench so much emotion out of an entire cast of characters NOT from the movies and an evil, corrupt Jedi? Who ever thought they could do a prison break series with Obi-Wan or successfully adapt one of the Clone Wars comics? One thing that is noteworthy though is the overall tone of the season was dark, with the exception of the two episodes with the droids. The stuff with Ahsoka and Lux would be light-hearted had it not been for the Mandalorians killing innocent villagers and Ahsoka’s impressive quadruple decapitation.

At various points earlier in the season, I kept wondering how close we were to the events of ROTS and how much longer Clone Wars had to go. Would it be all over in two more seasons? Then came the final two episodes with Darth Maul’s return. If I’m not mistaken, background on those episodes says that Maul had been on Lotho Minor for 10 years, meaning very little time has passed since AOTC! Not even a year! Don’t start counting on having your fall/winter Friday nights free just yet.

There were some creaky moments and some odd gaps in logic but those are minor things and every t.v. show has them. There are a few things though that are my main points for improvement:

1) Anakin needs some Chosen One moments each season. The Mortis arc did that last year, while this year…not so much. In fact, Anakin wasn’t featured very much outside of the season opener and the Slaves of the Republic arc. This guy is supposed to be the most powerful dude ever and at times I think the writers kind of forget that. He’s not just some random Jedi who can get it handed to him easily.

2) For the second season in a row, Anakin and Padme’s relationship is barely acknowledged. Sure, they hang out on a couple of missions but they can’t do much in front of other characters. The frustration of being together but not really being together is never even addressed! Again, it’s one of those pesky details the writers often forget. Uh, they do remember Padme gets pregnant at some point for some reason, don’t they?

3) Details like those noted in 1 and 2 often fall by the wayside due to the exuberance for fanservice. Maul’s return could work if he is put to good use as a catalyst. But is it really necessary to keep dropping in cult favorites? Is there anyone who doesn’t need to get some face time in the series just to generate some buzz? Have you ever noticed they’d rather do 10 episodes on bounty hunters than spend more than fifteen seconds on Anakin’s character development?

Oh yes, one more…please refrain from further professional fanboy basher guest spots.

TPM 3D In Japan

March 18, 2012

TPM 3D opened this week in Japan and while not a lot of news has come out about it yet, there are a couple of pics of Carrie Fisher and Jake Lloyd making appearances to promote the flick:

Cinemax Theater in Chiba New Town

With a couple of guys from Japan’s 501st

And the same Japanese guy who did the sweet potato Jar Jar has returned with a veggie Darth Maul.

Clone Wars Debriefing: “Revenge”

March 17, 2012

Clone Wars wraps up Season Four with its darkest, most violent finale to date.

Savage brings Maul back to Dathomir, where Mother Talzin uses her hocus pocus to refit Maul with new mechanical legs–originated in the comics and now immortalized in a Sideshow Collectibles statue–and heal him psychologically, so that he is some semblance of his old self. Maul is focused on one thing and that is revenge against Obi-Wan. So off Maul goes with Savage to draw out the attention of the Jedi. They land on a lollipop planet where Maul murders children and sends out a snuff holo where he decapitates several hostages. He is still one evil mo-fo.

Mace Windu suggests they send out a team to capture Maul. Really?! Were they planning to put him in the same prison Obi-Wan, Cad Bane, Boba Fett, etc. escaped from a few weeks ago?? But Obi-Wan insists he has to go alone. I suppose Anakin was on scheduled vacation. Yoda shrugs and says, “Fine.” Once Obi-Wan leaves the room, Yoda reassures Mace that someone will help him.

Meanwhile, there’s a price on Savage’s head and several bounty hunters slobber at the idea of tackling this guy for some reason. Asajj Ventress coolly reassures them she’s the girl for the job.

