Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Working from the press room at GDC is a bit like manning a typewriter while you're sinking in quicksand -- you're sucked in just a bit further with each keystroke until you're completely immersed and unable to wriggle free.

With that lovely imagery in mind, I'd like to give a big thanks to the good folks at LucasArts, who, even if it was just for about an hour or so, whisked me away from the madness-infused inner sanctums of the Moscone Center all the way up to San Francisco's lovely Presidio district for a short hands-on appointment with BioWare's highly anticipated Star Wars MMO, The Old Republicc.

From the outset, it's evident that LucasArts and BioWare have a haughty task ahead of them. A massively multiplayer Star Wars universe was attempted once before with Sony Online's Star Wars Galaxies, which, while not a disaster by any means, was still met with mixed reviews from fans and critics alike. And what of the ever-expanding Star Wars universe? Doing justice to the franchise's positively epic canon in a massively multiplayer environment is surely no simple task, especially when faced against established MMO franchises such as World of Warcraft or even sci-fi focused newcomers like Star Trek Online. Daniel Erickson, The Old Republic's lead writer, was on hand to dispel any doubts I had going into the game and shed some light on BioWare's creative process.

"We've always looked at what we're doing," explained Erickson. "We didn't look towards any of the other MMO spaces for more than 'Hey, we like this, we don't like this,' any more than we've looked at any of the other Star Wars games. We love MMOs, and we love RPGS; we always wondered why the MMORPG didn't have the role-playing part in it -- the stories and the characters -- and then we looked at what we love about Star Wars. It's always been about making the best game we can more than saying, 'Oh, we do want to do this,' or, 'We don't want to do this,' with things that have come before us."

I took a seat at one of seven pimped-out PCs where a level six Republic Trooper was ready and waiting, battle rifle in hand. As a rising star in the Republic-funded special-ops task force Havoc Squad, I found myself deployed to the lush locale of Ord Mantell, tasked with infiltrating a Separatist base and disarming a deadly explosive. Before I dove into my mission, I approached a nearby NPC who, like all of the NPCs in Old Republic, was fully voiced and fluidly animated. The NPC, a snarky reporter named Lamalla Rann, shared her spite for the Separatists before asking me to help her hunt down some missing data, as well as her missing assistant. I was thrilled to see a familiar BioWare staple in a Mass Effect-inspired dialogue wheel, and as I agreed to help Lamalla and her plight, I couldn't help but wonder how this cinematic conversation could be repeated in the grand scheme of the game -- specifically with so many dialogue trees and choices at one's disposal.

"We said, 'If we're going to do story, we have to do story like BioWare does it," said Erickson. "Interactivity without choice is pointless. One thing I've always kept in my head since I was studying design was something Sid Meier said -- 'If my choice is not real and is not impactful, don't make me press a button.' It's the choices that make [the characters] real." My conversation ended, and two or three paces later, I was sharing the screen with a sword-wielding Separatist ready to throw down. Well, kind of -- The Old Republic looks great, don't get me wrong, but there are still quite a few bugs that need to be worked out; namely, enemies didn't so much as blink at my Trooper until he'd sidled up directly beside them. But after that? Well, as they say, all hell broke loose.

If I can say one thing about The Old Republic's combat, it's that it really didn't feel too much like an MMO. Sure, I had a bar of refreshable attacks at my disposal in typical MMO fashion, but the lack of an auto-attack coupled with the frenetic mixture of ranged and melee attacks was enough to make me forget about the persistent online world altogether -- an idea I'm anxious to explore against other living, breathing players. Working from a pool of Action Points, I let loose a steady stream of lasers, oftentimes following it up with a devastating sticky grenade -- or, if I was close enough, a good old-fashioned whack to the face with the butt of my rifle. The combat was surprisingly balanced; my Trooper was strong, but not overpowered, and my enemies were challenging, but not damage sponges.

And as soon as my high-risk base infiltration started, it ended; the mixed gravitational pulls of the GDC press room and prior appointments drawing me towards the shuttle waiting outside of Lucas, leaving Rann's plight unfinished and the Separatist bomb still very much armed. While my time with The Old Republic was far too limited, I walked away with just enough of a taste to not only pique my interest, but convince me just a little bit more that if anyone can handle the daunting task of translating the Star Wars universe into a persistent online environment, it's the talented folks at BioWare.

"Star Wars is a huge, huge IP," noted Erickson. "There has been a massive amount of things that have already been written -- there's a huge amount of canon, there's a huge amount of interesting stories, and there are so many different takes on it already. I want to do good by Star Wars. I want to do something where people say, 'That's Star Wars. They get it.'" The Old Republic has shaped up beautifully since E3 2009, and while its launch date is still a ways away, Erickson and company are well on their way to making good on that promise. My tiny glimpse of the finished product has done nothing but whet my appetite (and my bank account) for yet another massively multiplayer addiction.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Great article by Russ Pitts. Here he tells you all about his invitation to Lucasarts. A really enjoyable read

The fact that it was a black van should have been my first clue. They are always smiling, those Lucasarts press folks, and you genuinely feel as if they're your friends. And then the van shows up, and it's black.

We'd been asked by the mighty and powerful media giant to visit their San Francisco-based offices in order to see ... something. They wouldn't tell us what, exactly. We knew Bioware was involved and that it would have something to do with the forthcoming (no release date has been announced) MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Continues here

Monday, 29 March 2010

LucasArts has confirmed the development of a special edition of Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge.

Announced during the Game Developers Conference, the revamped sequel will be available for PC, Xbox 360, PS3 and iPhone in the summer.

