A Long History From A Galaxy Far Far Away

In 1977, a movie was released that not only defined a generation, but also changed the future of cinema.  What is know today as Star Wars IV:  A New Hope was released for a limited run on May 25, 1977 and then worldwide on July 15th.   The limited release brought in $1,554,475 in its first weekend and over $7 million worldwide by the end of its run (BoxOffice).  Viewers of any age experienced the epic space adventure on the big screen, many seeing in multiple times.  Many children who saw the movie began collecting action figures and ships based on the movie.  A culture grew around a movie, and this culture still exists today.  Just last year it was announced that a seventh movie was in the works.  This movie is set to be released in December of 2015.  Star Wars fans everywhere are both excited and nervous about the next trilogy that is coming their way.  Why you ask?  Let’s take a look at the history of the franchise from a galaxy far far away and see.

Star Wars began as a short story by George Lucas.  While on set of his movie American Graffiti in 1973, Lucas began writing the story of a young man name CJ Thorpe who was being trained to be a space commando by the legendary Mace Windy.  The story was extremely hard to understand because the lore was all in Lucas’ head, so he began writing The Star Wars to explain the story.  Eventually, this story evolved in a full screenplay complete with a new protagonist named Annikin Starkiller.  The screenplay went through multiple drafts until 1976.  This draft was called Adventures of Luke Starkiller, as taken from the Journal of the Whills, Saga I:  The Star Wars.  The screenplay was ready for principle photography and throughout production Luke’s name was changed to Skywalker, and the title shortened to just Star Wars (Rinzler).

Star Wars begins on above the planet Tatooine on an ambassador ship.  On board is Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan, a senator and leader of the Rebel alliance.  The ship is under attack by the Galactic Empire because Leia is believed to have plans for their weapon of mass destruction, The Death Star.  Leia hides the plans in a droid named R2-D2 and sends him to find a man named Obi-Wan Kenobi.  Leia is captured and R2-D2 and his companion C-3PO escape to the surface of the planet below.  The two droids are found by a group of droid traders, who sell R2-D2 and C-3PO to moisture farmer, Owen Lars, and his nephew, Luke Skywalker.  While Luke is cleaning the droids, he discovers the message to Obi-Wan.  Luke decides to take the droids to see the hermit Ben Kenobi, to see if he knows who Obi-Wan is.  Luke travels to Ben’s home, where Ben reveals that he is Obi-Wan.  He used to be a Jedi Knight, a group of fighters and peacekeepers who were massacred by the Empire.  Obi-Wan reveals that Luke’s father, Anakin, was also a Jedi, but was killed by Darth Vader, the leader of the Empire.  Obi-Wan listens to Leia’s message in which she asks him to take the Death Star’s plans to her father on Alderaan.  Luke accompanies Obi-Wan in his journey along with a smuggler named Han Solo and his partner Chewbacca, who they hire to fly them to Alderaan in Han’s ship, the Millennium Falcon (Star Wars IV:  A New Hope).

Meanwhile, on the Death Star, Darth Vader interrogates Leia, with no success.  Vader decides they must take drastic measures and he uses the Death Star to destroy her home planet.  The Millennium Falcon arrives at Alderaan, or where Alderaan should be, only to find it destroyed.  The ship is caught in the Death Star’s tractor beam and brought on board.  The gang disguise themselves as Stormtroopers so they can disable the tractor beam and save the princess.  Unfortunately, Obi-Wan must face Vader in a lightsaber duel in which he dies to save the others.  The remainder of the crew, along with Leia, take the Millennium Falcon to the Rebel Alliance’s base where plans to destroy the Death Star are made.  Luke and Han end up saving the day as Luke fires the final blow to the space station while Han fights off enemy fighters.  In the end, both are rewarded for their bravery and dedication to the alliance (Star Wars IV:  A New Hope).

The Empire Strikes Back is the second movie in the Star Wars franchise.  It begins on the icy planet of Hoth, where the Rebel Alliance’s new base is located.  A probe droid, sent by the Empire, finds the base and brings the Empire to Hoth to attack the Rebels.  A huge battle ensues between the Empire and the Rebels.  Eventually, the Rebels are able to escape.  Han, Chewbacca, Leia, and the Droids take the Millennium Falcon through an asteroid field to shake off the Empire’s fighters.  Luke, on his own, travels to the swamp planet of Dagobah to find Jedi Master Yoda so he can train to be a Jedi (Star Wars V:  The Empire Strikes Back).

