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

Sunday, 31 August 2014

THE CLONE WARS: DISTANT VIEWPOINTS...


It seems that time doesn't heal old wounds, as Obi-Wan Kenobi and the Duchess Satine get into a heated debate, threatening to get personal, regarding the state of the Republic and the Jedi, in this memorable moment from THE CLONE WARS Season Two episode Voyage of Temptation.

CLASSIC INDY: INDY's "FURTHER ADVENTURES'!



He'd captured audiences attentions at the worldwide box office, soon again for 1984's upcoming Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and now the whip-cracking hero was becoming a full-colour MARVEL comic book star, as the first issue of his globetrotting exploits debuted on newsstands in January 1983, courtesy of this great Terry Austin cover-the artist no stranger to working with Lucasfilm after several years inking Carmine Infantino's work on MARVELs' equally iconic STAR WARS comic.

Friday, 29 August 2014

AFICIONADO REVIEW: 'SHOOTING 007 AND OTHER CELLULOID ADVENTURES' BOOK


Capturing escapist truth and beauty through the camera- UK film cinematographer Alec Mills. Image: The History Press.


SHOOTING 007 AND OTHER CELLULOID ADVENTURES

By Alec Mills

Foreword by Sir Roger Moore

Published by The History Press


Reviewed by Scott Weller


“Knowing Alec, I can safely promise you a good read, and I always tell the truth.”

Roger Moore

There are many reasons why British film industry technical talent is regarded as the finest in the world. And famed cinematographer Alec Mills is one of them!

Best known for his involvement and vital contributions to some of the most popular films of the seventies and early eighties, most notably from the James Bond and Classic STAR WARS saga, Mills, in a lengthy career that would seem him handle everything from his first youthful and enthused clapperboard duties to learning the craft of becoming a seasoned visual renderer, would easily earn his title as one of the most popular and respected people of his ilk in the fantasy-making aspects of cinematography, helping to launch Roger Moore’s broad James Bond era into colourful, humorous, exciting fun, whilst, at the other end of the scale, and in a galaxy far, far away and a long time ago, subtly moving Return of the Jedi towards its vital climatically dark thrill ride, making it all the more thrilling and immersive to watch.
 
Alec Mills at the camera lens during the 1982 UK filming of Return of the Jedi.

A subtle and caring person with a fine eye for detail, research and continuity, as well as a pioneer in many areas, especially knowing how to work as part of a team in his varied jobs but also, where necessary, not afraid to let his views be known when critically needed, Mills, through contacts and sheer bloody hard work, would truly become a part of the golden age of cinema – American, International and often hard-bitten UK endeavours. Lured by the siren-like glamour, adventure and fantasy bug of celluloid at an early age, his youthful post World War II entering of the British film industry soon saw a quiet but solid advancing up the career leader in working with some of the biggest and brightest names in the UK industry, soon proving a vital and worthy way of building his craft- from his stints in moody and atmospheric black and white to glorious, extravagant colour, from the large to the small screen, travelling countries and climes as diverse as Austria to Japan, and learning from the likes of long time Cameraman/Cinematographer legend buddies/partners in cinematic magic capturing including Michael Reed, Jack Cardiff and Alan Hume, Mills unique relationship with the camera, and the mystical quality of film running through it, is a genuine, if not always perfect, love affair.

Shooting 007 and Other Celluloid Adventures, his newly released autobiography via The History Press, paints a clear, concise and honest picture (sometimes warts and all!) of the important mark Mills contributes to populist motion picture storytelling history. Some of the 007 anecdotes, about the family feeling of the franchise created by Albert R. Broccoli, and Mills constant “humorous” sparring with prankster star Roger Moore, may not necessarily be fresh, but there are many other glamorous, and not so glamorous projects made in and around them, previously unknown and unrevealed, that prove equally worthy- cherished insights and observations on well-known actors (like the infamous boozy legend that was Oliver Reed, gritty action hero (in reality and fantasy) Lee Marvin and stalwart super-bitch and all-round tough cookie Bette Davis, plus charismatic, often chilly or eccentric directors, including Franklin Schaffner, John Guillermin and Roman Polanski. Its here, in these outer chapters, that Mills also evokes his true duties and responsibilities to a time, place and era in filmmaking that will never be seen again, showing us the importance of hard work and dedication, and how, if not always quickly, it can pay off later down the line. STAR WARS fans, in particular, will not only relish the chapter detailing his time working on the ambitious, on set secrecy-shrouded final episode of the Original Trilogy with Return of the Jedi- the happiness yet ensuing nightmares of disagreeing/dealing with a resentful senior LUCASFILM staffer, but also director Richard Marquand’s previous evocative directorial effort, the one that ultimately got him into the attention sights of George Lucas in the first place: the much under-rated World War II thriller Eye of the Needle, of which Mills reminisces are clearly a more positive if smaller-scale experience.
 
