Showing posts from September, 2012

The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Volume I (a review)

In March of 1992, Lucasfilm Ltd., Paramount Television, and ABC Television gave viewers the first episode of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, a series which explored the formative years of Henry Jones, Jr. a few decades before the events depicted in the Indiana Jones Trilogy.

Part Indy prequel, part history lesson, this was one of the rare television projects personally overseen by George Lucas, and it was intended to entertain fans of the archaeologist/adventurer while at the same time introducing many of them to important persons with whom a young Indy might have interacted with as he followed his father, Professor Henry Jones, Sr., and mother Anna on a global lecture tour as a ten-year-old, then later getting into more Indy-like situations during World War I and the post-war Jazz Age.

The idea of Lucas' fictional hero interacting with real historical characters wasn't new; in 1989's Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the Man with the Hat has a short but darkly amusing…

Hasbro's Power of the Force line's Final Jedi Duel: A Star Wars Collectible

 Under the evil gaze of Emperor Palpatine, the lightsabers of two Jedi Knights - a father and son - clash furiously in a final duel between the light side and dark side of the Force. Slowly, the young Skywalker is lured closer to the rage of the dark side, and Palpatine sits confident of the Rebellion's defeat and the acquisition of a new emissary to fulfill his evil legacy! But the young Jedi's resistance appears to be growing... -Hasbro Star Wars: The Power of the Force Final Jedi Duel
Even as the Battle of Endor is raging in the cold, star-speckled blackness of space -- its explosions visible through the panels of the transaparisteel window of the Emperor's throne room -- a far more climactic and destiny-changing battle is being fought in the dark and austere chamber at the top of the second Death Star's observation power. 

It's the ultimate confrontation in the Classic Star Wars trilogy -- the clash of lightsabers and wills between the Jedi-turned-Sith-Lord Darth…

Indiana Jones - The Complete Adventures Blu-ray Set

On September 18, 2012, almost a year after Lucasfilm Limited (LFL) and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment released Star Wars: The Complete Sagaon Blu-ray, LFL and Paramount Pictures released Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures, a five-disc box set which, for the first time ever, includes all four Indy films in the Blu-ray format.

Like its Star Wars counterpart, Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures features each of the George Lucas-produced, Steven Spielberg films (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) on its own Blu-ray disc, along with a fifth disc which contains a mix of all-new extra features and "carryovers" from the 2003 and 2008 DVD sets.

I've been a fan of "the Man in the Hat" since Raiders was released in June of 1981, and even though I already own the four films of the series and the three Adventures of Young Indiana Jones DVDbox …

Star Wars: A Musical Journey (DVD Review)

One of the nicest things about Sony Classical's soundtrack album from Star Wars - Episode III: Revenge of the Sith is the bonus DVD that comes with the CD. Titled Star Wars: A Musical Journey, this is a magnificent collection of 16 music videos that span the entire six-Episode saga. The Prequels' four major themes (Duel of the Fates, Anakin's Theme, Across the Stars [Love Theme from Attack of the Clones), and Battle of the Heroes) underscore beautifully edited montages from the 1999-2005 trilogy, while action/setting cues and major themes from the Classic Trilogy feature scenes from all six Star Wars films to follow the Skywalker family's pivotal role in the rise and fall of the Galactic Empire. 

Of all the film series that feature classical-styled scores, George Lucas's Star Wars saga (which he personally calls The Tragedy of Darth Vader) is certainly a prime candidate for music videos. Indeed, Lucasfilm produced three MTV-styled vignettes (Duel of the Fates, Acros…

Omen IV: The Awakening...dumb TV movie kills viewers' brain cells

To: Mace Neufeld, Harvey Bernhard, Robert J. Anderson and Brian Taggert
From: Perplexed Film Viewer
Re: Omen IV: The Awakening


As someone who has been watching and reviewing movies for a very long time, I am well aware of the film industry's true nature, i.e., that film studios and television networks' main focus is to make money for their corporate owners' stockholders - any real entertainment value of the projects that get "green-lit" is purely incidental.

Because most businesspeople tend to be very conservative and risk-adverse, it's therefore not surprising that studios and producers are attracted to sequels, prequels and franchises, even when a film - such as The Omen ­ is intended to be a stand-alone viewing experience and isn't - like the first two Superman movies - part of an organic multi-episode series.

Franchises, when they succeed, often result in big payoffs for everyone involved in their creation; George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and eve…

Movie Review: 'The Magnificent Seven' (1960)

Although the average film-goer may not be aware of this, some of Hollywood’s best films are often inspired by movies made in other countries, such as those directed by Japan’s Akira Kurosawa, whose Rashomon, The Hidden Fortress and Yojimbo inspired American films such as The Outrage, Star Wars and Last Man Standing. (Kurosawa’s Yojimbo, in particular, was also the somewhat controversial template for Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars, but Last Man Standing is an officially sanctioned remake.) 

Perhaps one of the most popular Americanized remakes of a Kurosawa “Easterner” is 1960’s The Magnificent Seven, a Western written by William Roberts and officially acknowledged (in the main title sequence) as being inspired by Toho Films’ Seven Samurai (1954)

That Seven Samurai could be adapted fairly easily from a film set in a medieval Japanese setting to a Western set in a late 19th Century Mexican village just south of the Texas border is easily explained: Kurosawa borrowed elements of Amer…