Unlike last year's Secret Of Monkey Island Special Edition, the game will feature a new control mechanism. "In addition to the point-and-click interface, we've added the ability to move Guybrush around, so you feel more connected to him," said LucasArts exec Craig Derrick.

The title will also include new artwork from Peter Chan and Steve Purcell and director's commentary, as well as improved graphics, sound and a full voiceover track. Like its predecessor, the game will allow players to switch between the original graphics and high-definition art.

LucasArts also revealed that The Secret Of Monkey Island Special Edition is bound for PSN and Mac OS.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Two iconic American names, Steven Spielberg and the late Jackie Kennedy Onassis, are linked together in a new project.

Jack Spielberg is selling "Jackie," a hot script about the late First Lady that's making the rounds in Hollywood. Noah Oppenheim, the head of development at Reveille who's also a journalist, author and former producer at the "Today" show has written the script, which examines the days immediately following the assassination of John F. Kennedy from Jackie Kennedy's point-of-view. Spielberg is on board the project in a producerial capacity.

HBO is a lead contender to buy the script and would likely develop it as a film it could air on its network. Spielberg has a long relationship with HBO; the premium cable channel is currently airing the WWII epic "The Pacific," which Spielberg executive-produced.

The life and death of JFK have been frequently visited on television with projects such as the 1983 NBC miniseries "Kennedy," starring Martin Sheen. And three years ago, Emilio Estevez took on the aftermath of the events surrounding the RFK assassination at the Ambassador Hotel. A film from Jackie's point of view, however, would be more rare. More as it develops.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Steven Spielberg and John Williams introduce "Soundings", a work written to celebrate the opening of Los Angeles' new Walt Disney Concert Hall in October 2003.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Steven Spielberg eyeing 'Robopocalypse'

Steven Spielberg is eyeing dystopian sci-fi film Robopocalypse for his next directing venture, according to Deadline.

The DreamWorks project is based on Daniel H. Wilson's unpublished manuscript and revolves around the human race's fight for survival after a robot uprising. Wilson's book is due to hit stores in 2011.

Cloverfield writer Drew Goddard has been tapped to pen the screenplay.

Spielberg's next movie will be The Adventures Of Tintin: The Secret Of The Unicorn, scheduled for release in December 2011.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

E.T, the heart-warming story of a friendly extraterrestrial who is stranded on Earth, has beaten modern blockbusters such as Shrek and Finding Nemo to be named the greatest ever children's movie.

E.T: The Extra-Terrestrial

The 1982 classic, which was directed by Steven Spielberg and launched a young Drew Barrymore's Hollywood career, became famous for the phrase "E.T, phone home."

In the film, a group of young children look after E.T and attempt to get him back to his home planet.

Second place in the poll went to Pixar's 1996 hit Toy Story, followed by Disney classic Mary Poppins, with The Lion King and The Wizard of Oz completing the top five.

A spokesman for, which carried out the research, said: ''The films featured in the poll span across decades and all have something special about them.

''E.T is a movie the whole family can gather around to watch and it never fails to bring a tear to someone's eye."

Top 50 children's films of all time

1.E.T: The Extra-Terrestrial

2. Toy Story

3. Mary Poppins

4. Lion King

5. Wizard of Oz

6. Bambi

7. Back to the Future

8. Shrek

9. Finding Nemo

10. Labyrinth

11. 101 Dalmatians

12. Aladdin

13. Beauty and the Beast

14. The Goonies

15. The Jungle Book

16. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

17. Alice in Wonderland

18. Home Alone

19. Ice Age

20. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

21. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

22. Annie

23. Cinderella

24. Monsters Inc

25. Madagascar

26. Sound of Music

27. Wallace and Gromit – The Wrong Trousers

28. Mrs Doubtfire

29. Babe

30. Beethoven

31. Beetlejuice

32. Black Beauty

33. The Little Mermaid

34. The Railway Children

35. A Bug's Life

36. Dumbo

37. Wall-E

38. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

39. A Little Princess

40. Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure

41. Jurassic Park

42. Kung-Fu Panda

43. Who Framed Roger Rabbit

44. Billy Elliot

45. Lady and the Tramp

46. Neverending Story

47. Short Circuit

48. Sleeping Beauty

49. An American Tail

50. Chicken Run

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Usually, news of a writer switching to a new talent agency is the Hollywood equivalent of a "Governor Appoints Committee to Study Problem" headline. Blah. This one, however, has larger ramifications: Vulture can exclusively report that late yesterday, William Morris Endeavor landed Jonathan Nolan, co-writer (with his director brother, Christopher) of The Dark Knight. And the move may be telegraphing a lot more.

Insiders are watching the younger Nolan's move closely, because he's been at work for the last two years on the screenplay to Interstellar, a sci-fi time-travel treatment originally penned by Caltech theoretical physicist Kip Thorne that Steven Spielberg is attached to direct. The intensity of WME's fight to wrest Nolan from UTA (CAA was also competing to snag him)* signals that there's as much interest in what Nolan currently is — the writer of the next Batman movie — as what Nolan may soon become: possibly the screenwriter of Spielberg's next movie.

Spielberg has been tied to many projects, though he hasn't confirmed which he'll actually direct next. His films in development include a long-gestating biopic of President Abraham Lincoln, another biopic of George Gershwin, a Diablo Cody–penned version of The Taming of the Shrew, and an adaptation of novelist Rick Riordan's The 39 Clues: The Maze of Bones. But WME is likely gambling on it being Interstellar.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Spielberg: 'Avatar has changed movies'

Steven Spielberg has admitted that he was impressed by Avatar.

