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Star Wars 30th Anniversary Retrospective

  • Star Wars

    A 30th Anniversary Retrospective

    May 25, 2007 marks thirty years since the release of the film that launched not only an entire franchise, but an entire mythology.

    The first three films in the Star Wars saga were animated with the Xerox process which Disney had implemented during the making of 101 Dalmatians.

    THE ORIGINAL TRILOGY

    Star Wars: A New Hope
    (1977)*
    *Originally titled as simply Star Wars prior to early VHS releases.
    A New Hope is pretty much the same as OTL except with Anakin Starkiller (Harrison Ford) being the cynical space pirate. Also, Han Solo (Kurt Russell) is introduced as the overly confident cabin boy of the Millennium Falcon. The destruction of Alderaan still ranks among the most infamous "Disney Deaths" of all time. A New Hope was the only installment of the Star Wars saga to be worked on by Walt's Nine Old Men. Milt Kahl animated the famous "Binary Sunset" scene. Frank Thomas, who animated the Disney villains of the Early Fifties, was assigned to supervise the animation of Darth Vader. Ward Kimball, who directed the space exploration specials for the Sunday night series two decades earlier, oversaw the Battle of Yavin. Wolfgang Reitherman, known for the Monstro sequence in Pinocchio, the dinosaurs in Fantasia and the dragon battle in Sleeping Beauty, oversaw the lightsaber fight between Obi Wan (Sir Alec Guiness) and Vader (James Earl Jones).

    Future installments would feature the CalArts led nuclei that was being formed during The Snow Queen and Rapunzel.

    Chewie (Frank Welker) and Anakin Starkiller (Harrison Ford) at Docking Bay 94.

    The Empire Strikes Back (1983)
    The battle on Hoth is pretty much the same, but ITTL, the rest of the plot has a few notable changes. IG-88 (Jason Wingreen) is the Bounty Hunter that tracks down Solo and Leia on Bespin. Also, Boba Fett (George Takei) is a Rakata exile who runs into the Rebels and is ultimately the one who is sent to the carbon chamber. Vader's big reveal from OTL is butterflied. Sheev Palpatine (Michael Gough) is introduced as a Jedi exile who had been hiding on Dagobah. Sheev leads Luke and Anakin to Yoda's hut through the misty swamp.

    Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) right before he is ambushed by the Wampa.

    Revenge of the Jedi (1985)
    The ground battle in the third act is fought on the Wookiees' home planet of Kashyyyk. The space battle is fought with the Rebels attacking the Imperial Super Star Destroyer Executor. After a direct hit on the ship's bridge deflector shield, the Executor crashes into the Imperial Palace on Coruscant. Vader's true identity is still left a mystery, but the film generated controversy among fans when Emperor Constantine (Clive Revill) was revealed to be merely Vader's puppet.

    C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) and R2-D2 wander the corridors of Jabba's Palace.

    POST-WALT ERA FILMS

    Dark Empire (1994)
    Luke temporarily turns to the dark side, only to get slapped by Leia at the end. Dark Empire marked the second appearance of Daniel Abbott as the voice of Sheev's ghost after voicing the character two years earlier for the Orlando version of the Fantasmic stage show at DHS.

    Rise of the Sith (1997)
    Rise of the Sith uses the main plot points of the OTL film Anastasia and puts it in the familiar galactic setting.

    The Phantom Menace (1999)
    The key plot points of the OTL prequels are condensed into one film. Jar Jar is voiced by Weird Al Yankovic and serves as a more competent comic relief in the first and second acts. We also get to see Galen Marek (Keith David) as the Jedi padawan who is seduced to the dark side. Darth Sidious (Ian MacDiarmid) is the cloaked figure of the Sith who twists Galen's mind for much of the film.

    Rogue Squadron (2005)
    This film chronicles the Rebels' mission to steal the Death Star schematics which were hinted at in the opening crawl of A New Hope.