Well, the inevitable happens and Obi-Wan encounters Maul again. Interestingly enough, DOTF wasn’t used but I guess they thought that might be a little on-the-nose. Here’s the song that kept running through my head during the fight scenes:

Obi-Wan gets some good lines in there, i.e. “the last time I cut you in half, I should have aimed at the neck” and “I like your new legs…they make you taller.” (Not exact quotes.) Even though he is a Master, he’s still at a disadvantage being trapped on a ship with Maul and eventually Savage attacking him. It is after all the Season of Pain, and Obi-Wan is contractually obligated to get his butt kicked. But looky here, Asajj has snuck onto the ship and she jumps in to save her long-time crush. Of course, there’s more than that. Not only is this episode about Maul’s revenge, it’s about Ventress’s revenge against Savage. Realizing they’re not about to beat the gruesome two-some, Asajj and Obi-Wan (who learned about escaping from Asajj, heh heh) flee in an escape pod. Well, that will fuel some interesting fan fic! Maul and Savage are left to stare off into space, vowing to return during ratings sweeps.

The only clue we’ve had on Maul’s unlikely survival was that his hate kept him alive and I suppose he might have snuck off of Naboo on a trash ship. There’s a part of me that’s still screaming, “Fanservice!” But I have to say this episode made the most of having Maul back. If you think about it, this really messes things up not only for Obi-Wan and the Jedi, but the Sith as well. Sidious has moved on to a new apprentice. Maul knows Sidious’s plans. Could there be not only a conflict with the Obi-Wan in the future, but with the Sith as well?

The animation was top-notch. Obi-Wan’s hair gets messy during the fight and you can tell he’s been hit in the eye by the way his face looks at the end of the battle. The lollipop planet was reminiscent of Felucia.

Witwer sounded more like the movie Maul this episode. His performance was really good. Nika Futterman’s Ventress was fantastic and James Arnold Taylor was as funny as always while doing Obi-Wan.

But you know what was the only disappointment with last night’s finale? No preview of Season Five! What’s up with that?

I’ll have an overview of Season Four soon.

Rules of the House

March 15, 2012

I’d revised the Rules of the House page (see right hand side of the page under “Pages”) a couple of weeks ago, but I’ll call attention to them today. Read them, learn them, live them, and we’ll all be a lot happier:

This site is about one thing and it’s about celebrating the Star Wars prequels and the saga as a whole. In order to accomplish this goal, please keep these rules–created by endless Senate committees–in mind:

1. No bashing or excessive criticism of the films.

This includes but is not limited to the quality of performances, writing, direction, story, etc.. If you don’t like the movies or want to use this as a soapbox for your gripes, this site is NOT for you. Gripe away on your own site or where they allow it; don’t do it here. No insults directed at the cast either.

2. No bashing or excessive criticism of George Lucas and his family.

This includes but is not limited to referring to him as “greedy,” “a hack,” “a lousy director,” etc. or cutting comments on his appearance, his family, or anything personal.

3. Commenters must be polite and civil.

There is to be no flaming, trolling, baiting, insults, excessive nitpicking, contrarianism, and all-around smarta–ery directed at other commenters or the webmiss. Save it for Sheldon and the Comic Book Guy.

Even though with Star Wars, it’s inevitable religion and politics will come up, please use common sense when discussing these issues and keep it relevant to the Star Wars universe. There are going to be people of all kinds of beliefs here and we don’t need to be smashing chairs over each other’s heads. If I link to a politically-tinged piece, I will pre-warn you.

There is to be no racist, sexist, or other demeaning language. Keep it clean; use asterisks instead of spelling out f-bombs or something. Do not swear at other posters or the webmiss.

Threats of violence, rape, murder, or other criminal activity posted on the site or sent privately will be reported to the authorities.

4. No spam or sales pitches

Spam will be instantly deleted. No one is to use comments to sell products/services or to contact commenters privately to sell products/services. If you want to promote your site, make sure it’s relevant AND friendly to Star Wars.

5. No Off-Topic/Irrelevant Posts

If a discussion goes off-topic, I will ask that the conversation continue elsewhere. Off-topic comments/thread-jacking will be deleted.

Facebook Rules

Facebook comments and posts must meet all of the above rules or they will be deleted. If you want to promote your group, run it by me privately first. If it’s not relevant to SWPAS, it will be deleted.

Facebook repeat offenders will be banned and reported.

The webmiss is final arbiter of what she considers acceptable and unacceptable and her decision is final.

IF YOU’RE NOT SURE, ASK!

