WhatCulture fights 10 misconceptions about the Star Wars Prequels

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“10. Everything Was Shot On Blue Screen

Before we get into the stuff that’s up for debate, let’s kick off with one that’s objectively untrue. The sets of the Prequels weren’t all blue or green screen. Over the course of the three movies, location filming included locations in England, Italy, Spain, and Tunisia, with second unit work in Switzerland, Thailand, and Sicily. And as behind the scenes material shows, full or partial sets were very much the rule rather than the exception.

A lot of the time, if a set wasn’t built, it was either because it was a reshoot (Attack Of The Clones’ droid factory sequence) or for practical reasons. The Jedi Temple’s beacon control room is a model because it’s only onscreen for a few seconds. Which would make building the full set a complete waste of time and money. While the Geonosian arena was simply too massive to build as a set. So a miniature was constructed and composited into action shot on blue screen.

Which is exactly the way the Original Trilogy was done. Parts of Cloud City, the bridge of Darth Vader’s Super Star Destroyer, and rooms on both Death Stars were all partial sets filled out by matte paintings. In that sense, the Prequels are no different from the Original Trilogy.

9. The Effects Were All CGI

Another criticism of the Prequels that is objectively false is the idea that all of the effects were CGI. In fact, per the official Star Wars Twitter account: each Prequel used more models and miniatures than the entire Original Trilogy put together.

We could spend all day playing “Real or CGI” with these movies but you all have lives. A few instances that really deserve credit though are the Podrace, which used puppets, scale and full size Podracers, and sand made in a cement mixer that was precisely calculated to the right scale (Which presumably got everywhere).

And Mustafar, which included an ironically named miniature measuring roughly 1000 square feet that was shot for four months, and second unit footage of Mt Etna filmed while it was erupting. The dedication is strong in this one.

This misconception is probably one that gradually built up over time, because of a mix of some of the more experimental CGI looking a bit ropey and conspicuous, and George Lucas discussing the use of new digital technology while not talking about the practical side of things.

Which is understandable on some levels since, at that point, model-work and miniatures were pretty much part of the furniture while CGI was the new filmmaking frontier.

8. The Aesthetic Is Wrong

A lesser seen problem that some have with the Prequels is that they don’t match the used future aesthetic of the Original Trilogy and feel too clean. But do they really need to?

The reason the Original Trilogy featured a used future look was because our heroes were a ragtag band of Rebels far away from the bright centre of the universe. Apart from Tatooine and Bespin, we don’t visit any civilised worlds. While the Prequels are the exact opposite of that, with their most prominent setting being Coruscant, the glittering home of the galaxy’s elite.

But what seems to get ignored is that the Prequels use a dirtier and more beat up look when the story calls for it. Geonosis is an arid world with a weapons factory cranking out cheap Battle Droids so it’s full of dust, smoke, and grime. While Kamino is a deliberately sterile medical facility with a very bare look to it.

It’s like the Death Star having a much cleaner and more stark feel than somewhere like the Mos Eisley Cantina. It’s because it’s a rigorously maintained military station rather than a dive bar in the back end of space. A location’s appearance comes from its role in the story.

There’s room for discussion about the effects of the Prequels’ colour grading and shooting on digital videotape, but the Prequels not completely copying the aesthetic of the Original Trilogy isn’t a flaw. It’s an artistic decision made based on the story being told.”

Read the full article at WhatCulture.

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George Lucas’ Museum of Narrative Art Gets Greenlight From Los Angeles City Council

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From Variety:

“George Lucas and his wife, Mellody Hobson, spoke to the Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday as council members gave their unanimous approval to the Museum of Narrative Art, the $1 billion project to be built in Exposition Park that will showcase the Lucas collection.

Groundbreaking is estimated for early next year, with a 36-month construction timeline and an opening set for sometime in 2021.

Earlier this year, Lucas announced that he had selected Los Angeles for the project, after previous proposals to locate in San Francisco, his hometown, and in Chicago, Hobson’s hometown, stalled out. The museum is a gift to the city of Los Angeles, and will come with an endowment of at least $400 million.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who joined them at the council meeting, said that the gift represented the largest single donation from one family to a city. He called the museum a “new jewel that will be at the center of the crown,” and said that it will bring 1,000 construction jobs and 350 positions when it opens.

