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Current Topic: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Films

Raiders of the lost R2: Excavating a galaxy far, far away
Topic: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Films 11:14 pm EDT, Jul  8, 2009

Jon Mooallem:

It was just before six in the morning when we stopped at a rest area off Interstate 8, near where California, Arizona, and Mexico meet in the desert.

It was on this particular tract of sand that a fragment of another world's landscape temporarily took up residence. Over thirty-eight days in the spring of 1982, a crew from Lucasfilm erected a 30,000-square-foot wooden platform and built atop it sand dunes that rose five stories above the actual desert floor. On top of the ersatz dunes, they then built a yacht-like structure, 90 feet long and 60 feet tall; the color of weathered tree bark, it was overhung with jagged, orange polyester sails. The craft would appear in an early scene of Return of the Jedi as the hovering pleasure barge of the blubbery crime boss Jabba the Hutt and would shuttle his cadre of bounty hunters and hangers-on across the desert planet Tatooine to watch the execution of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Chewbacca. Each prisoner was to be walked off a plank into something called the "al mighty Sarlacc," a kind of belching vagina dentata in the dunes, which, it was said, would digest them over many anguishing millennia. A quarter of a century later, remnants of the set were apparently littered across the valley or buried in the sand. We would be excavating whatever authentic artifacts of that fictitious universe remained.

Can you feel it?

Oh! I feel it. I feel the cosmos!

Paul Reyes:

The junk left behind has fascinated me since I began working for my father ten years ago—during holidays, or between jobs, boomeranging between his home in Tampa and wherever I ended up next—tagging along with his regular crew, a pair of Puerto Rican laborers who start the day at six and call it at three. I’ve always been the crew’s weak link, both because I flinch in places that, after a year of abandonment, have become so gloriously foul, and because I can’t help but read a narrative in what has been discarded. I begin to pick, sweating nearly every item we throw away, creeping among gadgets and notes and utility bills and photographs in order to decipher who lived there and how they lost it, a life partially revealed by stuff marinating in a fetid stillness. It is a guilt-ridden literary forensics, because to confront the junk is to confront the individuality being purged from a place. My father has never been all that interested in this particular angle. He likes to keep things simple: he gets an address, the crew goes to work. Now and then I join them, but I’ve never been much good at keeping up.

Sterling Hayden:

If you are contemplating a voyage and you have the means, abandon the venture until your fortunes change.

Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?

From a 1958 document entitled "A Policy on Safety Rest Areas for the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways":

Rest areas are to be provided on Interstate highways as a safety measure. Safety rest areas are off-road spaces with provisions for emergency stopping and resting by motorists for short periods. They have freeway type entrances and exit connections, parking areas, benches and tables and may have toilets and water supply where proper maintenance and supervision are assured. They may be designed for short-time picnic use in addition to parking of vehicles for short periods.

Raiders of the lost R2: Excavating a galaxy far, far away

Rudy Rucker Book To Become Major Motion Picture
Topic: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Films 12:47 am EST, Feb 26, 2006

Masters of Space & Time is now becoming a movie. The hit novel by Rudy Rucker is coming to the big screen. The book according to Amazon is as such : The real world is unbearable to madcap inventor Harry Gerber, so he uses his genius to twist the laws of science and create his own tailor-made universe. Master of Space and Time combines high physics and high jinks, blurring the line between science and magic.

From a voyage to a mirror-image world where sluglike parasites make slaves of humanity, to trees and bushes that grow fries and pork chops, to a rain of fish, author Rudy Rucker—two-time winner of the Philip K. Dick Award—takes readers on the ultimate joyride. But once the gluons at the core of Harry's creation run out ... disaster looms for Harry and his friends.

Rudy Rucker Book To Become Major Motion Picture

Topic: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Films 10:44 am EDT, Oct  1, 2005

As Mr. Whedon knows, the fastest way to a geek's heart is a story about other geeks, albeit ones with good hair and hot bodies.


Some Surprises in That Galaxy Far, Far Away
Topic: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Films 9:35 am EDT, May 16, 2005

Like many others whose idea of movies was formed by (and to some extent against) the galactically later, terrestrially earlier "Star Wars" trilogy, I was disappointed by "The Phantom Menace" and "Attack of the Clones." So I approached the recent press screening of "Episode III" in New York warily, and perhaps a little wearily.

Would George Lucas at last restore some of the old grandeur and excitement to his up-to-the-minute Industrial Light and Magic? Would my grown-up longing for a return to the wide-eyed enthusiasm of my own moviegoing boyhood - and my undiminished hunger for entertainment with sweep and power as well as noise and dazzle - be satisfied by "Revenge of the Sith"?

The answer is yeth.

This is by far the best film in the more recent trilogy, and also the best of the four episodes Mr. Lucas has directed. That's right (and my inner 11-year-old shudders as I type this): it's better than "Star Wars."

Some Surprises in That Galaxy Far, Far Away

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