Thursday, June 02, 2005

Box Office Numbers

This past Friday, I played amateur prognosticator on the 2nd week box office numbers for ROTS. Unfortunately, I didn't look carefully enough at the weekly windows the movie industry uses, so my numbers are a bit off from those used by the industry.

Using a Monday (5/23) to Sunday (5/29) window, I predicted a $100 million second week. Box Office Mojo has the official box office count for that period as $97,199,011. So, I was pretty close for that window.

For future reference, the industry's weekly window appears to be Friday through Thursday, which makes sense considering most films open on Fridays.

Using the industry window, and with Wednesday and Thursday numbers not included, ROTS's 2nd week stands at $74,453,694. If Wed. and Thurs. figures are consistent with the Tues. figures, ROTS should do another $9 million or so, and push the 2nd week total to around $83 million. This would also push the total to about $283 million, with the $300 million barrier most likely falling either Saturday or early Sunday.

Another box office site, Box Office Report, which was nearly dead-on with its weekend forecast for ROTS last week, is forecasting a $26 million weekend (6/3-6/5). If this holds true, ROTS will definitely exceed the $300 million barrier, and will do so ahead of the record holder Shrek 2, which broke the $300 million barrier on the 18th day of release. The question seems to be whether ROTS will be one day or two days ahead of that pace.

The additional question (at least for me): Does ROTS have the momentum to sink the "Titantic"? IMO, the keys to ROTS breaking the $600 million barrier has to do with a relatively weak summer lineup (which appears quite weak) and a big 4th of July push. Since the 4th is on a Monday, if Fox and Lucas are smart, a big advertising blitz around that holiday might help generate that additional push and a gathering of new momentum to blow the "Titantic" out of the water. (*shamelessly bad puns inserted for loyal reader*)

© 2004-05 Olen York – All Rights Reserved

Friday, May 27, 2005

Episode VI - The Return of the Champ

RETURN OF THE CHAMP

Jedi York has returned to his home blog of White Poet Warlord in an attempt to rescue his friend Josh Duncan from the clutches of the vile Darth Lord Dopey-Wan Kenobi.

Little does York know that the GALATIC BLOGOSPHERE has secretly begun construction on a new armored blog system even more powerful than the first dreaded Death Blog.

When completed, this ultimate weapon will spell certain doom for the small band of rebels struggling to restore freedom to the Blogosphere....


In a dramatic and inspirational turn-about, Jedi York was able to thwart the efforts of the Darth Lord Dopey-Wan Kenobi and rescue his long lost friend, Josh Duncan. Obi-Wan Kenobi, Dopey's Uncle Ben, had once explained how Dopey had murdered Josh, from a certain point of view. Now, strong in the blogo-force, Jedi York was able to turn the once good Jedi Duncan from the darkside and re-transform Duncan from evil back to good.

The benevolence of Jedi York was evident, when having outsmarted Darth Lord Dopey-Wan Kenobi in a mismatch of posting skills, weakened Dopey-Wan's defenses and appealed to his inner good. In a touching moment, Jedi York tried to remove Dopey-Wan's mask (oops - he really is that gobblin-esque) and restore the good in Duncan, but had to settle for bludgeoning him with a bag of oranges until Dopey realized he should go back to being Duncan, if only for his own safety.

May the force be with you - ALWAYS.

© 2004-05 Olen York – All Rights Reserved

Episode V - Dopey-Wan Strikes Back

Dopey-Wan Strikes Back

It is a dark time for the Rebellion. Although the Death Blog has been destroyed by Jedi York, Imperial troops lead by Dopey-Wan Kenobi have driven the Rebel forces from their hidden blog base and pursued them across the Blogosphere.

Evading the dreadful Imperial Starfleet blog, a group of freedom fighters led by Jedi York has established a new secret blog base on a remote blog system.

The evil lord Darth Dopey-Wan Kenobi, obsessed with finding young York, has dispatched thousands of remote probes into the far reaches of the Blogosphere....