The movie, directed by James Cameron, has broken box office records and was nominated for nine Academy Awards.

According to Showbiz Spy, Spielberg has now praised the film.

"I say thank goodness for Avatar," he said. "It is such an inspiration for all of us. I really think Jim has changed the industry forever, in a good way."

Monday, 22 March 2010

Music by Andy Price

Sunday, 21 March 2010

'Lars' director to helm 'Fright Night'?

Director Craig Gillespie is reportedly in talks to direct a remake of 1980s horror-comedy Fright Night.

DreamWorks is currently in negotiations with the Lars and the Real Girl helmer to shepherd the update into production, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Gillespie has also directed episodes of the Showtime drama United States of Tara, produced by DreamWorks's Steven Spielberg.

The original Fright Night was released in US theatres in 1985. The film centred on a teenage boy who discovers that his neighbour is a vampire.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Steven Spielberg has warned his new TV miniseries The Pacific is more gruesome than Band Of Brothers.

The 10-part series, which begins on Sunday, carves its own path across a lesser-known theatre of war than Band Of Brothers, which was also executive produced by Spielberg and Tom Hanks and dramatised the true story of a company of paratroopers fighting in Europe.

"We want the viewing public to be prepared that there is a level of savagery in The Pacific that is more intense than in Band Of Brothers," Spielberg said.

He went on: "Anything less than the graphic nature of that war, or for that matter any war, would have been met by scorn by the veterans who fought in it.

"We only told a partial story in Band. My own relatives were saying to me, 'We all fought in the Pacific. That's a different story. It was jungle warfare.'"

According to Hanks, the Pacific theatre they faced was far different from the European one.

"The war in the Pacific was more like the wars we've seen ever since, a war of racism and terror, a war of absolute horrors, both on the battlefield and in the regular living conditions," he said.

He joked that his latest collaboration with Spielberg is completely different to the pair's first work, the 1986 comedy film The Money Pit.

"When we first worked together, on The Money Pit, if somebody had come to me and said, 'You two guys are gonna get a job telling historical stories ... more specifically, World War II history,' I would have said, 'You're nuts,'" Hanks said, smiling broadly.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Much of the impact of "The Cove," which collected the documentary feature Oscar on Sunday night, comes from underwater footage that could not have been captured without help from Lucasfilm spinoff Kerner Optical.

Kerner runs a hush-hush "skunk works" that solves high-tech problems for private industry, government contractors and the occasional three-letter agency. Since Kerner's expertise is in models, miniatures and camera engineering, many of those problems involve exotic cameras.

For "The Cove," which exposes the slaughter of toxin-laden dolphins for meat in Japan, director Louie Psihoyos needed HD cameras that could sit on the sea bottom undetected and record the events at the surface. Kerner production manager Kevin Wallace became "rock camera supervisor" for the movie.

Wallace, who appears in the pic, said, "We tried to envision being there and tried to create something we wouldn't be able to detect, and we felt if we couldn't detect it, no one else would be able to either."

They placed Sony HD cameras that recorded to hard drives inside faux rocks sculpted from urethane, coated with epoxy and then painted to match surrounding rocks.

Once in place, the cameras ran continuously. Each night the pic sent a team to collect the cameras and replace the hard drives, but the rock cameras were so convincing that they were hard to locate.

"Sometimes they were a little warmer than the other rocks so we could see them on night vision," Psihoyos said.

Psihoyos remembered hanging from a cliff for hours at one point to avoid detection by the locals and realizing that "the guys in charge of the rock cameras are getting this amazing footage, and they're asleep."

"We absolutely couldn't have made the film without those cameras," he said.

Digital dilemma

Oscar's technical categories reflect moviemaking as it grew up in the 20th century, as an industrial process with specialists working more or less separately. The introduction of digital technology has blurred those specialties and has created quandaries for Academy branches and voters alike.

Sunday's results, though, suggest the Academy voters are adjusting to the new realities of digital filmmaking. Mauro Fiore won cinematography honors for "Avatar" even though he only worked on the live-action scenes, which made up about 30% of the movie.

Backstage after his win, Fiore said, "I think it's a pretty amazing thing for me to be honored in this capacity, especially because this is an HD film and this is the first time that a film has won that has so much computer generated images and live action together. So this is a huge revolution for the industry."

Besides cinematography, the Acad also gave makeup kudos to "Star Trek," though digital cosmetic enhancement specialists Lola VFX was credited on the pic. Lola's work on some pics has extended to fixing makeup problems on set.

Oscar winner Barney Burman told Daily Variety that while he doesn't believe his prosthetic makeup on "Star Trek" was digitally retouched, he thinks there's slightly less concern about that happening. The critical thing, he said, is that artists are honest about who did what. "If it's all clear and above board, then it's a little more acceptable for us to judge it on what was really done."

Digital retouching is not a big issue for Burman because his goal is to create makeup that looks great for the director and producer seeing it on set.

"If we can make it as beautiful to the eye it should read on camera. I don't do makeup for the camera, because I'm never sure what the camera will see or not see. But I know the director and producer will see a living person 360, and I want them to be impressed."

Secret's out

Lowry Digital can now boast having worked on the past two vfx Oscar winners.

