Get to know the short film: TYSVAER WARS – A STAR WARS STORY, 4min, Norway, Comedy/Action

Short Film playing at the July 27th Star Wars FAN FICTION Festival

A heartbroken Star Wars fan escapes into his own fairy tale.

Erlend Bjelland
Director
  • Film Type:
    Short
  • Completion Date:
    December 14, 2016
  • Production Budget:
    10,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    Norway
  • Country of Filming:
    Norway
  • Film Language:
    Norwegian
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
    tysvaer_wars

August 2016 Fan Fiction Screenplay Winner

Watch the August 2016 Fan Fiction Screenplay Winner. 

Submit your Fan Fiction Screenplay to the Festival: https://fanfictionfestival.com/

THE MASK OF LEIA
by Ian Wilson

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Following the Battle of Endor and the defeat of the Empire, Leia secretly struggles with her own ongoing internal battle with the Force.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Becky Shrimpton
LEIA – Laura Darby
EMPEROR – Stephen Flett
HAN SOLO – David Straus
ACKBAR – Rais Muoi

Get to know the winner writer: 

1. What is your fan fiction screenplay about?

The Mask of Leia is a thought-provoking drama that explores the hidden psyche of Princess Leia. It aims to prompt the viewer into thinking about the trauma that Leia has undergone through the Star Wars story and what her internal struggles from dealing with all that suffering might be.

By all rights, Leia should be a total basket-case or at least have severe PTSD but she has managed to mask these personal struggles from everyone around her, including Han Solo. The script also explores the potential of her being Force-sensitive and keeping this hidden, perhaps for political reasons.

How does this screenplay fix into the context of the Star Wars universe?

The story takes place just after the Battle of Endor (Star Wars: Episode VI -The Return of the Jedi) and the defeat of the Empire.

Leia and Admiral Ackbar lead the Rebel forces to the planet Coruscant to secure the New Republic. It is during this journey that we see Leia secretly struggle with her trauma and her ongoing internal battle with the Force.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Hidden backstory.

What TV show do you keep watching over and over again?

I’m a Dr. Who fan. I have been since I was about five years old. I
love watching the current Doctor, Peter Capaldi, because I went to school with him and we were in the same theatre company together as teens in Glasgow, Scotland. He used to play Dr. Who in the school playground and he was a natural at it then. I was not surprised that he got the role as Doctor Who.

5. How long have you been working on this screenplay?

The story was sketched out over a couple of days between film
director, David Connellan, and myself. It then took me about three weeks to achieve the final draft.

6. How many stories have you written?

In terms of screenplays, I have written five stories – two features and three shorts. I am currently, writing my third feature, which is a thriller/horror.

7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?

I have always been a Star Wars fan from the very first time I saw that iconic Star Wars roll-up. So, when my friend and director, David Connellan, asked me to write a screenplay for a Star Wars short I jumped at the chance. Writing the roll-up to this story was fun.

8. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

The goal was to come up with a five-minute screenplay – about five pages. Trying to capture the whole of Leia’s trauma into just five minutes was very difficult. My initial draft was close to twelve pages and the final draft was around eight pages. Cutting out some great scenes and dialogue was tortuous. Sadly, cutting it down further for a five-minute film meant a lot of sacrifices in the overall story, including the iconic roll-up.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Travel. In my view, travel has been my greatest teacher. It has
allowed me to experience and understand people and cultures across so many countries. Travel has helped me realize that while we are all members of the same small planet and there are also more ways to live than just the one we have been born into.

Travel is experiential and visual and for me that helps me in my
screenwriting, which is very much about creating a visual experience.

What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

The Fan Fiction Festival is a well renowned festival and platform for fan fiction and fan films. Entering the Festival was a “must-do” for me. In the Fan Fiction Festival, I love how engaged fans can be in developing their own derivatives of the original stories. It’s a form of organic creation that deserves more credit.