Proving time and again that he is truly master of the dark side, but not master of his domain, Dopey-Wan continues his merciless, dare I say defamatory, attack on yours truly. Dopey-Wan's efforts are intended to undermine the confidence that I have engendered from the Galactic Blogosphere, and to assume the reigns of power once I am disposed of. I fear that this plot will upset the balance and cloud the efforts of Jedi Bloggers everywhere.

Dopey-Wan's skill in lies and deception are confounded by the cherubic appearance and demeanor he exudes. If you are not afraid - YOU WILL BE!! Learn to resist his evilness.

Don't despair, the good side may have the final say ....

© 2004-05 Olen York – All Rights Reserved

Episode IV - A New Dope - Same As the Old Dope

A New Dope - Same As the Old Dope

It is a period of civil war. Rebel bloggers, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Blogosphere and its hidden ruler, Sith Lord Dopey-Wan Kenobi.

During the battle, Rebel blogger spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the Death Blog, a fortified blog site with enough power to destroy an entire blogger.

Pursued by the Empire’s sinister bloggers, Jedi York races to post from his blogship, custodian of the stolen plans that can save bloggers everywhere and restore freed to the Blogosphere....


DOPEY-WAN KENOBI has fired off yet another digusting diatribe smearing the name of your friendly Jedi Blogger. The Sith Lord Kenobi has brought chaos and fear to the Blogosphere. Dopey-Wan, in his typical cavalier fashion, authoritatively states:

The Jedi do not start wars.


I fear the Blogosphere is far too trusting of this Sith Lord masquerading as a Jedi Blogger. While it is true that Jedi do not start wars, it is also written (and true) that Jedi do not deceive for personal gain. Much like Chancellor Palpatine, Sith Lord Dopey-Wan Kenobi is feigning passivity, yet El Dopo fired a shot across my Corillean bow with the smear in referring to this blog as "that thing you call a blog". The condescension is dripping from his slack-jaw.

Much like Yoda, from October through April, I retreated to the sanctity of Dagobah to train and reflect, not to churn out meaningless drivel about dark chocolate M&M's or ... ok that is the only good example - but it speaks for itself (res ipsa loquitur).

In my training, I have become more powerful and wise, and a bigger threat to the Sith Lord's hegemony. I only hope that I have arrived in time to quell this evil uprising.


© 2004-05 Olen York – All Rights Reserved

Episode III - Revenge of the Chump

REVENGE OF THE DOPE

War! The Blogosphere is crumbling under attacks by the ruthless Sith Lord Dopey-Wan Kenobi. There are heroes on both sides. Evil is everywhere.

In a stunning move, the fiendish post leader, General I-Have-A-Grievance, in concert with Dopey-Wan Kenobi, has swept into the Blogosphere capital and hijacked control of the Blogosphere.

As the Separatist Bloggers try to besiege the Blogosphere, one Jedi Blogger leads a desperate mission to rescue the Blogosphere from the clutches of Dopey-Wan Kenobi....


Dopey-Wan is still assigning malice to innocent intentions and actions. The unmitigated hubris that Dopey-Wan detects is simply the reflection of himself in his oversized mirror. His narcissism will be his demise.

I, too, have been caught off guard - but no longer - the Blogging Jedi are on high alert and armed to destroy the evil Sith Lord Dopey-Wan Kenobi.


© 2004-05 Olen York – All Rights Reserved

Episode II - Attack of the Dope

ATTACK OF THE DOPE

There is unrest in the Galactic Blogosphere. Several thousand blogging systems have declared their intentions to leave the Blogosphere.

This separatist movement, under the leadership of the mysterious Count Dopey-Wan Kenobi, has made it difficult for the limited number of Jedi Bloggers to maintain peace and order in the Blogosphere.

Dopey-Wan Kenobi, the former Jedi Blogger, is returning the Blogosphere Congress to vote on the issue of creating a Blogging Overseer to undermine the Jedi Bloggers....


Once again, DOPEY-WAN KENOBI has hurled vicious and unsubstantiated charges at your favorite Jedi Blogger. At least Dopey-Wan properly identified that it was an "Attack On..."

There is much fear and anger in him - turn him from the darkside we must.


