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Guilty Pleasures: Battlestar Galactica (1978), Mormons From Outer Space

What the frack, Luke? Imitation is supposedly the sincerest form of flattery, but not according to Star Wars creator George Lucas. TV hit maker Glen A Larson’s re-jigged concept “Adam’s Ark“, reborn as Universal ABC’s Battlestar Galactica, faced multiple lawsuits from George Lucas and 20th Century Fox on the basis of copyright infringement.  To add insult […]

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Star Wars And The Mystery of The Moving Death Star Dish

Ever wonder why in Star Wars, when R2D2 plugs into the Rebel’s Yavin computer, the Death Star plans show the weapon’s deflector dish slap bang in the middle of the equatorial trench? Well, wonder no more! (This piece contains a minor spoiler for Rogue one.) It’s basically because of this matte painting: Larry Cuba was […]

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Star Wars, Grindhoused

When George Lucas was making Star Wars back in the ’70’s, the 1930’s space serial throwback approach was a far from sure thing, with overshoots, over budgeting, and last minute untried special effects. It’s easy to forget how unusual it was, with it being so prevalent now in pop culture. The grungy, “used-universe” look of the film […]

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American Graffiti: A Video Essay

Vimeo user Andrew Saladino‘s essay The Art Of Teen Films on George Lucas’ American Graffiti uses the film as an example (along with Dazed And Confused, and The Last Picture Show) to show how to penetrate the world of the teenager in a very real way, by focusing on diegetic music and sound as a storytelling […]

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Industrial Light And Magic: Creating The Impossible

Tom Cruise narrates the below doc on the famous George Lucas owned special effects house, which also features interviews with George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, J.J. Abrams and Jon Favreau as well as many other producers and actors. The documentary is directed by Leslie Iwerks, the film maker who made The Pixar Story, a look at […]

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star wars begins: the filmumentary strikes back

A long time ago, in a Galaxy far, far away, it was rumoured there was forgotten Star Wars production footage, missing scenes and all manner of behind the scenes goodies that Lucasfilm would have us believe was unavailable. They didn’t count on Jamie Benning… NOTE: This is an amended form of my interview that first appeared last […]

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Star Wars Redux: Practical Magic

The internet has Star Wars fans in a quandary, with leaked snaps surfacing of grungy costumes and practical, weather beaten sets from the Abu Dhabi location of  Episode VII, and now Han Solo’s ride, The Millenium Falcon, under construction at a secret location. This, combined with the giant practical creature (operated by five internal puppeteers, it’s rumoured), […]

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Star Wars Splinter Of The Mind’s Eye Story Conference

In the midst of fraught  post-production on Star Wars, George Lucas was planning ahead. As we reported in our previous The Great Unmade: Splinter Of The Mind’s Eye, Lucas was hedging his bets. He wasn’t convinced that his space opera would be a great success, and considered using his ghost author for the novelization, Alan […]

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Scene Is Believing: Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom

The Mine chase – Please keep your hands in the car at all times I’m not one for bemoaning the advance of CG effects over practical models and glass matte shots: if an effect is done well, that’s all I care about. However (!) there is something thrilling about the ingenuity behind old school methods; […]

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Storage Wars: ILM’s Birth In A Warehouse, Far, Far Away

John Dykstra. Denis Muren. Phil Tippett. Richard Edlund. These men, and the young guys and gals who toiled with them, were the corner stone of the modern age of movie effects, from inauspicious beginnings in an empty California warehouse, to the “go to” Skywalker Ranch magic maker of today. It all started with a little […]

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