Mills (top) with Richard Marquand and the camera team of Eye of the Needle

Beyond the tales of the good and the bad, the gentlemanly Mister Mills, a champion of the values of teamwork and loyalty, also shows his serious side when it comes to his craft, importantly revealing intriguing tricks and magic of the film-making trade which are now sadly passing into the ether with the arrival of CGI. It's information that historians, and especially students/rising star visualists trying to break into this difficult medium of entertainment, would be wise to remember and keep inside this mini equivalent of a film-school education.

Backed up by some very rare behind the scenes photos, especially of interest to Bond aficionados, Mills trip down the cobbled but incident-packed streets of Memory Lane- the ensuing personal hardships, friendships, battles and victories making their mark- is a well-written and incident packed endeavour, with some personal demons and insecurities over his contributions to film and TV thankfully exorcised. (Oh, and speaking of the supernatural, watch out for the chapter about his "house guest"!)

AFICIONADO RATING: Never has the phrase “They don’t make ‘em like they used to” been more apt with this book. 3.5 out of 5


Thursday, 28 August 2014

OUT TODAY IN UK PAPERBACK: 'KENOBI'


Krayt dragons, the nomad terrors of the Sandpeople, ambitious and corrupt farmstead owners and a young girl with a devoted crush- just some of the creatures and characters that the self-exiled Jedi pariah and fugitive Obi-Wan Kenobi will encounter whilst settling in and coming to terms with his new "home" on that farthest corner of the galaxy planet, with its harsh and dangerous desert climes and searing temperature twin-sun accompanying satellites, that is Tatooine. John Jackson Miller's deservedly acclaimed, well-researched and written original novel, now part of the all-new Legends series, KENOBI, arrives in weighty UK paperback from ARROW this August 28th, 2014.

STAR WARS meets the classic western SHANE, with Kenobi in the enigmatic stranger mode previously occupied by Alan Ladd, was how I originally observed this tale when it first appeared in hardback. Check out that original review: STAR WARS AFICIONADO MAGAZINE: JOHN JACKSON MILLER

Get the book here: Star Wars: Kenobi: Amazon.co.uk: John Jackson Miller: Books

Also available on audio book download - though what a shame that they couldn't get James Arnold Taylor to voice Kenobi for such a special project: Kenobi: Star Wars Unabridged (Audio Download): Amazon.co.uk: John Jackson Miller, Jonathan Davis: Books

Sunday, 24 August 2014

STAR WARS REBELS: PAYBACK TIME!


They've taken quite a bashing in seventeen years- their ecologically symbiotic world of Kashyyyk has suffered unnatural damage and numerous attacks from bounty hunters and Stormtroopers, whilst large families have been separated and put into vicious hardship and life-draining slavery. But now, within the harsh environs of the Kessel spice mines, a small group of Wookiees are free of their bonds to bring some physical chaos and punishment to their Imperial enslavers. Witness the revolt in an upcoming episode of STAR WARS REBELS this October.

Star Wars Rebels | Home | Official Disney UK


The recently Internet released, interesting character shorts for the series get their first UK digital TV airing tomorrow, Bank Holiday Monday, on the UK's DISNEY XD channel. Time details here: Star Wars Rebels (First Look) on Disney XD, Mon 25 Aug 7:45am - Your UK TV Listings at TVGuide.co.uk

BEHIND THE SCENES: ENCLOSED WORLD!