© 2004-05 Olen York – All Rights Reserved

Episode I - The Phantom Dope

THE PHANTOM DOPE

Turmoil has engulfed the Galactic Blogosphere. The post frequency and content of outlying blogosphere systems is in dispute.

Hoping to resolve the matter with a blockade of deadly insults and embarrassment, the arrogant Content Federation has stopped all posting to the small system of Logician.

While the Congress of the Galactic Blogosphere endlessly debates this alarming chain of events, the Supreme Chancellor has secretly dispatched two Jedi Knights, including Dopey-Wan Kenobi, the guardians of peace and justice in the Blogosphere, to settle the posting conflict....


Having taken an innocent jab at DOPEY-WAN KENOBI, Master Dopey has now turned to the dark-side with his posting-saber and has sullied my character and reputation without cause. The Blogosphere Congress will not be pleased with his anger and jealousy.

Me thinks Master Dopey-Wan may be a Sith himself - always remember, to know what your enemy is up to, be mindful of what your enemey accuses you of.


© 2004-05 Olen York – All Rights Reserved

Second Week Box Office for ROTS?

If you are a statistics junkie like I am (baseball, music charts, box office numbers), then you may appreciate the fine work of the folks at Box Office Mojo. BOM tracks the box office figures for all movies released.

Through Wednesday, ROTS $191.4 million, and probably exceeded the $200 million barrier on Thursday (if the viewing trend continued). Just for fun, anyone wanna speculate on the second week box office figures (which is measure Mon. through Sun.)? The Mon. through Wed. total is $32.9 million. I would guess that ROTS generated another $8 million on Thursday, which would push the second week total to $40 million. I would also guess that ROTS will generate about $20 million per day Fri. through Sun., for a $60 million weekend, and a $100 million second week. I may be underestimating the weekend by some margin, too, considering that this is a holiday weekend. It would be great to see ROTS generate $80 or $90 million over the weekend, and push the second week total to $120 million or so.

For comparison, Box Office Report is forecasting ROTS as generating $73 million for the holiday weekend (Friday through Monday). Giving each day equal weight (arbitrarily), the Frid. through Sun. window would generate about $54 million, and would put the second week number at around $90 million.

For now, I will stick with around $100 million, and hope that I am underestimating.

I hope that this movie keeps its word of mouth momentum and replaces the dreadful "Titantic" at the top of the box office heap (non-adjusted dollars).

If anyone is out there, please leave a prediction in the comments. The winner will receive Republic Credits as his/her reward.

© 2004-05 Olen York – All Rights Reserved

TK-421 - Why Are You Not At Your Post?

The Lazy Logician is not manning his blog post - after busting my hump for months about my inactivity. I wonder if he's had a weapon's malfunction? Where are you, TK-421? Over.

© 2004-05 Olen York – All Rights Reserved

Thursday, May 26, 2005

I'm Not THIS Much of a Star Wars Geek

Egads!! Home-made light-sabers ain't like dustin' crops boy...oops, my apologies for that slip.

The Force--let alone common sense--was definitely not with them.

Two British Star Wars fans sustained critical injuries after constructing their own lightsabers from fluorescent light tubes filled with liquid fuel.


Great googily-moogily.

I hope these folks make a full and complete recovery, but even the suggestion of using flammable material in these home-made contraptions should have put one of the Jedi Knights on high alert.

To add insult to injury, the dynamic duo videotaped the light-saber clash for posterity. Do I sniff another "Star Wars Kid" in the making? Let's hope not, for everyone's sake.

© 2004-05 Olen York – All Rights Reserved

Second Viewing of Sith

I had the opportunity to catch "Revenge of the Sith" (ROTS) for a second time over the weekend. In short - still an awesome flick, and still in my top two.

I was struck by how much more sad I felt about the demise of the friendship / relationship between Obi-Wan and Anakin, as compared to my first viewing. Ewan McGregor gave a stellar performance throughout the film, and on occasion, had the hair on the back of my neck standing on end b/c of the authority in his voice (*thinking of the scene when Obi-Wan commands Anakin to release Padme from the chokehold*).