Lowry, which helped remove any digital artifacts from "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," was also quietly engaged to work on "Avatar." It was sworn to secrecy during most of awards season but was able to go public Tuesday with glowing quotes from producer Jon Landau. Lowry developed its software for film restoration and has adapted it to remove noise from footage captured with digital cameras. Former Moving Picture Co. CEO David Jeffers has joined London-based BlueBolt VFX as non-executive chairman. BlueBolt was founded by former MPC staffers Chas Jarrett, Angela Barson and Lucy Ainsworth-Taylor as a boutique vfx shop aiming at both feature and broadcast work. It has already delivered work on Warner's "Sherlock Holmes" and Disney's upcoming "Prince of Persia." … Bow Tie Cinema will install Technicolor's 3D-on-film system on 25 of its 150 screens in time for the release of DreamWorks Animation's "How to Train Your Dragon" on March 26. Meanwhile Oculus3D, the new 3D-on-film solution from Lenny Lipton, the brain behind much of today's digital 3D technology, has been giving demos of its system in Los Angeles. After the boffo box office for "Avatar" and "Alice in Wonderland" look for more announcements at or around ShoWest of theaters going to 3D-on-film, as exhibs decide not to wait for digital cinema deployment to collect the 3D up-charge on tickets.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Director George Lucas has been compared to inventor Thomas Edison.

According to SciFiWire, Alice in Wonderland producer Richard D. Zanuk believes that the Star Wars filmmaker is as reverential as the man who invented the lightbulb.

"He's the only person, with the exception of Sam Goldwyn, who literally put his own money in," said Zanuck.

"Sam financed and owned 100% of all those great pictures he made, and no-one else has ever done that, not like he did. George put it back into ILM and Skywalker Ranch and THX sound."

He added: "[Lucas] put it into the greatest equipment, all of it up to date... He's the only one who ever gave back to the industry in terms of the technology investment. And I guess James Cameron, now, but that's on a different scale. He's really been an innovator like nobody else. He's the Thomas Edison of our time."

In the same interview, Zanuk also put Lucas on par with Walt Disney.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

FROM the moment Luke Skywalker felt the force, Star Wars was on a stellar trajectory to become a global phenomenon.
Since 1977, the feature films that lie at the heart of the sci-fi epic have spawned a universe of spin-offs. The latest addition to film-maker George Lucas' franchise, however, is a blockbuster in its own right.

Star Wars: In Concert received its World Premiere at London's 02 in April last year. Next Saturday, it plays its only Scottish dates, when it lands at the SECC.

Featuring music from all John Williams' Star Wars scores, performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the concert is billed as 'a massive multi-media event' with narration provided by - who else? - Anthony Daniels, the man who played C-3PO in all six films.

"Oddly, for some reason, I'm the only person to have been there throughout – either people have died off, been replaced by a younger character or become digital. So I've seen the history, seen people come and go and be reinvented. 3PO is a story-teller in the original films, one of the most visually striking constants that carry you through the entire saga."

C-3PO – Daniels always drops the C when referring to his best known role – is also loquacious, a trait the robot shares with the actor. A shoo-in, then, to narrate the concert, and one that has the blessing of George Lucas himself.

"Several times in each film, when I would turn up on set in the costume, George Lucas would say, 'Ah, Star Wars has arrived'," recalls the 64-year-old. "That was a nice thing to hear because Star Wars is a mighty story that, for whatever reason, has spanned the globe over and over again, through generations now.

"What is magic for me is being able to stand on stage – not in my gold suit, that's in an exhibition outside the arena – and be the glue that holds the evening together."

Daniels' narration and the music is accompanied by specially edited Star Wars footage, shown on a three-story-tall, high-definition LED super-screen.

"Rather cleverly, I tell the story from beginning to end – George Lucas told it from middle to end and the beginning to the middle – and in doing so have realised that it is a very simple story," explains Daniels.

"It starts with The Galaxy being a rather wonderful place under a republic, but there are always bad people about. We meet a little boy called Anakin Skywalker. He meets a girl and then he begins to be seduced by some bad people and turns really bad. However, along the way he has had two children who finally confront him, defeat him and then, as he dies, he is redeemed and The Galaxy goes back to being a wonderful place."

Laughing, he adds, "It is a galaxy, I have to tell you, far, far away."

It's Williams' music, however, that brings that story to life.

"I have seen bits of the movies without music," reveals the actor. "When I'm putting my voice on there's no music, and without the music there is very little feeling. It's a bit flat and without emotion. Doing these concerts I have realised that music is an immediate key to your emotions. Two or three notes of music can instantly make you feel sad or tense or afraid or angry. To do that in words is much more difficult."

And don't worry if you are not a Star Wars fan, the scores also stand up as orchestral pieces in their own right.

"The music stands up in its own right 100 per cent," Daniels emphasises. "The basic honour of the evening is to the music and John Williams. He has re-jigged some of his pieces to go in sync with the film clips and the impact is enormous.

"Doing this night after night you'd imagine we'd get bored with it, especially the orchestra, because they have to work very hard. But without fail they come off tired but smiling at the end.

"Most concert halls hold two thousand people, at these concerts we have five, ten, 15,000 people really reacting forcefully, and in a positive way. The musicians love that genuine appreciation.

"You know, a lot of people are loath to go to an orchestral concert because they are intimidated by the thought. There's nothing intimidating about this. I want people to come and see that when you watch and listen to a symphony orchestra it is rather wonderful.

"The music goes in your ears, kind of wriggles around in the middle and makes you feel really rather good. Maybe after seeing this, people will give another orchestra a whirl."

