Return of Darth Maul?

Looks like Ray Park, the actor who played Darth Maul in Episode I, is keen on reprising his character’s role. Besides hinting at offering “something spicy” and the fact that he’ll be there for food and water, Park offers little as to why, or what his character would do.

Now folks, even a lowly Type 1 Star Wars fan, like me, is familiar with the Rule of Two doctrine. If you accept that, then we have a problem with Darth Maul returning. According to the movies, Maul was killed off in EP 1. Darth Sidious (Palpatine) then took on Anakin Skywalker as his apprentice (EP 3).

So the question is, if you bring back Darth Maul, how would you reconcile it with Darth Vader? Maybe I’m short-sighted or lack vision, but I think it’s best to leave some things as they are. Especially when it comes to the Star Wars franchise. We Star Wars fans are all to familiar with what happens when folks start to mess with the past.

R.I.P Darth Maul.


Where is Edward Snowden?

Turns out I was wrong. Snowden withrew his Russian asylum request. A quick scan of the websites that I rely on for major news (CNN and the BBC) turn up nothing new on Snowden.

Instead, most of the attention has been focused on Egypt (no suprise), The Mandela family drama and the Bolivian President’s aeroplane being denied access to the air space of certain countries (because they thought Snowden was on board).

Meanwhile, in Soviet Russia

While we wait for Star Wars, it appears that Edward Snowden has applied for asylum status in Russia. I’m not all together suprised given the amount of time he’s been camping out at the hotel airport (this reminded me of the movie The Terminal with Tom Hanks and Catherine Zeta-Jones).

Here’s where things get interesting (or will get interesting over the next few days). Various media outlets have reported that Russian President, and all around tough-guy, Vladmir ‘The Action Man’ Putin has said:

If he wants to go somewhere and there are those who would take him, he is welcome to do that,” Putin said. “If he wants to stay here, there is one condition: he must stop his activities aimed at inflicting damage to our American partners, no matter how strange it may sound on my lips.

Via Politico

At first glance, it is strange. It’s no big secret that the U.S. and Russia are not bossom buddies (case in point: their respective positions on the Syrian crisis). But Putin’s position above is enough to cause the Americans further outrage.

I can see it now: somewhere in a dark, gloomy, Soviet-era building, an old Soviet-era politician/military man is knocking back a vodka, either by himself or with a few friends, and having a good laugh.

The fact that members of the European Union (and U.S. allies) have also been spied upon, unbeknownst to the E.U., only adds fuel to the fire. I’m certain that the Russian big-wigs are having a grand ol’ time with this.

What’s next? My guess is that Snowden will follow Putin’s condition(s) to the letter. That is, he himself won’t be doing any further leaking. If however Snowden’s “allies” (WikiLeaks maybe?) decide to publish further details, details previously provided by Snowden, then that’s a different matter. His (Snowden) hands are clean, it was a third party.

The next few days will be interesting for all concerned. Snowden in particular should probably download Google Translate and start brushing up on his Russian.

May the fourth be with you on Star Wars Day

Apparently May 4 was Star Wars Day. And I missed it. No biggie.

*audible gasps are heard all over the Internet, hands are raised to cover mouths, eyes widen like saucers without teacups*

Yeah, no biggie. See, from what little digging around I did, it depends on how you define when Star Wars Day actually is. According to Wikipedia, it seems to be associated with the May Fourth Movement (an anti-imperialist, cultural and political movement associated with student demonstrations in Beijing). It’s not difficult to see the similarities between the anti-imperialist sentiments in the real world and the Star Wars world, especially in the movie: A New Hope.

May 4  also appears to also be associated with a common pun: may the fourth be with you. Furthermore, some politicians in the U.K. were early to use it as a congratulatory message in reference to Margaret Thatcher’s appointment as the first British female Prime Minister.

In any event, May 4 is not Star Wars Day for me. It is May 25, the release date of Star Wars Episode VI: A New Hope.

Now go young Padawan, and may the fourth be with you.

