Sunday, 30 April 2017


A look at the Oscar Nominated Visual Effects work behind the recreation of Wilhuff Tarkin for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story



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Saturday, 29 April 2017

skywalker ranch gif

Featurette from the Star Wars Complete Saga Blu-ray release showing the Star Wars Archives at Skywalker Ranch.



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Friday, 28 April 2017

Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi

Developer confirms 60% progress, on target for 2018 opening
Abu Dhabi – April 25, 2017: Miral, Abu Dhabi’s leading creator of destinations, announced today that Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi will feature six immersive worlds: Metropolis and Gotham City, inspired by the universe of DC Super Heroes and Super-Villains; Cartoon Junction, Bedrock, and Dynamite Gulch, themed after iconic animated brands such as Looney Tunes and Hanna-Barbera; and Warner Bros. Plaza, reminiscent of old Hollywood, where these seminal characters and stories were originally brought to life.
Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi

Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, which is located on Yas Island and set to open in 2018, will be a one-of-a-kind, world-class destination home to state-of-the-art thrill rides, interactive family friendly attractions, and unique live entertainment. From the action and adventure of DC to the wacky and wonderful world of Looney Tunes, this immersive and interactive new indoor experience brings some of the world’s most popular stories and characters under one roof. 
“Miral is proud to confirm that one year after announcing its plans to bring Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi to Yas island, we’re making great progress with our partners where we’re 60 percent complete and on track to launch in 2018.” said Mohamed Abdullah Al Zaabi, CEO of Miral. “We’re excited to reveal new details about the six unique immersive worlds at Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi, which is a key part of our ambition to make Yas Island a top-ten global destination for family fun.”
Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi

Guests will be swept away in Hollywood-style when they enter Warner Bros. Plaza, a celebration of all that is the Golden Age of Hollywood.  Upon entering the park through the Warner Bros. Shield archway, guests will be transported to Hollywood where Art Deco architecture lines the streets and authentic, Tinseltown details evoke the rich history of Warner Bros.
For the first time in the Middle East, Super Hero fans will be able to stroll the streets of Superman’s Metropolis, a modern-styled city of towering skyscrapers, and prowl the dark alleys of Batman’s Gotham City in this larger-than-life land where heroic exploits and action-packed family fun wait around every corner.
Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi

The vibrant Cartoon Junction will bring together Bugs Bunny, Scooby-Doo, and other famous characters under a stylized cartoon sky that will immerse guests in the wonderful world of animation. From the fun and frenetic to the out of this world, Dynamite Gulch will take you to the stars and deep into the canyon. Lastly, guests can explore Bedrock, a prehistoric world powered by birds and dinosaurs, where the modern stone-age family can have a “yabba dabba doo” time like The Flintstones. 
“Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi will be a state-of-the-art themed experience that authentically brings some of the Studio’s most iconic characters and stories to life under one roof for the first time in the Middle East,” said Pam Lifford, President, Warner Bros. Consumer Products. “We have been closely collaborating with our partners at Miral to faithfully construct immersive worlds that resonate with precise details and are thrilled to share these unique experiences with fans next year.”
Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi

Situated on Yas Island, one of the world’s leading business, leisure and entertainment destinations, construction of the park is well underway, surpassing production expectations. The project has engaged 5,500 specialist engineers, workers and craftsmen to build a park that will span 1.65 million square feet. Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi will be a fully immersive experience of six worlds comprised of 29 rides, shows, and attractions.
Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, developed in partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products and DC Entertainment will complement Miral’s Yas Island destination portfolio of themed parks. This includes Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld, CLYMB, and opening in 2022, the recently announced SeaWorld Abu Dhabi. Yas Island also offers a wide range of sporting and entertainment experiences including Yas Marina Circuit, seven hotels, year-round events, a live performance and concert arena, 18-hole championship golf course, marina, beach, and the increasingly popular shopping destination, Yas Mall.  
Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi

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Thursday, 27 April 2017

Mark Hamill Can Handle

Friend of The Bearded Trio, Chris Cape has sent over his latest music video and we just had to share it on here.  Called Mark Hamill Can Handle, Chris has produced a catchy geek tune.  The video uses Lego and will most definitely put a smile on your face.