Of course, fans of the films will also want to hear C-3PO's distinctive high pitched delivery, and Daniels reveals, "One of the reasons I was asked to play 3PO was because I was good at mime, but doing the voice is just as intense.

"Having just done two days recording in LA, I can tell you the voice is fairly exhausting. I think now I would have chosen a different kind of voice, less tense, had I had known that it was going to last for 34 years.

After a moment's thought he admits, "Curiously, it was only fairly recently that I realised 3PO was with me for life. I hadn't really thought about it. Now, looking back, I realise just what an enormous piece of work Star Wars has been to be involved in."

Star Wars: In Concert, SECC, Glasgow, 12-13 March, 7.30pm, £30-£65, 0844-395 400

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Freelancer Soundtrack - Races and Battles. Superb soundtrack to go with a superb game. Enjoy

Monday, 15 March 2010

Star Wars: In Concert, the unique multi-media event featuring music from all six of John Williams' epic Star Wars scores, returns to North America on May 13, 2010 in Ft. Myers, Florida (May 13), beginning a fifty-city leg of the worldwide tour that will include dates in the United States and Canada. Over 350,000 Americans attended Star Wars: In Concert during its three-month inaugural 47-city North American tour last year, which Pollstar rated as the 9th biggest tour of 2009 in January.

The tour's return to North America follows a month in Europe -- from March 7 to April 8, 2010 -- with stops in Dublin, Liverpool, Glasgow, Paris, Madrid, Lisbon, Milan, Antwerp, Hamburg and the O2 Arena in London, where it began one year ago.

The production features a full symphony orchestra and choir, accompanied by specially edited footage from the films displayed on a three-story-tall, high-definition LED super-screen -- one of the largest ever put on tour. The footage actually runs in sync with the live music to create a full multi-media, one-of-kind Star Wars experience.

"We've taken the key themes from the music and cut together all the images that fit with each theme, so you can really get a sense of how the music played into the images," said George Lucas, creator of the Star Wars Saga. "The whole soundtrack is a testament to John Williams' creativity and his extraordinary ability to enhance the emotional aspects of the films."

"Creating the music for the Star Wars films has been an exciting and wonderful experience for me, and I therefore have derived particular pleasure in assembling a compendium of themes from all of the films to be presented in Star Wars: In Concert," said Williams. "The editors at Lucasfilm have created original film montages to accompany each of the musical selections, and in the process, I believe that a singular and unique Star Wars experience has been born."

"This event has been crafted to present Star Wars from many points of view; for the first time, the full dramatic sweep of Williams' iconic scores can be heard performed live in one evening," said Another Planet Touring Producer Spencer Churchill. "The show is a new way of experiencing the epic scope of the saga."

Accompanying the concert is an exclusive exhibit of Star Wars costumes, props, artifacts, production artwork and specially created behind-the-scenes videos from the Lucasfilm Archives. Many of these pieces are leaving Skywalker Ranch for the first time ever. The exhibit features many classic fan favorite artifacts, as well as several new and never-before-seen items, including:

* Full costumes for Jedi Masters Kit Fisto and Plo Koon will be on display.
* For the first time ever, pages from John Williams' original hand-written sheet music for Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace will be exhibited for the public.
* Also on display will be various never-before-seen props from the films, including blasters and helmets from Coruscant, Tatooine and other iconic Star Wars locations.

For more information, please visit

What the critics are saying:

"Dazzling! It gives the audience a new way of experiencing the story, bringing cheers and a standing ovation from the audience."
-- Scott Iwasaki, The Salt Lake City Deseret News

"The biggest revelation was John Williams' still stirring, romantically inspired, emotionally satisfying, compelling and exciting score -- one simple story, well told, elevated by the dynamic symphonic music that revolutionized the way films are scored."
-- David Burger, Salt Lake City Tribune

"...a 90-minute laser streaked, crashing-cymbals, living color extravaganza, made and approved by its originators."
-- John Timpane, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Star Wars: In Concert is produced by Another Planet Touring in association with Lucasfilm Ltd. The production is directed and designed by Steve Cohen. Star Wars: In Concert had its world premiere at the 02 Arena in London on April 10 and 11, 2009.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Composer John Williams is interviewed by Gene Shalit, circa 1997.
He discusses his association with Steven Spielberg and is seen conducting excerpts from "Raiders of the Lost Ark," "Jaws," "Superman," and "E. T."

Saturday, 13 March 2010

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Steven Spielberg's "Nine Lives" may find a second life at NBC.

Four years ago, Syfy (then Sci Fi Channel) announced a greenlight for "Nine Lives" as a 12-hour miniseries to air in 2007.

The project, with Spielberg on board as an executive producer, revolves around a group of people who find a way to reunite with their loved ones in the afterlife through near-death experiences, but those journeys unleash an evil force.

"Nine Lives" ultimately didn't go at Syfy, but it has sparked interest at sibling NBC. Writer Les Bohem is reworking his script for a broader broadcast audience. NBC won't make any decision until reading the latest draft, but it's eyeing "Nine Lives" as a direct-to-series vehicle as part of a new strategy to do more event-type drama projects.

Friday, 12 March 2010

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Thursday, 11 March 2010

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Hundreds of Star Wars fans descended on Bristol's Cabot Circus for what has been dubbed "the world's largest lightsaber fight".

Budding Bristolian Jedi brought their imitation weapons to the shopping centre to take part in a "flashmob", a seemingly spontaneous event that is organised over the internet.

With some dressed in brown Jedi robes, they play fought with multi-coloured lightsabers, the weapon of choice for the likes of Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader.