The Millennium Falcon crew hides inside and asteroid, and Vader is furious at having lost them.  He hires many bounty hunters, including the infamous Boba Fett, to find them.  Eventually, the crew travels to Cloud City on the planet Bespin to seek help from Han’s old friend, Lando Calrissian.  Unfortunately, Vader arrives first and pays Lando to turn his friends over.  Vader freezes Han in carbonite so Boba Fett can take him to Jabba the Hut on Tatooine, to whom Han owes a large sum of money (Star Wars V:  The Empire Strikes Back).

Luke senses something is wrong and leaves his training to save his friends.  When he arrives in Cloud City, it is revealed as a trap for Luke.  Vader challenges Luke to a lightsaber duel during which he cuts Luke’s hand off and reveals that he is in fact Luke’s father.  Luke screams that he doesn’t believe him and manages to escape.  Luke, Leia, Lando, and the Droids begin planning how to rescue Han from Jabba the Hut(Star Wars V:  The Empire Strikes Back).

That is exactly where Return of the Jedi, the third and final movie in the original trilogy, picks up.  The entire gang, Leia, Lando, R2-D2, and C-3PO are all undercover in Jabba the Hut’s palace.  Leia attempts to free Han by posing as a bounty hunter, but she is captured and made a slave girl.  Luke arrives at the palace and is captured and sent to fight the Rancor.  Luke easily defeats the monster so Jabba sentences him to death by Sarlacc along with Han.  They are taken to the Sarlacc pit, where Jabba and his guests come to watch the execution.  Luke is able to escape and a battle breaks out.  Leia strangles Jabba with her chains and the whole gang is able to escape.  They part ways when leaving Tatooine because Luke promised to return to Yoda and finish his training.  Everyone else leave to meet up with the rest of the Rebels (Star Wars VI:  Return of the Jedi).

Back on Dagobah, Yoda is dying.  He confirms that Vader is Luke’s father, Anakin Skywalker.  He turned to the dark side and became Darth Vader.  Yoda also mentions that there is another Skywalker, who is Luke’s twin sister.  Meanwhile, the Rebels discover that the Empire is constructing a new Death Star and they must destroy it.  But first they must take out the shield generators for the space station that are located on the forest moon of Endor.  The Rebels decide to send a small group down to the planet’s surface to get the job done.  This team consists of Han, Luke, Leia, and the Droids (Star Wars VI:  Return of the Jedi).

When they reach the surface of Endor, the team makes friends with a group of natives known as Ewoks.  These small teddy-bear-like creatures prove vital to the crew’s mission on the planet.  They stay in the Ewok village until the group is ready to attack.  It is hear that Luke reveals to Leia that she is his sister and that Vader is their father.  After confiding in Leia, Luke leaves to confront Vader on the Death Star (Star Wars VI:  Return of the Jedi).

The Rebels must now race against the clock as the Death Star, which was originally believed to still be under construction, prepares to destroy the Rebel base.  Han and Leia’s team is able to deactivate the shield generators while Luke is battling Vader, and the Sith Lord Palpatine.  Palpatine attacks Luke, but Vader kills him, unable to watch his son suffer any longer.  Vader is mortally wounded in his battle with the Sith Lord and, in his last moments, he asks Luke to remove his mask so he can look upon his son’s face with his own eyes.  Luke is able to get off the Death Star with his father’s body right before the Rebels destroy it.  Later that day, Rebels throughout the galaxy celebrate the destruction of the Empire and Luke lays his father’s body to rest.  He then sees his father’s ghost with Obi-Wan’s and Yoda’s, and understands that Vader became his old self in the end and peace is restored throughout the galaxy (Star Wars VI:  Return of the Jedi).

