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Posts Tagged ‘ Star Wars ’

Simple Fixes From EA Boost Sims 4 Experience

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The Sims 4 is the latest instalment to the much loved virtual family experience, a unique set of games that arrive feature-light before being bumped up with downloadable content which normally comes at a charge but some mixed feedback from gamers has shifted the paradigm slightly.

Evidently some content remains missing but will follow very soon, with pets, furniture and better clothing options all set to become available in the near future. There are only eight career choices though they allow you to specialise in one of two ways once you achieve a certain rank in your chosen profession.

Onto the changes in the series. Create-a-Style, which felt like the correct way to approach interior design in The Sims, is gone. The lack of swimming pools is evidently noticeable although plans are afoot to change that while newborns go from toddler to adolescent in next to no time, feels like a sign of the times.  Continue reading

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Star Wars Episode VII Set For 2015 Release

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Disney and Lucasfilm have today announced that principal photography on Star Wars: Episode VII, directed by J.J. Abrams, will commence May 2014, and will be based at London’s historic Pinewood Studi

It has also been confirmed that Star Wars: Episode VII is set about 30 years after the events of Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi, and will star a trio of new young leads along with some very familiar faces. No further details on casting or plot are available at this time. Continue reading

Galactic Starfighter Digital Expansion Unveiled

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Join the battle and customize the ultimate starship to become a legendary Starfighter pilot in the Star Wars: The Old Republic universe! Today, BioWare, a division of Electronic Arts Inc.  and LucasArts announced that Star Wars: The Old Republic is adding Player-vs-Player (PvP) combat in the Free-to-Play Digital Expansion, Galactic Starfighter. With a variety of unique starships, a wide set of customization and upgrade options, multiple battle zones and gameplay modes, Galactic Starfighter brings the thrill of epic 12v12 space battles to Star Wars: The Old Republic for the first time.

Active Star Wars: The Old Republic subscribers will be offered Early Access starting December 3 and Preferred Status Players* on January 14. Galactic Starfighter will be offered as a Free-to-Play Digital Expansion available to the public beginning on February 4. Each group will also receive special in-game items as part of this Early Access opportunity. As a special benefit, active subscribers as of November 1 will receive an exclusive Galactic Starfighter early Gunship unlock and custom Gunship paint jobs**. Continue reading

The Future of the Movie House

3D-pics-come-out-3d-28819473-1237-760The last few years have seen huge developments in the world of film. We have had the rise of 3D, the growth of IMAX and my local cinema has recently gotten slightly more comfortable seating. The Mayans believed that 2012 would be a time of change and development for humanity. As such the year 2012 should be seen as a time to look to what the future holds. On the other hand there are those who have interpreted the Mayan’s failure to produce an infinite calendar as evidence that civilization will collapse in on itself like an origami bird in a bath tub in just a few days. I, however, am an optimist so I am going to look at some of the ways that the world of film could change for the better in the next few years.

With the success of the film Avatar (Cameron, 2009) the use of 3D in films has raised exponentially in the last few years. There is something about the darkened images and the fact that we can now see beyond reasonable doubt that events in films occur on a three dimensional plane and not in some bizarre Mario-esque world where people can only move from side to side and not forwards and backwards that really seems to appeal to the cinema- going public. But the question has to be asked, where do we go after 3D? The answer can be found in visionary filmmaker Robert Rodriguez’s recent masterpiece, Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World (2011). With this film Rodriguez managed to show the world that rather than the fourth dimension being an area of space it is, in fact, smell. With the success of Spy Kids 4 it’s obvious that the use of smell-o-vision is just going to skyrocket but I ask, why stop there? Why not allow films to convey every single sense a human being can experience. Except for touch. People get shot in films. That would be unpleasant to experience. But taste; now that’s something that can only add to our viewing experience. How can we truly understand the movie Pulp Fiction without knowing just how tasty a Big Kahuna Burger is? That’s the real future of cinema: Taste-o-vision!

If the last 20 years have shown us anything it’s that if film audiences are unhappy with the ending of a film they are more than willing to go out and completely change it themselves. Just look at esteemed actor Topher Grace’s recent attempts to recut the prequel trilogy of Star Wars into one single, coherent, Jar-Jar-less film, or the fan cut of Highlander 2  that removed every single mention of aliens despite them being an important plot point. Completely changing someone else’s artistic vision takes a lot of time, however, and this time is clearly very precious to the people who re-edit other people’s films. Why not cut out the middle-man altogether and just have audience choose their own ending for a film as they watch it. That way everyone is satisfied with the end product and in the end is that not the most important thing when it comes to making films? Who cares about artistic integrity when we can just pump a satisfying gruel directly into the mouths of a mass audience?