In Star Wars Canyon, Tunisia, during March 1976, a slightly wary looking Kenny Baker is strapped/installed within the Artoo Detoo shell, still getting used to its operation, for an upcoming scene with Sir Alec Guinness. Thankfully, by the time he's in the small fishing village of Jerba, Kenny looks a lot happier, continuing to be a lively presence for cast and crew during EPISODE IV's filming, as seen in this pic below.


STAR WARS AFICIONADO sends the merriest of Happy Birthday greetings out to the one and only Kenny Baker today!

Saturday, 23 August 2014

EPISODE I AT FIFTEEN: A STAR IS UNLEASHED!


The moment he appeared activating that double lightsaber in the first teaser trailer of 1998, if there was one surefire element that everybody was going to love in the then oncoming EPISODE I it would be sinister new Sith Lord, Darth Maul - a mysterious, athletic and savage new opponent for our Jedi heroes, especially Obi-Wan Kenobi. And when Maul graced his premiere magazine cover soon after- on the quickly sold-out issue of the US STAR WARS INSIDER- his popularity was further cemented and assured...


Happy Birthday today to the man who made the character so worthy and so evil in the STAR WARS Prequel Trilogy universe- Ray Park.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

GUERILLA WAR! REMEMBERING 'DARK APPRENTICE' - BOOK TWO OF 'THE JEDI ACADEMY TRILOGY'


Book Two of Kevin J. Anderson's Jedi Academy Trilogy- Dark Apprentice - speeds along as AFICIONADO celebrates both its place in the Expanded Universe and as an ambitious action successor to Timothy Zahn's opening trilogy- quite big shoes to step into!

Whereas Han and Chewie had the most action in Book One, this time out the adventure feels much more of an ensemble piece, particularly continuing to show us more of the mentioned but previously unexplored realms of the STAR WARS film universe. Now removed from the Maw sector of Kessel, wannabe Imperial tyrant Admiral Daala, thirsting revenge on the New Republic for the defeat of Tarkin and the Empire as a whole, begins her series of hit and run guerilla assaults alongside her remaining Star Destroyer fleet- first on a Rebel transport, then on the newly seeded colony world of Dantooine (literally massacred by spacial bombardments and AT-AT's). Then comes the big attack: on the undersea realms of the Mon Calamari (realised by the author in 1994 in a subtly different, but no less effective way to how it would eventually appear in THE CLONE WARS animated series). This is easily one of Book Two's highlights, where Admiral Ackbar, disgraced after almost prior killing Leia in a B-wing shuttle crash (later discovered as sabotage), gets to show his mettle as leader and strategist, whilst also saying a new variation on his classic line from ROTJ: "It's a Trap!" Meanwhile, other Imperial fractions on the training world of Carida gather strength in their plans to wrestle control from the New Republic: firstly, secretly poisoning Mon Mothma with a unique wasting virus, then planning to use an elite Stormtrooper squad to capture Leia and Han's third child, Anakin, from the safety of his secret location on the planet Anoth. More on this to come in Book Three.

Things aren't getting any easier for Luke in his setting up of the new Jedi Academy, either. Firmly settled on the Fourth Moon of Yavin (where Anderson reveals more about the planets history and its abandoned Massassi temples),  he has gathered his first twelve students, plus an inquisitive Mara Jade (a bit more friendly now towards her once enemy), but one- Gantoris- is soon murdered in mysterious circumstances (before his demise, linked to a fateful prophecy, he wields an impressive, extendable lightsaber blade weapon to Luke in a show of Dark Side strength), whilst the Master's most powerful star pupil, 18 year old Kyp Durron, previously rescued from Kessel by soon friend Han Solo, equally turns (perhaps too quickly in novel time) to evil, caught in the temptations and machinations of the reappeared spirit of one of the early Sith Lords: the formidable Exar Kun- leader of The Brotherhood of the Sith. Luke, previously resisting Kun's temptations (having used the appearance of the Sebastian Shaw version of Anakin Skywalker), soon has no choice but to battle both Kun and Durron. But will he be powerful enough?

