Disney Removes the Fox Fanfare From Their Star Wars Movies

Disney Fox Fanfare Star Wars

One of the most recognizable parts of a Star Wars movie is now gone due to Disney owning the franchise, as the Fox Fanfare has been removed from the films the mouse owns.

Today’s release of the Star Wars Digital Movie Collection gives us a hint as to what we may see with The Force Awakens. For all of the movies (except for A New Hope) the familiar 20th Century Fox Fanfare has been removed and replaced with a new piece of music over the modern Lucasfilm logo. It’s actually not even new music as it’s a modification of John Williams’ end-credits finale to The Empire Strikes Back.

This also proves to people that, like Marvel, the Star Wars films will not begin with the Walt Disney Pictures logo as many have feared. They are treating Lucasfilm like Marvel, and thus giving them their own fanfare. I wouldn’t be surprised if for The Force Awakens they update the logo and to a elaborate 3D version much like what they did with Marvel beginning with Thor: The Dark World.

While some are freaking out over this, did you honestly think Fox would allow Disney to use their logo on the Star Wars movies? Fox isn’t allowing A New Hope to show up on Disney’s own streaming service, so they wouldn’t allow their logo to appear on a movie that Disney owns now.

You can check out the video below from Yakface.com that shows how Disney has removed the Fox Fanfare from Star Wars:

 

A Fake Star Wars Celebration Episode VII Trailer Description is Being Spread Around…

With Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim being just about a month and a half away, it’s about time we start seeing fake trailer descriptions floating around to fool people. This latest one is actually pretty old, but it’s starting to go viral this week and it’s time to squash it like the fake it is.

It originated last December, shortly after the first teaser hit, with someone claiming these scenes are in a longer trailer. They aren’t. In fact, these scenes were never even shot for the movie:

“The Carousel”
Desert planet, presumably Tatooine. Daisy, Oscar, Jon, Chewie and Han, escaping to the MF in a shoot-out with Stormtroopers. It’s basically an echo of the ANH scene, very similar looking “landing bay”. Boyega is wearing a robe over his Stormtrooper armour. Something is implied to be broken in MF, Chewbacca is sitting on top of the starship trying to repair it, blaster shots are barely missing him, he groans. Han stands on the ramp and comments on John’s inability to aim, >Aren’t you supposed to be the best shots in the galaxy, kid?<. Oscar Isaac and Daisy are inside of the ship playing with all the buttons & switches trying to start the engine. Lots of cutting between inside and outside of the ship, very dynamic editing. Suddenly the lights in the cockpit light up, Oscar touches something off screen and we hear that the engine is turning on, Chewbaca roars and enters the ship, Han goes inside nonchalantly, John jumps just as MF starts to hover over the ground and slowly rotate. Blaster shots all over the place. Then there’s a wide static shot mirroring the escape scene from ANH as MF flies away. “The Trader” A space station built into an asteroid. Establishing shot, MF approaches the landing pad, very static and “old school” looking shots. Space station’s interior is a cave with metal structures, green vegetation and neon lights, very interesting aesthetically, very western-like. All kinds of shady types walking around. John gets distracted seeing a hologram showing a bounty put on his head, he tries to put his helmet on (presumable to hide his identity?) but Han stops him and comments that >people here are more fond of criminals than imperials<. They go to some kind of workshop, lots of electronic pieces laying around. The trader is a hairy snake-man, he looks humanoid except for he has no legs. The trader speaks with a very clear Russian accent. It’s implied that Han owes him some money, but he’s willing to help the heroes to get some part they’re looking for (I think?). The sequence ends showing a masked creature eavesdropping on heroes

 

Want to know how this is fake? MakingStarWars actually just posted a description of how Rey and Finn get off the desert planet, and Poe, Han, and Chewie have nothing to do with it. The Falcon is involved though:

Some time after they escape the brig, Poe goes his own way and Finn wanders into the desert town. There’s Stormtroopers there. Finn and Rey take the Falcon to evade them. It is said the Falcon is “swallowed” by the giant freighter once they get to space.

Han isn’t on the desert planet, neither is Chewie. Rey and Finn steal the Falcon (the scene in the teaser trailer) and then end up on a Giant Freighter where they meet Han. It isn’t a space station built into an asteroid.

We’ll see a whole lot more of these fake descriptions before Celebration hits in April. Thankfully our friends over at MakingStarWars.net have the documentation to help tell what’s fake and what’s not.