    STAR TOURS

    Opened in 1989 as one of the opening day attractions at Disney-Hyperion Studios in Lake Buena Vista. Rex aka R-3X (Paul Reubens), who was Sheev's droid pilot aboard the Shuttle Tydirium in Revenge of the Jedi, serves as the host of the Starspeeder 3000 as it attempts to take guests on a spaceflight to the Kashyyyk system. The Anaheim version opened in the mid-90s when Tomorrowland was rebranded as Horizon Spaceport. A compact version with just one Starspeeder vessel is set to open in St Louis in 2009.​
     
    Entertainment News for May 2007

  • Feig outside the Earl Warren Building in San Francisco.

    JUDGE SIDES WITH FEIG IN MALPRACTICE CASE

    The Supreme Court of California voted unanimously to order Providence Health and Services to pay more than $1.7 billion USD in damages to actor/director Paul Feig. The creator of Freaks and Greeks had appeared in 20th Century Fox's American Crime Story as the male lead before being committed to Providence-St. Joseph Hospital in Burbank. During his stay, Feig was diagnosed with hypertension, anxiety, depression and exhaustion, which the actor/director attributed to the controversy surrounding American Crime Story, in which Feig played the disgraced (and thankfully deceased) cartoonist John Kricfalusi. The hospital's business records reveal Feig made double-digit complaints of alleged physical and emotional abuse as at the hands of a nurse who was convinced Feig was in fact the real Kricfalusi.

    The San Francisco Chronicle


    HELP WANTED: PARAMOUNT SEARCHING FOR A NEW CEO

    After Epic Movie's epic failure at the box office, Paramount Pictures unceremoniously fired CEO Brad Grey and released Selzerberg Productions from its picture deal. Now the studio is on the search for a new CEO to succeed Mr. Grey and have plenty of options. Among the candidates to take over at Paramount are Simpsons co-developer Jim Brooks, Matrix producer Joel Silver, George Lucas of Disney's Hyperion division, Kathleen Kennedy of DreamWorks SKG, Mission Impossible producer Paula Wagner, David Kirschner of Grand Diamond, Lost creator JJ Abrams and Peter Chernin of Hemdale.

    Variety
     
    Ghost Rider (2007 Film)
  • Ghost Rider
    Released on May 4, 2007 by Hyperion Pictures



    CAST
    Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Blaze
    Eva Mendes as Roxanne Simpson
    Nicolas Cage as Blackheart
    Tobin Bell as Carter Slade
    Peter Fonda as Mephistopheles

    Upon its release, Ghost Rider was a box office hit, but was met with mixed reviews.​
     
    Summer 2007 Animated Movies
  • Ratatouille

    Released on Memorial Day Weekend 2007 by RKO Radio Pictures
    Produced in 2D by RKO Animation (Formerly Murakami Wolf Swenson)

    VOICES
    Patton Oswalt as Remi
    Lou Romano as Alfredo Linguini
    Ian Holm as Chef Skinner
    Janeane Garofalo as Colette Tatou
    Brad Garrett as Gasteau
    Brian Dennehy as Django
    Peter O'Toole as Anton
    Peter Sohn as Emile
    Will Arnett as Horst
    John Ratzenberger as Mustafa
    Brad Bird as Ambrister Minion

    TMNT

    Released by TriStar Pictures
    Produced in CGI by Imagi
    Based on the characters created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird

    VOICES
    Justin Long as Leonardo
    Jason Mewes as Michelangelo
    Zach Braff as Donatello
    Nolan North as Raphael
    Mako Iwamatsu as Splinter
    Chris Evans as Casey Jones
    Sarah Michelle Gellar as April O'Neil
    Zhang Ziyi as Karai
    Laurence Fishburne as the narrator
    Patrick Stewart as Yaotl

    The storylines for both films are pretty much the same as OTL.​
     
    Summer 2007 Animated Movies (Part 2)
  • Happily Never After

    Released by Lionsgate.
    Produced by Vanguard Animation and Nitrogen Studios.

    The film is basically a Shrek wannabe and does an extremely poor job hiding it.

    A Day With Wilbur Robinson

    Released by Grand Diamond Pictures.
    Produced by Ruby-Spears.
    Loosely on the book by William Joyce.​
     
    Entertainment News for Mid-June 2007
  • PepsiCo launches bid to acquire Imagi animation studio.
    - The New York Times.

