LUKE SKYWALKER RETURNS TO THE GALAXY, FROM DECEMBER 15TH, 2017

ARRIVING IN THE NETHERLANDS, FROM 30/9/17. BOOK NOW FOR THE ULTIMATE 'STAR WARS' EXHIBITION

Friday, 30 November 2012

CLASSIC IMAGE: THE END OF RED LEADER...


He may be one of the Rebel Alliance's best pilots, but even Red Leader (Drewe Henley, filming this scene against blue screen) is no match for the bold and terrifying skills of the now zeroing in for the kill Darth Vader- in the ultimate sense of irony, a man he once flew with, when he was known as Anakin Skywalker...


Thursday, 29 November 2012

CLASSIC IMAGE: WHAT'S YER POISON?!


Another of Rick Baker's workshop classic alien masks gets an airing, and the chance to grace Ackmena's Mos Eisley Cantina, in this posed image from the 1978 STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL.

If anyone knows the name of the creature on and off screen, please get in touch...

UPDATE 30/11/2012. Now identified as an Y'bith. Thank you!

Check out this rare seventies interview with Rick Baker, showing some of the great Cantina alien masks: Judd Sutherland visits Rick Baker and his Workshop - YouTube

The Star Wars Holiday Special Cantina: Who's Who | Star Wars Blog

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

BEHIND THE SCENES: YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE...


Lovely actress/model/entrepreneur Orli Shoshan gets ready to film her second death scene as noble lady Jedi Shaak Ti, this time at the back-stabbing hands of Sith possessed Anakin Skywalker, in a new sequence shot in at London a short time before the release of EPISODE III that also ended up being deleted, though it eventually made an appearance on the Blu-ray release of the saga.

This was an image originally captured by the Official STAR WARS Website for its long defunct Hyperspace area.

Check out AFICIONADO's previous exclusive interview with Miss Shoshan from 2008, here:




Note: to see these Google PDFs in their highest quality, it's best to download the files to your desktop.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

BEHIND THE SCENES: A NEW FRIEND FOR KENOBI


George Lucas has fun showing an inquisitive Ewan McGregor a production maquette of Dexter Jettster's head- a welcome point of visual reference for the actor during the filming of important scenes in the Coruscant Diner for EPISODE II, at the Australian FOX Studios in 2000.

Monday, 26 November 2012

CLASSIC ART: EPISODE I BLASTS OFF!


Another fantastic example of Japanese art for the Prequel saga, this time from 1999 for a magazine cover promoting EPISODE I. If anything could get audiences into cinemas to see an exciting new STAR WARS film, this visual marvel surely did the trick.

I can't wait to see what new and exciting art will herald the eagerly anticipated Sequels from 2015 onwards...

Sunday, 25 November 2012

THE CLONE WARS: JEDI SUPREME!


Deflecting the continued attack of enemy opponents, Anakin Skywalker uses his skills in the Force to buy critical time for our heroes to begin their escape from the volcanic underbelly of The Citadel, in a scene from the final episode of the excellent three-part Season Three adventure: Citadel Rescue.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

AFICIONADO CLASSIC BLOG 2007 - REMEMBERING THOSE WHO HELPED SHAPE THE SUCCESS OF 'STAR WARS'


A superb creative pairing: George Lucas and Gary Kurtz on the set of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK at Elstree-1979.



Note: This is a classic blog from our older site reprinted.


Yep, the Thirtieth Anniversary of STAR WARS has proved to be a considerable success this year- and George Lucas's "little space movie for young people" is still as superb as ever, continuing to find new fans of all ages across the globe in whatever medium it breathes life in: be it books, movies, TV or comics.

From where it all began, Lucas is the corner stone, the lit blue touch paper from where it all began like a supernova- the story, the characters, the look and feel of it all, the entire universe-it all comes from him-and we'll all be eternally grateful of the day that he put pen to paper to come up with the film on those handwritten notes he outlined in May 1973, and for the amazing imagination within that fertile mind of his that, even now, continues to spur on into new heights of creativity. STAR WARS (or STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE-whatever you want to call it!!), in this writer's mind, is still the best film of the saga and has yet to be equalled, primarily because Lucas is there at the beginning in every way, and nothing has equalled it's raw power of enjoyment, in my eyes, since...

