I love this time of year. The opening week of college football is upon us and we’re in the middle of a three-day Labor Day weekend. To make matters even more enticing, the 100 degree heat of the Midwest is slowly but surely becoming a distant memory. All in all, life is good. Now, for those of you who look forward to our weekly “Top 5″ installment, things are only getting better.
In this week’s edition, we’re bringing you our coverage of Star Wars: The Complete Saga (blinking Ewoks and all), a new batch of set photos from Man of Steel and The Avengers, Don Cheadle’s hilarious albeit disturbing take on Captain Planet, and an exclusive interview with 50/50 director Jonathan Levine. Hit the jump for a brief recap and link to each.
Just the other day, we reported the sad and not at all surprising news that George Lucas has once again tinkered with his Star Wars films for their upcoming Blu-ray debut. One of the more striking edits in Star Wars: The Complete Saga is the inclusion of the universally panned “NOOOO!!!!” cry from Darth Vader into Return of the Jedi. That report was confirmed, and now we have two more clips of Lucas’ “improvements” to the ever-changing franchise. Apparently Ewoks will now blink, because of the fan outcry that the creatures were just too damn unrealistic, and in A New Hope Greedo still shoots first, but the cut is a bit tighter. If that wasn’t enough, we also have a clip of the CGI Yoda that we previously learned will be replacing puppet Yoda in The Phantom Menace. Hit the jump to watch Lucas’ handiwork.
As the high-definition format of Blu-ray looks forward to the franchise of Star Wars: The Complete Saga (Episodes I-VI) hitting its catalogue, it’s time for fans to look back at the historical saga of Star Wars. With the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, the dawn of the 21st century and now the teens of it, Star Wars has existed in five decades and counting, but how pure was that first one. How glorious was that second, how rejuvenating was that third, how sweet that fourth and the fifth has just started. Before Star Wars is in high-definition, this is Star Wars in retrospect. You’ll need a home theater seat by September 16, but you don’t need a theater seat to experience this now. No, this is your seat on the Millennium Falcon and hyperspeed is after the jump.
If you’re just tuning in, a few months back we started the weekly “Top 5″ feature as a way of aggregating all of what we deem to be our best, most relevant coverage from the preceding week into one place. The hope is that you, the reader, will have already scoped all of this material out and shared it with your millions of friends (either real, virtual, or both). However, if for whatever reason some of it has fallen through the cracks, you can come here, check it out, and then share it with all of your friends (again, either real, virtual, or both). That in mind…
In this week’s installment, you’ll find all of our coverage from Steve’s Underworld: Awakening set visit and Disney’s D23 Expo, interviews for the Guillermo del Toro produced horror flick Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark and the Paul Rudd comedy Our Idiot Brother, and a slightly improved, slightly less puppet-friendly version of Yoda in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. Check out brief recaps and links to all of the above after the jump.
George Lucas may never be finished tinkering with the Star Wars films. I wish he would leave the original trilogy alone, but he can play with the prequel trilogy all he wants since almost any change would be an improvement. Case and point: the new Blu-rays have removed the awful Yoda puppet from The Phantom Menace and replaced it with the CGI Yoda we saw in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. Hopefully Lucas won’t try to replace the puppet Yoda in the original trilogy because that still works. A large reason puppet Yoda looks so terrible in Phantom Menace is because he’s surrounded by CGI whereas the puppet in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi exists in a practical environment. The other problem is that the puppet makes the character look older than he is in the original trilogy. Now if only Lucas could digitally repair the plot to the prequels, he’d really be cooking.
Hit the jump to see video comparisons. The new Star Wars Blu-rays hit shelves on September 16th. Please note that the original trilogy films are the Special Editions but there have also been some minor digital restorations to those versions.
Empire Big Screen is a bit like Comic-Con in that studios come by the show off footage from their new movies and the filmmakers come to talk up those films. The festival is run by the good folks at the world’s best movie mag, Empire Magazine, so I approve. Since we don’t have anyone at the event, we’ll be running quotes from other sites who are attending. The first piece of news comes from Empire who spoke with Sherlock creator/writer Mark Gatiss. Gatiss says they’re only about a week and a half away from wrapping production and that this season will be “The Woman, The Hound and The Fall” trilogy. To be more specific, this year’s episodes will adapt the Sherlock Holmes stories “A Scandal in Bohemia”, “The Hound Of The Baskervilles”, and “The Final Problem”. The second season of BBC’s Sherlock will premiere in early 2012.