One country’s trash is another country’s source of energy

While we wait for Star Wars, I read this interesting post on Slashdot. Seems like Sweden’s program of generating energy from trash is so successful that it has to import trash from other countries!

Barbados is far away from Sweden, but it got me thinking. We’ve got garbage (lots of it!). Sweden needs garbage. I wonder if the economics would be worth it. Shipping our trash over to the Swedes in return for some cash? If we export our trash, we get some cash (U.S. currency please, we have a huge import bill paid for by USD) and the island looks a helluva lot better to us locals and tourists alike.

This is not a review of Olympus Has Fallen

While we wait for Star Wars, let’s look at a little trivia re: Olympus Has Fallen.

1. As far as I can tell, this is the second movie in which Morgan Freeman has played the President of the U.S. (to be fair, in Olympus Has Fallen, he was the acting President, but so what?). The first one, that I know of, was in the movie Deep Impact.

2. In the movie 300, Gerard Butler‘s character led an army of 300 (few) against tens of thousands of invaders (many). In Olympus Has Fallen, Butler’s character (alone), takes on several not-so-nice people (many).

3. In the movie The Dark Knight, Aaron Eckhart held the political office of  District Attorney. In Olympus Has Fallen, Eckhart’s character has climbed the political ladder and is now the POTUS.

4. In the movie Die Another Day, Rick Yune played a North Korean terrorist. In Olympus Has Fallen, yup, you guessed it. He plays a North Korean terrorist.

Have I missed anything? Feel free to comment.

Roger Ebert

As a movie person, I fall somewhere between liking and loving movies. They represent, for me, a practical form of escapism. My first stop when I hear about a movie is usually Wikipedia. I scan through the plot to determine if I’ll like it or not. I don’t spend a lot of time reading reviews, yet I’m quite happy discussing a good (or bad) movie, or trying to remember who starred in what.

Still, I can’t recall reading, in its entirety, a review by Roger Ebert. Even so, his name has always been, in my mind, synonymous with  film criticism. So it kind of took me by surprise when on April 5, I read an article on Businessweek about his death the day before. Yet I didn’t recall seeing any front page articles on his passing on the news sites I frequent (CNN, BBC and Drudge Report).

There are times, and they are becoming few and far between as I grow older and get caught in the day to day affairs of life, where I fancy myself as a writer. Fiction mostly, but I’ve been toying with the idea of writing reviews. Combining the two things I’m always up for (movies) and the thing that I sometimes think about doing (writing).  But writing is not something that comes easy. It’s funny then that while I read through the In Memoriam section of Ebert’s website, he had this to say to a correspondent when asked about writer’s block:

Start writing. Short sentences. Describe it. Just describe it.

Good enough for me. Thanks Roger and R.I.P.

Paying tribute to Star Wars

Most of us lowly Type 1 Star Wars fans have heard of and seen Star Wars: A New Hope rendered in ASCII (shame on you if you haven’t!) and the version where actual audio and dialog is inserted. Problem is, it’s not easy to ASCII-ify an entire film.

But what if fans of the saga could re-make the film? Hmm…To big a job for one person, or one group of people you say? Pffft. No problemo.  Those of you who are familiar with the concept of distributed computing should be able to appreciate this: distributed film-making (or re-making).

Back in 2009, Casey Pugh took A New Hope, chopped it up into 15 second blocks and then asked Internet users to claim a 15 second piece and re-make it. The end result? Thousands of people all over the world participating and: Star Wars Uncut: The Director’s Cut.

If you haven’t already seen it. You need to experience it. The imagination and creativity of the fans is nothing short of amazing. That one movie can inspire people all over the World to do something like this is a perfect example of the impact that Star Wars has had on us all.

From the moment you see the 20th Century Fox Film logo and hear the music associated with it, you know that you’re in for a special treat. Even the famous Star Wars opening crawl has been re-made into what I can only describe as something that is appropriate for the Internet generation. If you don’t smile within those first few seconds, then you, my friend, should join the Dark Side of the Force.

But enough of that, have a look for yourself!