June 16, 2000 |
"The Phantom Menace" was a fairly pale reflection of a "Star Wars," and still made a billion or so dollars. Of course, it was an officially sanctioned episode, and probably less irksome to fans than "Titan A.E.," another Lucas-inspired sci-fi yarn whose only distinguishing feature is that it's animated. The story has another usual teen golden boy, Cale (named after cabbage?), learning that he is the only person who can save his kind from the evil whatchamacallits, who are cruising around the universe with their giant death ray, killing things.
May 14, 1999 |
The Premise (Fear not, we give nothing away): A generation before Luke Skywalker, the Jedi corner of the universe is run by a weak galactic government and unregulated commercial interests represented by a thuggish Trade Federation. The trade federation is blockading a small planet, Naboo, because the Naboo queen, Amadalia, has refused to sign an oppressive trade agreement. An attack is imminent, so the galactic government sends two Jedi knights - the venerable Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice, young Obi-Wan Kenobi - to mediate and settle the dispute.
March 14, 1997 |
In Return of the Jedi, the ailing sage Yoda tells Luke Skywalker that he will never be a full Jedi knight until he has experienced failure and learned from his mistakes. It's a lesson that George Lucas has never had to take. But not even someone with Lucas' track record as a filmmaker and conglomerate force in the booming field of movie special effects could have anticipated the impact of the return of the trilogy for Star Wars' 20th anniversary. Star Wars - Special Edition and the second installment, The Empire Strikes Back, have grossed $182 million in five weeks and loomed like the Death Star over brand-new movies that had the misfortune of being released in surrounding weeks.
February 21, 1997 |
Sixteen years ago, the Star Wars light saber passed from George Lucas to Irvin Kershner, and the Jedi master's instructions to his successor were simple. "George wanted me to make a better film," Kershner said with the air of a man who knows what it was like to be the singles hitter who followed Hank Aaron to the plate. What legions of fans got with The Empire Strikes Back may not have been better, but it was a more mature and sobering effort. As it turned out, Kershner, who was a stranger in the strange land of science fiction - chosen by Lucas for his skills with character and relationships - proved a fine choice.
January 4, 1994
Science keeps marching forward. Unfortunately, it most frequently marches where the market is. There is a market for human beings, especially children. This is despite the feeling that the world may have fully enough people. So science gallumphs on, on a crusade to allow everyone on earth to reproduce, no matter their age or physical state. Most recently, researchers in the United Kingdom report success in fertilizing eggs taken from aborted female fetuses. This surpasses the glory days of grave-robbing, involving the theft of body parts from those who are not only dead, but also have never been born.
June 12, 1989 |
Neil Young is a rock-and-roll Yoda. Hunched, haggard and wearily wise after more than three decades in the tricky business of lending pop a conscience, Young seems as unlikely a rock star as grizzled Yoda was a Hollywood sci-fi hero. But on Saturday's season-opener at Bally's Grandstand Under the Stars, bending over his six-string acoustic guitar and letting out his billy-goat-on- estrogen voice, Young offered music and messages bearing far more force than most of today's mainstream radio fare.