The feedback I received from the festival was very useful in tightening the story. I certainly appreciated this. The only advice I didn’t feel comfortable with was to develop more character for Han Solo. I felt that would have detracted from Leia’s story.

Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

I like to start with “what if” questions to get a story going. The concept of The Mask of Leia is a good example. What if Leia has PTSD and is being internally pulled by the dark and light side of the Force? Think about that question and you have all sorts of ideas for a story.

Write with passion and don’t be afraid to go with your gut when writing a story. If you let others get involved and question your story concept early in the process it will most likely upset your creativity and your story will turn out half-assed. Of course, listen to feedback once you’ve completed that first and subsequent drafts as feedback will help refine and improve the story.

Finally, I’d say that make sure that you develop engaging characters.

Such characters are distinct, likeable (or loathsome) and have a strong motivation. Ultimately, these characters do not ride along with the flow of the story, rather they create the direction of the story.

***
Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

Fan Fiction Screenplay – The Mask of Leia by Ian Wilson

Watch the August 2016 Fan Fiction Screenplay Winner.

THE MASK OF LEIA
by Ian Wilson

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Following the Battle of Endor and the defeat of the Empire, Leia secretly struggles with her own ongoing internal battle with the Force.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Becky Shrimpton
LEIA – Laura Darby
EMPEROR – Stephen Flett
HAN SOLO – David Straus
ACKBAR – Rais Muoi

Get to know the winner writer: 

1. What is your fan fiction screenplay about?

The Mask of Leia is a thought-provoking drama that explores the hidden psyche of Princess Leia. It aims to prompt the viewer into thinking about the trauma that Leia has undergone through the Star Wars story and what her internal struggles from dealing with all that suffering might be.

By all rights, Leia should be a total basket-case or at least have severe PTSD but she has managed to mask these personal struggles from everyone around her, including Han Solo. The script also explores the potential of her being Force-sensitive and keeping this hidden, perhaps for political reasons.

How does this screenplay fix into the context of the Star Wars universe?

The story takes place just after the Battle of Endor (Star Wars: Episode VI -The Return of the Jedi) and the defeat of the Empire.

Leia and Admiral Ackbar lead the Rebel forces to the planet Coruscant to secure the New Republic. It is during this journey that we see Leia secretly struggle with her trauma and her ongoing internal battle with the Force.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Hidden backstory.

What TV show do you keep watching over and over again?

I’m a Dr. Who fan. I have been since I was about five years old. I
love watching the current Doctor, Peter Capaldi, because I went to school with him and we were in the same theatre company together as teens in Glasgow, Scotland. He used to play Dr. Who in the school playground and he was a natural at it then. I was not surprised that he got the role as Doctor Who.

5. How long have you been working on this screenplay?

The story was sketched out over a couple of days between film
director, David Connellan, and myself. It then took me about three weeks to achieve the final draft.

6. How many stories have you written?

In terms of screenplays, I have written five stories – two features and three shorts. I am currently, writing my third feature, which is a thriller/horror.

7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?

I have always been a Star Wars fan from the very first time I saw that iconic Star Wars roll-up. So, when my friend and director, David Connellan, asked me to write a screenplay for a Star Wars short I jumped at the chance. Writing the roll-up to this story was fun.

8. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

The goal was to come up with a five-minute screenplay – about five pages. Trying to capture the whole of Leia’s trauma into just five minutes was very difficult. My initial draft was close to twelve pages and the final draft was around eight pages. Cutting out some great scenes and dialogue was tortuous. Sadly, cutting it down further for a five-minute film meant a lot of sacrifices in the overall story, including the iconic roll-up.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Travel. In my view, travel has been my greatest teacher. It has
allowed me to experience and understand people and cultures across so many countries. Travel has helped me realize that while we are all members of the same small planet and there are also more ways to live than just the one we have been born into.

Travel is experiential and visual and for me that helps me in my
screenwriting, which is very much about creating a visual experience.