Now a video clip of the event, complete with authentic Star Wars music, has been posted on the internet.

The clip has also been mentioned on the official Star Wars website and has attracted a lot of interest from American fans.

It all took place on a Saturday lunchtime, in the centre of Cabot Circus, opposite House of Fraser.

The video clip shows unsuspecting shoppers mesmerised by a horde of Star Wars fans who turned up at a pre-agreed time to battle for three minutes.

Families looked on from the rafters as people of all ages and both genders took part in the battle.

On the video clip the edited highlights are set to "Duel of the fates", the fight theme music used in the Star Wars film prequels.

City of Bristol College student Scott Waller was among the sci-fi devotees at the fight.

The 20-year-old from Hanham has made a documentary about the event as part of his media course.

He said: "It was quite a short event, we probably had around 100 to 200 people.

"Originally more than 2,000 people said they were going on the Facebook site.

"It was quite spontaneous, the organisers had just said take your lightsaber and go at it with whoever was stood next to you. It was crazy.

"There was slight police presence but that was more to do with stopping any trouble that might have happened.

"The comments we've had on the website have been really good, and we've had a massive response from people in America saying that should have something like that there."

So far Scott and the organisers have yet to hear from George Lucas' lawyers, but as he points out the video wasn't made to make money.

The Cabot Circus foyer has become a popular choice for flash mobbers in Bristol since the shopping centre opened in September, 2008.

This time last year, hundreds took part in a flash mob freeze, holding whatever pose they were in for several minutes before continuing about their day. That event raised £80 for charity.

Scott was helped with the filming and editing of the clip by fellow course students Benjamin Gabb and Dan Tonkin.

One of the organisers, Tom Merchant-Locke, was inspired to set up the event after seeing a zombie flashmob in Cabot Circus last year.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Will Steven Spielberg and Fox be greeting television viewers with "Welcome … to Jurassic TV"?

Spielberg, whose love of the thunder lizard and its ilk is well-established, is in talks with Fox to be involved in a drama series about a family that travels back to prehistoric times, Variety reports.

The network is recruiting Spielberg to come aboard as an executive producer, in part because the series, called "Terra Nova," would incorporate complex sets and detailed special effects, Variety says.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

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Force Unleashed hits 7m sales
The Force proves incredibly strong with LucasArts’ Star Wars console title

LucasArts’ third person action adventure Star Wars: The Force Unleashed has now sold 7m units worldwide, the publisher has confirmed to GameSpot.

The game was first released in September 2008 and shot straight to the top of the ELSPA GfK Chart-Track All Formats Top 40, enjoying the biggest ever release week for a Star Wars video game in the process.

In total the game sold 1.5m units in its first week alone.

Late last year LucasArts released an expanded version of the game dubbed Star Wars: The Force Unleashed – Ultimate Sith Edition which includes the original game and all the DLC that has since been released.

It also confirmed that it is working on a sequel to the game, which is due for release some time this year.

Monday, 8 March 2010

'Monkey Island 2' revamp rumoured

LucasArts is rumoured to be working on a special edition version of Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge.

According to Kotaku sources the studio could unveil the game at next week's Game Developer's Conference in San Francisco.

Originally released in 1991, Monkey Island 2 follows Guybrush Threepwood's attempt to locate the mysterious tresure Big Whoop and win back the affections of love interest Elaine Marley.

Last year, LucasArts released an enhanced version of The Secret Of Monkey Island for Xbox 360, PC and iPhone featuring improved graphics and sound. It has been reported that the revamped sequel will also be given a PS3 release.

An official announcement regarding the Monkey Island 2 special edition is expected at the Game Developers Conference, which runs between March 9 and March 13.

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Sunday, 7 March 2010


The haunting music from Stargate SG-1 Series five. Daniel Ascends after being injured from radiation poisoning. Music by the great Joel Goldsmith

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Tales of Monkey IslandTo call The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition a success is an understatement. Telltale did a phenomenal job on the PC original and publisher LucasArts did fine work on the iPhone port.

That's why LucasArts has commissioned the episodic Tales of Monkey Island series to set sail for iPhone.

Murmurs regarding a possible iPhone version were crystallised during a discussion I had with a source close to the game who confirmed that it will indeed appear on the App Store this year. In fact, LucasArts is planning to announce the game during GDC in early March.

How the game will be sold is an interesting question. While I wasn't able to glean any specifics, LucasArts could either sell each episode individually or allow in-app purchases. In other words, you'd buy the first episode and be given the option to purchase the other four from within the game. Of course, there's nothing stopping them from doing both.

Whatever form it takes on the App Store doesn't matter as long as I have my copy in time for summer vacation - I need something for the plane!

Saturday, 6 March 2010

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LucasArts unveils 'Lego Star Wars III'

LucasArts has announced plans to publish a third multi-platform game in the Lego Star Wars franchise.

Titled Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars, the game will be released on the Wii, DS, PS3, PSP, Xbox 360 and PC in autumn 2010.

Developed by Traveller's Tales, the new title will include all the characters from animated TV series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, as well as other popular figures from the Star Wars saga.

Players can become a Jedi Knight or Separatist Fighter and make use of all-new character abilities, such as squad command, lightsaber slicing and long distance Jedi attacks.

The game will also feature an upgraded level builder facility enabling the creation of customised bases and battlefields for head-to-head combat.

"The Lego Star Wars franchise is a massive hit with fans, bringing in sales of over 20 million units worldwide," said LucasArts president Darrell Rodriguez.

