Vulcan Stev's Database

It's a BLOG Captain, but not as we know it.

Demotivational Poster: Sith Army Knife


There comes a point when the GM looks at his players and quietly shakes his head.

September 26, 2010 Posted by | Demotivational Posters, Fluff/Inspiration | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Demotivational Poster: Trek Wars


Mash-ups do not always equal cool, but in this instance? Vader and Kahn vs. Kirk and Luke Skywalker? I want in on this game.

September 13, 2010 Posted by | Demotivational Posters, Fluff/Inspiration, Star Trek | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Demotivational Poster: Hindsight

Every game has a “What the…?” moment when the players realize they’ve been had.

September 10, 2010 Posted by | Demotivational Posters, Fluff/Inspiration | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Demotivational Poster: Eenny Meenny Miny Mo…

Yes, I am still here.  Things are happening behind the scenes. Stay tuned to this blog for more details

August 24, 2010 Posted by | Demotivational Posters, Fluff/Inspiration, Science Fiction | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Demotivational Posters: Irony

If you love something set it free.  If it comes back and kills you it was never yours to begin with.

April 29, 2010 Posted by | Demotivational Posters, Science Fiction | , , , , | Leave a comment

Demotivational Posters: The Cleric

The Force is strong in this one.

April 23, 2010 Posted by | Demotivational Posters, Fluff/Inspiration, RPG, Science Fiction | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Demotivational Poster: Count Your Blessings

Mesa muy muy happys tos bein seeings yousa

April 20, 2010 Posted by | Demotivational Posters, Science Fiction | , , , , , | 1 Comment

The View from My Chair: Who owns the Universe?

My attention was directed to this video today http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aoc3roT81nU

This got me thinking, when it comes to the Universe created by one individual but loved by a very large group of fans, who actually “owns” the universe?  In the legal sense the universe is “owned” by the copyright holder.  I cannot go around writing stories about space battles in far off galaxies and call it “Star Wars” without some lawyer showing up and issuing me a cease and desist.  I cannot write stories of young wizards named Howie, Don and Chermoine saving the universe from the evil Tromedlov without somebody notifying J.K Rowling.  If I  want to write detective stories about a 19th century detective I’d better not name him Sherlock Holmes or I’ll be hearing from the estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  At least I’d better not write anything like that and expect to sell it to others.

I’m not going to delve into the legal realms of “Fair Use” or how much can I write about these situations and steal from the original idea while still making it seem like something new.  Rather I want to look at the serious fan and their disagreements with the original authors about the nature of “their” universe.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle grew so disenchanted with his creation, Sherlock Holmes, that he killed the detective off in “The Final Problem”.  As the author, this was Doyle’s right to do so.  The public however had other ideas.  The outcry over the “death” of the great detective led Sir Arthur to resurrect his creation in the “The Adventure of the Empty House”, in this instant the “ownership” of the universe changed hands.  No longer could Sir Arthur lay complete claim to his hero.  Yes, legally the Sherlock Homes universe is still owned by the estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but it was the fans who forced the resurrection.

The Harry Potter universe is another instance of certain fans being at odds with the author.  My sister has undertaken a re-writing (in fan-fiction of course) of Harry Potter 7.  According to my sister (and a few of her friends, a few of mine, and nearly half a million writers at fanfiction.net) J.K. Rowling screwed up the Harry Potter universe with book 7.  “Harry should have married Hermionie,” “Harry should have died,” the list goes on of the supposed “wrongs” that Ms. Rowling has done to “their” universe.  Now I cannot claim to be a reader of the Harry Potter novels (my kids are) but I have seen the first six movies.  Great cinema? not really but they are nicely done movies.  My point is that the fans have taken a very possessive view of the universe.  The universe if J.K.’s to do with as she pleases.  If she had wanted to end book 7 with the magical equivalent of the atomic bomb, killing every magical being in existence she certainly could have.  Would have made the fans happy? probably not.  But the fans need to be aware of the fact that this is Ms. Rowlings’ universe, she only invites us in.

This brings me to George Lucas and the universe that he created.  Star Wars entered into the public’s collective conscious in 1977.  I was 10.  I was enamored with the story being told on the big screen.  I collected the comics.  I played with the toys.  I gained an interest in science fiction that has never gone away.

When Mr. Lucas re-did the original trilogy in the 90’s, I brought my family to see Lucas’ vision.  The redone effects made (in my opinion) a good film better.  Did Han need jump out of Greedo’s way before toasting him?  Maybe not, but this is Lucas’ universe not mine.  George can do with this universe whatever he wants.  It is his house, he is only inviting us in.  Now, Mr. Lucas has been more than generous allowing folks to rummage around and play in his universe.  The Expanded Universe of novels, comics, games and whatnot have added to an already rich tapestry.

