Posts Tagged ‘Star Wars’

Since Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm in 2012, the rumor mill dealing with anything from “A Galaxy Far, Far Away” was running at a feverish pitch. Not long after Disney signed the paperwork they announced a new Star Wars trilogy starting with Episode VII, directed by J.J. Abrams, releasing in the summer of 2015. While that news was exciting, there was a tremor in the Force that was felt by the fans about a larger Star Wars presence in the Disney theme parks. It was time for answers to all the burning questions, so Star Wars fans all over the world flocked to the Disney D23 Expo in Anaheim, CA. Sadly, there must have been a large Sith presence clouding our vision, because all we got was a tease.

The first bit of news that had fans upset was the lack of Episode VII news. Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn started to tell fans what they already knew about the movie in terms of the director, screenwriter, musical score by John Williams, and release. Then the bad news came. Horn said “I do wish I could tell you more, but…” all of a sudden the “Imperial March” theme echoed through the building, and then came the words that nobody wanted to hear from Horn’s mouth. “There are dark forces. And they are watching.” No surprise here as audience booed in response to that announcement. Not even Marvel movie news, or the presence of Angelina Jolie promoting the upcoming Maleficent movie, could save the disaster that is no Star Wars news.

There is still hope. What about Star Wars Land?

With the Star Wars theme park attraction rumors exploding in the past few months on numerous websites, the big question amongst fans was what can we expect with this upcoming Star Wars Land at both Disneyland in Anaheim and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando. Rumors centered around a Mos Eisley Cantina, speeder bikes on Endor, podracing, a walkthrough of the Millenium Falcon, and even a dueling indoor roller coaster featuring X-Wings and Tie Fighters. Disney had the chance to blow the roof off, and give fans something to cheer about besides a new movie. Unfortunately, all we got was a bunch of crates.

Orange Harvest. This should ring a bell with Star Wars fans when Lucasfilm was shooting Return of the Jedi, and code named it “Blue Harvest” just to keep fans off guard. Even though these crates were nothing more than hollow props, each of these crates did give clues of what to possibly expect while one of these crates contained “top secret plans”. Those “plans” however, were just a bit out of reach of fans to see what’s in store in the near future, but rest assured the Imagineers are hard at work and construction of this technical marvel will begin very soon. We know that once the walls go up Disney will no longer be able to hide their “Potter-swatter” from the masses.

A weekend full of hype was nothing more than just a false hope. We may have received no new Star Wars news at the Disney D23 Expo, so that means that the wheels of the rumor mill express will continue to turn for just a little while longer. I’m sure that one year from now we’ll know more than just rumors as Episode VII draws closer to release, and Star Wars Land will be off the ground and running for it’s eventual opening. Until that time let’s have faith in those who will help bring the saga to life in ways we’ve never seen before, because we all know that Disney won’t Jar Jar these projects.

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I, along with many other people on this planet who own a smartphone, am completely addicted to Angry Birds. For those of you out there still in denial don’t be afraid to admit it. Better yet let’s take a moment to reflect on that addiction statement I made, and then I’ll move on…Ok, good. Now that we got that out of the way let’s move on because I want to talk about the new Angry Birds game. Yes, there’s another however this new pig busting game now features one my favorite franchises. Star Wars! Yes, two popularly “milked” franchises have come together into one game and the result is pure addictive awesomeness.

PROS:

Loving The Star Wars Theme
With the Original Trilogy as the backdrop, Angry Birds Star Wars once again brings it’s classic destructive style with a Star Wars twist. Stages are set in places like Tatooine and the Death Star. Dagobah (Path of the Jedi) is available for a small fee while Hoth will be available later as free DLC. Even the birds themselves are styled after popular characters including Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Princess Leia. R2-D2 and C-3PO show up in bonus stages. The pigs are styled as Stormtroopers, Tie Fighters, and even Darth Vader himself. The story is told through cutscenes and there’s a moment where Han encounters Greedo. Yes, even in the Angry Birds universe, Han shoots first!

