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Re: Star Wars: Deleted Magic

Posted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:39 am
by Garrett Gilchrist
"Is there an actual reason (in the movies!!!) why R2 and BB Unit droids can only beep? Like 3P0 doesn't have lips or anything, so they can't just put one of those speaker things in the little ones?"

I've never seen this explained in canon, but off the top of my head, BB-8 and R2-D2 and the like often need to communicate directly with computer systems at blazing speed (with electronic "noise"), whereas C3PO and the like are androids who spend their time talking to humans.

Of course the onset reason was that when R2-D2's lines were written into the script he just came across as an asshole, and removing them turned C3PO into a funny character, always upset for no apparent reason and "translating" R2's beeps into a constant one-sided bickering fight.

Re: Star Wars: Deleted Magic

Posted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 5:12 pm
by Garrett Gilchrist
On a thematic level this is the most interesting Star Wars film since the early days -- and quotes from scenes they cut for time reinforce those themes in an overt way.

Rey: "That old legend of Luke Skywalker that you hate so much, I believed in it.”


DJ: "I’m sorry I turned out to be exactly what I said I was.” ... ed-scenes/

Re: Star Wars: Deleted Magic

Posted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 3:10 am
by Garrett Gilchrist

Re: Star Wars: Deleted Magic

Posted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:32 am
by Garrett Gilchrist

Re: Star Wars: Deleted Magic

Posted: Sat Mar 10, 2018 9:55 pm
by Garrett Gilchrist
Mark Hamill, in gold, singing in German for a Disco Star Wars parody, 1980.

Re: Star Wars: Deleted Magic

Posted: Sat May 19, 2018 7:30 pm
by Garrett Gilchrist
4K77, an unofficial transfer and restoration of original release prints of Star Wars (1977), made by some fans, is now "out there" on the internet. Some trailers for it. (I was not involved but I'm assuming this was the same project I saw the early stages of.)

Re: Star Wars: Deleted Magic

Posted: Tue May 22, 2018 5:06 am
by Garrett Gilchrist
Solo: A Star Wars Story is a solid effort in the series, good rather than great. It's not dissimilar to Rogue One, building its entire story around throwaway lines of dialogue from the 1977 original. It's less successful than Rogue One was, but not by much. It's a movie where Han Solo pilots the Millennium Falcon and tells Chewie to "punch it" as they jump to light speed. For good and for ill, this is probably what people had in mind when the Star Wars prequels were announced in the 90s, rather than what we actually got - a movie which uses a few familiar characters and fills in the backstory.

In the 1977 film, Han Solo had a pair of metal dice on his dashboard - barely visible. There were throwaway lines about droid slavery in the "spice mines of Kessel." We knew Han was in debt to a Tattooine gangster named Jabba the Hutt, and later that he'd won his ship, the Millennium Falcon, from Lando Calrissian - "fair and square." So here, for what it's worth, is a whole movie about that. And it works.

Most of that is due to the cast, who are mostly excellent. It's a film that doesn't quite make the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs, but it does make it in less than thirteen (and encourages you to round down). It's an origin story for Harrison Ford's charismatic smuggler that mainly suffers from the fact that it doesn't star Harrison Ford.

The cast is very human-heavy, although for CG characters Jon Favreau voices Rio Durant, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge nearly steals the entire film as robotic Social Justice Warrior L3-37, who is convinced that Lando has a crush on her, and on Han as well. In both cases, the film neither confirms this nor denies it. It's all very 2018.

That would be Donald Glover's Lando Calrissian, who does steal the entire film as an only slightly updated Lando Calrissian. While it's not hard to imagine Glover's Lando as a 2018 metrosexual Youtube star, he is also quite clearly the same character played by Billy Dee Williams in the Empire Strikes Back. It also, immediately, becomes impossible to imagine anyone else playing the part. Glover makes a perfect Lando, having correctly judged that he should impersonate Williams' voice when possible, and his charm and charisma when it's not.