It was a struggle for Lucas to get the film made- a struggle that would last for five years. It was a risk, but one that ultimately paid off. To get this film made, for it to leap from the imagination of Lucas's mind onto the celluloid screen, the young director needed help, assembling some of the best people working in the cinema at that time to achieve his goal. On this thirtieth anniversary, we quite rightly continue to celebrate talents like George Lucas, Ralph McQuarrie (whose wondrous creative and artistic insights launched a visual style that hasn't bettered), Alan Ladd Jr., John Williams, Richard Edlund, Dennis Muren, Joe Johnston, Ben Burtt-all amazing people and all quite rightly congratulated for their work.

In this anniversary year, however, let us also remember the great talents that are no longer with us-the brilliant Production Designer John Barry, who helped realise Joe Johnston and Ralph McQuarrie's superb environments into practical set reality (making any visitors to the ELSTREE Studio's in 1976 amazed by the uniqueness of the upcoming movie). Let's not forget John Stears and his practical UK team (of which only Stears would be credited for his contribution to STAR WARS-none of his UK team mates were credited in the end titles, event though all of the rising star ILM team members were) for their hard work in bringing the many droids like Artoo Detoo to life, realizing the Landspeeder, the lightsabers and all of the other iconic effects -all of which might have seemed impossible to create to other film-makers in 1973- that, though they have been improved upon since, started with this movie. 

Let's also not forget Gilbert Taylor. His long experience and film-making style may have regrettably clashed with the young independent film-maker (years later, apparently, he would even be banished from being allowed in for the premiere party for THE STAR WARS SPECIAL EDITION in London in 1997!!), used to doing his own camera-set ups and changing lights (the veteran cinematographer, unbeknownst to Lucas, also being under orders from FOX to have his work adhere to their own visual requests for the film), but lets not forget the beautiful clean and sharp look he brought to  the Death Star scenes, as well as the wild beauty of Tatooine, the grimy criminal atmosphere of the cantina and the organic green and brown colour scheme of a growing Rebellion on Yavin IV. Again, the artistic palettes for cinematography may have changed and improved over the years, but STAR WARS still looks fantastic from a photography vantage.


And in particular, on this important anniversary year, if there's one person still being overlooked for his contributions to the STAR WARS universe, let's also not forget the film-maker still continually active in today's tough world of the movie-making environment-Gary Kurtz-producer of STAR WARS and THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.
Despite the problems of getting STAR WARS off the ground, and despite the complex nightmares of the even more ambitious EMPIRE, the majority of which were unforeseen and could not ultimately have been avoided, Gary Kurtz would be the further important under-pinning that made the STAR WARS SAGA the success it is today. With a talent for character and storytelling, a strong eye for direction, film-making and photography, and in the areas of special effects photography, Kurtz would help Lucas shape the films into the success they have become today. And as Producer, let's not forget his contributions-on EMPIRE, it was Kurtz who selected Kershner to direct the important sequel (a superb choice to helm the film), it was Kurtz who chose Peter Suschitsky (whom many think gave the STAR WARS saga its best cinematography with EMPIRE). It would also be Kurtz who maintained a strict quality control on all areas of the films, especially EMPIRE, from the way the film was marketed, to the escalating toy creation and promotion, to the dailies film footage being shot at ELSTREE and ILM, to the help, protection and support he gave the films young stars, this producers talent and hard work on the films should not be overlooked. 



With the takeover of the STAR WARS INSIDER by TITAN MAGAZINES, let us hope that the magazine one day returns to its glory days of the mid-nineties in terms of content. Lets find out more behind the scene material on our favourite films, in particular, more interviews, with decent questions rather than the same old same old, with the cast and crews that made these films, and a reduction in the toy marketing content. So many people who have contributed to STAR WARS have died in the last few years and none of their stories or anecdotes have been recorded or detailed (an example being David Tomblin- when did anyone talk to him about his extensive work on EMPIRE and JEDI-I don't recall him ever being interviewed for a STAR WARS magazine). LUCASFILM has the access-lets talk to these people. Let's talk to Gary Kurtz in depth about both films- I don't think I've seen an interview with Kurtz in an official STAR WARS magazine since 1980!!!- let’s talk to Gilbert Taylor again (rather than a re-hashing of a ten year old interview!!). And what about Richard Marquand on JEDI-his contributions to the final film of the CLASSIC SAGA are also left un-explored-how about talking with his estate and his family about his work on the film (and with JEDI there is still so much to find out on its making-it's top secret making-has anyone ever seen the original shooting script for the film-of which only three full copies existed? How about a book printing?) 
So much to be explored still, so many people and their talents to be celebrated.