What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

The Fan Fiction Festival is a well renowned festival and platform for fan fiction and fan films. Entering the Festival was a “must-do” for me. In the Fan Fiction Festival, I love how engaged fans can be in developing their own derivatives of the original stories. It’s a form of organic creation that deserves more credit.

The feedback I received from the festival was very useful in tightening the story. I certainly appreciated this. The only advice I didn’t feel comfortable with was to develop more character for Han Solo. I felt that would have detracted from Leia’s story.

Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

I like to start with “what if” questions to get a story going. The concept of The Mask of Leia is a good example. What if Leia has PTSD and is being internally pulled by the dark and light side of the Force? Think about that question and you have all sorts of ideas for a story.

Write with passion and don’t be afraid to go with your gut when writing a story. If you let others get involved and question your story concept early in the process it will most likely upset your creativity and your story will turn out half-assed. Of course, listen to feedback once you’ve completed that first and subsequent drafts as feedback will help refine and improve the story.

Finally, I’d say that make sure that you develop engaging characters.

Such characters are distinct, likeable (or loathsome) and have a strong motivation. Ultimately, these characters do not ride along with the flow of the story, rather they create the direction of the story.

***
Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

May 2016 Fan Fiction Screenplay Winners

Watch the May 2016 Fan Fiction Screenplay Winners. 

STAR WARS Episode 1: The Redemption of Skywalker Feature Screenplay
Written by Bryan O’Flaherty
Read 10 Questions with the writer

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Sci-Fi, Adventure, Action, Fantasy

Synopsis: Some stories are too important, some stories must be retold. The story of Anakin Skywalker will be molded between the pressure of separate forces vying for his soul, which will determine the fate of the galaxy.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Sean Ballantyne
ANAKIN – Chris Ormrod
SHALI/MARA – Isabella Bontorin
OWEN/VARIOUS – Neil Kulin
ADMIRAL LEOPOLD/VARIOUS – Mark Sparks
OBI-WAN – Dan Cristofori

*****

POWER TV Pilot  (Green Lantern Pilot)
Written by Hisonni Johnson
Read 10 Questions with the writer

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: Comic book, Drama, Sci Fi, Action, Superhero

Synopsis: A tragic turns of events leaves one of the world’s greatest heroes injured, without his powers and public enemy number one.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Sean Ballantyne
JOHN – Mark Sparks
SANDRA – Lavinia Latham
SHIERA – Isabella Bontorin
DENNIS – Neil Kulin
LAWTON – Dan Cristofori

***

Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

STAR WARS Episode I: THE REDEMPTION OF SKYWALKER by Brian O’Flaherty

Watch the May 2016 Fan Fiction Screenplay Winner.

STAR WARS Episode I: THE REDEMPTION OF SKYWALKER

Genre: Sci-Fi, Adventure, Action, Fantasy

Synopsis: Some stories are too important, some stories must be retold. The story of Anakin Skywalker will be molded between the pressure of separate forces vying for his soul, which will determine the fate of the galaxy.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Sean Ballantyne
ANAKIN – Chris Ormrod
SHALI/MARA – Isabella Bontorin
OWEN/VARIOUS – Neil Kulin
ADMIRAL LEOPOLD/VARIOUS – Mark Sparks
OBI-WAN – Dan Cristofori

Get to know writer Brian O’Flaherty:

What is your screenplay about?

The screenplay is about the events that took place prior to Star Wars, A New Hope. It is the first part of a trilogy, that tells the story of these events.

How is this origin story different than the original episode 1? What makes it better/different?

There is no argument that can be made, to convince someone on the merit of the original prequel movies, and “better” is a subjective idea anyway. However, many Star Wars fans were disappointed with the original prequel movies, and I believe there are a multitude of reasons for this, but I will only touch on what I believe to be the main reason for this disappointment.

The main reason for this disappointment, relates to the question of “what” Star Wars is, and/or what it has become.