Fans always knew that Lando lost the Falcon in a high-stakes game of Sabacc. We get to see that play out here exactly as advertised. It's like the lava fight at the end of Revenge of the Sith, which more or less matched what fans had expected from the start.

Paul Bettany, fresh off Infinity War, is Dryden Vos, a wealthy and powerful villain. We learn a bit about the Star Wars world of organized crime, a battle which for once has very little to do with the Empire and the Rebellion - or at least only exists in its margins, with the only goal being money and power.

Woody Harrelson is solidly good as Tobias Beckett, a pirate and thief whose motto is to trust no one - except for his partner Val (Thandie Newton), who is an unfortunate victim of the film cliche of putting a woman in peril so the man can feel pain. That will happen a few times here. It's no surprise that Han Solo would have an untrustworthy father/mentor figure here, which Beckett vaguely fills. As good as Harrelson is, it's hard not to recall how Guardians of the Galaxy did this better with Yondu and Starlord - a Han Solo imitator if ever there was one, and a franchise which retained its sense of humor much more than these "Star Wars Stories" have.

Emilia Clarke of Game of Thrones fame is Qi'ra, Han's lost love who turns up in an unexpected way. She's very good, and it's worth sticking around to see why, exactly, she's not around for Star Wars 1977. But it also tends to feel like she's carrying all the scenes she's in, actingwise, as Han Solo himself doesn't make as strong an impression.

In one episode of AMC's Mad Men, the advertising agency decides to copy an Ann-Margret performance from Bye Bye Birdie. It sells the product, but fails because, well, it doesn't have Ann-Margret.

28-year-old Alden Ehrenreich steps in as a slightly younger Han Solo (who is about 34 in the 1977 film). Alden has Han Solo's smirking smile, and his capacity for bluffing and getting himself over his head in trouble. Apart from that, there's no particular resemblance in his very generic performance, and this Han Solo could be the star of any film. As a Star Wars hero he's closest to Daisy Ridley's Rey - a former scrapper scraping for "portions" and determined to do the right thing in a world where "the right thing" isn't very clear. The film's focus on finding fuel sources also feels more "Last Jedi" than "Original Trilogy."

Anthony Ingruber, whose performance in Age of Adaline was an accurate impersonation of Harrison Ford, was rumored for the role. I'm guessing they didn't want to do an impersonation but that was probably what they should have done. When I saw Rogue One I was seated next to Jamie Costa, who also impersonated Harrison Ford fairly accurately in the short "A Smuggler's Tale."

Harrison Ford's performance in the 1977 film wasn't exactly Oscar-worthy, but as a character Han Solo was instantly iconic and recognizable, arriving fully formed. Charismatic, but not as much as he thinks he is. Able to talk his way out of, and into a jam with equal frequency. Bluffing, pretending to be more impressive than he is, while still being fairly impressive. Rough around the edges and on the wrong side of the law, but ready to do the right thing when it counts. Always, always, in over his head and acting like a high school kid in the presence of Princess Leia. He's a comedic character, a charismatic mess, and probably the most beloved character from the original Star Wars trilogy. He's also a character we didn't really need to know more about.

But, okay, so we don't "need" a Han Solo film. But maybe we want one, and maybe this film tries very hard to give us what we want.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) is a great film with a curiously bland prologue, in which River Phoenix plays the young Indiana Jones. During a fast-paced few minutes, most of the iconic traits of the character click into place, winking at the audience. Here's the hat, here's the whip.

Solo is an entire film's worth of that, although thankfully less blandly done. Here's his gun. Here's his name. Here's Chewbacca. I'd say this is "for the fans" but pretty much everyone knows enough about Han Solo to see all the familiar stuff referenced here. If you are a hardcore fan, this is a movie that bothers to namedrop Bossk and the 1997 Playstation 1 game, Masters of Teräs Käsi. It's also a movie that either directly sets up or makes impossible the events of the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special. I'm not sure which.