Here's what Chris has to say about the new music video:

A little while ago I wrote and recorded a new song on a whim and what happened was amazing. 

Mark Hamill Can HandleThe song captured the joy and anticipation felt all around me leading up to the first Star Wars movie in a decade (The Force Awakens) and the comeback of cultural icons like Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia. Mark Hamill himself tweeted the song saying he was ‘surprised and humbled’ by it, which was way more than I could have hoped for with the song. 

Sadly since then we’ve lost Carrie Fisher who was not only a screen Princess but someone who helped to change social stigmas surrounding mental health difficulties with her wit and vulnerable honesty. We miss you Carrie! 

My goal with this release of “Mark Hamill Can Handle” is as simple as the first time around, to get it out to as many people as possible for them to enjoy!

Join in and share the music video at the hashtag #MarkHamillCanHandle

Let’s get Mark himself to see it by tweeting him @HamillHimself



Written, performed, produced, mixed and mastered by Chris Cape.
www.chriscape.com


The music video was lovingly and painstakingly put together by James Muxworthy of HogtheComputer Animations. Check out more of James’ amazing animations at https://www.youtube.com/HogtheComputerAnimations 

Find Chris Cape here: www.chriscape.com www.facebook.com/chriscapeblog www.twitter.com/chriscapeblog www.instagram.com/chriscape
www.youtube.com/chriscape

Find James Muxworthy here: https://www.youtube.com/HogtheComputerAnimations https://twitter.com/hogthecomputer

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STAR WARS: PUZZLE DROIDS

Star Wars: Puzzle Droids™, the first mobile Star Wars™ casual puzzle game, is now available for download on the Apple App StoreGoogle Play and Amazon Appstore. The brand new match-3 adventure invites players to tap into the holographic memory banks of BB-8 for an epic Star Wars™ adventure. The journey will feature familiar scenes and previously untold moments through compelling gameplay and interactive puzzle boards. Players can journey across Jakku and Takodana, and take on the First Order alongside such familiar faces as Rey, Finn and Poe Dameron.

STAR WARS: PUZZLE DROIDS

Featuring more than 100 levels, Star WarsPuzzle Droids lets players match-3 to create combos, clear obstacles and face-off against enemies, and unleash epic power-ups to clear the board. Missions can be completed to collect memory discs, which may be used to unlock heroic memories to continue the adventures.

Star Wars: Puzzle Droids is available today for free download with in-app purchases.

STAR WARS: PUZZLE DROIDS



STAR WARS: PUZZLE DROIDS

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Wednesday, 26 April 2017


The Hollywood Reporter has news sure to thrill any Jurassic Park fan: Jeff Goldblum will return as Dr. Ian Malcolm in the Jurassic World sequel!

We all know that Jeff Goldblum starred in the original 1993 Steven Spielberg classic, Jurassic Park and its sequel, 1997's The Lost World: Jurassic Park.  The new film sees Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard returning after the successful box office smash, Jurassic World.  The new film is down to be released June 22nd 2018.

Goldblum will reprise his role as Dr. Ian Malcolm, the know-it-all mathematician.



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kathleen kennedy george lucas

Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy has said she wouldn't dream of messing around with George Lucas's vision of Star Wars.  In other words, the original theatrical cuts of Star Wars are to stay in the hands of George Lucas.  This, will of course upset a lot of Star Wars fans who have a desire to watch the original trilogy they remember from the 70s and 80s.

"I wouldn't touch those, are you kidding me?," she told the Steele Wars podcast, "Those will always remain his."

In the late 90s, George Lucas made changes to the original trilogy.  Some of the changes included rings around explosions and the now infamous 'Greedo shot first' scene.

Source - Steele Wars Podcast

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Tuesday, 25 April 2017


Variety reports that Disney has announced several major release dates, including releasing Star Wars Episode IX on May 24, 2019, and moving Indiana Jones 5 to July 10th, 2020.

We had previously reported that Indiana Jones V will hit screens July 19th, 2019 but now we will have to wait an extra year for our favourite adventurer.  It is thought the extra time is a result of Steven Spielberg's other projects and to give extra time to work on the script.

Here’s the studio’s full release schedule.