The original Star Wars was one of the most popular movies to ever come out. It redefined so much, relating with not only how to technically create a sci-fi movie, but in how to create the elements of the story, the characters, the pacing, the comedy, etc.

It was a perfect storm of creative vision (Lucas), comedic writing, pacing, editing, and of course musical masterpieces.

It was created as a team effort, like a well tuned sports car, and I believe, if any element was out of place, it would have turned into the flop that they initially feared it to be.

The original intention was to create a “space adventure film,” and although technically, one could define Star Wars in this context, it became something much greater than this simple idea.

The reason it became something much greater than a “space adventure film” is because of the idea of “the force.” The force turned Star Wars from just another “fun sci-fi movie” into something special. It quite literally, gave it “soul.” Star Wars became a narrative about the human condition, asking the ultimate philosophical questions about what it means to be human, and how our choices and thoughts effect us, not just in the physical world, but also in the “spiritual.”

No matter what one’s personal beliefs, this philosophical narrative is compelling, and it’s at the heart of Star Wars.

Without getting into detail, my screenplay attempts to bring back the “soul” of Star Wars, because I believe this is what made people fall in love with it, on a deep, emotional level.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Skywalker redemption.

One of the main plot point differences with this Star Wars script and the 7 produced films is that the story is not continuous. We jump from timeframes in Anakin’s development years. Some will argue that this isn’t Star Wars and the films need to a seamless adventure set in the same time. Why did you diverge from the original structure? And what makes this version still in the Star Wars universe vain?

Good question. First of all, you can’t (or shouldn’t) make a new Star Wars film by copying the last films. The original Star Wars cannot be recreated. It is not possible. Any attempt to do so, will not create something original, it will simply “ride the wave” of what people think “Star Wars” is, but any attempt at doing this is intrinsically flawed and will fall flat.

For example, although I liked the new movie, because it had many original elements, and was well crafted, fundamentally, it was a copy of the story from A New Hope. For example, the destruction of the “Death Star” fell flat and emotionless, because it was simply a copy from something we had already seen before, and the audience was not emotionally involved with it, for it was a fairly obvious retread.

Also, The Empire Strikes Back, was a very different movie from A New Hope. It added very strong elements of romance, elements of philosophy, and elements of “family.” This is one of the reasons people believe it to be the “best” Star Wars movie, because it laid the foundation for the “soul” of Star Wars, which I discussed previously.

People could have argued that The Empire Strikes Back was not “Star Wars,” for these reasons. However, it maintained similar comedic undertones, philosophical ideas, musical and pacing elements as the first movie.

To further that point, The Return of The Jedi, was again, a very different movie from the previous two. It was more dialogue heavy, had a slower pacing, and actually had a story structure that was broken up between the two unrelated story locations of Jabba’s palace and the Endor moon. Jabba’s palace did not lead to the Endor moon. People could argue that Return of The Jedi wasn’t “Star Wars.”

On the final point, about continuity. I feel that Stars Wars has so many crucial elements that are vastly more important than timeframe continuity in a single film. Although I would have preferred to have a relatively continuous timeframe, I feel it was more important to create a structure that follows the entirety of the character study of Anakin Skywalker.

I feel the character study of Anakin Skywalker is too complex, to devote an entire film to his time as a child. There is simply too much ground to cover.

On the flip side, Anakin’s story as a child is too important to leave out entirely. The size and scope of the trilogy requires a timeframe jump. This is likely to be the only timeframe jump in the trilogy.

To say it is not “Star Wars” because it contains a timeframe jump, seems silly to me, because the elements of Star Wars are there, and missing a single stylistic element, doesn’t seem to contradict anything about the originals.

In addition to this, The Empire Strikes Back has a slight timeframe jump as well. A jump that is not clearly explained, but is there. The time Luke spends training with Yoda is not explained, relating to how much time has passed. It is clear that a significant amount of time had passed (I believe the writer said “months”) and I doubt people would consider this lack of pure timeframe continuity to “not be Star Wars.”