Ian McDiarmid is scary-excellent as Palpatine / Sidious / Emperor.

I have no doubt that I will probably see this movie another two or three times before the theatrical run is complete. My transformation to complete geek is nearly complete.

© 2004-05 Olen York – All Rights Reserved

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Revenge of the Sith: In-Freakin'-Credible

With less than 24 hours in the rear-view mirror, and still riding an emotional high from the experience, it will be interesting to see if I hold the same opinion of this film in the upcoming weeks, months and years.

For now, my personal hexology ranking is:

1. Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
2. Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
3. Episode IV: A New Hope
4. Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
5. Episode II: Attack of the Clones
6. Episode I: The Phantom Menace

For me, the gap between V and I is not as great as for other SW fans. However, Ep. I suffered from too much focus on Jar-Jar and the pod race, when some of that time could / should have been devoted to Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan and Darth Maul. It should not have taken 45 minutes to convey the point that Anakin was an excellent pilot.

As for Ep. V vs. Ep. III - a dead heat at the line. IMO, had Ep. III focused more attention on the Wookiees and given the viewer a cameo of Qui-Gon near the end, Ep. III would be numero uno.

Ep. III was spectacular. The acting was less wooden than normal, although occasional snicker moments did arise. Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine / Sidious / Emperor gave an Oscar-worthy performance, and I'm not exaggerating. The recent garbage out of Hollywood, and peddled as great peformances reinforces my belief that McDiarmid is entirely underrated as an actor, as well as Ewan McGregor. In the scenes with McDiarmid, the audience nearly forgets the trademark campiness and somewhat banal language used by Lucas through the saga.

The light-saber battles were generally more subdued than I expected (I expected Obi-Wan and Anakin to battle for twenty minutes), and for the most part, the less-is-more worked well. The battle between Dooku and Anakin should have lasted a bit longer, but it is hard to complain. The battle between Yoda and the Emperor is quite impressive - I'm always impressed with Yoda's skills, since he moves at glacial pace when not engaged in battle.

The Obi-Anakin duel is visually impressive. Obi-Wan's final swings are delivered somewhat painfully, as he is destroying his friend and pupil. This scene is quite grisly. Obi-Wan exits, believing that Anakin is dead or will soon die. However, the Emperor sweeps in to save Anakin / Vader from sure death. The viewer gets to see Anakin on the operating table, with arms and legs severed and severe burns over the rest of his body. The famous Vader mask, helmet, suit and cape are placed onto Anakin, and the transformation to Vader is nearly complete.

When the helmet is vapor locked onto Anakin's head, and he breathes his first breath via artificial support, and that familiar "quooh" is heard, it IS 1977 once again. Vader has replaced Anakin.

In a parallel fashion, Padme is giving birth to the twins (Luke and Leia), and is quickly dying (apparently she lacks the will to live). The scene is rushed, and the choppiness of Padme's naming of the children is forced. It is a sad scene, but is so rushed, the impact of the moment quickly passes.

Bail Organa, Obi-Wan and Yoda decide to separate the twins and to hide them far away from the Empire, until the time is right. Thus, Organa adopts Leia, and Obi-Wan takes Luke to Tatooine to join his Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru.

In the final scene, Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru receive Luke from Obi-Wan, and cradle him as they look at the setting suns in the distance, reminescent of Luke peering at a similar sunset in Episode IV.

Cue the brilliant John Williams.

IMO, Lucas clearly redeemed his name and the series, and interestingly raised additional questions that could evolve into ancillary series (perhaps a pre-prequel??) involving Palpatine and his mentor, Darth Plegius (sp?).

My name is Olen - and I AM a Star Wars junkie.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Proof of Purchase


Evidence of Geekdom Posted by Hello

I am presenting a pic of my ticket - I must be a diehard.

I am concerned, though - I just noticed that the ticket has: "12:01 AM, WED, MAY 18, 2005" rather than "12:01 AM, THURS, MAY 19, 2005". The ticket lady screwed that up, and so help me, if I am refused entry, there will be HTP (hell to pay).

Star Wars - Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back

In the previous post, I waxed disgustingly nostalgic about the original “Star Wars” film. Enough of that – and some retreating before getting to Episode V.

