Tag Archives: Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace

Kenobi: Awesome Tribute to Obi-Wan

Hero Fan Productions makes some fantastic videos over on YouTube, including two of my favorite Star Wars videos ever in The Chosen One and The Last.  While those videos highlighted the Skywalker clan, HFP has just released a tribute to Obi-Wan Kenobi.  Using his initial meeting with Luke in A New Hope as the pivot point, the go through Obi-Wan’s entire life as we’ve seen it thus far from Episodes I, II, and III, Star Wars: Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels (SPOILER WARNINGS IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN REBELS).

Whether or not we’re going to get a Kenobi spin-off film starring McGregor that would cover Obi-Wan’s time between Episodes III and IV seems still up in the air.  Director Stephen Daldry was attached to the project, but McGregor hadn’t been signed as of writing.  No 2020 Star Wars film has been announced, and it is unlikely that Rian Johnson or the Game of Thrones creators will be ready with their new series of films by then.  Kenobi seems to be the one spin-off most fans want, even the ones who don’t like the “Star Wars Story” concept.  McGregor certainly has campaigned for returning to the role, and I think they could make a great film out of that mysterious time period in SW lore.  In the meantime, check out HFP, and enjoy Kenobi’s story thus far.Ewan McGregor in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

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Top 5: Crap Films with Amazing Trailers

Movie crowd

Trailers are an art form unto themselves.  They sell the film more than any other form of marketing.  Sometimes a trailer is so good that it’s a mini-film of its own.  The very best leave you completely assured that when you walk into the movie it’s advertising, you’re going to walk out a fist-pumping veteran of a crucial, life-altering movie experience.  However, sometimes that awesome trailer that you watched 100 times to amp up for the movie, turns out to be much better than the actual final product.  Here are five, in order of release, which wrote a check they couldn’t cash (though that doesn’t mean the trailers still aren’t fantastic if you can erase the memory of the actual film).

 1. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999) dir. by George Lucas

Before we knew what midichlorians, pod racing or Gungans were, we got our first peek at new Star Wars footage for the first time in 16 years and every person in that theater was completely quiet, studying every frame.  UNTIL Darth Maul ignited the second blade on his saber, and then you could have scraped the lot of us off of the ceiling.  It’s easy in retrospect to see red flags, but not many of us walked in expecting anything less than awesomeness.

 2. Where the Wild Things Are (2009) dir. by Spike Jonze

This is still one of the best trailers I’ve ever seen.  The song, by the way, is “Wake Up” by Arcade Fire, which needs to be compulsory listening for all people all the time.  Where the Wild Things Are was one of my favorite books as a child.  Maurice Sendak got the misfit, bestial energy of little boys, and this two-minute trailer is a much better adaptation than the full go.  A book with 37 sentences in it needs a whole lot of padding to reach a two-hour film.  This book didn’t need it.  The trailer did the job and still does; capturing the iconic imagery and themes of the book with the perfect marriage of Arcade Fire’s best song.

 3. Sucker Punch (2011) dir. by Zack Snyder

In 2011, Zack Snyder was coming off 300 and Watchmen and was one of the hottest directors in Hollywood.  Sucker Punch was a mystery film, but though it was completely confusing as a trailer, there were giant samurai fights, steampunk Nazi battles, science fiction cities, and an amazing dragon.  Check, check, check and check.  What I should have paid closer attention to was the trailer’s own warning “You will be unprepared”….for how deeply creepy (not in a good way) this film is.  The fantasy vignettes in the film are visually stunning action pieces.  It’s what connects them that is super, super…..no, “creepy” is the precise word.

 4. Prometheus (2012) dir. by Ridley Scott

Ridley Scott returning to the Alien franchise after what it had endured since 1986 seemed to be perfect, and this trailer cemented it.  This was a sure thing.  It looked gorgeous, had a great cast, and it looked like we were in for a terrifying introduction to where the xenomorphs originated.  What we got was a ponderous, question filled, few answers given, cryptic mess.  The aliens are tadpoles?  Does that make them amphibians?  Why is that a thing that even popped into my head?  Probably because I spaced out while someone trudged down a corridor for another 10 minutes.  And it’s STILL better than Alien: Covenant.

 5. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013) dir. by Ben Stiller

Much like the trailer for Where the Wild Things Are, this works almost as a music video, this time to “Dirty Paws” by Of Monsters and Men.  If you’ve never read the short story, it’ll take you 15 minutes and it’s brilliant, and the same problems that sunk Wild Things did so in Mitty.  This two-minute short film tells you the story of a repressed, bored, lonely man who dreams of doing great things and then one day sets off and does them.  It accomplishes it with almost no dialogue.  It remains a fantastic trailer and all of the movie you ever need to see.

Revisiting all of these has my emotions in this place:
Disney Pixar's Inside Out

 

“The Chosen One” The Tragic Descent of Anakin Skywalker

Hero Fan Productions is a channel you MUST be following on YouTube.  A week ago, I shared their video “The Last”, which depicts Luke Skywalker’s journey through Episode IV to the trailer to Episode VIII (click here if you missed it).  In “The Chosen One”, HFP looks at Luke’s father, Anakin, from Episodes I-VI (and Rogue One) plus footage from Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels.  Vader’s legacy still loomed large over his family in Episode VII.  Even 30 years after his death, Anakin’s fall was still dividing and hurting his family, the irony being that it was the mad protection of his family that drove him from them into the arms of the Dark Side.  Everyone has their own view on the Prequels, but the information provided from them (mostly from Episode III and the 10 years of animated series) makes Vader’s story even more tragic.  The notions of “balance to the force” and “the chosen one” appear to be something that we’re going to be dealing with again in The Last Jedi, which is promising the BIGGEST jaw-dropping plot twist in the Saga’s history.  HFP does a great job with this (I wish they’d have stuck to using Williams’ score instead of epic music that gets a little distracting), and it gets you thinking about those parts of Anakin’s story that still may affect the stories yet to come.

Darth Vader in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Giles Keyte

Darth Maul: Apprentice (Awesome Star Wars Fan-Film)

You can lose yourself for hours on YouTube watching attempts at making a decent Star Wars fan film, but this is-by far-the best I’ve ever seen.  Darth Maul: Apprentice isn’t brand-new; it was first posted in March 2016 by T7 Pro and was written, produced, and directed by Shawn Bu.  With the exception of some dodgy cosplay on one character and the inability to use John Williams score, this is the kind of thing that should have occupied way more time in The Phantom Menace, and begs the question: how long are we going to have to wait for a Darth Maul spin-off?
Darth Maul, Emperor Palpatine, Darth Maul: Apprentice, Star Wars

 

R.I.P. Kenny Baker (1934 – 2016) *Farwell, R2-D2*

Kenny Baker, Star Wars, R2-D2

Not unexpected, as Kenny Baker was too ill to make the London premiere of Star Wars Episode VII, but still very sad news today that the British actor that brought R2-D2 to life in the first six Star Wars films has passed away after a long illness.  The British actor brought life to the little droid long before he became a completely electronic creation, and also had roles in Flash Gordon, The Elephant Man, and Amadeus (among many others) during his distinguished career.  The Hollywood Reporter’s full obituary is below along with a Tweet from co-star Mark Hamill who may have summed it up best: “He was the droid we were looking for.”  Kenny Baker was 81. Continue reading R.I.P. Kenny Baker (1934 – 2016) *Farwell, R2-D2*