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Messages - MistaBinks

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The Original Trilogy / Star Wars on the big screen!
« on: August 28, 2009, 10:26 PM »
This may or not be interesting to you guys here. Especially considering I lurk more than I post. Either way, I thought I would share. I got to see Star Wars on the big screen two weeks ago as part of The Plaza Classic Film Festival here in El Paso, Texas. This was the Special Edition from 1997. Absolutely nobody gets to screen the original versions and apparently there is no theatrical print of the updated Special Edition from the DVD release.

A little under 2000 people attended the screening I went to (6:00 pm showing). Another 1300 people attended the 9:00 pm showing. It wasn't dominated by fanboys or longtime hardcore fans. Sure, there were a lot of us there - but with our kids, families, friends, etc. There were a lot of general fans, casual fans, and a ton of children seeing Star Wars for the first time.

Regardless of any HDTV and surround sound system you may have at home - there is nothing like watching it on the big screen with a packed theater. This was very much like watching a live performance or a sports event. The audience applauded every time an iconic character made their first appearance. Han Solo received the loudest and longest applause by the way.

The first thing I noticed was the awe and shock from the younger members of the audience. You could hear a lot of whispers and comments such as "how are they real?" and "those are real robots!" when C3PO and R2D2 made their first appearance. All of the audience (especially the kids) laughed at all the banter between C3PO and R2D2. All of Han Solo's wise cracks were well received. Yet you could hear crickets when the CGI Jawa falls off the CGI Ronto. Not even the young children laughed. Yet there were ooh's and awe's every time a Jawa or a cantina alien appeared for the first time. Hammerhead really seemed to impress the crowd.

A lot has been said about George Lucas' storytelling abilities. Some say he is a great storyteller but a horrible writer. Some say he is a good writer but a horrible director. We all have our different opinions. I will say this though, he did something extremely right as you could hear an audible "YES!" when Luke shoots his proton torpedoes into the exhaust. I thought it was pretty cool seeing all these kids raising their arms and cheering when Lukes' torpedoes enter the exhaust and the Death Star is destroyed. To me, that is good storytelling.

I was impressed with how well all the hardcore fans behaved during the movie. The only time any purists tried to stand out was just after the Han/Greedo scene in the Cantina. There was a very loud Han Shoots First! chant after the scene. I think we can all agree with that one though. If you think the scene looks bad with Greedo shooting first on the small screen, well it looks even worse on the big screen. Also, the Jabba scene just doesn't work. To be fair, this was version 1.0 and not the updated version from the last DVD release. Still, to me, Jabba will always be that puppet on the dais in ROTJ, not some CGI character slithering around (that goes for his appearance in TPM as well).

CGI does work in the space scenes though. Again, a lot of ooh's and awe's as fleet of X-Wings and Y-Wings approach the Death Star. The new CGI scenes are awesome. My only complaint is the editing and blending of the scenes with old footage. A lot of the old models and special effects just don't blend in with the new CGI stuff. I say lose all the CGI Sandtroopers, Dewbacks, and Rontos but add more CGI dog fights and explosions.

I know the special editions have been talked about to death already. That really wasn't the purpose of my post. I walked away surprised at how astute all of the children were to the difference between costumes and puppets versus CGI. They believed all of the costumed characters and puppets were real. The CGI just came off like another cartoon or 3D movie character (meaning fake). I can only imagine how much more impressive AOTC could have been with more costumes and less CGI characters - especially during the Geonosis scenes when all the Separatists are meeting at the round table. The audience cared about characters they saw as real. Nobody cared about CGI rats scurrying away from a CGI landspeeder outside of Mos Eisley.

Anyway, if you are so inclined, would you please consider signing the following petition. I am hoping the local film festival could book ESB next year. That would tie into the 30th anniversary of ESB and also continue the tradition started this year with ANH.

Watto's Junk Yard / Re: G.I. Joe - The Movie (Live Action)
« on: August 10, 2009, 06:04 PM »
Was Branden Frasier portraying Gung Ho or Sgt Slaughter? I have heard both. Maybe neither.

Watto's Junk Yard / Re: G.I. Joe - The Movie (Live Action)
« on: August 7, 2009, 04:27 PM »
Spoiler'ish Review - No outright spoilers though. Feel free to delete or edit if needed.

I was thoroughly surprised at how much fun this film was. The humor was good, the action was good, there were a few surprises, and the commercials did not give everything away. Pretty good action movie.

The Good: No fart jokes, no crap jokes, just decent humor, mixed with good action, and a steady progressive storyline. This movie pushes the PG-13 rating to the max. People get shot, stabbed, and killed. Even major characters that you see on the toy aisle are killed. I was most surprised that everyone goes for head shots instead of more family friendly body shots (sounds silly but you know what I mean).

I thought they did a great job of telling a fun story, an origin story, and then also setting up future sequels. Nothing seemed to drag on - which is a good thing!