“Star Wars” retold (remember – it is historic – a long time ago) the story of a Rebellion seeking to overthrow the despotic rule of the evil Empire. There are two parallel plot lines, one involving the Rebel’s need to destroy the Death Star before it is unmercifully unleashed on the unconverted freedom fighters. The second is the development of the loyal friendship collectively binding Solo, Skywalker, Organa, the Wookie and the Droids. It is evident that this group will form the guiding “core” of the Rebellion in future episodes. Oddly, this band of misfits is quite complementary to one another – Skywalker possesses the inherent skills for Jedi mastery, yet lacks the confidence; Solo is the confident pirate that is a country unto himself, at least superficially; Organa is confident and bold, but exhibits a diplomacy that neither Skywalker nor Solo possess; Chewbacca is the gentle giant, easily scared, but quick to defend; the Droids possess an infinite quantity of artificial intelligence, yet possess a few human-like emotions.

The significant portion of “Star Wars” necessarily involves the immediate forging of an instructor-apprentice relationship between the veteran sage Obi-Wan Kenobi and Skywalker. After the murder of Uncle Owen and Aunt Berue, Luke begins Jedi training in earnest, and slowly begins to learn some of the truth about his father, Anakin. Ole Ben is careful to reveal only portions of the truth to Luke, mindful of the power of revenge and hate that would have inevitably bubbled to the surface had Luke understood that Anakin was “murdered” by Lord Vader.

This band of rebels rescues Princess Leia, with a sacrificial assist from Obi-Wan, and then retreats to Rebel headquarters for planning the decisive confrontation with the Imperial forces. The Death Star is vulnerable, but requires evasiveness and pin-point precision shooting (the wamp-rats in Beggars’ Canyon can attest). The battle scene is quite impressive, even today, as the undersized X-Wing fighters take flight against the Death Star. After one failed attempt, and the sacrifice of other rebel lives and ships and a significant assist from Solo (nuts to Vader), Skywalker successfully fires a missile into the bowels of the Death Star, setting off a chain reaction of destruction. Much of the Empire and its machinery evaporate in a matter of moments, an explosion unlike any other seen on film.

The Rebels celebrate – but the celebration is short-lived.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away

Episode V

The Empire Strikes Back

It is a dark time for the Rebellion. Although the Death Star has been destroyed, Imperial troops have driven the Rebel forces from their hidden base and pursued them across the galaxy.

Evading the dreadful Imperial Starfleet, a group of freedom fighters led by Luke Skywalker has established a new secret base on the remote Ice world of Hoth.

The evil lord Darth Vader, obsessed with finding young Skywalker, has dispatched thousands of remote probes into the far reaches of space....


The Rebels have fled to the snow and ice covered Hoth. Immediately, Lucas throws the viewer a curveball with the new environmental elements, providing a wonderful vehicle for introducing new exotic animals and machines. Luke and Han are tauntaun jockeys exploring the area around the base. Luke and his tauntaun get smacked around like a hackey-sack. The viewer is clued in to how Luke’s Jedi training has advanced – willing the impaled light saber from the ice to his hand, yet, Luke still requires the aid of Ole Ben to reach a familiar face – Han appearing from the snowy mist. Unfortunately, a second tauntaun must bear the ultimate sacrifice for Luke to survive. Ummmm – tauntaun squishin’s – bet it tastes like haggis.

Another significant battle ensues on Hoth, with the Imperial’s using gi-normous AT-AT’s to attack the Rebel base. The small, but evasive, Rebel ships are able to defeat the Imperial forces, and narrowly escape Hoth to fight another day.

Soon after, Luke departs for a new world – Dagoba – to meet his new mentor, the pointy eared Jedi Master Yoda. Meanwhile, Han, Leia, Chewie and the Droids seek safe harbor in Cloud City and Lando Calrissian. To preserve his own economic and political viability, Lando betrays Solo et al., turning them over to Vader. Despite not yet completing his Jedi training, Luke senses his friends are in trouble and flees Dagoba to rescue them and confront Vader.