Sebulba Song

March 15, 2012

It’s not exactly for the kiddies, but it is kinda funny. Thanks to someone on the forum who posted a link to Sebulba.

“Obi-Wan” To Host Celebration VI

March 14, 2012

Clone Wars’s James Arnold Taylor will host the main stage at Celebration VI.

From Parker Publicity:

Star Wars Celebration VI, the ultimate fan experience and the biggest Star Wars party ever, will feature three stages of programming offering hours of exclusive entertainment and fascinating information focused on the past, present and future of Star Wars. The stage hosts for the four-day event, held August 23-26 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida are James Arnold Taylor, David Collins and Pablo Hidalgo.

James Arnold Taylor will host the Main Stage, site of the biggest shows and the must-see events being planned for the convention. Taylor is the extremely talented actor whose versatile vocal range has given him success in every facet of the voice-over industry. Star Wars fans know him as the voice of the venerable Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and he has performed celebrated roles in animation and video games, as well as exacting voice-doubling for such stars as Christopher Walken, David Spade, and Michael J. Fox. Taylor debuted his popular, high-energy one-man performance “Talking to Myself” in 2011.

Jay Laga’aia hosted the main stage at the past couple of Celebrations. While it would be great to see Jay show up in any capacity–and maybe have more time to meet fans–I think Taylor would be terrific. He’s funny, entertaining, and from what I’ve seen, great with the public. Basically, he’ll get to interview all of the heavy-hitters coming to the con (though Jon Stewart got to interview George Lucas the last time) and host the bigger panels/events. Congrats to Taylor and we can’t wait to see him this summer!

Strategery For AOTC Part 2

March 14, 2012

4) Use social media more effectively

“Red Tails” doubled its predicted opening weekend take largely due to word of mouth. I noticed it trended all weekend on Twitter. “The Vow” and “Safe House” trended on Twitter the weekend of February 10, but not TPM. The Twitter podrace was a great idea but it should have been done closer in time to the film’s release. How about a Twitter Geonosis battle next year the weekend before AOTC comes out? I’d also suggest starwars.com come up with a universal hashtag and urge everyone to use it opening weekend so that it trends.

Lucasfilm tried to promote TPM on Facebook but the Official Star Wars Facebook page, the StarWars.com page, and a special opening weekend event page (“like if you’re planning to attend”) quickly filled up with trolls trashing the film in comments to posts and in posts left on the walls. Whoever was running those pages did nothing about it. Maybe it was Simon Pegg. But people who were genuinely interested in the film quickly got disgusted with the haters and stopped participating. I dropped all of those pages from my feed because I couldn’t take it anymore, especially when the non-existent moderator wouldn’t even scrub posts with the n-word in them. So a promotional tool became a hive of scum and villainy. I have no trouble with scrubbing troll posts by the way. Lucasfilm is a business promoting a product; it’s under no obligation to provide a soapbox for hateboys who post just to be jerks and blatantly racist posts just shouldn’t be there, period. Go be a racist on your own Facebook.

5) Sell the 3D better

As noted in my prior post, audiences burned by bad 3D need reassurance this was going to be quality. While most of the feedback on TPM 3D was positive, there really wasn’t a whole lot of discussion prior to the release about the 3D. I think they need to play it up a little more in the promotional process. If AOTC’s 3D is an improvement over TPM’s, by all means tell us!

6) Emphasize that Star Wars is always better on the big screen

You know it. The Forcecast guys know it. Ewan McGregor knows it. Star Wars might be great in the comfort of your own home but nothing beats the big screen experience. It’s the way God and George Lucas intended it to be seen.

Remember the tagline for the Star Wars Special Editions? “Three reasons why they built movie theaters.” Hell YEAH! The idea behind the 3D re-releases ought to be “SIX reasons why they built movie theaters.” Ultimately, you have to get folks jazzed to part with $13 to see older flicks everyone and their dog has in their home already.

Rebelscum’s Magazine Retrospective

March 14, 2012

Rebelscum.com has featured magazines for sale on eBay surrounding each prequel release this week. I remember buying a ton of them when TPM came out and after that, severely limiting my purchases. Still it’s fun to recall those heady days when Star Wars dominated the newsstand.

Here are TPM, AOTC, and ROTS.