May the 4th be with you: 3D Star Wars on blu-ray

Today is Star Wars Day and I am continuing my ongoing boycott of the movies on any form of digital media. Recall that I declared victory over LucasFilm, but then the Empire struck back.

Today, May 4th, is Star Wars Day and the Empire again promises revelations, bu I will not be fooled. The likely announcement is that the complete dual-trilogy is coming to Blu Ray, and most likely in 3D. StarWars.com has a big teaser for the URL maythe4th.starwars.com which isn’t live just yet, but I assume that sometime today the site will go live with the announcement that we can see the total suckiness of Greedo shooting first in dark, dim 3D now.

Just to review, 3D is something I hate, and here’s why you should too. And here’s the case for why 3D will never work, case closed.

Couple the sheer gimmickry of 3D for its own sake, the long-standing insult of plot revisionism, and the overall disappointment of the Prequel Trilogy, and you have what’s shaping up to be a giant Ball of Suck(TM).

Count me out until I get what I want. the original trilogy, on regular DVD, no gimmicks, Han shot first. Until then, Star Wars is dead to me.

Episode 1: a long, long time ago, in a fandom far, far away

Today, May 19th marks the ten year anniversary of Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace.

It’s been ten years. I can’t believe it. I can’t believe the excitement and the thrill and the magic of anticipation I felt back then. My friend Eric and I waited in line, for how long I don’t even recall, to get in on opening day at the Cinemark Theater in Katy on I-10, which will forever be my Star Wars theater. The months leading up to the release were amazing, with tidbits and screen shots leaking out from sites like TheForce.net, sites I reloaded obsessively. To this day, this teaser image still gives me the chills:

Episode One: The Phantom Menace
Episode One: The Phantom Menace

And of course the pod race and the final battle with Darth Maul – the greatest star wars villain ever – were pure-adrenaline amazing enough to make all the annoyances worthwhile – even Jar Jar. Mostly.

In a lot of ways Episode One let us all down, but the anticipation was something special, and an experience in and of itself. So, rock on Star Wars, with your Clone Wars and your CGI and your toy lines and your Anakin backpacks. Someday someone is gonna come along and pull a JJ Abrams on you, too.

Vader slaughters the Jedi

Darth Vader apparently attacked the Church of the Jedi congregation in Holyhead, Wales. He struck Jedi Master Jonba Hehol on the head with a metal crutch, and bruised Jedi Master Mormi Hehol’s thigh.

District Judge Andrew Shaw sentenced Vader to two months in jail, but suspended the sentence for one year. He also ordered Vader to pay his victims a nominal fee for damages and court costs. Vader’s lawyer, Frances Jones, says Vader knew his behavior was wrong, but had no recollection of the incident because he’d drunk an entire 2 1/2-gallon box of wine beforehand.

The Force is Wii us

the Wiisabre is at last a reality. This isn’t some hack flash-based game, but the real thing:

LucasArts to Unleash the Force on the Wii in Spring 2008

Star Warsâ„¢: The Force Unleashedâ„¢ Coming to Nintendo’s Platform with Exclusive Duel Mode

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Sept. 18, 2007 – LucasArts today revealed that Star Warsâ„¢: The Force Unleashedâ„¢ will come to the Wiiâ„¢ home videogame system from Nintendo next spring, offering owners the unique chance to live out their Jedi fantasies by wielding the Wii Remoteâ„¢ as a lightsaber while using the Nunchukâ„¢ controller to torment foes with their Forceâ„¢ powers.

The Force Unleashed casts players as Darth Vader’s “Secret Apprentice” and promises to unveil new revelations about the Star Wars galaxy. The game’s expansive story is set during the largely unexplored era between Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope. In it, players will assist the iconic villain in his quest to rid the universe of Jedi – and face decisions that could change the course of their destiny.

The Wii version, in development by Krome Studios, will also add an exclusive duel mode in which players can compete head-to-head with their friends to determine the ultimate Jedi Master.

