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The Force Awakens and News Around the Net!

So the new Star Wars film is going to be called The Force Awakens?  Sigh.  Someday I would love to be really EXCITED by the announcement of a new Star Wars title.  While The Force Awakens is certainly a better title than The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, it seems very nondescript and bland.  It also seems to imply that somehow the Force has been asleep or not present during the events of the previous six films, which puzzles me.  What’s most interesting is that this new film is no longer being referred to as Episode VII.  I am all for dropping the numbers — I prefer subtitles over numbered sequels, and at a certain point the high sequel numbers just get silly.  But it means the new “main” trilogy won’t be distinguished from the spin-off films that are also being worked on.  That is likely Disney’s intent, as they wouldn’t want those spin-off films to be seen as any less important than the “main” films.  (Though I suppose it’s also very possible that the film will still be identified as Episode VII in its opening crawl.  We should remember that, for the Original Trilogy, the episode numbers weren’t really used in the advertising of the films, including their logo designs and posters.  They were only identified as Episode IV, Episode V, and Episode VI in their opening crawls.  It was only with the prequels that the episode number became so prominently incorporated into the titles and logo designs of the films.  Hmmm.  It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out with Episode VII.  I do very much like the idea that J.J. Abrams and his team are returning to the approach used by the Original Trilogy when it comes to the episode numbers.)

Speaking of Star Wars, this is fun: five minor actors from the original Star Wars trilogy who you didn’t realize were in everything you liked.

Who doesn’t love spending a little time reading about The Shawshank Redemption?

I wasn’t at all interested in NBC’s live telecasts of Peter Pan or The Sound of Music.  But A Few Good Men?  I’m in!!  Boy I hope this happens, and with a great cast.  You want me on that wall.  You NEED me on that wall!!

This is cool: as an alternative to the hideously ugly U.S.S. Enterprise re-design from J.J. Abrams’ films, here is a very cool looking, fan-designed, souped-up version of the Big-E that hews very closely to the ship’s original design from the Original Series.  Matt Jefferies’ design from the sixties ain’t broken, friends.

This is a great, fun interview clip with Benedict Cumberbatch.  Behold his perfect Jar Jar Binks impression, his unprocessed Smaug voice, and the man’s hilarious difficulty saying the word “penguin.”

Christopher L. Bennett is one of my favorite authors of Star Trek novels.  He’s written a wonderful blog pointing out the mistake made by most modern depictions of Batman’s origin, the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne.  Click here for his great piece: There is No Alley in Crime Alley!

I adore all three of the Toy Story films, and I was deeply satisfied with the ending of Toy Story 3.  So I have some nervousness about the announcement that Toy Story 4 is in development, but I trust those mad geniuses at Pixar.  It’s interesting that John Lasseter, who directed the first Toy Story film but for the past decade-plus has been operating at the higher-executive level, rather than directing films, is returning as director.  I was also intrigued to read in that article that the Celeste and Jesse Forever (a wonderful little film, click here for my review) writing team of Rashida Jones & Will McCormack are also involved in the scripting of Toy Story 4.  Color me intrigued.

I’ve started writing a series of articles chronicling my re-reading of the last twenty years’ worth of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, one of the very best creator-owned comic book “universes” out there.  For any Mignola fans out there, this great interview with him is a must-read.

I’ve just finished watching the Extended Edition of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.  I’ll have a more detailed review posted shortly, but over-all I found it very enjoyable with some wonderful additions.  So I was primed to watch this new final trailer for the final film, the wordily-titled The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies.

Is this film really coming out in just six weeks?  It feels like it’s flying very much under the radar.  I agree that Peter Jackson’s Hobbit films have not been as magical as we had all hoped, but I still think the first two films have been quite wonderful and surprisingly underrated.  I am hoping the final film sticks the landing.  This trailer promises epic-scale fantasy action, but I hope Mr. Jackson and his team don’t lose sight of the compelling character stories that need to anchor the tale.  I am optimistic, and very eager to see this film.

Lots more coming on the site this week as I wrap up my Guardians of the Galaxy cartoons.  I have reviews of Interstellar (very good) and Birdman (AMAZING) coming soon, as well as a more detailed write-up of my thoughts on the Extended Desolation of Smaug and lots more.  Thanks as always for visiting my site!

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