Rogue One did a lot more of this, bringing back minor characters and even footage from the 1977 film. But by the end here, we know that certain old villains are around, maybe even to set up another "Star Wars Story," once again in the margins before the 1977 film. As with Rogue One, the result is something that feels familiar, but isn't shot like the original films were. I watched it in 3D, so the projection was inevitably too dark, but it's really just a dark film overall. Often the creatures and locations are just hard to see, and the result is dark and muddy rather than having much of a sense of wonder about it. There are plenty of new creatures and droids, and the design echoes the 1977 film's aesthetic accurately without simply duplicating it.

You will spot Warwick Davis, Clint Howard, and (if you look closely) Anthony Daniels. There's Chewbacca (now played by Joonas Suotamo), and a big cameo by a familiar face you didn't think you'd see again (albeit with a new voice).

As with Rogue One, Lucasfilm wasn't happy with the first cut of the film and ordered that most of the film be reshot. On Rogue One they kept the same directors but changed the script significantly. For Solo, it appears that writer/producers Lawrence and Jonathan Kasdan wanted their script filmed exactly the way they wrote it. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, known for the Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street series, were rumored to have approached the film from an improv comedy standpoint, possibly using shakier handheld camerawork.

We can only speculate, but it's quite an insult that their names don't appear on the final film, except as producers. Ron Howard directed the reshoots, and is credited as sole director. The Willow and Apollo 13 director, who won Best Picture and Best Director Oscars for A Beautiful Mind, was seen as a solid but very "safe" choice to take over the film. And that's exactly what you get here. The film isn't particularly weird or challenging. It takes less risks than any Star Wars film since The Ewok Adventure, and has much less of a sense of humor about itself than it really ought to.

The film works, as a character piece. It works as advertised. It won't have people declaring it the best or worst Star Wars film ever, as Empire and Last Jedi did. It's that rare Star Wars movie that really is "just another Star Wars movie." But there's nothing wrong with that.

Apart from the fact that it doesn't star Harrison Ford, there's not much that Solo: A Star Wars Story actually does wrong. It zips along at a real pace, ending scenes quickly when you might expect to linger on a joke instead. It ticks along like clockwork, delivering more or less exactly the sort of movie you might expect from a Han Solo origin story.

Like Rogue One, it works much better as a film than the actual Star Wars prequels, but to their credit the prequel films were chock full of new and strange ideas and constantly pushed boundaries which this series of films don't bother with. Even if they didn't fully work as movies, they represented a creativity on the part of George Lucas and his team and a desire to take risks which we haven't seen since, for good and for ill.

So many fans were angry with the Star Wars prequels because they all had their own vision of the origin story of Darth Vader (and other characters). They had imagined that lava fight and how Anakin betrayed the Jedi, and it all seemed a lot cooler and less stupid in their heads than how George Lucas rendered it onscreen.

By contrast, I would expect that fans who have thought about Han Solo's origin story will watch "Solo: A Star Wars Story" and say, yeah, that's about right. That's kind of what I expected. Except it had a young Harrison Ford in it. And it was funnier.

But that's good enough. Go see it.

Re: Star Wars: Deleted Magic

Posted: Wed Jun 27, 2018 5:44 pm
by Garrett Gilchrist
Most of the "true fans" protesting The Last Jedi couldn't name ten Star Wars characters without looking it up.
Elizabeth Bear writes: "A thing all artists know: that guy who says they were a fan but they won't buy your stuff unless you shut up about freedom and justice is an abuser who was never gonna buy your stuff in the first place."
Keep this in mind when talking about alt-righters pretending to be Star Wars fans. (Or DC fans, or fans of anything, as they move on to new targets all the time.)

Re: Star Wars: Deleted Magic

Posted: Wed Jul 25, 2018 4:24 am
by Garrett Gilchrist
Star Wars: The Cutting Room floor. Reminds me of my 2005 documentary Star Wars Deleted Magic, and indeed the editor is a fan. ... aping.html

Re: Star Wars: Deleted Magic

Posted: Thu Aug 23, 2018 10:29 am
by Garrett Gilchrist