    Saban scraps plans to retire the 20th Century Fox brand.
    - Reuters.

    Hemdale, Lionsgate, TriMark could each be targets for the next round of buyouts.
    - The Wall Street Journal.

    Berkshire Hathaway, Comcast, Sony each want to add USA Network Group to their respective portfolios.
    - The Chicago Tribune.
     
    Summer 2007 Movies (Part 1)
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
    Released by Walt Disney Pictures; Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer

    Prior to the release of this installment, Jerry Bruckheimer offered Gore Verbinski the job of running Hyperion Pictures.

    Knocked Up

    Released by Universal Pictures

    Licensed to Wed

    Released by Warner Bros

    Daddy Day Camp

    Released by 20th Century Fox; The original Daddy Day Care was released by Revolution Studios and the rights were transferred as part of Saban's purchase of Fox.

    Hot Rod

    Released by Paramount Pictures; The first release for Paramount under new chairman George Lucas.

    Bug

    Released by Lionsgate. The lowest grossing film of William Friedkin's career.

    Up next: Silver Surfer.​
     
    Silver Surfer (2007 Film)
  • Silver Surfer
    Released by Walt Disney Pictures



    Instead of being shoehorned into a Fantastic Four sequel, The Silver Surfer instead focuses primarily on the tale of an astronomer named Norrin Radd (Doug Jones). When Galactus (Bryan Cranston) sets his eyes on devouring the planet Zenn-La, Radd pleads with Galactus to spare his homeworld. As a Herald, the newly christened Silver Surfer roams the galaxy in search of suitable planets for Galactus to eat before finding his way to Earth, where he meets the Fantastic Four in a post-credits scene.

    Upon the Silver Surfer's theatrical release, critics deemed the scenes of Radd pleading with Galactus to be the darkest moments in any Marvel film since Spider-Man 2.​
     
    Entertainment News for July 2007
  • Paul Feig announces his retirement from showbiz in an op-ed to the Detroit Free Press.
    - USA Today

    Village Roadshow announces a Summer 2010 release date for Skyler project.
    - The Herald Sun

    Warner Bros makes overtures to Favreau, Abrams and Whedon for Archie film projects.
    - Variety

    PepsiCo, parent company of RKO Radio Pictures, announces Hong Kong based computer animation studio Imagi will open a North American branch in Stamford, Connecticut by Fall 2010.
    - Animation Magazine

    New Paramount chairman George Lucas confirms live action Star Trek film in the works for a Summer 2009 release.
    - The Hollywood Reporter
     
    Curucu: Beast of the Amazon (2007 Film)
  • Curucu: Beast of the Amazon
    Released by Universal Pictures
    Part of the Universal Monsterverse

    A modern take on the lesser-known 1956 monster film, the villainous Curucu is portrayed using a blend of CGI and puppets produced by Stan Winston's crew. At the box office, the new Curucu outshined the original by 80%.

    SELECT CAST
    Eric Bana as Rock Dean
    Alice Braga as Dr. Andrea Romar
    Rodrigo Santoro as Tupanico

    The next Universal Monsterverse entries in the final phase are Monster on the Campus, She-Wolf of London and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.​
     
    Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
  • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

    Launched on September 18, 2007 on The Hub
    Produced and distributed by Hemdale Television​
     
    August 2007 Movies
  • Who's Your Caddy

    Released by Geffen Pictures

    Balls of Fury

    Released by Republic Pictures

    I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry

    Released by RKO Radio Pictures

    Stardust

    Released by Paramount Pictures

    Because I Said So

    Released by Universal Pictures. In case anybody's wondering, the underwear scene is still intact ITTL.


    TRIUMPH THE INSULT COMIC DOG
    (Excerpt from Late Night with Conan O'Brien)

    "So...Michael Lehmann goes from Heathers to the Avengers...only to direct a closeup of Diane Keaton's ass in gigantic granny panties."
    *audience laughs*
    "The pinnacle of any director's career, right?"
    *audience laughs*​
     
    Entertainment News for October 2007
  • MCA and Paramount Communications, after years of ownership disputes, both agree to sell their respective stakes in the USA Network Group to Berkshire Hathaway. The deal is expected to close sometime in 2008 or '09.
    - The New York Times

    Saban's stock price triples in the months since the Fox acquisition late last year.
    - The Wall Street Journal.
     
