Sunday, October 31, 2010

Mandalorian at the Mall

Outside the Lego Store at the Chandler Fashion Center, Chandler, Arizona, October 23, 2010

Giant Lego Yoda

The new Lego Store in Glendale, Arizona hosted a build event for their grand opening. Each kid got to participate in building a giant Yoda model.
Here is how it works: The kids make scaled up verzions of the classic 2 x 4 Lego brick and turn that in to the professional builder who assembles them into the model. The model stays on display for a while and then they take the whole thing apart and move it to the next venue.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

An Elegant Weapon for a More Civilized Age

President Barack Obama uses a Star Wars light saber as he parries with fencer Tim Morehouse during the U.S. Olympians youth sporting event on the South Lawn of the White House, Sept. 16, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Friday, July 24, 2009

"Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You are my only HOPI."

I spotted this Princess Leia look-alike outside the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona. It's actually a statue of a Hopi woman and not the well-known space princess. Reliable sources indicate that Leia's famous double bun was actually based on the Hopi hairdo. Now you know!

Luke, I was misquoted!

From the latest Southwest Airlines Spirit magazine:

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Lucas: Cheney NOT Vader

The election has been over for months now, but Darth Cheny is still with us. Or not, as George Lucas told Maureen Dowd of the New York Times:

Lucas, the creator of “Star Wars,” had told me that I had gotten Dick Cheney completely wrong, that Cheney was no Darth Vader. I felt awful. Had I been too hard on Vice?
Lucas explained politely as I listened contritely. Anakin Skywalker is a promising young man who is turned to the dark side by an older politician and becomes Darth Vader. “George Bush is Darth Vader,” he said. “Cheney is the emperor.”

Wait, I though Karl Rove was the Emperor. And again, if Bush is Vader, he'd still have good in him and will eventually throw Cheney down the reactor shaft, right? This is all so confusing.

More here and here.

Friday, April 17, 2009

633 Squadron

Star Wars is a mishmash of mythology, Flash Gordon, World War 2 movies and samurai flicks. One of those World War 2 movies is the 1964 British film 633 Squadron. It tells the story of a small band of RAF Mosquito pilots selected for a secret mission that could change the course of the war.

It’s just before D-Day and the Germans have new rocket weapons that could turn the invasion into a disaster. Fortunately, Erik Bergman (played by George Chakiris; hey, he’s that guy from West Side Story) of the Norwegian resistance is able to smuggle information on the weapon system’s flaw to the Allies. It seems that the rocket fuel is made at a secret, impregnable factory fortress at the end of a fjord in Nazi-occupied Norway. 633 Squadron, commanded by American Roy Grant (Cliff Robertson), is assigned to carry out a daring mission: fly to Norway, maneuver down the fjord to drop bombs in a geologically sensitive spot that will cause a landslide and destroy the factory.

It’s pretty obvious how the plot and action scenes were turned into the trench run at the end of the original Star Wars film. One of those internet wisenheimers even spliced together dialog from the A new Hope with footage from 633 Squadron and the results are quite amusing.

Also, like Star Wars, 633 Squadron is part American and part British for no good reason.

So, is the movie any good? Some of the special effects are not that special. But it was 1964 and we can forgive them. And it is formulaic. You know something bad is going to happen the young airman who just got hitched and the Nazis are standard issue movie-Nazis who love motorcades and torturing prisoners for information. But, the aerial footage with real airplanes zooming around the mountains in Scotland is very well done. Even if the movie had just been 90 minutes of aerobatics without all the subplots, I would have been OK with that. When I watched this film on a laptop on a plane, it distracted the guy sitting next to me from reading his bible, even though I had headphones on and he couldn’t hear any of the sound. Eventually he put the good book away and kept watching. After a while he even nudged my elbow and asked what movie it was and we talked about it for a few minutes. All in all, it’s a good old WW2 movie, the kind that used to be on TV a lot in the seventies.

This is the first of what I hope will several posts about movies that influenced Star Wars.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Obscure Star Wars Poster

From my postcard collection.

This painting of Darth Vader, Grand Moff Tarkin
and Imperial stormtroopers became a Coca Cola premium poster.

Artist: Del Nichols

Curiously, the back of the postcard claims the title is The Empire Strikes Back, even though this is clearly a montage of stuff from the first movie.