The Red Bird Has A Powerup?
In every Angry Birds game the red bird is usually nothing but your average bird with no special abilities making him rather useless compared to the others. Not here in Angry Birds Star Wars. The red bird is Luke Skywalker, and once he meets up with Obi-Wan Kenobi he gets a lightsaber. Now he can slice through walls and take down enemies in style. The red bird is useful for once as he joins a group that includes Obi-Wan’s force ability, Han’s blaster skills, Chewie’s Wookie brawn, and so much more.

Still The Same Addictive Angry Birds Game
Nothing’s changed in the game’s formula except for the characters and abilities. Angry Birds Star Wars is a combination of the original games along with Angry Birds Space released earlier this year. The Mighty Falcon also makes a return as well, but with a Star Wars twist becomes the Millenium Falcon shooting down everything in it’s path. Rovio basically takes the approach of “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, but you can always improve it.” Once I started playing I couldn’t stop as time flew by all around me while I was too busy trying to score three stars on each stage.

CONS:

Day One DLC?
Are you kidding me? Along with all the Star Wars goodness that I have, there’s a section called “Path of the Jedi” which takes place on Dagobah. Here Yoda will teach Luke the ways of the Force along with the ability for the red bird hero, Luke Skywalker, to branish a new lightsaber. Ok, while all this sounds cool the only problem I had with this is the fact that it’s an in-app purchase of $1.99. Sure it’s more levels (tough levels by the way), but to me it’s sort of an insult considering the fact that I just spent $2.99 on the game. C’mon man.

IN CONCLUSION

Who would’ve thought that Angry Birds would venture to “A Galaxy Far, Far Away” and be this much fun. Then again when is an Angry Birds game not fun? Rovio and Lucasarts combine forces to make a gem of a game that’s fun for everyone. Of course there’s that other part about bringing down office productivity and not wanting to spend time with the family because your trying to get three stars on a level thats kicking your ass. Angry Birds Star Wars is great for fans of either milked series along with anyone who likes a fun casual game. Beware, it does get very addictive.

May The Force Be With You.

Developer: Rovio, Lucasarts
Platform: iPad, iPhone
Players: 1
Price: $2.99 (99 cents on iPhone)

Pros:
Podracing and Rancor Rampage are actually fun to play
The banter between C-3PO and R2-D2

Cons:
Game doesn’t really make you feel like a Jedi
Galactic Dance Off

Not so long ago in the living room of my home…

I placed in my Xbox 360 a copy of the at one time highly anticipated Kinect Star Wars. For a while I had the memory of that moment at E3 2010 when the Kinect was revealed and they showed Kinect Star Wars on the big screen. Sure we all marked out at the mere thought of wielding a lightsaber and using the force as we make our way through enemy forces only to come face to face with Darth Vader himself for what we thought would be a battle of epic proportions. At the time I was sold. Now after countless delays it’s finally here. Sure I said that this game was an abomination, but the fan in me wanted to give it a chance. Next time I’ll listen to my inner Admiral Akbar when he said “It’s a trap!”

Kinect Star Wars is mainly a collection of mini-games spanning the Star Wars universe. There’s also a main campaign where you take on the role of a young Padawan. Cleverly narrated featuring C-3PO and R2-D2, the story has you going through the Jedi archives where you’ll come across some memorable moments from the Star Wars saga. You’ll begin by going through some rigorous training from the Jedi Master himself…a terrible sounding Yoda. Then it’s on to a mashup montage of scenes which will have you using your lightsaber to moments including the destruction of the second Death Star. The campaign as a whole is more of a roller coaster affair as you’ll go from the fun moments to trudging your way through the dull and boring hoping that the next mission will ignite that fun factor in you.

Now as a fan of Star Wars I found the banter between the two droids a welcome addition. This will definitely bring smiles to fans faces who remember the classic films of the “original” trilogy. The rest of the game is more of a mixed bag. Let me just state that not all of these mini-games are bad. Some are actually quite fun, but the package as a whole is rather disappointing. The missions that I enjoyed include the space missions are basically shooters on rails with the Kinect movements reminding me of Child of Eden. The podracing is a blast to play and the Kinect features are spot on. Rancor Rampage allows you to destroy everything in your path leading to some fun times whether your playing the game or watching on the couch with a few friends.

