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The Freemakers are Back in LEGO Star Wars: All Stars!

18 Dec

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

* Spoiler Alert

The Freemakers are back! Well, sort of… time has passed since they joined the Resistance. Just when this story takes place is in the present, and Moxie Freemaker is the main protagonist of LEGO Star Wars: All-Stars.  The family makes appearances and we get an origin tale that is not convoluted. In these shorts, we also see Rowan making waves since meeting Luke in “The Power at Jakku.” Much has he become in the ways of the Force.

The shorts made its debut back in October as a series of shorts, and not everyone noticed. The longer 24-minute episodes have two tales and I’m in favour of these because the tales are meatier. They are a lot more enjoyable since it does not focus on Roger. They also help complete the roster of translating the diverse cast into LEGO mini-figure format. Although they are technically non-canon material, references to key moments in the series are made. Should this transition into casting real-life performers to play the animated characters, I would appreciate it. The shorts are being repeated on Disney XD, are available on Disney NOW (to cable tv subscribers) and freely available on YouTube. Altogether, they make for a terrific filler while waiting for the next live-action film.

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Silly Lucasarts, Star Wars: Resistance is for Kids

17 Oct
shawn

The views and opinions of this editorial are my own and do not reflect that of Otaku no Culture.

By Shawn Trommeshauser
(Dreaming in Digital)

Do not want.

I’m probably done with Disney’s Star Wars. The animated series, Rebels was great, but I’ve had major issues with the direction they’ve taken with the franchise as a whole. I have no interest in seeking out this show as the trailer just screamed ‘kids show catering to the kids starring kids’.

While that’s a perfectly acceptable approach, it’s just not what I’m looking for. Normally I’d give it a shot to see if I’m proven wrong, but nearly everything they’ve done with the series on screen and behind the camera has severely let me down and the previews for Resistance did nothing to interest me at all. Many episodes on, I still had no interest in watching. Sadly it’s looking like Star Wars just isn’t for me anymore.

I was originally avoiding Solo, but I was bored last week so I finally watched the first Star Wars film to fail. And despite some issues I have with it, it was still the most fun Star Wars film Disney made so far. It wasn’t full of epic, loved characters who were all completely depressed and beaten down by life. Seriously, who thought that a perpetually depressed Leia, a Luke that ran away from the world, a Han that gave up on the life he’d made, and the completely unexplained negation of the victories of the original movies were the formula for the return of Star Wars that the fans wanted to see?

Image result for star wars resistance

One of my biggest gripes was in how Disney wiped away the Expanded Universe [now called Legends – Ed]. When they bought Star Wars, they didn’t just buy films and books and copyrights. They bought the Star Wars Universe and the fans which go with it.

Star Wars is one of the very few creative properties that transcend the original presentation. And if we’re being honest, while they are VERY important, the Star Wars films are also a VERY small percentage of that universe. When they dropped the EU, they dropped the vast majority of what made Star Wars special as a franchise.

Sure they’re making money, but at this point, it’s like Apple. They used to be amazing. But now they’re coasting on their former reputation and the fans continue to buy simply because of the name brand.

The Life, Times and Advances in Puppetry with Mike Quinn

14 Jun

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Mike Quinn is a man of many cinematic trades—a talent mentored by Jim Henson and Frank Oz—and he sees a bright future for puppetry, a style of performance theatre. His passion for it predates meeting these two icons and he is fully aware of its rich history. At an early age, he staged his own live puppet shows for family and friends, and he was always encouraged to pursue his dreams.

This form of entertainment can be traced back to the days of early man. Some simply manipulated the stuffed dolls with their hands and others took the form further, like to have a light source cast upon them so their shadows are projected upon a larger surface. This technique not only helped make them become larger than life but also create a mystique to enthral many a viewer. Quinn is well aware of the many styles of puppetry that can be used to tell a story. In the 90’s, his shift to work behind the camera showed his passion also included directing. He worked on many a TV pilot in the UK and said Mira Mara was one program where he brought in skilled shadow puppeteers to perform while a human actress was regaling fantastic tales to a cast of puppets. It went to full series production, was filmed throughout Wales and Scotland, and was broadcast in Gaelic speaking countries.

“I think this style is a very poetic and abstract artistic way of doing visuals. I also enjoy watching a different form known as bunraku (Japanese puppet theatre). You have three people working a full figure on a tabletop. They are usually seen behind the puppet, sometimes dressed in black, partially visible … they study forever to be very precise. It’s incredible!” observed Quinn.

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You Know It’s Solo, A Star Wars Story Not Quite Rogue

25 May

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Harrison Ford is Han Solo. He made being a scruffy nerf herder charming. As the daring Indiana Jones, he knows when not to cheat death. George Lucas had a vision with the Young Indiana Jones series, to educate first and entertain second, the end product worked. Sean Patrick Flanery made us believe he was Indy and he was young enough so audiences can imagine his ageing process.

At least ten years must exist between when Solo (played slightly convincingly by Alden Ehrenreich) is seen running amok in the streets of Corellia trying to escape his life as a street urchin. He joins the Imperial Army and is soon kicked out due to insubordination. He hooks up with criminals and they hope to commit the Ocean’s 11 (technically not) of all heists. But it all goes terribly wrong, horribly wrong.

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