Top Secret Bad Robot Memo From JJ Himself?

What are the lengths that JJ Abrams would take to protect his “Mystery Box”? If this purported memo from the man himself is true, he will personally destroy your reputation if you leak anything related to Bad Robot’s secrets. So I wonder what he’s going to do to the guy who led someone to the Abu Dhabi Episode VII set?

EDIT: The memo is apparently fake.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Review

The Winter Soldier comes to the big screen and it’s perfect.

The Winter Soldier comes to the big screen and it’s perfect.

Ten years ago Ed Brubaker began one of the most celebrated runs ever on the Captain America comic series. In his “Winter Soldier” storyline, Brubaker retold the relationship of Cap and his WWII sidekick Bucky in differently than the lighthearted way we saw them in the 40s. In his many WWII flashbacks, Bucky did the dirty deeds that Cap couldn’t do, and we saw a bit of that in the first movie “Captain America: The First Avenger” where Bucky was Cap’s sniper cover.

The reasoning for re-introducing Bucky to comic fans in this way was that Brubaker resurrected him in present day as the brainwashed assassin The Winter Soldier. Since then, the character has gone on to become one of the most popular anti-heroes in all of Marvel comics, and he even carried the shield for a time when Cap was killed off a few years ago.
His popularity, and the critical acclaim that Ed Brubaker’s amazing Cap run received, meant that it was only a matter of time before Marvel adapted the story into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Where the previous “Phase 2″ movies, Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World, did reference The Avengers in some ways; the two were relatively stand-alone stories in their own universes. That isn’t the case with The Winter Soldier. As Cap is so well tied to S.H.I.E.L.D., describing this sequel as “Avengers 1.5″ is pretty accurate. It’s a movie that follows that huge team-up, deals with the aftermath of the Battle of New York, and lays major ground work for not just The Avengers: Age of Ultron, but the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe in Phase 3.

Following the Chitauri invasion of New York, S.H.I.E.L.D. decides it’s best to squash threats before they become threats. They decide to do this by building three next-generation helicarriers that are linked together by a super advanced A.I. (be sure to pay attention to this) that is able to single out and target specific people that it deems to be a danger. Of course this sort of “freedom” goes completely against what Cap stands for, and it’s becomes pretty apparent that S.H.I.E.L.D. isn’t the same organization that he thought it was. The truth digs back to Cap’s past in WWII as a familiar villainous organization is alive and well in the 21st century and it’s up to Captain America, Black Widow, and Falcon to stop their plan.

Although Cap has some welcome, and familiar, sidekicks in this movie it’s completely a Captain America movie. This is the gritty political story that Brubaker excelled at when he was writing the comic and anyone who read Captain America in the last decade (prior to the Marvel Now! stuff) will feel right at home. Steve is still adjusting to being alive seventy years later, and he does get some sort of closure with Peggy Carter in one of the more heart-wrenching scenes in the movie.

That scene, early in the movie, sort of sets an emotional tone for what Steve goes through in this story. Some people didn’t really feel emotionally connected to the first movie, but this one is different as Cap has to deal with his best friend coming back to life as a villain who doesn’t recognize him and wants to kill him. I really feel they handled the Cap/Bucky/Winter Soldier relationship perfectly here. They got the tone right, and fans of both characters will be happy with how it all ends up.

Along for the ride with Cap are Black Widow and Falcon. Natasha has so much to do in this movie it’s almost equally a Black Widow movie. I know a certain segment of fans are pressuring Marvel to do a solo Black Widow movie, but she does so much in this movie that she’s more than just a supporting character. Falcon has been Steve’s right-hand man in the comic for decades, and his inclusion on this movie is just as exciting as seeing The Winter Soldier realized on the big screen. All of his scenes are huge crowd pleasers, and he and Cap make such a fan-favorite team the end of the movie will have people wanting to see Captain America 3 more than any DC movie that may open on the same day. I just wish he said that his wings were made in Wakanda. That would’ve been awesome.

