The Spice Must Flow…

Do you love Dune? I do. It’s one of my favorite books of all time. And the movie? David Lynch’s take on the story is the best we’ll have until someone comes along and shoots another Dune movie. Still, there are guys like this one that go beyond everything and make a cut from all the released versions of the movie. Dune: The Complete Saga is a three-hour long fan cut that you definitely must watch!

Update: Well, it looks someone didn’t like the fan cut and removed it from Vimeo 🙁 Still, this is the Internet so it will probably appear somewhere else in a few days.

Missing old friends

Calvin & Hobbes last strip

 

I knew Calvin & Hobbes when they were printed in Portugal for the first time by the newspaper Público. My father bought it every day and I read religiously every strip until one day I grew out of it.

My 20’s had that effect in me, I left behind some of the best things I had as a kid… Fortunately, when I entered my 30’s, I went back and started to pick up all those pieces again. Calvin and Hobbes were like two friends for me, and while it saddens me a lot, not being there in those last strips, I was glad I actually read the last when it came out.

Now, with 35, I’m reading all Calvin & Hobbes strips, not only to see what I’ve missed but also that one day, my kids can welcome the feisty 6-year-old kid and his pet tiger in their lives, as I did.

BTW, if you are a Calvin & Hobbes fan, you might want to check out this documentary, Dear Mr. Watterson. It won’t let you down.

 

Happy 30th RotJ…

jedi-30b-1024x1024

Return of the Jedi was one of the first movies I remember watching in a movie theater. I was five back then and till this day I still can’t figure out how my parents sneak me in the São Jorge movie theater in Lisbon, in a after noon screening. Anyway, the experience was so memorable that I can still recall that day thirty years later. There is something magical in watching your first Star Wars movie in a theater, like it was mean to be seen.

Thirty years later, I would pay to watch it again, unchanged, unmodified, more than I would pay to watch Episode VII… Happy b’day RotJ.

Say “Kiss me”.

Blade Runner scene with Harrison Ford and Sean Young

 

Dreaming with Blade Runner 2… Crossing my fingers, hoping that Ridley Scott doesn’t ruin it…

Big things have small beginnings

The title of this post is one of the most significant lines of David, one of the main characters in Prometheus and it’s perhaps the best way to describe Ridley Scott’s latest sci-fi movie.

First, let me get just one thing out-of-the-way. Prometheus is a great movie, one of the best sci-fi movies of the last 10 years, but it’s not supposed to be an Alien prequel, so for the critics out there that insist in comparing Prometheus with Alien and saying that it’s bad, FUCK YOU. Alien is one of the best exercises in fear and suspense, an excellent movie, so good that no other Alien movie (2,3 and 3) can live up to it, and those were supposed to be better. Prometheus is a whole new beast, it’s an action sci-fi movie that shares the Alien movies DNA and answers some of the questions raised 33 years ago, but it raises new ones, a lot of them, many beyond everything we learned about this universe in the Alien movies.

With this out-of-the-way, let me start my short review, hopefully without spoilers.

Let me start with the 3D. I’m not a very big fan of 3D movies, and when possible, I watch the 2D versions. Prometheus is the best 3D movie I’ve ever seen. The 3D usage has been meticulously thought, it works great and serves its purpose. It’s also the first 3D movie that didn’t give me a headache, that’s supposed to mean something. It’s a polished movie, the photography is amazing, the effects are sublime, very well done, almost an exercise in design, with each an every one of them serving their purpose. The days of the walls with blinking led lights are long gone, now every led, screen or hologram is there for a valid reason, so real that makes you believe it’s true. The creatures are amazing, we get to see more that we hoped for, everything done in a seamless way. Ridley Scott’s formula of real sets with CGI works ten thousand times better that the green screen shit other directors do. This only proves that RS knows what he’s doing from the beginning of the movie to the end.

The cast is good, but even with great names like Charlize Theron and Guy Pearce, it’s Michael Fassbender’s David that steals the show. David is a roller coaster ride of personalities. In a minute he’s a curious child exploring an alien world like it was a toy shop, in another he’s a calculating and mischievous bastard with the face of Peter O’Toole. David, Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) are the strongest characters in the movie, all the others are there to enhance the plot or are “cannon fodder”, and that it’s perhaps Prometheus biggest flaw, the personality traits of the stereotyped movie characters, but even that doesn’t spoil the amazing story Ridley Scott tells us. There are a lot of topics covered in Prometheus. Life, death, religion, faith, humanity, all in a mixed bag of emotions that leaves a lot of room for at least two more movies, which I really hope RS makes them. The story is so good that you won’t want to leave the theater in the end waiting for more.