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

For the version read at your festival, I spent about fourteen months. Although there was plenty of note taking before I even started writing.

How many stories have you written?

This is my first complete screenplay, although there are several versions. You have read the “abridged” version.

What motivated you to write this screenplay?

It has been a fire burning in my belly for years. I never intended to send it to a festival however. I found out about several “fan fiction” festivals after I had nearly finished writing it.

Ultimately, the reason I wrote it, was to somehow, someway, make it into a movie, because that is what screenplays are for, and that it how I wrote it. I didn’t write it to be an entertaining read. I wrote it to be an entertaining movie.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

The biggest obstacle is feedback. You must get some feedback. I have a friend who was willing to read it, and provide feedback. I took some of his advice, but stuck to my heart where I disagreed with him.

The ability to receive feedback, and use it to your advantage, is a critical part of writing, I believe, because when you’re writing, you don’t know if what you are doing is making any sense or not. It’s easy to get into your own head and think something is working when it is not, or think something is not working, when it is.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Star Wars and Shakira.

What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

The feedback was priceless. Again, feedback is crucial. You must hear what someone thinks about the script. The next thing that is crucial, is to stick with what you believe in, and make changes where you feel the criticism has found something worthwhile.

Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Thinking is the most important part. Have a notepad, where you can write down ideas when they come into your head. You will NOT remember them later. You must write down the thoughts that come into your head. I use my smart phone for this. I write notes down all the time, some of it is never used, but most of it is what makes the foundation for the screenplay.

Second, you need as much feedback as you can get. They don’t have to be professional readers, but they MUST find some sort of criticism with your work.

Worthless feedback is when you are told something is “good” or “bad.” Anything else is valuable and necessary.

Equally important to receiving feedback, is your ability to use it for YOUR BENEFIT. Use it like a tool. Don’t use it to satisfy somebody else’s idea of how things should be, unless you absolutely have to as a requirement.

***

Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

 

Movie Review: STAR WARS: REVENGE OF THE SITH (2005)

Submit your Fan Fiction Screenplay to the Festival: http://fanfictionfestival.com

Read Interview with Star Wars Storyboard Artist Kurt Van der Basch

REVENGE OF THE SITH MOVIE POSTER
REVENGE OF THE SITH, 2005
Movie Reviews

Directed by George Lucas
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman, Samuel L. Jackson, Ian McDiarmid, Frank Oz
Review by Andrew Kosarko

SYNOPSIS:

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…. Sometime during Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith, Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker will make a fateful decision. Faced with a choice between losing the one he loves or giving up his soul to gain the power to save her, Anakin will fall prey to the seductive temptations of the dark side of the Force. Just what Anakin’s decision is, why he makes it and how it leads him to don a frightening suit of black armor have been the stuff of Star Wars legend.

One word: Finally. And even that is pushing it.

REVIEW:

The Story:

Finally, Lucas pushes the “Go” button that he’s been afraid to hit for the past 2 movies. And even so, he waits until halfway through this movie to hit it. The story is so much more focused than the other two prequels and really provides a dynomite character piece that overpowers the CGI and the action. This here, is the good stuff. We finally will get to see how it all goes down, and here folks, is where the mystery truly lies. We finally see the Jedi annihilated, but sadly, mostly from the hand of the Emperor and not Darth Vader. But don’t let that phase you, Darth Vader does murder children in this film. Yeah…as sick and depraved, this is what I have been waiting for. For once in the prequel trilogy I was emotionally captured throughout everything happening in the film. I recall seeing the film for the first time at midnight, watching the death of Mace Windu and thinking to myself “Oh man…this sucks.” Anakin finally embraces his selfish wants to save the galaxy and his woman by his own hands and we understand why and we can justify everything he does through his eyes. We needed not the filler of yester-film, just to know the man was in love and that he would do anything to save it. We also get a great story of a teacher who feels immense regret for his actions and his own selfish promises that have come to a great cost to his world. We see an evil dictator rise to power and the groups who realize they unknowingly helping it come to fruition. Basically, the story works great for mystery, betrayal and epic action.