At the council meeting, Lucas talked extensively about his vision for the museum, and of the importance of the visual arts, including filmmaking, in shaping history, perception and myth.

He told the council members that the showcase of popular art “appeals to people emotionally, but also tells you something about who you are.”

“It is the thing that tells us, ‘this is what we as a society believe in,’” he said.

Lucas also recalled his days as a student at USC, which is just next door to his planned museum.

“The goal of the museum is to inspire people to think outside the box, to imagine whatever you want to imagine, to help build on the myths that help bind our city and our people together, and that is what I am hoping to do here,” Lucas told reporters afterward. […]

The five-story museum will include 300,000 square feet of floor space, and include a cafe and restaurant, theaters, lecture halls, classrooms and exhibition space.

The Lucas collection includes about 10,000 paintings, illustrations and other items, with works from Norman Rockwell, N.C. Wyeth, Thomas Hart Benton and many others, along with mementos from many films, including “Star Wars.”

Among the items slated for the museum will be Luke Skywalker’s first light saber, Darth Vader’s helmet and items from the movies “Casablanca,” “The Ten Commandments” and “The Wizard of Oz.”

Chinese architect Ma Yansong designed the project, which will be built on seven acres. […]”

Star Wars Forces of Destiny premiere date and new sneak peek revealed

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From StarWars.com:

“The next Star Wars animated series — one unlike any other — is in range.

Star Wars Forces of Destiny, a new animated micro-series celebrating some of Star Wars’ most beloved and inspirational characters, will premiere July 3 on YouTube.com/Disney, it was announced today. The highly-anticipated shorts, 2-3 minutes each, tell the untold stories that helped shape the destinies of Rey, Jyn Erso, Princess Leia, Sabine Wren, Padmé Amidala, Ahsoka Tano, and other Star Wars icons. Fans will also hear some familiar voices — Daisy Ridley (Rey), Felicity Jones (Jyn Erso), Tiya Sircar (Sabine Wren), Ashley Eckstein (Ahsoka Tano), and Lupita Nyong’o (Maz Kanata, narrating the series) will all reprise their roles for the show. You can get a sneak peek at the first eight installments in the video below.

A new short will premiere online each day at 10 a.m. PT, culminating with their broadcast debut on Disney Channel, Sunday, July 9; books, apparel, bedding, and toys based on the series will arrive August 1. “

Ron Howard defended Jake Lloyd and The Phantom Menace against bashers

howard_lloydThe newly appointed Han Solo movie director Ron Howard had defended Jake Lloyd and The Phantom Menace against an insulting article published in Newsweek, in 1999.

Here is an excerpt from Jonathan L. Bowen’s Anticipation:

Despite the engulfing media coverage, a small backlash began early in 1999, which later became a greater menace to Star Wars fans. On January 18, Newsweek published an article titled, “Buzz Wars, Episode One: The Backlash Menace.” The brief article declared that a backlash against the film had already begun and the deafening hype could damage the prequel’s success. Most importantly, the magazine stated, “Insiders call 9-year old Jake Lloyd (who plays Anakin Skywalker) ‘Mannequin Skywalker’ — word is he stinks.”

Former child actor Ron Howard, who is also close friends with George Lucas, came to Lloyd’s defense in a letter published in the February 1 issue of Newsweek. He called the earlier article “snide and insipid” but was especially offended by the publication’s comments about the young actor. He wrote, “The potshot at [Lloyd] was downright irresponsible. I seriously doubt the ‘insiders’ you mention are inside enough to have seen an edited version of the new Star Wars, because I have, and in my opinion, Jake is terrific in the film (which, by the way, is truly amazing).” He further condemned the magazine by stating, “For Newsweek to attack a child’s performance based on rumor and without even having seen the movie is shameful.”

Check out the article and Howard’s letter below (source: Slate)

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Ron Howard refused to direct The Phantom Menace because it was “too daunting”

Reminder: the newly appointed Han Solo movie director Ron Howard had revealed that George Lucas asked Steven Spielberg, Robert Zemeckis and Howard himself to direct The Phantom Menace.

Source : Happy Sad Confused Podcast (11/22/2015)

UPDATE : Howard had later clarified that there wasn’t a script yet.

Source: Metro

(This video was dug out by MakingStarWars)