Han is subjected to a carbon freeze, and then turned over to Boba Fett, the bounty hunter seeking a reward from Jaba the Hutt.

Luke confronts Darth Vader in a intense light saber battle, full of thrusts and perrys absent from the battle between Vader and Kenobi in "Star Wars". Vader corners Skywalker, and reveals the hidden truth about Anakin Skywalker and his conversion to the dark side of "the Force". Luke's faith in the Force is tested, but does not yield to Vader's offer to rule as Father and Son. Luke refuses and falls perilously seemingly to his demise.

All the while, Lando is seeking redemption, marshaling what remains of the core to the Millenium Falcon and out of Cloud City. In a foreshadow of what will be revealed in Episode VI, Leia senses Luke's struggle and demands that the MF is positioned to rescue her friend.

Thus, the scene is set for the final installment charting the adventures of Luke, Han, Leia, Chewie and the Droids.

This is my favorite film in the entire series. I was nearly 8 years old when this film debuted, and I had a greater appreciation and imagination, and was immersed in the entire mythology of the emerging series. The snow and ice of Hoth was an interesting contrast to the darkness of deep space that dominated "Star Wars" and indicates the ability of Lucas to appeal to all the senses in varying ways (one can argue endlessly whether that ability is now diminished). Introducing new life forms and machines obviously broadened the merchandising of the Star Wars brand, but also gave the viewer another context to view the battle between the Empire and the Rebels, removed from space and planted on terra firma (or firm firma, as the case was).

Yet, with all the light and vegetation abundant in "Empire", the film is admittedly the darkest of the original three films, and was the least successful because of this conscious plot line. Yet, the film is truthful to the human mind, generally, as each of us struggle with right and wrong, and the degrees of gray in between. Luke successfully navigated the landmines placed in front of him, but not without great struggle and doubt. And as a result, Skywalker began to understand Kenobi's warning that a Jedi must control his emotions and tame his fears.

With Vader still lurking, and the Empire still rebuilding, the Rebellion is regrouping to make another charge. But first, Luke must rescue his friend and partner in crime - Han Solo.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Star Wars - Episode IV - A New Hope

On May 25, 1977, an epic saga began -

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….

Episode IV

A New Hope

It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire.

During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the Death Star, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet.

Pursued by the Empire’s sinister, agents, Princess Leia races home aboard her starship, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her people and restore freed to the galaxy....


And so, with the London Symphony Orchestra blasting through the sound system of theatres everywhere, the opening crawl identified the players – the freedom seeking Rebels versus the evil Galactic Empire – and gave the viewer just a brief history of the war raging between good and evil. It is against this backdrop that George Lucas begins telling his galactic tale.

I was a mere four years old in the summer of 1977. The hype of the original Star Wars movies was somewhat subdued, relative to subsequent releases, due significantly to the relative lack of star power from either the director or the actors – Sir Alec Guiness was the most notable of the entire crew. Yet, the use of colorful lasers and light sabers, the exotic sound effects, the sympathetic heroes and the ominous look and sound of the unsympathetic Darth Vader sufficiently piqued the interest and imagination of nearly every male child that I knew.

Soon after the release of Star Wars, the collective lexicon of American children was expanded with fascinating, if not foreign, names and terminology. Blasters and light sabers were the weapons of adversarial combatants. X-Wing fighters and Tie-fighters were used for intergalactic dog fights. Obi-Wan Kenobi, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia and Chewbacca formed the top of the Rebellion line-up card – Governor Moff Tarkin, Lord Darth Vader and a legion of faceless stormtroopers were the Imperial opposition. Planetary systems were named Dantooine, Tatooine and Alderan. Mos Eisley was a haven for thieves and villainry. And, the Death Star, was a technological terror the size of a planet and the weaponry to quickly reduce a planet to interstellar rubble. Obi-Wan explained a mystical power called “The Force” and warned of the temptation of the dark-side. And, to be a card-carrying member of “the cool kids” one must salute a fellow member with “may the force be with you” otherwise one might find himself the subject of some ridicule and probably a challenge to the death faux light saber duel on the playground.