With the political thriller theme comes more realistic types of action. There aren’t aliens with laser blasts or Asgardians calling in the thunder here, it’s bullets and explosions mixed with awesome hand-to-hand combat. The action in The Winter Soldier is the best in any Marvel movie yet, and at times it feels like a big summer action movie that so happens to have a guy with a shield, a guy with a wing suit, and a villain with an awesome cybernetic arm. I should say that due to the style of action here, it is actually a little more violent than previous Marvel movies. While a lot of people were killed in Battle of New York in The Avengers, here you realize that the collateral deaths are being caused by stray bullets and explosions. It’s a slightly less “comic book” tone than when compared to an Iron Man or Thor movie in terms of the action.

As someone who loved Ed Brubaker’s entire run on Captain America, so much so that I still enjoy re-reading those story lines, I was really looking forward to seeing The Winter Soldier. It’s arguably one of the best stories that Marvel has told in the last couple of decades in the comic, and it’s been realized fantastically on the big screen. It gives Cap an emotional journey, and it changes the Marvel Cinematic Universe forever. The film raises the bar for action in superhero movies, and it still remains to be as fun as you want a Marvel movie to be. It’s not hyperbole to say that Captain America: The Winter Soldier is better than The Avengers. It’s the new jewel in Marvel Studios’ crown. See it immediately.

It’s not hyperbole to say that Captain America: The Winter Soldier is better than The Avengers. It’s the new jewel in Marvel Studios’ crown. See it immediately.

JJ Abrams on Star Wars Secrecy

If there was any sort of backlash over Star Trek Into Darkness, it was the year worth of lies that JJ Abrams and the cast spewed over Khan. Everyone knew Cumberbatch was Khan, but the filmmakers thought they were smarter than everyone else and spent the entire year leading up to the movie trying to lie and mislead people about his identity. Will Star Wars suffer the same fate now that Abrams is directing it?

According to a new interview in the Telegraph, it doesn’t sound like it:

Before the release of last year’s Star Trek Into Darkness, Abrams tried to keep secret the identity of the villain played by Benedict Cumberbatch – something he now regrets. “We were trying to preserve the unexpected for the audience, but it came across as if we were trying to be too clever,” he says.

“Star Wars is in every way a different animal. It’s always been a more open, fan-engaged universe than I’ve been used to, so I’m sure there’ll be some sort of compromise. But it feels to me like there’s a purity in not knowing every little thing.”

The backs up what Kathleen Kennedy said about Episode VII last year. I don’t think they’ll spill the beans completely, but they won’t try to deceive Star Wars fans the way they did Star Trek fans.

Four Reasons Why Disney Can’t Release the Theatrical Cuts of Star Wars…Yet

starwars-theatrical-dvd-bd-00As we begin 2014, there’s a bit of hopeful euphoria going around the geek section of the internet where people believe that since Disney now owns Star Wars, they’ll immediately be releasing the non-Special Edition theatrical cuts on DVD or Blu-Ray.

This line of thinking is hitting a fever pitch today via a letter section on i09 where the editor is pretty sure Disney will release the original cuts on disc because they like money. The sad reality of this is that such a thing is much more complex than Disney simply wanting to cash in quickly by making a small, and very vocal, section of the fan base happy.

The Original Negative is Not Intact…

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Many people think Lucasfilm has the original versions of the movies locked away in some vault at Skywalker Ranch and Lucas isn’t releasing them to spite fans. Again, reality isn’t on on the side these “Lucas raped my childhood” people. A very good, and detailed, documentation of the restoration and creation of the “Special Edition” is available at the Secret History of Star Wars site and in it, there are details on how the negative was chopped up to create the Special Edition:

ILM was working on many dozens of new shots, and an even larger amount of enhanced shots, using digital effects to re-do, expand, re-edit and otherwise alter many scenes in the film. When these were completed, they apparently were printed onto film and re-cut into the negative, replacing the original negs, which were undoubtedly put back into storage. As a result, the negative for Star Wars is filled with CGI-laden modern alterations. When Lucas says that the original version physically does not exist, this is what he really means–the negative is conformed to the Special Edition.

It Would Be Expensive to Restore the Theatrical Cuts in HD

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Would it be possible to restore the original theatrical cuts of the Original Trilogy? Yes, and there’s a couple ways they could do it. One, Lucasfilm could re-assemble and restore the O-Neg, which was cut up to create the Special Edition, but this would cost millions upon millions to do. The other option is to re-assemble the film from other elements. Back in May of 2006, The Digital Bits asked film restorer Robert Harris about doing just that, and it is possible…for a price:

We can state with absolute certainly that we would be able to deliver fully restored quality elements as might be requested by Lucasfilm, inclusive of a pristine quality high definition video master as well as a full resolution 35mm preservation negative, if so directed.