UNTITLED DISNEY FAIRY TALE (Live Action) previously dated on 7/28/17 moves to 8/3/18

RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET: WRECK-IT RALPH 2 (3D) is final title of previous WRECK-IT RALPH SEQUEL – previously dated on 3/9/18 moves to 11/21/18

A WRINKLE IN TIME (3D) previously dated on 4/6/18 moves to 3/9/18

MAGIC CAMP is final title of previous UNTITLED DISNEY LIVE ACTION – previously dated on 8/3/18 now moves up to 4/6/18

GIGANTIC (3D) previously dated on 11/21/18 moves to 11/25/20

STAR WARS: EPISODE IX (3D) now dated on 5/24/19

UNTITLED INDIANA JONES previously dated on 7/19/19 moves to 7/10/20

THE LION KING (Live Action) (3D) now dated on 7/19/19

UNTITLED DISNEY LIVE ACTION now dated on 8/9/19

FROZEN 2 (3D) is the updated title of previous UNTITLED DISNEY ANIMATION – previously announced date of 11/27/19 is unchanged

UNTITLED DISNEY LIVE ACTION now dated on 4/3/20

UNTITLED MARVEL (3D) previously dated on 7/10/20 moves to 8/7/20

UNTITLED DISNEY ANIMATION (3D) previously dated on 11/25/20 moves to 11/24/21

UNTITLED DISNEY LIVE ACTION now dated on 3/12/21

UNTITLED PIXAR ANIMATION (3D) now dated on 6/18/21

Source - Variety


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john williams swco

We've been sent this set of wonderful photos of John Williams at the 40 Years of Star Wars Panel from Star Wars Celebration, Orlando.  We just had to share.

john williams swco

john williams swco

john williams swco

john williams swco

john williams swco

john williams swco

john williams swco

john williams swco

john williams swco

john williams swco


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"Jabba the Hutt" (CC BY 2.0) by dirkvorderstrasse
Between the legendary filmmakers George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, some incredible ideas have formed. The two are hailed for their contributions to sci-fi, and have been highly influential on all aspects of the genre since the 1970s. When looking at the monsters in any modern sci-fi flick, you’d be hard pushed to ignore the relevance to the films that started it all. The same can be said for gaming, with the ideas that sprouted in films like E.T evolving into characters like Abe in the Oddworld series. Between the two directors, there isn’t much they haven’t thought of.

It could be argued that every sci-fi film since the 70s has taken some inspiration from Lucas and Spielberg’s first flourishes in the genre. Star Wars: A New Hope and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, virtually kickstarted the genre, bringing the idea of aliens and space travel to mainstream Hollywood audiences. Star Wars was the more commercially successful of the two films with over $785 million taken in total worldwide revenue, but the well-respected Close Encounters continues to have a prominent influence on pop culture.

Only last year, Netflix’s Stranger Things (see trailer below) was released to critical acclaim, and the spooky series had strong references to Spielberg’s 1977 film. The eerie music, flashing lights, and the search for answers are all similarities between the two productions.



With reference to the actual visual representations of monsters and aliens though, what comparisons can be drawn with today’s visions and those of the two powerhouse directors?

Looking at games like the Monster Munchies slot from Booming games, resemblances can be drawn between the goofy aliens on the reels to the kind of monsters that were prevalent in the Star Wars series. Lucas was a genius when it came to thinking up highly original and downright hilarious ideas for his monsters, with alien races like Rodians, Hutts, and Yuzzums. To see monsters clearly instigated by Lucas and also enjoy a fun slot game, you will find Monster Munchies explained here.

For a modern take on an Alien invasion, Arrival directed by Denis Villeneuve, did a pretty good job recently and was a slightly different take on a genre which normally pits humans against extra-terrestrials. The 2016 film harks back to early Spielberg ideas and the contact with aliens, with comparisons to E.T where the aliens clearly meant no harm to Earth but people were sceptical nonetheless. The Quebec filmmaker said himself how he was heavily influenced by the sci-fi legend’s ability to create strong visual worlds, and aimed to deliver the same eerie uncertainty himself.