I do not understand the vehemence folks use when discussing Jar Jar Binks.  Do I like the character? no.  Do I wish Jar Jar had been one of Anakin’s victims on his slide to the dark side?  yes. (Meesa no wanna die Annie).  Does that change the fact that George Lucas can do whatever he wants with the character? no.

I don’t remember where I read it but I recall this interview with George Lucas.  He states that he had always intended to kill Jar Jar off but kept him around simply because Star Wars is his universe and won’t be dictated to by the fans.  If I am remembering correctly and this is the reason Jar Jar didn’t die, then I applaud Mr. Lucas for sticking to his guns.

The question remains.  Who owns the universe?  Answer the creator.  We should be thankful that we’re allowed to play inside.

March 10, 2010 Posted by | Fluff/Inspiration, Movies, News, Reviews and Culture, Science Fiction | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The view from my chair: Franchise Characters

It’s no secret, the Vulcan Stev household enjoys movies.  The subject of movie franchises came up the other day during one of our many movie discussions.  “What’s a Franchise Daddy?” PIT #3 asked.

“A movie franchise is a series of movies set in the same fictional universe, telling stories usually revolving around the same key characters and most often released by the same studio,” is the definition we arrived at.

“Star Wars”, “Star Trek”, and James Bond were three franchises that jumped immediately to mind.  The discussion then evolved to the actors who made the roles famous.  How some actors will forever be defined by the role they played.  Sean Conery, Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig will forever be known as James Bond regardless of any other role they play.  William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy are locked into the American psyche as Kirk and Spock.

Some of these franchise characters have successfully been played by more than one actor (James Bond, Obi Wan Kenobi, and more recently Kirk and Spock).  We got to wondering how some characters can be so linked to the actor that it seems almost sacrilege to recast the role (the furor over the recent Star Trek film all the way back to the controversy of Connery stepping out of the Bond role) to the fact some actors are so linked with the famous role they play that their careers never recover (Mark Hamil or Carrie Fisher).

PIT #3 then asked if there were any actors lucky enough to have two franchise characters to their credit.  We then defined a franchise character as having appeared in at least three separate films.  To qualify the actor has to have played the character at least three times.  We came up with this list:

mel-gibson-smileMel Gibson:  Mad Max, The Road Warrior and Detective Riggs from the Lethal Weapon.  Mel Gibson burst into the American film scene with his role of Max.  The Lethal Weapon franchise earned him a place on this list.

orlando-bloom

Orlando Bloom earned his place on this list with his portrayal of Legolas in the Lord of the Rings Films and his presence on the screen as Will Turner in the Pirates of the Caribbean films.

patrick2520stewartPatrick Stewart had a successful career long before Gene Roddenberry cast him as Captain Jean Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise D.  Seven years of inspired acting on his (and his castmates) part led a loyal fanbase to embrace a universe beyond the roles and actors of the “failed” 60s TV show.  Stewart’s prowess as an actor and acclaim among the hordes of its target audience gave 20th Century Fox all the reason it needed to cast him in the role of Charles Xavier in its X-Men series of films.

HarrisonFordPictureHarrison Ford has the unique position of being the only actor (we can think of) to play three franchise characters, though only two qualify by the rules we laid out.  Ford got his big break with the role of Han Solo in Star Wars.  Luckily for us, George Lucas listened to some advice and cast Harrison as Indiana Jones.  The role was sufficiently different from that of Han Solo that Ford was not typecast and averted the fate of Mark Hammil and Carrie Fisher.  Had Harrison not had problems with the script for “The Sum of All Fears” he would have had the unique spot of having three franchises to his credit with the role of Jack Ryan.

mckellenIan McKellen is another actor on this list who owes his place to the Lord of the Rings and X-Men sagas.  As such he is the only actor to have co-starred with others on this list in the same franchises.  Magneto and Gandalf have been kind to Sir Ian.

Sylvester StalloneSylvester Stallone should get a seperate categoy for the ten films he’s done with these two characters:  Rocky and Rambo.  Two characters each known by a single name.  Each character a flawed patriot.  Six Rocky films and four Rambo films put Sly on the list.    I may be wrong but I think he’s the record holder for number of films to his credit with only two characters.

matt_damonMatt Damon is a relative new comer to the list.  His portrayal of Jason Bourne in the Bourne series and Linus Caldwell in the Ocean’s Eleven series make him a member of this particular club.

arnoldDa Govinator gets an honorable mention for his roles as The Terminator and Conan the Barbarian though he only played Conan twice, he is the only actor to have portrayed Conan on the big screen.  The character in Red Sonja is also close enough to Conan to Give Arnold Schwarzenegger a mention.