It would be both a pleasure and a challenge to bring these films back to virtually their original state, and given a proper budget, commensurate with the work entailed, we would be willing to take on the assignment from Lucasfilm, and deliver elements which would make the release of the original trilogy to DVD as startlingly beautiful an event as it should be.

For the Costs Involved, Not Enough Seem Interested

dearjjabrams_00

Disney likes money, that is true, but in order to restore the Original Trilogy back to the theatrical cuts simply will cost too much based on the number of people who actually care about them.

You see, the “Han Shot First” crowd is a very vocal and noisy minority online. If the majority of Star Wars fans felt the way they do, the DVD and Blu-Ray releases of the Original Trilogy wouldn’t have sold as well. People didn’t vote with their wallets, they lined up to buy the movies on each re-release. Sure, some complained online about it…right before running out to Best Buy to pick up their $80 Blu-Ray set.

Even that recent, and stupid, “Dear JJ Abrams” video could only lure about 125k people to sign their petition. Disney isn’t going to spend multiple millions of dollars to produce a Blu-Ray set that only a few people actually truly care about.

Fox Owns the Original Trilogy and Prequels Until 2020 (and A New Hope Forever)

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The final nail in the coffin rests with 20th Century Fox. Until 2020, they control all of the theatrical and home video distribution for both Star Wars trilogies, and they own A New Hope in perpetuity. Just like the Marvel characters Fox owns in perpetuity (the X-Men), Star Wars is yet something else that they have to hold hostage over the Mouse. As they don’t seem to be willing to work with Marvel over the mutant movies, it probably is doubtful they’ll let A New Hope go…

Early ‘Desolation of Smaug’ Reaction is Promising…

People are walking out of Desolation of Smaug much happier...

People are walking out of Desolation of Smaug much happier…

Those who were a little disappointed in the first Hobbit movie may find something more to their liking in the second.

The Desolation of Smaug had its first screening last night in Hollywood, and while people are embargoed from talking about it until the 8th of this month, the initial reaction coming out of the screening points to a movie closer to what people were expecting following the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

Here are some selected reactions form Twitter:

Apparently the movie does have a slightly shorter run-time than the first installment, which would make sense as this was originally going to be the last Hobbit film before splitting it off into a trilogy. It’ll be out in a couple weeks, and it will be released in HFR despite rumors to the contrary…

Guy Legally Buys an Xbox One from Target and Microsoft BANS the Console from XBL

This is Microsoft.

This is Microsoft.

Here’s yet another reason why I’d think twice about paying $500 for an underpowered Xbox One that runs most games at 720p. It’s sold by an anti-consumer corporation who only wants your $500 before banning the console from connecting to Xbox Live.

A customer pre-ordered an Xbox One from Target, and the store accidentally shipped it to him early. He’s not the only one to receive their system this far in advance, as someone else has also received theirs and quickly put it up on eBay for nearly $10,000.

But this guy, who goes by @Moonlightswami on Twitter, didn’t try to sell his Xbox One for a ton of cash. He hooked it up, downloaded the 500MB Day 1 update and started to play it. He also posted screenshots and videos of the UI and games to Youtube (which MS pulled down), and then Microsoft banned his legally purchased $500 Xbox One from XBL:

Microsoft Has Been Lying to You About Xbox One

It’s been a bumpy road for Microsoft’s Xbox One. From the laughable TV-heavy reveal, the draconian DRM, and their recent 180 from those policies, you can understand that the company is desperate for some a strong PR message. The problem is that Microsoft’s message they are delivering to gamers about what the Xbox One is and what it’s intended to be is a flat out lie. It’s deception intended to fool people into buying a $500 “Entertainment Platform” that they’re marketing as a game console.

Before I dive into what will surly ignite “mature” Xbox fans into spewing slurs and threats my way via Twitter, allow me to explain where I’m coming from. Ten years ago when I was working at IGN I was the biggest “Xbot” you could find. Right before the launch of the console, I borrowed the debug over a weekend and binged Halo in a marathon session from beginning to end without stopping to sleep or eat. Of course, I was also a Day 1 Xbox 360 owner and as hard for some to believe, that launch 360 still lives (my nephews have it and it still works). I vastly prefer the Forza series to Gran Turismo, naturally love Halo (my current 360 is the Reach slim), and I’m still holding out hope that Microsoft will resurrect Blinx on the Xbox One.