This last possible development is, admittedly, the least likely of the three and is more of a pipe-dream to be quite honest: reasonable prices for tickets and food at the cinema. I know it sounds crazy but is it really such an unreasonable demand to not have to pay three euro for a bottle of water after having paid ten quid for a ticket to Ice Age 5: Space Age? I know it will probably never change, but a man can dream, right?

If the Mayans were right then hopefully we’ll be seeing these developments in film in the next few years. And if the people who post on internet forums are right and the world does end on Friday? Well I hope you’re as prepared for the impending zombie apocalypse as I am.

-David O’Neill

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace 3D

The problem with Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace 3D is that it’s not in 3D. So the only reason why I would even consider going to see this latest LucasArts circle jerk turns out to be for nought. Because guess what kids – George Lucas Hates You.

I imagine George Lucas sitting in a sunken hot tub (ala Tony Montana in Scarface) at his Skywalker Ranch, paid for by the merchandising of the original trilogy (that’s right – the money that bought his space fortress came from the collector’s edition toys he shilled to children everywhere – like the remorseless Space Santa he is), being amused by that light-skinned protocol droid from the opening scene of A New Hope.

He’s just slouched in the soapy water of our dreams making disgusting Jabba the Hutt noises while lesser beings work to pleasure him like the spineless sycophants they are. Because George Lucas, like so many Premiership football players in so many hotel rooms, surrounds himself with people who can’t say no to him.

“I don’t care if Han shot first. Greedo had it coming, and Han is a criminal. That’s why I like him.” This is something nobody at Skywalker Ranch ever said to Lucas, for fear of being force-choked in front of all their friends. Lucas is the intimidating Darth Vader of his own little empire, surrounded by peons who don’t believe in him or his sad devotion to an ancient religion – but follow him instinctively out of naked fear.

That’s how Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace 3D got made. It’s all still here. The lousy, clunking stilted dialogue and endless political noise. And the heart-breaking death of The Force when we learn that it’s all just microscopic bacteria, because George Lucas is a magician who can’t help but reveal his secrets.

But then here too are the Pod Races, still breakneck fast and exhilarating – the closest analogy this movie has to the breathless excitement of the Death Star trench run. And that’s not to mention our first introduction to oldschool Lightsaber combat – when the blast doors open and there stands Darth Maul, poised for his Duel of the Fates with Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Everything about that scene, from the arbitrarily opening and shutting shield doors to the unstoppable, kinetic frenzy of Obi-Wan coming at Darth Maul after the death of Qui-Gon, still gets me.

And that’s what I really hate about this movie. I Love the Star Wars universe. I love Lightsabers and X-Wings and The Force and the Millenium Falcon and the Skywalker family and droids that aren’t welcome in bars and giant slugs with criminal empires and faceless bounty hunters with jetpacks and the overwhelming feeling that all of this is my own imagination better realised and snapped to a more logical frame of reference by a master storyteller.

And that’s what the original trilogy was. It didn’t need CGI, I was fooled by the models. I bought Frank Oz’s Yoda as a real person. It didn’t need green-screen – even though I Know where Tatooine was shot in our world, Mos Eisley is still more real to me than anything I saw in the prequels.

What it needed, and this is something Irvin Kershner and to a lesser extent Richard Marquand (the directors of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi respectively) understood a lot better than George Lucas (A New Hope and all three of the prequels), was Story.

Phantom Menace has no Han Solo, it has no plucky princess or indomitable farmboy. It’s got Jar-Jar Binks, Natalie Portman doing a Keira Knightly impression and the kid from Jingle all the Way.

There’s no Empire to strike, unless you count the Trade Federation – a nebulous consortium that’s about as threatening as Global Warming. There’s just no impetus here, I mean come on – “Turmoil has engulfed the Galactic Republic. The taxation of trade routes to outlying star systems is being disputed.” This is supposed to be STAR WARS!

George Lucas has turned his back on everything that made the Star Wars story part of our cultural psyche in the name of perpetual modernization and unchecked revision. He’s made it a franchise and devoted that franchise to the masturbatory display of modern technology. And Yet, here he is again at the forefront of trendy techno gimmicks – 3D – and he comes out with a movie that ISN’T EVEN IN 3D!

Do Not Go See This Movie. If you find yourself tempted at any time to indulge the morbid curiosity George Lucas is banking on hooking you with, I want you to leave a comment for me on this post and I promise to do everything in my power to talk you down.

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