Of course not everything is right in the Kinect Star Wars universe. The lightsaber duels, which in my opinion was this  game’s biggest selling point is not that good. There’s some noticeable lag between your movements and the Kinect sensor leading to plenty of failures especially when dodging laser blasts to the duels with enemy characters including Darth Vader. At no point during this did I truly feel like I was an all powerful Jedi. If this was the feeling that you want then might I suggest playing a game called Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.

Now let’s get to the Galactic Dance Off which in my opinion is an embarrassment to the entire Star Wars brand. If you thought Jar Jar Binks, the Ewoks and Greedo shooting first was bad then wait until you see this. The songs used in this game mode are spinoffs of popular hit tracks, but reworded (like George Lucas changing his films) to fit the Star Wars theme. Most of the songs come off as terrible. Then there was the horrific moment of seeing Han Solo dancing on he screen. After seeing that I quickly exited this mode and vowed to never go back ever again. Just plain sad.

Kinect Star Wars is clearly not a game for everyone. This is definitely a game aimed towards children and families alike. For the hardcore fans like myself it’s a travesty.  It’s a sure bet that the Kinect bashers are laughing their asses off on this one. At least the limited edition console featuring C-3PO and R2-D2 looks amazing and is definitely a collector’s item. Now all I can do is look to the stars and wonder if there will ever be redemption for the Star Wars brand. Maybe one day there will be Star Wars Battlefront 3.


Now before I get into a full rant, let me just state for the record that I’m a big fan of Star Wars since I was a kid.

A couple of weeks ago in a city near my home, a film was re-released once again.


Ok, so I was really excited back in 1999 when this film was released. We all wanted to see the beginning of Anakin Skywalker’s descent to the Darkside to become Darth Vader. Instead what we got was a little child turned hero. Then there was that Jar Jar Binks character. Don’t let me get started on that. I thought Darth Maul was cool except for the part on how he died. Overall, this movie was a big piece of trash. I left the theater disappointed, let down and still wondering if I was watching the real movie or the G-rated version for the kiddies. While I had a dissatisfaction for Episode 1, the next two movies in the prequel trilogy sort of made up for it and were quite enjoyable.

Fast forward to today. I have the whole collection of Star Wars movies from VHS to DVD and recently to Blu-Ray. I’ve even played quite a few of the Star Wars video games and even read a few of the books. Yes, I am a fan. Well one day I’m at the movie theater and I notice a very familiar movie poster. Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace in 3D. Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa! Now it’s in 3D? When did this happen? Last time I checked I don’t remember this movie ever being shot in 3D. Now over the years my hatred over The Phantom Menace subsided a bit making things more bearable so I decided to go watch it in 3D. After I left the theater my hatred returned once again. Not for the movie itself, but for the fact that I saw this movie with shitty 3D.

The big problem I have with the whole “3D” thing when it comes to Star Wars is the fact that this film was never intended for 3D. You can see that when you watch it. The film still feels rather flat. The only part that seemed interesting for the 3D was the podracing and space sequences due to all the CGI. That was it. After that I feel like I was ripped off. The only thing on my mind was that once again I padded George Lucas’ pockets as he rapes another movie except not in the way the so-called “Special Editions” were handled. Part of me was waiting to see when the Ewoks were going to arrive to replace something else. Maybe that will be in the 3D version of Revenge of the Sith where all the Wookies will be replaced with the pint-sized stand-ins.

So tell me what was the whole purpose of all of this to begin with? Sure the whole idea is to get younger generations to see the movie for the first time in the big screen, but why? In an age where we already have big screen high definition televisions along with surround sound I begin to ponder whether the movie theater is still a viable option anymore. Why go out of the way to head to a crowded movie theater and buy overpriced concessions like popcorn, candy and soda when you can watch the same exact movie in the comfort of your own home with your family. Also there is no longer a painful waiting period for the movie to be released on Blu- Ray.

It’s pretty obvious to everyone that we can expect all the movies in the saga getting the 3D treatment. With this in mind I have to say that I love Star Wars, but enough is enough already! Hey George, haven’t you made enough money off your “cash cow?” I honestly feel that movies should be left alone, and not be tampered with by their directors as well as the studios. George, please do us all a favor and stop raping us for more money to see the same movie when people like myself can just watch it at home in high definition, on a comfortable couch and with the option to pause the movie so that I can get another beer out of the fridge.