Hit the jump for reactions to footage from Titanic 3D, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and more.
If the upcoming Star Wars Blu-ray set included the original theatrical editions of the original trilogy, I would care what special features are on the Blu-ray. Unfortunately, we’re being stuck with the special editions, complete with Han shooting first, awful Jabba the Hutt special effect, and cringeworthy musical number in Jabba’s palace. For some people, these added flaws won’t detract from the promise of seeing the beloved trilogy in high-definition.
Lucasfilm has now announced the full list of special features that will be included in the 9-disc set. While you can buy the original trilogy separate from the prequel trilogy, you’ll have to buy all six films in the “Complete Saga” box-set to get the three additional discs of bonus material. So if you want the sweet new special features, you’ll have to suffer the indignity of buying the prequels. Hit the jump for the list of special features and decide if it’s worth it. Star Wars: The Complete Saga hits stores on September 16th for an SRP of $139.99. If you’re interested, you can pre-order Star Wars: The Complete Saga on Blu-ray via this link to Amazon. In case you only want to partake in either the Original Blu-ray Trilogy or the Prequel Blu-ray Trilogy, you can click here or here respectively. [Disclaimer: we get a small percentage of from the sale of items purchased through our Amazon links, but if you were going to buy it anyway, why not throw a few credits our way?]
UPDATED: With cover art
Lucasfilm and 20th Century Fox have set February 10, 2012 as the date for the 3D re-release of George Lucas’ Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. We reported back in September that Lucas plans to re-release all six Star Wars films in 3D with a new 3D post-conversion due out every year. I can’t wait to find out how this does at the box office. My guess: the first three will flop and the original trilogy will do fine.
Hit the jump for the official announcement. Also set to open on February 10, 2012 is the thriller Safe House starring Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds, and the romance flick The Vow starring Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum.
Yesterday, we reported on the news that George Lucas is planning a 3D theatrical re-release for all six Star Wars films starting in early 2012. Now, we have more of an idea for when The Phantom Menace will re-hit theaters. THR reports that Lucas is eying a 2012 February release date for the film. There isn’t a specific date set yet, but I’m going to guess that Lucas will choose the Friday before President’s Day weekend (February 17th).
An early 2012 release date ensures the film will be have an open run at the box office. This is Lucas we are talking about, so this will also allow the director the opportunity to sell merchandise throughout the rest of the year. If The Phantom Menace earns enough money at the box office, Lucas will release each subsequent Star Wars film at the same time each year for the next five years. As of right now, Ghost Rider 2 is the only other film set to open in February 2012.
All of the Star Wars films will return to the big screen — only this time, in 3D. We’ve been hearing rumors about this for awhile now, but THR now confirms that George Lucas will milk the franchise once more by releasing new 3D conversions of the films beginning in 2012. The plan is to release all six films — starting with The Phantom Menace — in the early months of 2012. Depending on how well The Phantom Menace does, each subsequent Star Wars film will be released in order at the same time each following year. It will supposedly take that long between each film because, according to Lucas, each conversion takes at least a year to complete and to perfect.
Given that it’s Lucas we are talking about, the director will then probably release the 3D versions of the films on DVD after the theatrical re-releases are done. Hit the jump for my thoughts about all of this and why I don’t think it will be that big of a success for Lucas.
After his wildly successful 70-minute video review of The Phantom Menace, Red Letter Media has returned with a 90-minute review of Attack of the Clones. While RLM was able to get through the plot of the first movie, this time around he focuses more on the uncomfortable “romance” and the terrible action sequences. But like the first mega-review, he points out a lot of inconsistencies and contradictions I never noticed or at least forced myself to forget.
This is definitely going to be a more controversial installment when it comes to his points about what women want in a guy, why Samuel L. Jackson was cast in the film, and that it’s possible to have too many lightsabers. Whether you agree or not, well…that’s why we have a comments section. (But I hope we all agree he needs to drop the lame serial killer stuff)
So hit the jump and enjoy Super Jesus Day with this 90-minute review of Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones. If you need something to tide you over until his Revenge of the Sith review, click here.