Fans thought the epic saga know as Star Wars was over after Return of the Jedi, but Lucas decided to make a prequel trilogy that told the story of Anakin Skywalker, and how he turned to the Dark Side and became Darth Vader.  The first of these movies, The Phantom Menace, was released in 1999 to many mixed reviews.  Even so, the trilogy continued with Attack of the Clones in 2002 and Revenge of the Sith in 2005.  Many fans were disappointed with the casting, use of green screen and computer generated graphics, and poor storytelling of the prequel trilogy.  Die-hard fans, though, embraced the new movies and are equally excited for the newest movies that are set to be released in 2015.  I, personally, cannot wait until the next movie is released.  I like the prequel trilogy, not as much as the original, but they are still enjoyable to watch.  I cannot wait to see what stories are being told in the next trilogy, but I, like all other Star Wars fans, will have to wait two more years for the next movie.

 

Works Cited

Rinzler, J. W. The Making of Star Wars. New York: Ballantine, 2007. Print.

“Star Wars (1977) – Box Office Mojo.” Star Wars (1977) – Box Office Mojo. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Dec. 2013.

Star Wars Trilogy. Dir. George Lucas. Perf. Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, 2004. DVD.

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2013 Movie Trailer Mash Up

The end of 2013 is upon us, which means many mash up videos will be premiering in the next few weeks.  The first that I’ve seen is a Movie Trailer Mash Up that is just fantastic.

I love how the creator made each clip work seamlessly with the next.  To me, videos like this are so amazing.  Being able to sit down and find the perfect clips, while figuring out how they can flow easily from one to the other just blows my mind.  I used to think that I was good at editing videos, but after seeing this, I’m not sure anymore.

Have you seen any of the movies featured in the video?  Which movie was your favorite that came out in 2013?  My current favorite is definitely Frozen which I saw over Thanksgiving break, although I am looking forward to The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, which comes out next week.

Star Trek is Ready for Christmas!

We’ve all seen the videos where someone takes scenes from a movie, tv show, or even speeches made by President Obama and pieces them together to make the characters seem like they are singing a popular song.  The newest version is “Let it Snow” sung by Captain Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation.  

I personally love these types of videos.  The amount of time and effort needed to make these videos astounds me.  I don’t think that I would be able to make one myself!  Having to watch multiple episodes or movies to find the exact moment that a character says one word seems like so much work to me.  Nonetheless, these videos are still entertaining! My personal favorite is still Star Wars Call Me Maybe.

Mashable

Star Wars Episode VII Release Date

It’s official, Star Wars Episode VII now has a release date:  December 18, 2015.  This will be the first Star Wars film to be released in a month other than May.

Last year, fans were treated to the news that a new trilogy will be produced under Lucasfilm’s new parent company Disney.  Many fans were wary of the announcement after the prequel trilogy was released in the early 2000s.  Fans were disappointed by the deviation from the original movies’ use of models in favor for CGI and lots of green screen.  J.J. Abrams, the director and screenwriter of the new trilogy, has stated that he wants to go back to the use of models like the original films.

I am personally really excited about the new movies.  Star Wars is one of my all-time favorite movie series so I am open to having some new movies.  I already have a date set with my friends to go see it!

Mashable

Cyberbullying and Social Media

The birth of social media has brought many wonderful things to our society such as connecting us with loved ones and meeting new friends.  Unfortunately, some have taken advantage of this system.  Cyberbullying is a true horror that has come to light in the past years.  Users of social networks have used the sites in order to target people and attack them because of their race, religion, or sexuality.  Regrettably, this form of bullying has entered school systems.  I propose a way to provide schools a way to monitor their students’ online activity to make sure they are not partaking in cyberbullying.  My program will also sponsor school that take an initiative in teaching their students about the harmful effects of cyberbullying.  Through this program, schools will have the opportunity to reward their students for good behavior and safe activity online.  Hopefully this program will help to create a generation of Internet users who are conscious of the negative effects social media can have on others.

Every once in a while there is a story featured on the nightly news about a student, usually in high school that has been bullied so much that they feel the only way out is to kill themselves.  Many of these students were not bullied just in their schools, but in the privacy of their own home.  This is thanks to cyberbullying.  The victims would go home and log on to their computers only to find hate.  In multiple cases, the students were being bullied because of their sexuality.  Many of us remember the story of Tyler Clementi, a freshman at Rutgers.  He “threw himself from the George Washington Bridge in New York City.  His roommate had secretly recorded a video of Clementi kissing a guy; the video went up on YouTube. On Facebook, Clementi offered a final status update: ‘jumping off GW bridge sorry’” (Cloud).  This is just one of many unfortunate stories of cyberbullying at its worst.