Somewhat spoiler'ish talk below

The Bad: The only major complaint I have is when Cobra Commander officially makes his debut. The movie had been going along so smoothly up until that point. This movie would have popped big time if Cobra Commander revealed himself with his shield helmet or blue hood. It would have worked perfectly with the way the movie was wrapping up. Instead, we get this:

Major, major let down. I know certain things have to be updated and changed in order to bring the franchise to the big screen. Still, even with Cobra Commander's storyline, there was no reason not to go with either of these.

Not the worst thing and it doesn't ruin anything. Other than that, not too much to complain about. There is a bit of Star Wars'itis as the world grows very small. A good guy and a bad girl were formerly engaged. A bad girl is the sister of a bad guy. A bad guy and a good guy are brothers. Again, not the worst thing.

The CGI is kind of weak in some parts but the actors do a fantastic job of interacting with it. That sort of makes up for the weak CGI. You kind of forget that something looks fake when you see a character fly away in it or interact in it.

I will definitely watch this at least one more time in the theaters. Highly recommended.

Watto's Junk Yard / Re: The Transformers Live Action Movies
« on: July 31, 2009, 01:50 PM »
That is a better chart but I don't think it takes the bloated 3D and Imax ticket prices into account. You almost need 3 people in a normal theater to match the money for every one person in an Imax theater.

Watto's Junk Yard / Re: The Transformers Live Action Movies
« on: July 31, 2009, 01:36 PM »
None of the prequels had the benefit of $19 Imax tickets. Sure, AOTC was on 30+ Imax screen but those tickets were about $10. Also, according to BOM, movie tickets have increased 65% in the last 10 years. Even the ticket prices for the prequels were a bargain compared to what they are today.

The Prequel Trilogy / Re: The always charming Jake Lloyd
« on: July 28, 2009, 01:36 PM »
That's true and you really didn't need Qui-gon Jin either. Count Dooku could have easily served as Obiwan's master that had fallen to the dark side. This would have been a great for-shadowing of  what was going to happen to Anakin.

Dang. Even though I am old enough to have seen the OT in the theaters, I am also a PT fanboy. I am pretty content with the movies but I got to say, I love your idea as well. If AOTC was E1, and ROTS was E2, we could have had a movie with Vader hunting down Jedi. Dang!

The Prequel Trilogy / Re: The always charming Jake Lloyd
« on: July 28, 2009, 11:03 AM »
Then again, E1 could've easily never even happened, and we could've started at the E2 timeline and rearranged characters and whatnot. 

That is pretty interesting considering they basically reintroduce Anakin in E2. Could that elevator ride with Anakin and Obi Wan been used as Anakin's first appearance? I had not considered this.

Watto's Junk Yard / Re: Computer Help & Tech Support
« on: July 27, 2009, 09:46 PM »

Gracias. I am going to give it a try tonight.

Edited to Add:

Thanks Chris. It worked like a charm. I added Ram and reformatted the computer. Oddly enough, it runs faster and smoother than my current HP. This Gateway is about 7 or 8 years old.

Watto's Junk Yard / Re: Computer Help & Tech Support
« on: July 26, 2009, 05:52 PM »
Hey guys, I was hoping someone knew the answer to this question.

I recently replaced the DVD burner on an older Gateway computer I had stored in a closet.

If I reformat the hard drive using the factory CD-Roms, will it recognize the new burner?

JD Sports Forum! / Re: Poker
« on: July 26, 2009, 01:06 PM »
That is great. Good luck.

The Bullpen / Marvel Universe
« on: May 10, 2009, 04:53 PM »
By chance, has anyone had any luck in finding stands that work on either the Legends or the new 3 3/4" figures. I have a tough time displaying my Marvel figures because they constantly fall over.

Watto's Junk Yard / Re: iPod-racing
« on: May 10, 2009, 12:38 PM »
Quick question as I am a total i-pod newb. I have never owned one but I am ready to take the plunge. As a first time i-pod buyer, is the Touch a good purchase for me? Also, I see that the median price for the 16gb Touch is $295. Should I buy now or is there a price break in the near future? Thanks to anyone who replies. I am pretty lost when it comes to this area.

JD Sports Forum! / Re: Poker
« on: March 10, 2009, 04:41 PM »
That is great!

Watto's Junk Yard / Re: So Arizona?
« on: December 24, 2008, 03:14 PM »
Also has a lot of nice casinos in the area.

The Prequel Trilogy / Re: Attack of the Clones: Impressions Revisited
« on: December 23, 2008, 10:11 PM »
I am not a regular poster here but I thought I would chime in. I think I would have to say I liked everything. I agree with all the negative points everyone above made. Still, it's Star Wars, and for whatever reason, I end up growing to enjoy everything (except Ahsoka in the CW film but that is another story, lol).

I remember vacationing in Seattle and catching AOTC on IMAX. If you recall, they had to trim down the running time because (at the time) IMAX could only show 2 hour movies. I immediately noticed the cuts and wanted them back. LOL, I am not sure if it wasn't a better movie w/out a lot of the "romance scenes" removed.

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