In between all these events, Han and Lando are sidelined, engaged in constant friction, and Sabaac match battles, over ownership of the Falcon, General Wedge Antilles, on numerous assignments for the New Republic, gets to fall in love with one of the alien designers of the Death Star, whilst Chewbacca wants to free some prior prison-held wookiees from slavery on the Kessel Maw Imperial installation. Finally, young Jedi offspring Jacen and Jaina Solo get to show their Force powers after getting separated from Threepio and Chewbacca, going off to explore the underbelly of Coruscant/Imperial Center, in what is ultimately one of the weakest parts of the book.

Keeping the EMPIRE tradition, Dark Apprentice ends on an intriguing cliffhanger note, as Dark Forces of evil build: Durron, bordering on final Dark Side capabilities, salvages the Sun Crusher weapon and uses it against Daala's fleet, with catastrophic results, whilst Luke Skywalker's previous attempts to stop Kyp, and the corrupting influence of the immensely powerful spectre-like Exar Kun,  prove dangerously ineffectual. Soundly defeated, his mind separated from his body in Force limbo, it seems that his Jedi colleagues are now seemingly powerless to help him!

AFICIONADO RATING: A solid enough mixture of old and new from Anderson. 3 out of 5


Tuesday, 19 August 2014

BEHIND THE SCENES: FACE TO FACE!


Taking a break between on screen political antics as the distinctive Jar Jar Binks, a visor wearing, practical suit wearing Ahmed Best enjoys working with his alter-ego, in this behind the scenes image from Australian filming for EPISODE II.

A very Happy Birthday greeting goes out today to Mister Best, from STAR WARS AFICIONADO! 

Monday, 18 August 2014

HEROES AND VILLAINS! MORE 'EPISODE VII' GOSSIP!

Mark Hamill, and friend, returns to Pinewood Studios for filming. Image: Nathan Hamill.

Lots of interesting and exciting rumours on EPISODE VII's story, characters (especially villains), costuming and action. But, with the exception of a possible Luke or cyborg villain's mechanical hand (courtesy of J.J. Abrams), still very little confirmed facts. Regardless, enjoy...

A galaxy faraway, so close: Adam Driver on 'Star Wars: Episode VII' | Inside Movies | EW.com
Exclusive: Domhnall Gleeson Says What He Can About Star Wars: Episode VII - ComingSoon.net
Rumor: Description Of Daisy Ridley's Episode VII Costume | The Star Wars Underworld
Indie Revolver EXCLUSIVE: No One Expects the Sith Inquisition |
Exclusive: We Know Whose STAR WARS Hand JJ Abrams Showed Us | Badass Digest
More Information Star Wars: Episode VII's Stormtroopers & Incendiary Stormtroopers. - MakingStarWars.net
“It’s Not the Years, It’s the Parsecs.” |
New Star Wars: Episode VII Image Reveals Potential Plot Clue
MintInBox.net - Star Wars Episode VII

Is the mystery of the Lucasfilm publicity's chief's intriguing Twitter image about to be revealed? 

Finally, if the news is true (still no official confirmation, and have the distribution rights and remastering issues been sorted out?), a wonderful 2015 present for original, unaltered Classic Trilogy lovers: 

Report: Disney To Release Unaltered Original Trilogy On Blu-Ray | The Star Wars Underworld

Saturday, 16 August 2014

BEHIND THE SCENES: IN WITNESS TO THE FALLEN!


Mark Hamill and Bob Anderson get ready to film a vital scene on the massive set of the Emperor's Throne Room, at Elstree Studios in March 1982. Considering how RETURN OF THE JEDI had such a need for trilogy-ending plot secrecy, it's surprising to see so many crew on set watching Luke ultimately defeating Darth Vader! Supervised by director Richard Marquand, getting the camera ready is seasoned British cinematographer Alec Mills, a veteran of blockbuster movies, with a number of Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton era James Bond films to his past and future credit.


Out now from THE HISTORY PRESS, Mills has a brand new autobiography- SHOOTING 007 AND OTHER CELLULOID ADVENTURES - detailing his incredible and diverse time in the film industry, covering a vast range of behind the scenes experiences and memories on worldwide film sets and in exciting locations, with Bond and ROTJ getting some noteworthy attention.

Purchase SHOOTING 007 here: Shooting 007 | 9780750953634

And look out for our book review in the not too distant future...