The fact that Spielberg and Lucas’s early ventures into the sci-fi genre are still having such a heavy impact on films and popular culture today is commendable. With the two directors having already teamed up on Indiana Jones in the past, wouldn’t it be fantastic to see the early sci-fi pioneers get together and create something to do with aliens? One would think that if it were to happen it would have done so by now, but with big studios like Disney remaking all their old cartoon classics, it seems that anything is possible in Hollywood these days.

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john boyega force for change

John Boyega sneaks up on fans posing for photos at Star Wars Celebration and gets awesome pics and better reactions! This will really put a smile on your face.

For your chance to join the cast at the Star Wars: The Last Jedi premiere, LEARN MORE: http://strw.rs/60088eUYK

Entries benefit UNICEF and Starlight Children’s Foundation, on behalf of Star Wars: Force for Change.




No purchase necessary to enter or win. Void where prohibited. Promotion begins 12:01 AM Pacific Time (PT) on April 11, 2017 and ends at 11:59 PM PT on May 11, 2017. Must be at least eighteen (18) years old and a resident of an eligible domicile to enter and win prizes. Residents of of Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Malta, North Korea, Singapore, Sudan, Syria, or Thailand are not eligible to enter. Sweepstakes consists of four (4) prize drawings; odds of winning a prize depend on number of entries received for each drawing. For free entry: (i) send postcard to Sponsor at P.O. Box 866, 9942 Culver Blvd, Culver City, California 90232 and write the following statement: “I have read and agree to the Star Wars: Force For Change Official Rules” and send by applicable mail date; or (ii) visit www.omaze.com/starwars. Prizes that include being filmed in a movie scene do not guarantee that such footage will be included in the final movie. Travel and accommodations are at Sponsor’s discretion and subject to availability and change. Winner and guest may be required to pass a background screening or security check to receive a prize and/or reward. Visa conditions may apply. All taxes are winner’s responsibility.

Rewards are separate from sweepstakes prizes. Some rewards are limited in quantity. Not sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook®. Residents of certain territories may be required to successfully complete a trivia question to qualify. For full sweepstakes entry requirements, methods & entry periods, prize details, list of rewards and all limitations & restrictions, see Official rules at www.omaze.com/starwars. Sole Sponsor: Omaze, Inc., P.O. Box 866, 9942 Culver Blvd, Culver City, California 90232

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Monday, 24 April 2017

michael j. fox with coldplay

This is kind of an oldie where I come from but I'm sure your kids are gonna love it.  Michael J. Fox performs live with Coldplay in New York and the song, conveniently is Chuck Berry's Johnny B. Goode.  Performed live at the MetLife Stadium on 17 July 2016.  R.I.P. Chuck.



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It's Star Wars Collectors Cast, LIVE from Celebration Orlando 2017. Join James Burns and co-host Teresa Delgado as they chat collecting with Rancho Obi-Wan supremo Steve Sansweet and Marvel Comics artist John Tyler Christopher.

You can listen to the show below or from these links:



Some generous reviews on iTunes would be greatly appreciated. Head over there to let us know what you think of the show and check us out on our new Jedi News YouTube channel.




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Sunday, 23 April 2017

spielberg the post

Last month we reported that Steven Spielberg will be teaming up once more with Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep.  The movie will be centered around the Pentagon Papers.  Now we can tell you that the latest Spielberg movie of which most are calling "The Post" will be released on a limited basis on December 22nd with a nationwide release on January 12th, 2018.  Just a quick reminder that the movie is still officially unnamed and "The Post" is a speculative title.

Hanks will play hard-charging Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, with Streep handling the role of iron-willed publisher Katharine Graham

The film will be co-financed by Fox and Amblin Entertainment. Fox will handle domestic distribution; international will be Amblin, through its output deals with Universal, eOne, Reliance and others. With the Fox deal, Spielberg reunites with chairman/CEO Stacey Snider, his longtime partner at DreamWorks. This marks the fifth pairing of Spielberg with Hanks, after Saving Private Ryan, Catch Me If You Can, The Terminal and Bridge of Spies.

