yoda3Doesn’t he look sick? Poor guy! I felt so bad for Yoda, both when I had to rewatch this scene for this strip, and coloring Leanne’s touching illustration of him. That puppet was amazing. The CGI never captured the tangibility or movement of Frank Oz’s work.

By the way, this is an important reminder that LEANNE AND I WILL NOT BE EXHIBITING AT BALTIMORE COMIC CON this weekend. We have had several people contact us asking where our table will be and about commissions, but we never planned to do Baltimore Comic Con this year due to our commitment to Jedi-Con in Germany. We will be stopping by the show on Saturday to walk the floor and meet some friends, but this is the first time since 2007 that we will not actually have a table there. So, if you bump into us on Saturday, say “hi” while you can. :-)

10992_10152685062732372_466343641381651957_nLast Saturday night we attended the American Film Institute’s special screening of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. The awesome 501st Legion were there, some of these guys driving straight from troops earlier in the day elsewhere in the state. There was a Stormtrooper, Royal Guards, and two Rebel Fleet Troopers, and our friends “Shep” and “Eric”. I’m putting Eric in quotations too so he doesn’t get jealous.

We met friends, Marc, Kelsey, Wes and Dawn and enjoyed a lively “American” theatrical experience watching a movie that is beloved by everyone. The AFI director gave a nice introductory speech before the screening and there was much rejoicing. I can claim responsibility for initiating three of the applause during the film. When Alec Guinness removes his hood after rescuing Luke, when Peter Cushing entered the conference room (I think people mostly followed my lead in clapping and cheering because Vader was entering with Tarkin), and when Biggs found Luke in the Rebel Base. I love Peter Cushing, so whether people realized or not his significance as a cult icon, I was glad he got the ovation.

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This was only the second time that either Leanne or myself were seeing Star Wars on the big screen. Sadly neither of us got to see the original version on anything but a television screen, though we both saw the Special Edition in 1997 long before either of us knew one another. So it was nice sharing the experience together. We’ve now seen both Return of the Jedi and Star Wars in the theater and just need to find a screening of Empire that fits in our tight schedule.

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On a slightly down note, the quality of the Star Wars film print was AWFUL. Hairs and scratches almost overwhelmed the picture in some scenes, making it look like an unintentional sandstorm had just consumed the actors. The sound quality was raspy in a lot of places, making some of the dialogue difficult to comprehend, though all but at least one of the audience members had seen the movie many times before. So, it wasn’t just an issue of watching a version of the film with unnecessary special effects additions (chiefly, Jabba the Hutt and the Mos Eisley establishing shots), but the print itself was washed out, scratchy and garbled.

Thanks to John White, I was informed about the Star Wars: Despecialized videos. These were made by a fan who took the time to lovingly clean up the films, restore the rich color saturation, cutting together the original scenes and excising the Special Edition additions. I obtained copies and watched the Despecialized version with Leanne as soon as we got home on Saturday night and my god, what a difference! So crisp, clean, audible and best of all, no changes. I highly recommend seeking these versions of the films out while you can, ie NOW.

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