Friday, 15 August 2014

THE CLONE WARS: FLYING PERILS!


Still trying to escape the Citadel prison world, Anakin and Even Piell make a bold aerial STAP assault against enemy forces, in this derring-do scene from the classic Season Three episode Counterattack.

A WORD OR TWO ABOUT 'THE EXPENDABLES 3'

The aviator! Harrison's back in action for THE EXPENDABLES 3. Images: LIONSGATE FILMS.

I'd previously skipped the second chapter of Sylvester Stallone's mass action heroes icon gathering that is THE EXPENDABLES saga, but I was very glad to have caught up with this new third one, released today in the UK. This time out, Stallone's talent for getting the likes of buddies and former box office screen competitors like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jet Li, Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas, Dolph Lundgren, and, most importantly, and quite surprisingly, Harrison Ford proved too irresistible a combo for me not to see. Ignoring what there is of an actual plot- there isn't really one, it's literally payback against an insane former "Expendable" in Mel Gibson (having an OTT ball here!) - I have to report being overall pretty impressed with the slick and fast-paced THE EXPENDABLES 3. For such a large cast, everyone seemed to have their moment in the sun character and action stakes-wise (and not afraid to make the occasional mockery of themselves in the process), whilst the fun these icons obviously had making it actually translates well to the screen (better than a lot of these other big name buddy-type movies), culminating in a genuinely exciting and spectacularly all-action finale within an abandoned, shady Eastern European hotel complex. Indeed, the film, directed with verve by Patrick Hughes, looks like it's had a deservedly way bigger cash injection since the originals unexpected box office release in 2010, and that's equally good news.

The Expendables 3 Trailer (Exclusive Trailer) - IMDb

As for a certain Mister Ford's appearance, well I was only expecting a cameo- perhaps a few minutes at the beginning and at the end as the suited CIA initiator, but surprisingly he was in the film quite a bit- his finale scenes in his guise as a shades-wearing, subtly daring, race against time helicopter pilot (clearly reflecting his real life aviation-loving air skills) proving a combination of an older, more grizzled Jack Ryan with the gung-ho-ness of Han Solo. It's nice to see Ford in action again, looking very comfortable in the pilot seat, as we get ready for his EPISODE VII contribution.

The gang's all here!

So, if you're wavering about seeing the film where it deserves to be seen - in the movie theatre, don't. Just buckle up and enjoy the big dumb fun action and nostalgia-fest that is THE EXPENDABLES 3.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

AN IMPORTANT POINT OF VIEW: CHARLES LIPPINCOTT LOOKS BACK ON 'STAR WARS'

A striking unused B/W poster concept for the original STAR WARS. Image: via Charles Lippincott's FACEBOOK page.

One of the original STAR WARS greatest allies on its path to cinematic realisation had to be its young and dedicated publicist Charles Lippincott. Lippincott was the man, as advertising/publicity supervisor, who helped sell the concept of a sci-fi/fantasy adventure to a blinkered film studio and a world audience at that time, in the seventies, when this particular genre was pretty much dead and buried thanks to a wave of dark-edged anti-hero thrillers and big-budget, big-starred disaster movies. George Lucas's production, though seemingly considered small budget at the nine million dollar mark, filming in the UK with at first little or no interest from the entertainment industry, was nonetheless a complex affair to organise in concept and practical execution, alongside the job of getting the film's vital visual effects and post production schedule on course and conceiving the film's unique flavour in all kinds of advertising and publicity, from posters to TV advertising, and eventual spin-off merchandise. Lippincott to a very large degree was involved in all these areas, and more, as well as providing many of the key of-their-time publicity interviews with Hamill, Ford, Fisher and co. later to be unearthed by Lucasfilm's Don Bies and J.W. Rinzler for the latter's acclaimed THE MAKING OF STAR WARS book of 2007 (now available in revised e-book form).

Lippincott (centre) in 1977, with FAMOUS MONSTERS magazine legend Forrest J. Ackerman (left) and Shel Dorf (right).  Photo by Alan Light.