“The trouble is, the technology of bullying has advanced much faster than efforts to stop it ever could. If you have a cell phone, you can post to your entire school that a girl is a slut or a boy is a fag–and you can attach an unflattering photo or video of them to try to prove it” (Cloud).  Being bullied is not pleasant whatsoever.  Years ago the victims of bullying could escape to their own homes and be safe.  That is no longer the case.  Technology has made it easier for the bullies to attack their victims without being in the same room or even the same street.  Social media has, unfortunately, become a means for bullies to gang up on someone and never make contact.  “The word cyberbullying didn’t even exist a decade ago, yet the problem is pervasive today. Simply put, cyberbullying is the repeated use of technology to harass, humiliate, or threaten. When people take to the keyboard or cell phone and craft messages of hate or malice about a specific person, cyberbullying is emerging. And unlike traditional bullying, it comes with a wide audience” (Holladay).  I have seen people make groups on Facebook just to get together and talk smack on one individual.  That is truly horrendous.

My goal it to stop cyberbullying before it even becomes a problem.  I want to create a program that will be put into place in elementary and middle schools.  This program will help to educate young children about the horrors of bullying, both physical and cyber, to help them learn how to treat one another.  Eventually the students will be able to use a social network site that will help them learn safe practices online and how to identify what is bullying and how it can effect others.

First, I will test the program in a school district that has had its share of issues with cyberbullying in the past.  I would prefer to implement my program in a middle school setting.  This is to help educate the students in the earlier stages of their schooling and help to influence the younger generations to change before they are set in their ways.  I also feel that kids can be crueler in a middle school setting.  This is, unfortunately, from past experience.  My middle school years were full of people who I thought of as friends, when in reality, I should have stayed away from them.  My goal is to help these students to realize what an impact their words and actions have before they get out of hand.  My program, as stated before, has multiple parts: educating, monitoring, and finally rewarding.  The first step is obviously educating.  The students need to learn how their actions online can affect others before they are rewarded.  I would use multiple resources such as guest speakers, online materials, and videos to help teach these kids about the dangers of cyberbullying.

The next step is monitoring.  This would require some more preparation.  I would like to create a website that acts as a personalized social media site for each school.  The students in the class would already be friends and able to talk to each other as well as post pictures and video.  The students will be encouraged to use this site in their free time.  The teachers would be able to monitor all activity on the site to make sure that the students are being safe and not bullying each other.

This brings us to the last step of rewarding.  Through the site, the teachers will be able to reward students for their work in the classroom.  The students in turn are allowed to make comments on the rewards, but only in an encouraging manner, all negative comments will be removed immediately.  This would help the students to learn to inspire each other rather than to tear each other down.  The class would also be rewarded for various things from the site for example, if each person comments on 10 rewards then the class would have an extra recess one day.

Through this program I hope to stop the spread of cyberbullying before it has drastic consequences in later years.  I believe with education and practice, students will be able to be safe online and not contribute to cyberbullying.  One day, I hope that cyberbullying is no longer a problem in our society and students can focus on their studies and not worry about being afraid to walk down the halls of their school or log onto their Facebook accounts.

 

 

Works Cited

Cloud, John. “Bullied To Death?.” Time 176.16 (2010): 60-63. Academic Search Premier. Web. 28 Nov. 2013.

 

Holladay, Jennifer. “Cyberbullying.” Education Digest 76.5 (2011): 4-9. Academic Search Premier. Web. 28 Nov. 2013.

Delivery Drones

This weekend, mega corporation Amazon announced that it is currently working on a delivery service called Amazon Prime Air.  This service will allow you to receive packages within 30 minutes of purchasing.  Sounds too good to be true right?  Well this service is not by USPS, FedEX, or UPS.  The delivering is done by drones.

That’s right, in the near future Amazon will deliver your packages by drones.  This is something straight out of a science fiction movie.  This service is still in development, and Amazon hopes to start delivering by 2015.  They still need to sort out some issues with the FAA.

drone

Personally, I think this service is really cool.  This could also be extremely helpful if you happen to forget a family member’s birthday.
Bam! Instant Present!  This will be the delivery system of the future and I can’t wait to use it.

Mashable.com