The Pentagon Papers was the name given to a secret Department of Defense study of U.S. political and military involvement in Vietnam from 1945 to 1967, prepared at the request of Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara in 1967

Source - Variety

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The title sequence from from Steven Spielberg's L.A. 2017

When I first year two years ago that Steven Spielberg had directed a science fiction TV movie called L.A. 2017, I was puzzled. How could I not know about this?  I pride myself on my extensive knowledge of Spielberg's work, and even on the relative completeness of my personal collection (when people try to catch me by asking if the collection includes Duel, I smirk and reply it even includes the far lesser known Something Evil.). How could i not be aware of this one? I soon discovered that in a way I was aware: I knew Spielberg had directed an episode of the series The Name of the Game. I was not aware that this was a forerunner of the rotating movie series that would be popularized with mystery shows like Columbo. The Name of the Game consisted of 90-minute episodes rotating between three central characters working for Howard Publications, a large magazine publishing company (why anyone would consider this an interesting or promising concept for a series still puzzles me), and L.A. 2017 was one of these. It represented Spielberg's first feature-length project (running 76 minutes without commercials), and due to its science fiction premise was more of a stand alone movie than most episodes. Spielberg doesn't officially include it among his feature films, but it's certainly an intriguing curiosity for fans, especially now that it takes place in our present. It's the first professional foray into science fiction for the filmmaker who would later give us Close Encounters of The Third Kind, E.T., Minority Report and others. On finally seeing it, I wasn't surprised to see that it doesn't hold a candle to Duel, but still offers some interesting glimpses of Spielberg's then unrefined talent.



L.A. 2017 centers on Glenn Howard, the publisher of Howard Publications. Glenn is played by Gene Barry (who would later cameo in Spielberg's War of the Worlds, though that was a reference to his appearance in the classic George Pal film, not this), and was portrayed as a sophisticated playboy who was occasionally given the more offbeat stories on the show, though this was certainly his most outrageous exploit. In fact, L.A. 2017 is far enough out there compared to the standard episode that in order to fit into the series writer Phillip Wylie was forced to resort to the lamest and most over-milked of dramatic copouts: "It was all a dream . . . Or was it?".  While dictating a report on an environmental conference, Howard gets dizzy and drives off the rode, then wakes up in the Los Angeles of 2017, where pollution and environmental irresponsibility have driven the portion of humanity that has survived underground, and what passes for America now is run by corporate totalitarians (so that part of 2017 they got right.). While the younger generation that never experienced the good old above ground days of freedom has adjusted fine to this post apocalyptic society, their elders have a harder time and are less trusting of their corporate government. That's where Glenn Howard comes in: The government wants him to bring back Howard Publications, a name the older folks remember and trust, and use it to spread their propaganda.

There are some intriguing ideas at play here (more in the area of dystopic future sci-fi than time travel, where it's seriously underdeveloped), but the story doesn't entirely hold together and is hampered by being far too oriented around scenes of characters sitting around reciting exposition.. And while the budget was high for a television series of its day, it apparently wasn't enough to provide and kind of interesting or futuristic production design: aside a sequence in a electronic "chapel" and one or two others like it, nearly everything on screen looks more or less like any other television drama made in 1971, and that's to the detriment of the film .Regardless of the fact that this society went underground in 1989 and they should have been able to recognize that styles would evolve somewhat in 18 years, it's simply not aesthetically interesting. The cast is adequate, thought largely stilted and not especially engaging.

 As a whole, L.A. 2017 is far more interesting as a glimpse at proto Spielberg than it is as a work in its own right, but both in story and in its direction there are flashes of great potential. Spielberg impresses with some highly inventive staging  and shot selection, including a dolly shot that follows one subject just to take us to another three times in one scene, and shakicam uphill run that foreshadows moments from Saving Private Ryan.  I was left imagining what the Spielberg of today would be able to with a reworked version of this concept. Just think of the director of Minority Report taking on a futuristic dystopian thriller based on themes of ecological responsibility and corporate greed. But for fans, the version of L.A. 2017 does exist is another fascinating (if not fully realized) glimpse at the early development of a cinematic master.

Watch "L.A. 2017" On YouTube



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steven spielberg universal cinema

On Thursday 20th April, Steven Spielberg joined others for the glitzy debut of Universal Studios Hollywood’s upgraded movie theater now called the Universal Cinema.

universal cinemaSpielberg was joined by Jordan Peele, Will Packer and Jason Blum who walked the red carpet and teamed up for ribbon-cutting duties at the AMC theater.