Previously self-removed for the most part from the STAR WARS universe until around five or six years ago, Lippincott has made a welcome return presence and created a unique FACEBOOK page on the genesis and evolution behind the scenes of the first film, before it became A New Hope, putting up some rare, incredible imagery, artworks (like the one above) and production paperwork in his quest to debunk some of the now classic, and incorrect, behind the scenes mythos on the making of that first film between 1975 and 1977 that have evolved over the years. Having also been involved in publicity for the next FOX- backed sci-fi project, the equally iconic ALIEN, and buying the rights to the UK's 2000 AD comic character of almost vigilante future super-cop JUDGE DREDD, who eventually made his way to cinema screens first in 1995 with Sylvester Stallone in the title role, Lippincott's FACEBOOK page is an essential "Like" and "Follow"- a genuine treasure trove of memories and nostalgia to savour and celebrate.

Star Wars marketing man Charles Lippincott on the real force behind the franchise's success | The Drum

FACEBOOK PAGE: Charles Lippincott

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

GOODBYE, JOE VISKOCIL...

Pyrotechnics wizard Joe Viskocil in 1976/77, with the Blockade Runner model from the original STAR WARS.

Another of the all-time great STAR WARS visual effects wizards has passed into the Force, with last night's sad news that the always in demand freelance pyrotechnics supervisor, and all-round nice guy, Joe Viskocil has died at the young age of 63. A fan of visual effects since childhood, and a particular enthusiast growing up on the exciting, colourful and always spectacularly explosive Gerry Anderson UK Supermarionation puppet action/adventure series of the mid to late sixties, Viskocil would vigorously enter the seventies quickly rising up the small but building new US behind the scenes SPFX ladder, journeying to the forefront of modern day pyrotechnics use in visual and practical effects filming, not just in blockbuster space epics but all other types of drama and entertainment that required his unique services. Going into the eighties and nineties he helped see-in the return of Batman with Tim Burton, and engineer world destruction in Independence Day, and beyond, as the man with the fingers on the explosive detonator! But it will be the first two Classic Trilogy STAR WARS movies for which he'll always be remembered by fans, assisting John Dykstra and the newly formed ILM from around 1975 to 1980. Any classic miniature explosion, large or small, the bigger the better, from the later re-titled A New Hope and its superb first sequel, The Empire Strikes Back, notably the first Death Star battle and the Imperial Walkers attack on Hoth, were realised to the highest standards by Viskocil - a talent whose like will be much missed in Hollywood and the entertainment industry at large...

Viskocil, helped by Joe Johnston, prepares to plant an explosive inside a doomed model X-wing, for STAR WARS.
A bearded Viskocil and a colleague prepare a charge inside an AT-AT, for THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.
Another great image of Viskocil planning destruction on an impressive Walker model.

Some of Viskocil's exemplary work for the classic TIE fighter sentry attack on the Falcon, from A New HopeSTAR WARS: A NEW HOPE - TIE Fighter Attack - YouTube

Viskocil's favourite explosion: the final TIE fighter sentry is destroyed, from the original STAR WARS.

Monday, 11 August 2014

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, IAN McDIARMID!


Master of the Dark Arts and skilled Machiavellian manipulator. Twisted and abhorrent the era of Darth Sidious, aka Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, would be as the backbone threat to the entire opening two trilogies of the STAR WARS saga. Will his legacy of evil persist into the dangerous environs of EPISODE VII?

A very Happy 70th Birthday today to the man who brilliantly brought such cruel deeds to life - Ian McDiarmid.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

EPISODE VII NEWS: HARRISON's BACK ON TRACK!


Proving he's got off-screen milage way beyond his heroic portrayals of Han Solo and Indiana Jones, its great to see Harrison Ford back on two feet- preparing to return to the UK in the next week or so (much earlier than planned) for EPISODE VII filming, into September, at Pinewood Studios.

Welcome Back, Harrison!

Star Wars' Harrison Ford boards a private jet in Southern California | Mail Online

CLASSIC INDY: BEING "THE NEXT MAN"!


The strained but loving father and son relationship between "The Jones Boys" certainly helped to ensure the worldwide success of INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE with audiences and at the box office, especially because of all the great humour it generated from both the script and Harrison Ford and Sean Connery's sometimes improvised performances. This infamous and funny scene, of the duo captured by the Nazis at Brunwald Castle, is one particular highlight.