Acting:

Alright, here’s where I get defensive mode. It’s not Hayden’s fault for his performance. At first, I was like most and thought Lucas had hired the wrong man for the job. But once I got my hand on the DVD for this puppy, my view point changed. Watch some of the bonus features and see some alternate takes of Hayden performing. The man blows the roof off the house. And then watch as Lucas interrupts the take and asks him to change the performance to what we get in the final film. Sadly for Christensen, when George Lucas tells you to do something, you do it. Veteran actors like McGregor, Jackson, McDiarmid must have picked up on this way back in Episode 1 and figured out they were really on their own in terms of their performance. Even Portman steps it up in this film and impressed me. But of all the players, Christensen was the only one on his second outing. I don’t blame him for the faults in his portrayal of Anakin and even at it’s worse, it’s still somewhat tolerable.

Ewan rocks the house. I mean it. This is the Obi-wan we were all waiting for. It’s almost like he mixed a little of Harrison Ford’s Han Solo into his Obi-wan. But the detail is in the subtleties that really shows his ability. Watch the following shot after the end of the lightsaber duel between Anakin and Obi-wan. Anakin lays on the bank in pain and the first instinct of Obi-wan is to go and help his fallen brother. But he can’t. He stops himself. THAT, to me is absolutely phenomenal. I love it. Obi wan is a man driven in this film, which is what makes him most interesting. Just as Anakin becomes Darth Vader in this film, Obi-wan becomes the Obi-wan we’ve all been waiting for. He’s wise and understanding of the mistakes he’s made and out to fix them. Meanwhile, all trying to save his best friend. I mean come on, it just doesn’t get any more interesting than that if you ask me.

Lastly, I’d like to mention Ian McDiarmid. The dude steals every scene that he’s in. It’s not so subtle that he’s the one pulling the strings behind everything so they just run with it. It’s not revealed to us the audience until it’s revealed to the characters and that’s what makes it fun. We know it, but we’re not completely assured there’s a twist coming on it or not. Which is what makes it so rewarding that we can say “Yes! I knew it was him.” Even though most of us knew it from Episode 1 haha. But in all seriousness, the man goes from vile and mysterious to straight up evil and intimidating. A great arc is clearly seen in this film as he takes over the galaxy. So much, that this is more his movie than anyone else’s.

Directing:

Lucas gets everything right this go around. Yes the CGI is still heavily there, but there’s so much great story going on and great character development that we don’t mind it. It only adds to the story the way we hope. That’s what we needed in the other films. My only complaint is that he was so influential on Christensen’s performance that it hurts the film overall from most of everyone else’s opinions. That and making the cyborg Vader scream out like a little punk bitch at the reveal of his wife’s death. There, I said it.

Cinematography:

Stunning and original. This is when the HD 24p cameras were really working at full capacity. The film looks flawless. It really does capture a great crisp look that almost makes all of the CGI work better along with it so that it helps to suspend disbelief. Sad only because it’s the last film that will have it for Star Wars….at least until Star wars 7,8 and 9 come out.

Production Design:

Was there any? Aside from a few sets, everything is CGI. Most of the production design goes into costuming and set design, and even those are CGI influenced. As much as I praised the work above, I still favor actual objects when they can be there. But that’s just me.

Editing:

Great, there’s never a side step the entire film. I’m captured in every moment and never find myself bored. The pacing is on and while it takes a little while for the story to reach the point we’re all waiting for, we still aren’t looking at our watches. It gets there like clockwork and flows nicely. Again, shame it only took them 3 movies to figure it out.