"We're thrilled to extend this experience to Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars, delivering the humour and fun players expect from this award-winning franchise."

Last week, Warner Bros confirmed that Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 will be released in May for Xbox 360, Wii, PS3, DS, PSP and PC.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Posted by Locust_Star // PlayStation Home Online Community Specialist

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: This week hosts one of the largest content updates in the history of PlayStation Home! I know, I know…we’ve made this type of announcements multiple times over the course of the past year. But never – and I mean never – has it been truer than this week. Don’t believe me? Then I challenge you to log in to PlayStation Home this Thursday, February 18th and try to wade through the wide assortment of new stuff we’ll have waiting for you. We’re talking two new game spaces (MotorStorm and LocoRoco), two new personal spaces (LocoRoco and PlanetLand), a new Mall (full of Star Wars gear – including lightsabers, Stormtrooper costumes, and more!), new videos in the Theater (for The Tester, and SOCOM: Fire Team Bravo) and events galore. We have a lot to look and just a little space to do it in, so let’s get down to it!

When you pull up your World Map this Thursday, you’ll notice that the MotorStorm chip has reappeared, along with a brand new MotorStorm game space. The new MotorStorm Super Carrier is essentially a battleship turned full-on party boat, custom-crafted for all of you road warriors that are looking for the perfect environment to meet up with other racing addicts and launch into multiplayer matches of MotorStorm: Pacific Rift. Of course, this space houses a proverbial boatload (pun intended) of awesome content, including the interactive DJ booth wherein you can play house DJ, using some of your favorite tracks from Listen@Home. Check out the video below for a fly-through of what is sure to become one of the most popular party spaces in PlayStation Home.

You asked for it, so you got it: This Thursday, February 18th, we will be releasing the highly-anticipated LocoRoco Island personal space, along with some a bevy of special LocoRoco-themed furniture. But that’s not all: We’ll also be unveiling a brand new LocoRoco game space – the Mui Mui King Passenger Boat. Both of these mega-interactive spaces come packed with games and other content that is sure to please all you LocoRoco fanboys (and girls) out there, so watch this video to get a taste of the new LocoRoco Island personal space (available from the Estates Store in the PlayStation Home Mall) and then pull up your World Map on Thursday to take a ride on the new Mui Mui King Passenger Boat (we’ve snuck in a few pics to whet your appetite).

Home LocoRoco HOME MuiMui

For those of you that are looking for a truly otherworldly PlayStation Home experience, we’re pleased to present the brand new PlanetLand personal space. This patently sci-fi hangout is a real feast for the eyes, boasting gorgeous vistas, a wide array of clothing and furniture options, and even a predatory plant, poised to devour any unwelcome guests before they can get close enough to crash your pad. Peep the below video for an overview of the new PlanetLand personal space (and associated clothing and furniture), available this week only in PlayStation Home.

You’ve been waiting with bated breath for the season premier of the PlayStation Network exclusive The Tester – the new reality series that focuses on the trials and tribulations of a group of hardcore gamers all vying for their dream job as a member of the SCEA QA team. And since you’ve been so vocal about wanting to watch this hot new series in PlayStation Home, we’ve decided to bring it to you. Starting this Thursday, February 18th, and returning every Thursday that follows until the culmination of Season One, we will be airing each new episode of The Tester in the PlayStation Home Mall. And we’re even offering free virtual items to all of you that come out each week. So come watch The Tester season premiere, grab your free item from the Theater or Central Plaza commerce points (additional The Tester items will also be made available in the coming weeks – some of which are positively hilarious), and be sure to return week after week until the winner is crowned.

This week will see a major update to the PlayStation Home Mall, with no small thanks to our new resident business guru, Mr. Magnus Keynes. To celebrate Mr. Keynes coming aboard to the PlayStation Home team, we’ll be launching four new stores in the Mall. Some of these stores will be devoted to items from long-time partners such as Lockwood Publishing (who are releasing a Sodium store), Loot (our friends over at Sony Pictures Entertainment, who brought us Ghostbusters items and the Loot Sound Stage personal space) and EA (who are sure to continue to pack their store with tons of great content). However, two of these stores are brand new, such as the Exclusives store, which is full of limited edition items. To celebrate the grand opening of the Exclusives store, my good buddy Magnus is dropping the price on over 200 items specifically as thanks to you, the loyal PlayStation Home community. Pick up these items for one month only in the Exclusives store before they are pulled off the shelves forever. And if you see Mr. Keynes wandering around in-world (you can identify him by his snazzy gold suit), take a moment to say “hi” and welcome him into the fold.

Also launching this week in the new Mall is a LucasArts store. That’s right, my friends – we’re talking Star Wars and Indiana Jones in PlayStation Home. From the Stormtrooper costumes to the Indy gear, lightsabers to Sith banners, the LucasArts store is chock full of some of the most highly-requested items from the PlayStation Home. Here’s what our friend Brooks Brown, Community Manager over at LucasArts, had to say about this momentous occasion:

“Over the last year, since the world of PlayStation Home got underway, one of the things that has been put in my ear is that we need to get involved. From the moment I saw what this exciting new platform could provide gamers, I couldn’t have agreed more. As a user, I really want to run around as a Stormtrooper, telling people that they aren’t the droids I’m looking for. So it is my pleasure to announce that, as of Thursday, February 18th, you can now find a LucasArts storefront in the PlayStation Home Mall, packed with all sorts of items with the promise of more to come. We even have Imperial Officer uniforms for those of you who wish to act out your Grand Moff Tarkin fantasies – you know who you are!”