As this 2007 anniversary year comes to an end, let us raise our glasses in toast to all the creative talents who worked on those classic STAR WARS films, and let us also hope that their hard work is explored in greater detail in the phenomenon years that are still to come.

WE SALUTE YOU!!


Friday, 23 November 2012

DELETED SCENE: ANAKIN'S DREAM


With the dawn glow of the Tatooine suns and the approach of the Boonta Eve race festival, Padme wakens little Anakin Skywalker from his outdoor slumber in this brief deleted scene moment from EPISODE I. In Terry Brooks excellent novel adaptation of the movie in 1999, Anakin, after making some last minute fixes to his podracer, has a mildly disturbing dream (or Force premonition?) of himself as a slightly older figure, in a future time of being elsewhere, possibly beyond Tatooine.

The Tunisian filmed but deleted version of the scene would be slightly different, focusing on Padme instead, and was only partially revealed with EPISODE I's eventual DVD release. After Padme wakens Anakin, he tells her of a premonition of her going into battle with a huge army; a future event which Padme shrugs off, saying she's against fighting. Cut by Lucas for time and pace reasons above all else, it was also noted that the scene really didn't have much energy for the young actors to work with.



Thursday, 22 November 2012

ILM CLASSIC IMAGE: SCOUT WALKING INTO OBLIVION!


Legendary effects technician Paul Huston makes an adjustment to a Scout Walker model about to meet it's demise, during ILM outdoor filming of the Battle of Endor sequence for RETURN OF THE JEDI in 1982.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

CLASSIC IMAGE: INTO DANGER


He may not be a full Jedi yet, but Luke Skywalker has the courage to fight on against the overwhelming might of Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Vader, within the bowels of the Bespin Cloud City, in this tense and scary scene from THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.

With thanks to Chris Baker for the image.

AFICIONADO REVIEW: INDIANA JONES - THE COMPLETE ADVENTURES: BLU-RAY DELUXE BOX SET



INDIANA JONES - THE COMPLETE ADVENTURES: BLU-RAY DELUXE BOX SET

Out now from PARAMOUNT HOME ENTERTAINMENT


Reviewed by Ian Trussler


Being a massive Indiana Jones fan (second only to Star Wars, of course) I decided to treat myself to the deluxe box set of the Blu-ray release. Here is my run down and opinion of what you get for your money.

Housed in a nice sturdy box made to look like an old leather bound book, as well as the obvious Blu-ray films set (more on those later) you also get a very nice selection of extra artifacts. This is what's included:


Reproduction Grail Diary containing drawings and notes etc as seen in The Last Crusade, but also expanded to include Indy's notes and newspaper clippings relating to all his adventures.

Reproduction Shield rubbing from The Last Crusade

Reproduction photo of young Indy and Henry Jones Senior (Last Crusade)

Reproduction Zeppelin tickets in false names (Last Crusade)

Reproduction Match book from Club Obi Wan (Temple of Doom)

Reproduction Menu for the dinner at Pankot Palace (Temple of Doom)

Reproduction Airline Ticket from San Francisco to Kathmandu (Raiders)

Photo of Indy taken on Sallah's terrace, inscribed by Marion (Raiders)

Set of 4 Postcards featuring behind the scenes pictures, one from each movie

Card Mounted Film Cell - mine shows Indy confronting the cobra from Raiders

On location in Tunisia, Harrison Ford takes a break before Indy's action filming begins again.
On to the movies now, the main attraction here is that the original three films have never been available in high definition before and they don't disappoint in the visual stakes. Each film looks glorious, having been spruced up for this release. Visually not much has changed to the content, Raiders has an updated matte painting from the scene during the truck chase, where the Nazi jeep goes over the cliff. This new moment has been known about for a long time as the UK’s BBC has actually aired a prior unreleased Blu-ray version of the film on and off these past few years. Temple of Doom looks particularly good on Blu-ray due to the rich colours used for many of the Thuggee cult scenes, the opening production number in Club Obi Wan, and the Pankot Palace dinner. UK fans also finally get the long-desired uncut version of Temple of Doom, which contains the extended scene where Mola Ram plucks out the heart of one of his victims, then converts Indy to cause, and additionally the moment when both Indy and Short Round are whipped mercilessly. Presumably cut as it featured Short Round being tortured, it seems odd that the rest of the movie, showing the village children being whipped regularly by the Thuggee guards in the mines, survives unscathed. This scene is also notable as it contains the only example of Indy swearing in any of the movies. One downside to the high definition is on The Last Crusade, much like Return of the Jedi, some of the blue screen effects seemed rushed on original release and jarred even in the late eighties. Those scenes look even worse on Blu-ray, the bi-plane scene in particular looks very bad now and really could have done with improving. Crystal Skull has already had a Blu-ray release and does look superb, but, when viewed in order, the difference in style between the late great Douglas Slocombe (Director of Photography on the original three films) and Janusz Kaminski (Director of Photography on Crystal Skull) is very noticeable. Slocombe (one of the true greats of cinema) created a rich and deep colour field favouring very naturalistic lighting whilst Kaminski uses more muted tones and at times creates an almost artificial look.