Almsot there (but not quite) is Vin Diesel.  He’s played Riddick in two motion pitures and one animated direct-to-video release.  Although he’s played Domminic Toretto in three of the Fast and the Furious movies, it was only a cameo in Tokyo Drift.  Accord to IMDb both of these franchises have Diesel starring films in pre-production

September 26, 2009 Posted by | Movie Trivia, Movies | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Vulcan Stev Family Movie Review: Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace

star_warsIStarring:
Liam Neeson …  Qui-Gon Jinn
Ewan McGregor …  Obi-Wan Kenobi
Natalie Portman …  Queen Padmé Amidala
Jake Lloyd …  Anakin Skywalker
Pernilla August …  Shmi Skywalker
Frank Oz …  Yoda (voice)
Ian McDiarmid …  Senator Palpatine
Oliver Ford Davies …  Gov. Sio Bibble
Ray Park …  Darth Maul
Hugh Quarshie …  Capt. Panaka
Ahmed Best …  Jar Jar Binks (voice)
Anthony Daniels …  C-3PO
Kenny Baker …  R2-D2
Terence Stamp …  Supreme Chancellor Valorum
Brian Blessed …  Boss Nass

Synopsis from IMDb:
The evil Trade Federation, led by Nute Gunray (Carson) is planning to take over the peaceful world of Naboo. Jedi’s Qui-Gon Jinn (Neeson) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (McGregor) are sent to confront the leaders. But not everything goes to plan. The two Jedis escape, and along with their new Gungan friend, Jar Jar Binks (Best) head to Naboo to warn Queen Amidala (Portman), but droids have already started to capture Naboo and the Queen is not safe there. Eventually they land on Tatooine, where they become friends with a young boy known as Anakin Skywalker (Lloyd). Qui-Gon is curious about the boy, and sees a bright future for him. The group must now find a way of getting to Coruscant and to finally solve this trade dispute, but there is someone else hiding in the shadows. Are the sith really extinct? Is the Queen who she really says she is? and what’s so special about this young boy? All these questions and more in the first chapter of the epic Star Wars.

Reviewers VS, PIT #1, PIT #2, PIT #3

VS: 1.75 pointed ears
I don’t understand the hate bestowed on this movie by supposed fans.  Yes, Jar-Jar was annoying.  Yes, the acting was wooden and yes, George Lucas proves once again that his skills lie in story telling and not in directing.  Watching this movie again I was struck by the fact that the CGI characters are more “animated” than the actors.  Check out Sebulba’s introductory scene and the cut-scenes of Qui Gon’s party  during the pod race.  Sebulba is all over the place and his humanoid dining companions just sit there.  Jar Jar is moving all over the booth while the humans sit there motionless.

The more obvious points of Lucas the story-teller are when we’re told that Obi Wan is headstrong instead of shown.  Being told about the suffering on Nayboo instead of being shown the suffering.  The movie has lots of “Wow!” moments.  However “wow” moments do not make a movie continuable watchable.  That said, this is still a fun family friendly flick and is not deserving of the “hate”.

PIT #1 – 1.75 pointed ears
Die Jar Jar die (this review was tweeted in and that is the sum total of the review)

PIT #2 – 2 pointed ears
This was a very nice start to the saga.  I like looking for the subtle hints and foreshadowing that Lucas interspersed throughout.  I’ve been playing Lego Star Wars with PIT #3.  Some of the scenes make a heck of lot more sense now that I’ve refreshed my memory on the movie.  Pod racing is harder than it looks.

PIT #3 – 1.9 pointed ears
This is my introduction to the Star Wars.  I don’t remember watching the other Star Wars movies until after I’d seen this one.  Qui Gonn Jinn is my all time favorite Jedi.  It was a shame that he had to die.

Overall 7.4 out of 8
As far as prequels go I’ve seen better and I’ve seen worse.  This movie could’ve been a heckuva lot better with some editing or if it had been cut to about 45 minutes and combined with II.  Thank you Lord that Abrams didn’t follow Lucas’ formula with the Trek reboot.

If you’re the type that buys DVDs you probably already own this one.  If this is your first exposure to Star Wars, don’t judge the rest of the saga by this opening round.

June 6, 2009 Posted by | Movie Reviews | , , , , , , , | 7 Comments