The new cinema boasts all the latest technology including Dolby ATMOS sound, deluxe recliner seats, Christie RGB laser projection and a renovated concession area.  Steven Spielberg said during the opening:

"Universal Studios has been part of my life as long as I can remember my life.  I spent a good part of my youth on the back-lot of Universal dreaming of being a filmmaker.  Then it happened.  First in TV and then in Motion Picture.  Later the dream expanded even more when some of the movies became theme park attractions.  I was fortunate to see my movies come to life right here."

"This entire lot, this industry here at Universal has made me very proud.  Universal Cinema defines advancement of technology with this new incredible movie theatre...Movie goers have a rare opportunity to watch movies where the movies are actually made."

Karen Irwin the president and COO of Universal Studios, Hollywood added “The new Universal Cinema is a spectacular place to enjoy blockbuster films and we’re thrilled to have such acclaimed filmmakers join us to commemorate the occasion,”

“As The Entertainment Capital of L.A., we’ve entertained guests for generations, taking them behind-the-scenes of movie-making and placing them in the heart of the action with our incredible attractions, so it’s only fitting that we create the ultimate movie-going experience giving fans access to a movie theatre where they watch films in Hollywood screening rooms the same way filmmakers do.”





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Saturday, 22 April 2017

"Dinosaur" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Valerie Everett
Everyone on the planet loves dinosaurs, or at least they should. Those gargantuan reptiles may have been extinct for over 60 million years, but they are still very much in our conscience. Kids grow up learning about dinosaurs in schools, some even play with dinosaurs toys, and others, like Ross of Friends, study them – well, whatever is left of them as fossils.

Back in 1993, Jurassic Park opened our eyes to the wonder and the sheer power of dinosaurs. It is one of Steven Spielberg’s greatest ever movies, if not the greatest, and to this day it remains hugely popular among the public. It was one of those films that are both fascinating and spooky; a movie that showed that a concept can pull in audiences as much as a couple of mega superstars can.

The forest has been a fascination of man for ages. Even today, Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book is being taught in schools, movies are being made based on his novel, and Mowgli remains one the most loved fictional character. The fourth instalment of the Jurassic Park series, Jurassic World, was released in 2015 and raked in over $1 billion. Jurassic World 2 is set to be released in 2018 and could be an even bigger hit at the box office.

Jurassic Park has been a huge influence on video games and online gaming. The popularity of the films has seen children and adults play video games with dinosaur themes. Online casinos now offer a range of slots based on forests and dinosaurs that are fun to play and are educational as well. It is not always possible for us, especially those who in live metropolitan cities, to enjoy the wildlife or go on safaris, which is why such online slots based on animals and jungles are so popular nowadays.

"dinosaur" (CC BY 2.0) by nsgbrown
Dawn of the Dinosaurs and Dinosaur Up are two of the many dinosaur-based online slot games. While the former takes you back 245 million years to a Stone Age rainforest with some fierce dinosaurs, the latter is based on the concept of an explorer on a jungle dinosaur hunt.

Such has been the rise in demand for forest-based games that online operator Fabulous Bingo has four jungle-themed slot games - Amazon Wild, Heart of the Jungle, Jungle Madness and Zuma. While the concept of these games are based on hunting in forests, all of them provide something different.
While Zuma is based in the Aztec forest, Heart of the Jungle lets the player explore the forest with photorealistic graphics and an atmospheric soundtrack. Amazon Wild is quite educational in the sense that it tells tales of ancient civilisations and cities that are lost. As for Jungle Madness, it is exactly what the name refers to - there are monkeys, snakes, exotic birds and a jungle man, and it is full of madness.


"dinosaur" (CC BY 2.0) by steve p2008
There are a number of other forest-based online slots available, such as Jungle Wild, where you can collect exotic flowers and gold, and Bush Telegraph, where news is transmitted by the drums played by animals. For those who have a fascination with big cats, there is an online slot tailor-made for them - Jungle Cats, which has lions, panthers and jaguars.