Overnight, American children conscripted these words and phrases into everyday conversation, much to the dismay of grammar instructors and parents. My own father has recalled on several occasions the unknown words uttered by my older cousin and myself, wondering if Chewbacca was a new flavor of Beechnut chewing tobacco that we had sampled with favorable results, or whether the mention of Wookie implied some acquisition of carnal knowledge on our part. Now, the parent of a young child, I appreciate the concern over what probably appeared to be a cultish cultural development. Am I supporting the Rebellion or the Empire? In 1977, that answer was abundantly clear. In 2005, if I can find my way to the theatre, I consider it a Rebellion victory.

Although the original film (and the special / permanent edition released in 1997) was impressive for the up-to-that-time-extraordinary special effects, the original is generally dismissed as a campy fluff film heavy on lights and sounds and weak on story. However, Lucas and his magicians created technology and schemes for capturing on film what one imagines an intergalactic fist-to-cuff might look like. With a small budget and low expectations, the little-film-that-could transported children, teenagers and sci-fi fans to another time, place and dimension.

I am forever a “Star Wars” fan, despite the critics. If I cared one whit what a critic said, I probably would have a movie collection deprived of comedy and action, but heavy on “lessons” and revisionist history. If that’s your gig – fine. I have the equivalent of nine plus years of higher education, thus, I’ve got all the lessons and revisionist history one could stomach in that time. I watch movies for entertainment – and the “Star Wars” series does this better for me than any other series.

At least part of my fondness for the series is the personal memories I have of my oldest cousin and me. We were merely three years apart, and grew up a few miles apart. It was not unusual for one of us to stay at the other’s home for days at a time. He was the older brother I never had. We watched all the original movies together, sometimes repeatedly to the delight of the local theatre. We pretended to be part of the rebellion. We collected all the action figures, the ships, the trading cards, the comic books and the other paraphernalia that Lucas thrust into commerce – I like to think I helped lay some of the carpet at Skywalker Ranch, but I could never prove that.

In 1997, as the release of the special editions approached, we had plans to go watch the films together, to reminisce and fellowship. Unfortunately, a vile form of cancer besieged my cousin, and his life was cut short several weeks before the release of “Star Wars” in Jan. 1997. When I finally went to watch “Star Wars”, for a moment I was saddened by the absence of my “big brother”. We enjoyed everything about “Star Wars” down to the lousy lines and acting that was sometimes evident. But, it was ours. It belonged to us, if only in our minds. It took us back to a time when planning for college, worrying about life, and finding that big job were as distant as the “Star Wars” series itself. I bucked it up and watched the film, and enjoyed the enhancements made to the film, but “Star Wars” and its progeny are group endeavors – the more, the merrier. In my case, one of the Rebellion was absent, but his reward is now so much greater, that it is merely my own selfishness that tries to keep him tethered to this planet.

So, I thank George Lucas for his vision and magic. My attraction to “Star Wars” is as much an outgrowth of my relationship with my cousin as it is to the special effects and the plot. But, it was the perfect vehicle for two young kids looking for adventure without leaving the confines of our small town.

May the force be with you, cuz.

Return and Revenge of the Warlord

After an unannounced (note: if there is no one to announce it to, can it really be termed unannounced?) sabbatical of many months, the Warlord has returned with revenge on his mind.

Not really.

In honor of the sixth, and purportedly final, episode in the "Star Wars" saga, I am unleashing a flurry of activity to pay tribute to my favorite film series, and on any particular day, positions 1, 2 and 10 in my Top 10 favorites of all-time.

Unfortunately, I cannot recreate the opening crawl that is a trademark of the "Star Wars" series, so, get the popcorn and the beverage, sit back, relax....the Warlord shall post.

Cue 20th Century Fox march and the John Williams intro!!

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Congrats to the Lazy Logician

The newly devised "Arbitrary Choice Award" has chosen "The Lazy Logician" as an award winner.

If posting irregularly is a consideration for the award, I should not be far behind.

Congrats to Josh for sticking it with it better than I have. Hopefully, I will be able to dedicate some time to this adventure.