“The Wii is a great platform for The Force Unleashed, because the console’s motion-oriented controllers really bring the game to life,” said Jim Ward, President of LucasArts. “We’ve worked hard to make the Wii version of the game unique in order to truly let you unleash the Force.”

Oh man. Oh man. Oh man.

Skywalkers in Korea cross Han solo

Best headline to a news story EVER. Perfectly descriptive, too:

SEOUL, South Korea – They came from all over the world, poles in hand, and feet ready to inch more than half a mile across a high wire strung over the Han River in a spine-tingling battle of balance, speed and high anxiety.

The top prize was $15k for crossing the wire fastest; I was tempted to try for a greedo/shot first joke, but I know my limits.

Wii-sabre

Old news, but still:

During an extended technical demonstration for a new, unnamed Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 Star Wars title, LucasArts staff have confirmed to Gamasutra the company’s intense interest in creating a Wii lightsaber game, if not yet its explicit existence.

At the end of the demonstration, Gamasutra inquired as to whether the company planned on creating a lightsaber game for the Wii, after many commented on he suitability of the system to the concept – especially after an internal speaker was revealed in the controller being used to demo the concept.

This question produced a number of knowing smiles around the room from LucasArts employees, followed by the comments: “We know” and “We are looking into it”, as possible concepts for the game were discussed. However, the firm has not yet made any official announcements regarding planned Wii titles.

UPDATE: This seems relevant. Imagine: me in my living room, you in yours, and we engage in a duel. I’m toast.

Soon we will all be able to unleash our inner Star Wars Kids… Continue reading “Wii-sabre”

Luminous beings are we

not this crude matter:

I have always found this scene to be deeply insightful, in ways that transcend the mere plot and apply to reality and life. In many ways, the quote itself is fundamental to why I am devout. But it has just as much secular meaning as it does spiritual. George Lucas is often derided for creating a “new age religion” (and in fact in E4:ANH a character actually insults the Jedi as a “religion” to Vader’s face) but I appreciate the deeper universal truth he is describing here.

If we are just bags of meat, then all we strive for simply doesn’t matter. Only if there is something beyond does it begin to have any meaning or purpose. What shape that Beyond takes; be it Paradise or Transhumanism or something else entirely, is mostly a matter of simple taste.

interview with Greg Bear

this is a pretty wide-ranging interview, worth reading in full. But one thing that leaped out at me was this Q&A, because not many people are aware of Bear’s work in the Star Trek and Star Wars universes.

Aberrant Dreams: You are also one of the few writers that come to mind, having written in both the Star Trek and the Star Wars universes. At every science fiction convention, there is always a panel about Star Wars verses Star Trek. If you found yourself on that panel, for which side would you bat?

Greg Bear: Well, there wouldn’t have been a Star Wars without a Star Trek. I’m sure even George Lucas would admit that. If you go back to the lineage of interstellar travel and space opera, you’ll find two sides of the equation.

I think Star Trek adheres to the more seriously extrapolated side, despite some of the sillier episodes. It was more of a universe you could imagine yourself living in with fewer fantasy elements.

Star Wars came along and mixes in so many different elements. There are pulp films, samurai movies, Arthurian legend, and science fiction, and it’s all planted in a thoroughly convincing science fiction designed universe. It was a flavor that no one had quite seen before, and it was also done with tremendous conviction and love. At that time, Star Wars became a kind of crossover bridge for science fiction and fantasy. I think is still is to this day, while Star Trek and science fiction are more closely aligned. Its universe is a little more convincing.

Ultimately, it depends on your feeling of the moment. If you want rip-roaring action and that sort of thing, I still like Star Wars. I’ve been a Star Wars fan ever since 1977. I don’t follow all of the novels and all of the off-shoots—it would take a lifetime at this point. I certainly haven’t done that with the Star Trek novels, either, and I’m not even that familiar with the more recent Star Trek series.

He also discusses transhumanism and his forthcoming book about the middle east and the west.