Score:

John Williams jumps back to the level of great scores that he had in A New Hope. This film has it all. A perfect 50/50 blend of the old and new films to bridge the gap. There’s exciting new music that still channels the spirit of the original trilogy and gives us an emotional backbone to support some of the great battle scenes – most notably “Battle of the Heroes” between Obi-wan and Anakin. Simply powerful.

Special Effects:

The movie is 75% CGI. Literally. While still, in my opinion, over stylized, the film’s story keeps the CGI from overpowering the image and removing our attention from the events at hand. Some of the work is very impressive, while other parts are very obvious CGI that got less attention and is needing heavy work. Massive props have to be given to the work on Yoda however. While it’s not perfect, it’s damn close to it. I was very impressed with how close to life like it looked.

In closing:

Revenge of the Sith delivers. It’s not how any of us would have done it, but it is indeed George Lucas’ baby. It’s not perfect, but it works greatly. It’s one of those darts that get’s so close to the bulls eye that your friends are like “alright, I’ll give you that one.”

Submit your Fan Fiction Screenplay to the Festival: http://fanfictionfestival.com

Read Interview with Star Wars Storyboard Artist Kurt Van der Basch

Movie Review: Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones (2002)

Submit your Fan Fiction Screenplay to the Festival: http://fanfictionfestival.com

Read Interview with Star Wars Storyboard Artist Kurt Van der Basch

ATTACK OF THE CLONES MOVIE POSTER
ATTACK OF THE CLONES, 2002
Movie Reviews

Directed by George Lucas
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman, Samuel L. Jackson, Ian McDiarmid, Anthony Daniels
Review by Andrew Kosarko

SYNOPSIS:

In the second installment of the Star Wars series, EPISODE II–ATTACK OF THE CLONES, Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) is now a teenage Jedi apprentice to Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor). Together they must protect Senator Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman) from a militant group of political activists that is trying to assassinate her. This group is led by the evil Count Dooku (Christopher Lee). Among other troubles, Anakin faces some hard choices as he begins to fall for Padme, knowing this love is forbidden by the Jedi knights’ creed. In addition, Anakin begins to show his rebellious attraction to the dark side–which will eventually conquer him, when he becomes the future Darth Vader. The story is set 10 years after STAR WARS EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE, and there are appearances by some of PHANTOM’s characters, including Jar Jar Binks. CLONES also brings back familiar faces from the original STAR WARS: the lovable droids R2D2 and C3PO, and Yoda, who plays a key role in this film.

 

REVIEW:

For a title that includes the term “attack” there seems to be a repeat of the problems of Phantom Menace in this film. The lack of action and the continued overstylized CGI that possesses every frame. This was supposed to be, in a fans mind, where things got good. And when I say “good” I mean, “bad” for just about everyone in the story. We got the setup in Phantom Menace, everybody knows everybody and things are set in motion. The sad part about this film, is that instead of trying to follow through on those setups, the film attempts to vicariously channel the romance aspect of Empire Strikes Back without including the darker elements. Sure, there’s a slaughtering of the sand people and the not so subtle of Count Dooku, but I mean, the rest of the time it’s just Hayden and Portman giggling in the gardens and using the force to pass the dinner salt. Meanwhile Obi-wan takes a space vacation and runs into the Boba-fett wannabe dad while Yoda and Windu sit around the temple watching Palpatine run amok constantly saying “this is gonna be bad” and not doing anything to stop it. There ya have it. There’s the movie. The problem, again, is basically Lucas’ mindset of “we have to save all the good stuff for the next one.” And that’s basically explains the reason for this movie. Filler.