Friday, 8 August 2014

COMING SOON: 'STAR WARS IN 100 SCENES'

Light and dark fight for the universe in STAR WARS IN 100 SCENES. Images: LUCASFILM/DORLING KINDERSLEY.

Over the last ten years or so, there's rarely not been many a magazine feature or Internet site detailing what they think have been the most important and classic scenes from across the landmark six films (so far) of George Lucas's STAR WARS saga. Even STAR WARS AFICIONADO has its own regular plethora of "Classic Images" on display from time to time. But there's never been an official Lucasfilm book using this idea to truly encompass such a worthy endeavour of celebration and revelation. Until now, that is, with the arrival of Jason Fry and DORLING KINDERSLEY's lovely new tome STAR WARS IN 100 SCENES, coming this 1st September, 2014 in the UK, priced £14.99.

Obi-Wan Kenobi is caught in a lethal space trap in Duel in the Rings.
The shroud of the Sith has fallen, but Master Yoda fights on for the Force.

Exactly what it says on the tin, this is a charming book, particularly aimed at the STAR WARS newbies, about to experience the old and new characters and environments of EPISODE VII, whom surely have some fast-paced catching up to do by next Christmas. Presented in film order, and in the best DK infomatic style, each classic scene advances through the bigger picture of the overall saga, presented in easy to read but lavish spread form, featuring a main picture and small images with plot-packed info above and around it (including characters, locations, vehicles and weaponry), alongside key dialogue quotes and snippets of behind the scenes information. Visually notable, EPISODEs IV to VI use a combination of on set scene photographs (with the odd choice rarity thrown in) mixed with good quality screen captures.

Resurrection of evil, and the emergence of Darth Vader.
The temptation of Luke Skywalker, and a Dark Lord's Secret...

From the return of the Sith, to the fateful Order 66 and the immolation of Darth Vader, to the spirited heroism of Luke Skywalker and his friends on Tatooine, the Death Star and beyond, whatever your favourite films, or favourite specific trilogy, all the moments you could ask for are well represented within this terrific 208-page hardback time capsule, more than fulfilling its purpose in informing and entertaining its readers, reminding us, because we like it, why STAR WARS is still the greatest space fantasy saga ever realised for the big screen cinematic audience medium.

AFICIONADO RATING: A remarkable universe, and a modern fairy tale that continues to delight and spellbind the world. 4 out of 5

Get hold of STAR WARS IN 100 SCENES here: Star Wars In 100 Scenes: Amazon.co.uk: Dk: Books

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

AFICIONADO REVIEW: 'STAR WARS REBELS - THE VISUAL GUIDE'


Children of the revolution! The young cast of STAR WARS: REBELS. All images: LUCASFILM/DISNEY/DORLING KINDERSLEY.


STAR WARS REBELS: THE VISUAL GUIDE

Written by Adam Bray

With a Foreword by Dave Filoni

Published by DORLING KINDERSLEY

Available in the UK from August 1st, 2014. Price: £12.99


Reviewed by Scott Weller


Ezra Bridger, Kanan Jarrus, Hera Syndulla, Sabine Wren, Chopper, Zeb Orelios…

Names that may seem unfamiliar now but ones that will soon become feared and hated by their enemies in the tyrannical Galactic Empire. Names whose spark will light an expansive, consuming touch paper to an eventual rebellion against evil, corruption and injustice in the dark times that have since enslaved a universe. The heroes, and villains, of the freshly minted STAR WARS REBELS animated series arrive this October on the worldwide Disney XD channel, of which enthused author Adam Bray, Lucas Books and the dedicated custodians of the STAR WARS visual history flame based at DORLING KINDERSLEY now bring soon-to-be enraptured younger readers an evocative and exciting Visual Guide to the hotly anticipated next phase of the STAR WARS legend on television.