Steven Spielberg has fun with Karen Allen and Harrison Ford directing the finale to RAIDERS.

Although almost unchanged visually, the original three films do seem to have had their soundtracks altered. It could possibly be the sound mix, but I am pretty certain that some scenes have little extra bits of dialogue added in. George Lucas has done this sort of thing before with the Star Wars Trilogy, changing lines of dialogue and making use of alternate takes from ADR sessions, mostly to the films detriment in my opinion. On the Indy films it's not a big deal but on first viewing it did make me sit up and think to myself, "Oh, that didn't used to be in there, that's different."

The films aside, one of the biggest draws of this set has to be the bonus disc. This is a somewhat disappointing mixed bag of new material and a lot of rehashed stuff from previous releases.

The best extra is an all-new hour long feature called On Set with Raiders of the Lost Ark. Made up of two half-hour features that can be played back to back or individually, called respectively "From Jungle to Desert" and "From Adventure to Legend", this is comprised entirely of on-set footage from the various sets and locations of Raiders of the Lost Ark, edited in chronological order of the movie scenes and not necessarily the order in which they were filmed during production. This is excellent, showing great on-set interviews with all the main cast and crew, insights into the problems with the production and even better it features many deleted scenes, such as extra traps during the opening scenes with Indy and Satipo, the full Cairo Swordsman scene with Harrison Ford and stuntman Terry Richards, comic scenes between Sallah and Nazi officers, and at last an explanation as to why there is a sleeping Arab digger slumped in the scene when Indy and Marion escape the Well of Souls. It would have been nice if Spielberg had allowed a proper, separate selection of deleted scenes on the disc but as he has been quite vocal about his dislike of including deleted scenes on disc releases, so we should be grateful for at least getting this. Unfortunately, what makes it worse is that although this feature is only about Raiders, under the credits we get tiny fragments of outtakes and deleted scenes from Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade.

Ford and young Ke Huy Quan have fun in Sri Lanka for INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM.

After this new feature everything else is re-hash. We do get the previously available on VHS and shown on TV, original 1981 Making of Raiders which is good for those that don't have it. Interestingly, on this feature, the original VHS tape and TV broadcast featured a song called Memories, Friends and 8x10's which references a quote made by stuntman Terry Leonard during on-set footage of the truck chase. Sadly, this song is absent from the Blu-ray version, perhaps due to legal issues/copyright clearances, although the credits still list it and credit the writer and performer. It would have been nice if we could have had all the other vintage Making of’s, too, as there are several: another for Raiders called Great Movie StuntsRaiders of the Lost Ark which was released on VHS as a double bill with the original Making of. Frank Marshall’s Making of Temple of Doom is also sadly missing, along with three different documentaries on The Last Crusade, one of which has previously been a VHS release in the USA.

Sean Connery adds some ingenious father/son comedy to the mix in INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE.

Everything else is pulled from previous box sets of the original three films and from the Crystal Skull individual releases. Modern Making of’s for all four movies, featurettes on Stunts, Music, Props, Locations, a very short American Film Institute interview with the three Indy girls, and some other fluff.

The movies themselves only have one special feature which is the trailers for each respective film. Raiders being the best, featuring three vintage trailers for the first run and for a re-release.

Old dogs with new tricks. Spielberg and Ford return for one last (?) time in INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL.

So all in all, a nice set but disappointing in the amount of new content in regards to the extras.

My ratings would be:

Raiders of the Lost Ark Blu-ray transfer: 10/10

Temple of Doom transfer: 10/10

The Last Crusade transfer: 8/10

Crystal Skull transfer: 9/10

On Set with Raiders of the Lost Ark: 10/10

Other extras: 6/10

Overall set rating: 8/10