The Story:

Granted, it takes a step in the right direction after Menace and there’s no repeat fish chase scenes, but overall, this is a Star Wars movie for teen girls. And there’s nothing wrong with that….well, except the core audience of this film don’t talk to members of that gender unless they’re members of the 501st. I do enjoy seeing Anakin and Padme falling in love, but I don’t need it dragged out for 2 hours. The romance aspect is just “there.” It doesn’t ever “build.” That’s my problem with it. The mystery aspects involving the clones and Obi-wan isn’t so much a mystery given what we know from the original films so maybe this movie will play different to my kids one day if I decide to have them watch them in order for Lucas and not release. Speaking of which, I think one day I’ll hold an experiment and have one son watch them in Lucas order and the other son watch them in release order and then watch them duke it out. Who knows how that could end haha.

Acting:

Now, here’s where people are going to raise an eyebrow. I don’t think Hayden Christianson is a bad actor. I honestly don’t. Go see Shattered Glass if you have a chance. The dude can act. I don’t know what happened to him in these movies.Wait, on second thought. Yes I do. But I’ll explain his acting problems when you read the Revenge of the Sith review. Because until I saw something with that I thought he sucked just like the rest of the world.

The rest of the returning cast do the same old song and dance. Jackson is more characterized in this film as being the strict badass so he works a lot better in this film and if Ewan McGregor was channeling Alec Guiness every night, I wouldn’t be surprised. He works very well, even down to the subtleties of Guiness’ acting and speech. Very impeccable work. The only weak link, in my honest opinion is Christopher Lee. Yes, I know he’s a famous cult actor and one that fits this genre….well…kinda. Nevertheless, I never felt any life in his character. Never despised him like I do all of the Star Wars villains. I still think if Darth Maul had survived Menace and carried on until the third film in the same spot as Lee that it would have been a hell of a lot more interesting. Not only for us as an audience who see Maul as a mysterious and intriguing character, but also as a personal emotional arc on seeing how Obi-wan dealt with the theme of revenge as opposed to Anakin. But that’s just me.

Directing:

Here ya go Mr. Lucas, let’s try this for a second time…don’t drop the ……..ball. Damn it George what did I tell you? As with the past of George Lucas famous directing shouts (“Faster and more intense.”) I have came up with his new ones all my own. For Menace it was “slower and more subdued.” For Clones? I’m going to make a guess and say it was “not too much, save it for the next one.”

Cinematography:

Again – beautiful when not dealing with the CGI explosion love fest taking place.

Production Design:

Same as Phantom Menace, the problem here being that Lucas now using a digital high def 24p camera has a lot more ability to manipulate things with a computer so there’s a whole heck of a lot less production design and more CGI. And this, as a loyal student to the old school, makes me sad.

Editing:

Much better off this time around. While I felt Phantom Menace moved too slow, this film still carries a nice pace. Like I said, most of this film just comes off as filler in the end, but it still keeps you hooked for the majority of the film.

Score:

John Williams makes moves. More movements towards the original score so the audience “gets it”. Granted, I’m pretty sure it was easy to tell the Clone Troopers would become storm troopers, but the music really gets you excited about it all, even if it’s just for the last 30 seconds of the film.

Special Effects:

Too much of the same old song and dance. Sorry, the film comes off being a little too altruistic in the CGI sense. It’s almost as if the aesthetic is the only selling point of the film, and even at that, it chokes the story most of the time. Massively hinders the suspension of disbelief. There in lies one of the problems. Yes, we’ve made massive strides in CGI realism, but it’s not there yet. I can still tell when something’s fake, even in something these days like District 9.

In closing:

Filler. I honestly think you could skip this movie, go straight to the third one and really only miss a beat or two. Nothing that a friend couldn’t explain in a sentence. The filler doesn’t really do much to justify or explain the details, oddly enough something we got too much of in Menace, to make it worthy of repeat viewing. The film is a let down mainly because this is the one we expected to see the rise of Darth Vader and then the next film to be full force Vader badassery. Hunting Jedi, taking over the galaxy. But no.

Flowers. Giggles. Clones and Wannabe’s. And a lot of “I have a bad feeling about this.”

Next…..the bad guys come a callin in Revenge of the Sith….

 

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