Planet of the Apes will also have its own slot from October 2017. Given the success of the franchise at the box office, it was only a matter of time before an online slot game was made on it. This is yet another sign just how big and popular forest and animal-themes games are among the general public, and it is only going to get bigger.

With the rainforests deteriorating and many species becoming either extinct or are endangered, such slot games based on wild animals and jungles are only going to gain in popularity. Man’s fascination with the unknown is everlasting, and it is not hard to understand why such online slots are so popular. Jurassic Park was meant to be just a movie about dinosaurs. More than 20 years later, it has become much, much more, and is still influencing us, whether we are aware of it or not. There is a reason why that movie is a classic, an all-time great, one of its kind.

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Friday, 21 April 2017

The Lost City of Z
Starring Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, Tom Holland, Angus McFadyen, Ian McDiarmid
Screenplay by James Gray
Based on the book by
Directed by James Gray






Out of Four

Reviewed by Paul Gibbs

I'm a sucker for a good epic adventure movie, and The Lost City of Z is a very good one. Not an action film, mind you. While there are a few sequences of flying arrows and narrow escapes, most of the adventure comes in the form of travel and exploration. While Percy Fawcett, the film's protagonist, is rumored to be one of the inspirations for Indiana Jones, there are no fights with Nazis or supernatural forces. But the story is harrowing nonetheless, and aside from a grand adventure it's a thoughtful treatise on what's important in life, what makes us who we are, and what a legacy is.

Major Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunham) begins the story as a man whose father, an alcoholic gambler, left him with no legacy. And in the class conscious British society of 1905, that's a problem. So Fawcett gladly accepts an assignment from the Royal Geographic Society to lead an expedition to Bolivia to map an unknown region and find the source of a river, leaving behind his wife (Sienna Miller) and young son Jack. Joining him is is aide Henry Costin (Robert Pattinson in a bushy beard and glasses.).  After an arduous journey, Fawcett and Costin find what they're looking for, but also find the remnants of pottery and other artifacts which Fawcett believes reveal that the stories the natives have told him about a great city are true.

Of course, on returning home, Fawcett's theory is widely scorned, as much of the proper society gentlemen believe such a civilization among the "savages" could not be possible, because that would mean the natives were their equals and they were actually just a bunch of sniveling prissy racist jackasses for ever thinking otherwise, and that just can't be. Fawcett vows to return and locate the city, which he calls Z.

Writer/director James Gray does excellent work here, nailing both the epic adventure of traipsing through the Amazon and the drama of the strain Fawcett's quest puts on his family.  While the film is long and will doubtless strike some audiences as slow moving, it never drags. And it's great to look at, as Darius Khondji's cinematography is first-rate, with a understated, natural-light look. Both stylistically and in term of pacing this is an old fashioned film, one that respecs its audience and doesn't feel the need to hit us over the head. That's no more common in "prestige" or indie films than it is in popcorn blockbusters these days, and it's both refreshing and stimulating.

Hunnam gives a complex, soulful performance  in the leading role, though Fawcett is not always an easy character to understand or relate to. It can be difficult to fully grasp his obsession, and his willingness to put his family through the hardship of his long absences. But this is a strength rather than a weakness. Like David Lean'Lean's masterpiece Lawrence of Arabia, this is an intimate epic that's as concerned with the interior life of its hero as it is with the spectacular exteriors he's exploring.  And Hunnam is ably supported by a solid group of actors, with Pattinson something of a revelation as an outstanding character actor given the right opportunity (there's nothing of Edward Cullen here.). The always excellent Tom Holland is up to his usual standards here, and is often the case Angus McFadyen is entertaining in the most colorful role. But I was perhaps most impressed by Sienna Miller, who I've tended to view as more of a pretty face than great actress, but who gives what I found to be the most compelling performance in the film as a firecly strong-willed and independent woman who is also strongly supportive of her husbamd, but sometimes struggles with being asked to do more than is reasonable.  It's triumph of turning the often thankless role of "the wife" and making her a fully realized character and human being.

While it's not terribly likely to please fans looking for a pre-summer blockbuster, The Lost City of Z is gourmet cinema that serious film buffs should seek out and devour. It's a compelling, stimulating and rewarding cinematic journey.

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