Specially designed to capture the adventurous spirit and galaxy traversing tone of that Original Trilogy which first exploded on to cinematic screens in 1977, set in the STAR WARS universe timeline five years before former farmboy Luke Skywalker changed the galaxy forever in destroying the behemoth Death Star space station, REBELS gives us a new young warrior to root for- Ezra Bridger. Almost the ultimate definition of a street urchin with a cocky but also vulnerable side to his nature, the isolated Ezra has survived on his wits, instincts and unusual latent abilities since he was very small on the far-off frontier world of Lothal. Talents for survival against an often harsh backdrop of oppression and violence that will lead him to uniquely joining a new “family” recognizing and helping him awaken his potential as a Jedi Knight-one of a rare breed seemingly exterminated from the universe for the most part by the evil Sith Lord duo of Emperor Palpatine and his ruthless servant, Darth Vader.
 
A new destiny awaits loner Ezra Bridger.

Ezra’s destiny, within this time frame of oppression dominated by dark-deeded spies, legions of same-faced Imperial Stormtroopers and their overall technological superiority in the suppression of peoples and worlds, soon emerges as a shining beacon to raw heroism, changed for the better alongside his new compatriots, who themselves change for the better in his company. A group of hardened, capable, quirky and very diverse resistance fighters from all corners of the universe, and of all shapes and sizes- a veritable STAR WARS version of Robin Hood and his Merry Men- led by pony-tailed Kanan Jarrus, soon out of hiding to reveal his own powerful status as a Jedi, now that he has witnessed Ezra’s future potential in the Force. Together, will they be powerful enough to defeat the Sith reign? 
 
Familiar Imperial technology returns to the saga.

Its tone established right from the hour-long opener, from then on its fast-paced action, humour and STAR WARS history-making/ icon celebrating all the way, as author Bray enlightens readers with this new/old universe, giving us the full lowdown on our rebel cadre- their backstories, capabilities and idiosyncrasies, alongside their intriguing weapons and technology, travelling the distant realms together from Lothal to Kessel in their unique Corellian-made, blockade running, armament-packed, TIE fighter battling ship, Ghost. Charting the journey so far, the book details some of the new and familiar faces on hand, plus some of the shady, other side of the coin partners Kanan and co. will have no choice but to ally themselves with in order to survive and fight on.
 
Touched by evil- the determined Inquisitor.

And then there’s the Empire, of whom Ezra and co. soon make an impact against, especially once Kanan’s Jedi skills are finally revealed after years of being deliberately hidden or subdued, soon putting them firmly in the targeting sights of the most sinister and dangerously effective forces in dedicated service to the Sith: notably the Utapau-born Inquisitor- intelligent, unpredictably cunning and, though not quite a Jedi, a truly demonic warrior certainly bearing the necessary lightsaber skills to take out anyone who stands in his way. Backed up by the dedicated human Agent Kallus, commanding his Stormtroopers with an in-the-thick-of-it fighting style, fearsome might and ambitious, unparalleled ruthlessness, evil has never been more prescient or generated more fear. One thing’s for sure, our heroes, and the viewing audience, are in for a thrill-packed, eventful ride from their building conflicts, of which this book is an exemplary primer- showing us the wonder and excitement that only the STAR WARS franchise can deliver. As REBELS boldly fuses the visuals and universes of EPISODEs III and IV together in all their rich detail, Bray opens the door to the pilot episode and then goes beyond it, examining several further future key episodes that look just as intriguing, his info-revealing text clear, concise and appealing, indicating a series that will likely grow ever-more depthful as it goes on. The colourful book’s designers, their love affair with STAR WARS happily contagious, additionally enhance the enterprise with beautiful spreads promoting standout key action and character moments that will surely become indelible over time within the overall franchise's modern canon status. In that galaxy far, far away, the wind to shake the stars is gathering momentum anew…

AFICIONADO RATING. The first phase of DISNEY’s inheritance of the STAR WARS franchise begins.Backed up with a worthy, part-nostalgic foreword to the series by co-creator Dave Filoni, who also previously help mastermind THE CLONE WARS to animated acclaim, this Visual Guide to the all-new STAR WARS REBELS, particularly designed for a more youthful reading style and viewing base, will surely be the first of many volumes! 3.5 out of 5

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"There's one! Set for stun!"

Catch the new seven-minute preview for STAR WARS: REBELS here: ▶ First Look at Star Wars Rebels - YouTube