But at the same time, I’m a techie and I pay close attention to the sort of hardware that goes into “next generation” systems. That means I followed the leaks about the Durango (XB1) and Orbis (PS4) devkits very closely to see what both companies were doing. And while they both were similar in a couple of ways (x86 architecture, GPUs derived from AMD), they were also different and it became very apparent that Microsoft was cutting corners for some reason.

That reason is because the Xbox One isn’t meant to be a game console, yet Microsoft is trying to sell you it as one.

If you want an example of how Microsoft cut corners on the hardware you don’t have to look any further than the 720p issue in games like Call of Duty: Ghosts< and Battlefield 4. Last night, sites were given the go-ahead to post comparisons between the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions of Battlefield 4, and it was confirmed that the Xbox One edition runs at 720.   From Polygon (who usually favors MS):

The Xbox One version of Battlefield 4 is currently rendering at 1280×720, while the PS4 is natively rendering at 1600×900. As a result, the PS4 version is somewhat sharper than the Xbox One release.

Eurogamer:

Needless to say, there are some basic differences in image quality that need knocking on the head right away. Chief among them is the hot topic of internal resolution, where we determine that the Xbox One code is indeed running at 1280×720. If this is set in stone for release – as is likely – the Microsoft version is poised to give us the most aliasing of the two next-gen platforms by a noticeable degree, and is only a stone’s throw from the sub-720p resolutions of current-gen releases. On the other hand, the PS4 version delivers a whopping 1600×900 resolution in all modes, giving it a 50 per cent lead in output pixels overall. As well as cutting down on jagged edges, this reduces the amount of pixel shimmer we see in motion on complex shaders or thin geometry, with distant power lines, scaffolding and other elements with sub-pixel elements creating unwanted flickering on Xbox One.

Popular Battlefied 4 streamer JackFrags has posted a Xbox One single player video and a PS4 multi-player video. With the video set at 720p for the Xbox One version, it’s honestly hard to tell if it’s actually the Xbox One or the Xbox 360.

Not every site was honest when it came to Battlefield 4. Popular gaming comparison site Digital Foundry posted comparison screens and videos that made the XB1 version look not as bad as Jack Frag’s videos, and their text was written to highly favor the Xbox One version. This is par for the course with Digital Foundry, as they have always favored the Xbox 360, however in this case they were called on their bullshit and admitted that they botched the video capture:

“The issue here is simple; Tom had a limited amount of time to capture this stuff and was not able to do so in a normal environment. If mistakes were made normally, it would be easy to go back and correct, but with the way this worked, it wasn’t really possible.

Why so different? DF uses their own hardware for capturing while DICE were handing out Elgato boxes to everyone else. The DF hardware is actually much more capable but it works differently and, without the experience of working with these new consoles, I can see a situation where settings were dialed in wrong.

JackFrags used what DICE provided and probably didn’t even attempt to change any settings which, in this case, turned out to be for the best.”

What happened was Digital Foundry saw the raw footage and that their precious Xbox looked like shit, so they dialed up the color saturation, and dialed down the gamma, to make the colors brighter and the picture darker in an attempt to make the Xbox One version look different than it does.

But the deception goes further than just having certain sites carrying water for MS…

Lucasfilm Marketing CONFIRMS Spring/Summer 2015 Release for Episode VII

Now, I’m not going to start a victory lap until Lucasfilm official reveals a May 20th release of Episode VII, but this is some promising news. We’ve been screaming over and over that those stupid December delay rumors are flat-out lies created by a blogger with some kind of perverted grudge against J.J. Abrams, but now a leak of Lucasfilm marketing materials again confirms that Episode VII is slated for a “Spring/Summer 2015″ release.

JediNewsUK received a brochure from the European Brand Licensing Show that details Disney/Lucasfilm’s Star Wars marketing plans for the next two years. Right there in “Spring/Summer 2015″ they list the theatrical release of Episode VII:

Will this stop those lying bloggers trying to smear Star Wars by making up false rumors about a December delay? Doubtful, as bad Star Wars Episode VII news drives hits to their sites. But this is official marketing material, and if the movie was coming out in December it wouldn’t specifically say Summer.