To finish, if you want to see this movie, leave your “Alien” baggage out the door, it will be more interesting that way because each nod, each piece of information related to the Alien universe you get to see in this movie, will be a better surprise. You can “connect the dots” later on when you arrive home and watch Alien, only to find that your memory of the movie was “sugar-coating” it a lot more that you were expecting it to be.

Prometheus can be, indeed, the small beginning for on of the biggest trilogies the sci-fi genre will ever have.

The Robotics Behind TMNT Movie 1992

RIP Ralph Mcquarrie

Ralph was one of the main reasons why the original Star Wars trilogy was is so damn awesome. His work gave shape to what Star Wars came to be, in such a spectacular way that still to this day I gaze to the artwork he created, sometimes enjoying his artwork more than the movies themselves.

He’s early concepts of the main characters like Darth Vader, Luke and the droids are indeed one of the best representations of the true Star Wars spirit.

Rest in peace Ralph, may the force be with you… always.

Star Wars Blu-Ray Rants

 

So George… here we are again. One more release. This time, the entire saga. Of course you took my money, but this time, I offered some resistance.

First of all, let me put this straight: I’m not a Star Wars purist. While I prefer the original trilogy, I can watch any of the first 3 episodes without pulling my hair out. Having said that, here’s my 2 cents on this new Star Wars compilation on Blu-ray.

Image quality is astonishing, like it was expected, but Ep. I shows a bit of aging in the CGI… the textures seem somehow low res compared to the rest. Ep II and III are great, still they could have used a bit more quality control on the color correction.

The original trilogy is where this pack shines, image quality wise. It’s more crisp than ever, but it’s normal since we’re getting a transfer from the remaster made in 1080p for the previous DVD release. If you had the chance to watch the HDTV versions, you won’t notice too much differences… except for the obvious changes GL did… again…

As I said before, I’m not a purist, but I grew up watching the original trilogy, untouched. I watched Return of the Jedi when it came out… it was probably one of the first movies I watched in a movie theater. Later, I watched the tv versions, the Beta versions, the VHS versions, and only in the 90’s I would get the chance to watch Star Wars again in a movie theater, with the Special Edition release. Seeing some of those changes was odd back then as it is now, but I accepted the minor tweaks, some of them actually improved the story telling. I even digged Jabba’s appearance in Ep. IV! But Han shooting first! WTF?! Censuring blaster wounds in Imperials! That stupid musical act in RotJ and in the end, again, cutting off Yub Nub Ewok celebration for an entire new scene!? Jeez!

A new release, this time in DVD, and we got more changes… Hayden Christensen’s force ghost in the end of RotJ was the nail in the coffin for me… or so I thought before seeing how George Lucas screw one of the best scenes of the entire saga.



Vader’s silence while throwing the Emperor to the pit was poetic. We could feel the light and dark sides of the force battling inside his mind, the man vs the machine combat and the reaction at the very end, all in silence. Now we get a “NOOOOO!”, a stupid change that ruined it completely…

Unless a new version with the remastered original original trilogy is released, this will be the last time I pay for a Star Wars compilation.

I’m done. I rather have my Star Wars fix from one of the many fan edits you can find on the web, than watching ruined official versions. If you want to watch the original trilogy as it was released, try Harmy’s Despecialized Editions or OmegaMattMan’s Hyperspace Edition, both amazing versions of the original trilogy, you won’t be sorry.

In the end, there’re good reasons to buy the Blu-Ray versions:

  • The Extras, 40 hours of deleted scenes and documentaries that will make the Star Wars fanboy in you glee like a little girl. I was glad that they included an interview with all the original trilogy movies director’s, it was very good to watch Irvin Kershner.
  • Having Yoda’s horrible puppet in TPM replaced  by the CGI version.
  • The remasted 6.1 audio is awesome.
  • It’s HD 🙂

 
I’m not saying that you should or shouldn’t buy the Blu-Ray pack. It’s up to you and your love for Star Wars, if you can, borrow from a friend or rent it from a video club… May the force be with you.