You heard him – this week’s update is just the tip of the iceberg. Check out these pics for a taste of what to expect now that LucasArts has come to PlayStation Home, and keep your eyes on this Blog for more announcements as they come.

Home Indy Home Stormtrooper

Our friends over at Loot are throwing quite the event in celebration of the launch of their new store. The Aliens vs. Androids Event, scheduled to take place on Saturday, February 20th at 8:00pm PT (11:00pm EST) in Central Plaza, will pit Aliens against Androids in a battle for the brains (err…minds) of the PlayStation Home community, with the winners receiving gold trophies for their personal spaces and the second place winners (read: losers) receiving a silver gold trophy for their personal spaces (these items will appear automatically in your inventory if you own the Loot Alien or Loot Android virtual items; please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery). Aliens and Android outfits are available from the new Loot store in the PlayStation Home Mall (Alien items are for sale; Android items are free). See the video below for more details regarding this special event.

Last but certainly not least, EA will be hosting a NHL 10 game launching party next week. Join the EA SPORTS NHL 10 Community on Monday, February 22nd from 4:00pm to 8:00pm PT (7:00pm – 11:00pm EST), in Central Plaza, and play with the development and community team in a special NHL 10 Featured Game Party. To participate, simply add one of the following host accounts: NHL10Dev1, NHL10Dev2, NHL10Dev3, NHL10Dev4, Yaw_DEV, and LBotteron. Then, use the “Go To” feature to travel to official “instances” of Central Plaza during the event times. Once at the event, insert the NHL 10 into your PlayStation 3 and then join a game. Make sure to add people you meet in PlayStation Home to your friend’s list so that you can find one another in the game lobby.

See you in Home!

Thursday, 4 March 2010

From Variety

It was an emotional night for the film industry's engineers and technologists as the Acad presented its Scientific and Technical Awards at the Beverly Wilshire.

The certificates and plaques handed out Saturday night represented a change from prior years. No Academy Award of Merit Oscars were presented, nor was the Sawyer Award honorary Oscar or the Bonner Medal for service. Those trophies had been staples of the Sci-Tech ceremony, but an Acad spokesman said no names proposed to the Scientific and Technical Awards committee rose to the standards they maintain for the kudos.

That didn't put a damper on the evening, however, as the honorees, many of whom had come from overseas to receive their awards, voiced deep appreciation for Academy kudos they never imagined they would receive.

Klaus Anderle, who received two awards, departed from his prepared speech on his second trip to the podium to offer an emotional thank you to "all the actors and directors and everyone else in early production."

Most of the honors focused on two areas: Digital lighting and enabling technologies for digital intermediate. One of the few awards outside those disciplines went to a four-man team from Industrial Light & Magic, honored for the Imocap performance-capture system. ILM's Steve Sullivan said, "I'd like to offer an apology to Bill Nighy, Robert Downey Jr. and all the actors who've had to endure the deeply embarrassing computer pajamas. It's their work that makes us at ILM look good."

Host Elizabeth Banks kept the energy level high. "Some of the stuff you awesome nerds come up with is pretty freaking cool," she said at the start. That became the evening's theme, as Banks poked fun at the "nerds" and her lack of understanding of what they do.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

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Tuesday, 2 March 2010

According to Hollywood Reporter George Lucas is tackling his first musical.

The untitled, top-secret CGI-animated film is in preproduction at Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch in Marin County.

The project marks a rare foray outside the “Star Wars” universe for Lucas who, while not directing a movie since “Revenge of the Sith” in 2005, is putting the finishing touches on “Red Tails,” the adventure movie that tells the World War II story of the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black pilots. Lucas wrote the screenplay for “Tails” and is exec producing.

Kevin Munroe is directing the CGI film, which is expected to feature music from a variety of sources. Munroe hails from the animated world and made his directorial debut in 2007 with the fourth Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, “TMNT.” He recently wrapped production on his live-action debut, the adaptation of the “Dead of Night” comic that stars Brandon Routh and Taye Diggs.

David Berenbaum, who wrote the Will Ferrell comedy “Elf” and children’s fantasy “The Spiderwick Chronicles,” penned the screenplay. Plot details are locked tighter than the plans for the Death Star, but one element known is that the script features fairies.

It is not known whether Berenbaum is working from a story by Lucas, who tends to originate much of Lucasfilm’s intellectual property.

A Lucasfilm spokesperson said it was too early to comment on the details of the project.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Hugh Jackman is giving an aspiring actor the chance of a lifetime by holding open auditions to star alongside him in Steven Spielberg's upcoming movie "Real Steel."

The big budget movie, which tells the story of a futuristic boxing industry where robots take over from real fighters, is the first project for Spielberg's DreamWorks studio since the director cut ties with Paramount Pictures.

Jackman wants an unknown boy to star in the movie as his 11-year-old son and has set up open calls to cast the coveted part.

He tells Access Hollywood, "I'm starting work on my new film Real Steel with my friend and the film's director Shawn Levy."

Levy adds, "We're actually looking for a young actor to play Hugh's son in the movie from DreamWorks, so if you think you're maybe our guy, go to for more information on how to audition. It could be you."

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Celebrating All the work from George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and John Williams. All the latest news updated daily. We are geeks and huge fans of their works. from Lucasarts to Lucasfilm, Star Wars to Indiana Jones. We will try to bring all the latest everyday. We will also report on other fandoms and geek stories. Follow us on Twitter or on Facebook. Feel free to let us know what you feel about our site or if you have an article you would like us to post.

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