Even I Get Boarded Sometimes

Daniel L Smith recently won the “Best Animation” category of the Star Wars Fan Film Movie Challenge, which is run yearly over at Atom Films and sponsored by Lucasfilm. To see this properly you’d need a pair of red/cyan anaglyph glasses, but my eyes got used to it pretty quickly.

I liked it! Not perfect… but you have to admit that the guy who aped Harrison Ford’s voice was eerily good. Do yourself a favor and don’t watch the thing that George Lucas chose to win the whole contest – I threw up in my mouth and then choked to death on vomit and bilious rage. The fanfilm that should have won – the trailer for A Light in the Darkness, which you probably saw a few months back – was only nominated. While a lot of the fanfilms are junk, most of them have their hearts in the right place; luckily for you, you beneficent master Pale Horse has saved you the trouble of fishing through the rest of the nominees:

1. Best parody. The only thing that disappoints me about “Most Interesting Man in the Galaxy” is that he didn’t punch George Lucas in the dick.

2. Best droid. N1-X1 should also win “Best Actor” for this. Boring movie, I-wish-I’d-thought-of-him-first comic relief.

3. Best Animation. It’s depressing how easy it is to more visually interesting than the Clone Wars.

Enjoy, chums.

EDIT: I saw the Light in the Darkness trailer a couple of months ago, and it was new, so I just assumed that the movie wouldn’t come out for ages, or ever. Lo and behold, it turns out that the first part of the movie was released on August 12th, and you should go and check it out right fucking now.


Round-a-bound – now with 100% more sand art!

Saw this on Star Wars Day:

This lady must be lots of fun at the beach. Listen for Apocalyptica at around 3:30 and again later in the piece.

Say it with Stormtroopers

Your correspondent is spending Christmas in snowy Stockholm, where there isn’t much to do in the long, dark winter hours. Well, there wasn’t – until the internet and massively multiplayer online gaming. That might explain why Sweden has some of the western world’s best broadband penetration and some of the hardest pro gaming clans in the world.

This video has nothing to do with Sweden or long hours of darkness, but it does come from the Internet. And it’s got stormtroopers. What’s not to like?

Merry LULZ  everyone.

Star Wars vs. Star Trek

Posting this here will forever brand me as an inveterate geek . . . but what the hell, it’s cool, and – hell, I’m a geek anyways.


It’s about time we had some interesting news on this front. I’ve been wondering about the quality of prosthetics for years; a lot of what’s on the market doesn’t seem very far removed from the same basic options that have been available to humans for centuries. People’s limbs have been flying for ages – in pop culture it seems to have become something of an obsession.

So, the newsworthy – behold i-LIMB, from England’s Touch Bionics. Already the winner of 2008’s Royal Academy of Engineering’s MacRobert Award for outstanding innovation, the prosthetic has just been named to TIme Magazine’s list of top 50 innovations – well behind the Large Hadron Collider but ahead of the Mars Rover. It went on the market on July 17, and has been doing well enough that they’re already recruiting for an office in New York.

We’re not yet where we should be, but we’re getting close.

The Time list, by the way, is brutally flawed but interesting nonetheless. If you want to decide for yourself, it’s worth a look.

Hey, George Lucas needs to eat, too.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars is the computer-generated latest chapter in the venerable space opera that chronicles the efforts of the Jedi Knights to prevent a powerful criminal empire from siding with the Separatists during the eponymous period in Star Wars history. Apparently dissatisfied with the treatment that the Clone Wars received in Genndy Tartakovsky’s critically acclaimed animated television series of the same name, Lucas has decided to give a different view of the conflict. Whereas the TV show focused on a series of events over the course of the conflict, the film is centered on a single adventure.

The film is apparently intended to be an introduction to a new TV series of the same name and follows Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalk (voiced by Matt Lanter) and his Master Obi-Wan Kenobi (James Arnold Taylor) as they struggle to foil the nefarious Count Dooku (Christopher Lee). In an effort to weaken the Republic, Dooku has arranged for the Jedi Order to be framed for the kidnapping of Jabba the Hutt’s son, knowing that the wrathful gangster will be able to hamper the war effort of whomever he chooses to oppose. Skywalker is aided in his quest by Asoka Tano (Ashley Drane), a spunky young Padawan.

The Clone Wars is a valiant effort that falls flat in a few places. Asoka spends the entire film awkwardly calling Anakin “Sky Guy” – is this supposed to underline her edgy disregard for authority, or is the apparently pre-pubescent padawan hitting on her teacher? It’s hard to say. The situation is confounded by the fact that this is the first and last time we ever see or hear of Asoka, presumably because she is among the legion of Jedi dispatched off-screen during Revenge of the Sith. This makes it hard to get attached to her, though her dialogue would make that difficult even if she did have a future. The inclusion of Jabba’s uncle Ziro is admirable (if only because we get to see a Hutt other than Jabba), but the decision to make him the Truman Capote of Star Wars is puzzling. Presumably the funny voice is intended to make kids laugh, but once Ziro’s true motives are revealed it’s just creepy in an old-guy-next-door-who-always-watches-your-kids-from-his-front-window kind of way. There are a couple of lightsaber duels (this is Star Wars after all) that are fun to watch, but the action is somewhat less visceral when there are no real people involved.

On the upside, the film does provide the staples of the series: dazzling space battles, exotic planetscapes and weird aliens. It’s also good for a few laughs, usually at the expense of hapless battle droids.

While The Clone Wars is not a complete train wreck, it does suffer from a certain crisis of identity. Is it a film for children or for adults? The movie doesn’t seem to know. The battle scenes with clones dying in their dozens are a bit too intense for kids – to say nothing of the fact that the entire film is predicated on the villains’ plan to kill a baby. On the other hand, the film is simply too silly for adults. The end result is a film that will probably leave audiences of all ages wanting.




Have you seen this movie? Think Tanith is on drugs? Post a comment and let him know!

Divided Nerds Weep, Cheer as DnD 4th Edition Debuts

This is how I roll.

Wizards of the Coast have released the 4th Edition of Dungeons and Dragons, arguably the most popular tabletop role-playing game in the world. The new ruleset focuses on faster, more action-oriented play – not unlike the current version of the Star Wars RPG played by most of the O514 crew – and is in many ways a radical departure from previous iterations. From the choice of playable races to the ways even the most basic classes work (clerics who attack to heal damage, for example), the new DnD has literally changed the rules.

Naturally, the community of players who enjoy the game has quickly polarized into two camps: those who look forward to what they see as a more streamlined, faster-paced game, and those who feel that the new rules represent a betrayal by WotC of players who have spent hundreds or even thousands of dollars on rulebooks and accessories for the previous editions.

For a taste of what playing under the new rules is like, you can check out a podcast in which Penny-Arcade co-creators Jerry “Tycho” Holkins and Mike “Gabe” Krahulik team up with PvP creator Scott Kurtz and take the new system for a whirl. So far, Parts One, Two and Three of their marathon 8-hour session have been posted, with more to come each week.

EDIT: The current links should let you hear the ‘casts without needing to sign up or anything.