    Fall 2007 Movies
  • American Gangster

    Released by Universal Pictures. After the failure of Fox's American Crime Story, Universal hit the panic button and fired Ridley Scott midway through production of this film.

    National Treasure II: Book of Secrets


    Released by Walt Disney Pictures. A third National Treasure is due for 2010.

    Alvin and the Chipmunks


    Released by 20th Century Fox.

    I am Legend

    Released by Warner Bros.

    Good Luck Chuck

    Released by Lionsgate.

    The Game Plan

    Released by Hanna-Barbera.​
     
    2007 Holiday Movies Part 1
  • PvX: Requiem

    Released by New Line Cinema

    Juno

    Released by Hyperion Pictures

    No Country for Old Men

    Released by Republic Pictures​
     
    The Year Without a Santa Claus (2007 Live Action Film)
  • The Year Without a Santa Claus
    Released on Thanksgiving 2007 by Warner Bros
    Based on the Rankin Bass television special

    SELECT CAST

    Christopher Walken as Snow Miser
    Rich Fulcher as Heat Miser
    John Goodman as Santa
    Delta Burke as Mrs. Claus
    Judi Dench as Mother Nature
    Seth Green as Jingle
    Devon Sawa as Jangle
    Mitch Musso as Iggy

    Upon its release, The Year Without a Santa Claus was hailed for its "perfect casting" of John Goodman as Saint Nick. Plus, Christopher Walken received high marks for his singing chops. Oh yeah, and who could forget Rich Fulcher's performance as a flamboyant Heat Miser?​
     
    Ted (2008 TV Series)
  • After being fired from Hanna-Barbera, Seth MacFarlane bounced back quickly at Williams Street, aka Adult Swim.

    For his first project at his new home, MacFarlane decided on Ted, an animated TV series revolving around a Boston man named John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg), whose childhood wish was for his teddy bear to talk. However, in adulthood, Ted (Seth MacFarlane) makes it pretty hard for his lifelong buddy to pick up chicks.
     
    Sweeney Todd (2008 Film)
  • Sweeney Todd

    Released in Spring 2008 by Grand Diamond Pictures
    Produced and directed by Darren Aronofsky

    Christian Bale as Sweeney Todd
    Kate Beckinsale as Mrs. Lovett
    Ed Sanders as Tobias Ragg
    Alan Rickman as Judge Turpin

    ITTL, Sweeney Todd is more horror than musical. Without the Stephen Sondheim songs, this version of Sweeney Todd focuses more tightly on the titular character's tragic lust for vengeance. The backstory still calls for Judge Turpin to put the young Benjamin Barker in prison to neutralize a business rival rather than to gain access to Barker's wife and kids.

    The film was slated for a December 2007 release, but a WGA strike pushed the release back to about March 2008. Grand Diamond had been in a bit of a slump since Steven Universe ended and Rachel Stone-Abbott went back to Hanna-Barbera.​
     
    Entertainment News for Early March 2008
  • Sega announces the Mighty the Armadillo franchise will take a temporary hiatus citing sagging game sales.
    - Game Informer

    Supreme Court will meet to deliberate whether platform exclusivity, aka video games produced specifically for only one console, constitutes a violation of the Paramount Consent Decree.
    - The Washington Post

    Hannah Montana relaunch set for an April launch on ABC. The series went on hiatus and is currently undergoing a massive retool after the firing of former Hanna-Barbera chief Seth MacFarlane over creative disputes.
    - Entertainment Weekly

    Los Angeles county judge orders Universal Pictures to pay Ridley Scott an undisclosed amount in a wrongful termination suit filed after the acclaimed director was abruptly fired from the Denzel Washington film American Gangster. Scott's firing came about amid controversy over his 2006 film American Crime Story, which he directed for Fox.
    - Access Hollywood
     
    This just in
  • When word got out of a possible hiatus for Mighty the Armadillo, many fans started online petitions calling for Sega to reconsider its position.
    - Electronic Gaming Monthly; April 2008 issue
     
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