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LucasArts Embargoes "Clone Wars" Reviews 603

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the that-doesn't-sound-encouraging dept.
An anonymous reader writes "George Lucas CGI 'Clone Wars' movie has premiered to reviews ranging from MSNBC's 'Ugly animation and an uninspired storyline drag down the film' to AintItCool's 'I hated the film. HATED IT. REALLY HATED IT.' Critics have noted the animation style, music and slapstick humor had more than a passing similarity to Pixar's Toy Story, and wondered if the introduction of new action figures (sorry, characters) like Baby Jabba Hutt and Jabba the Hutt's Gay Uncle may have taken the franchise a bridge too far. Lucas responding by enforcing an embargo, forcing the reviews to be taken down. While sites like AintItCool.com responded, by then it was just a little too late. Still, the CGI eye candy will make it popular with kids. If the 'Clone Wars' movie can't save the galaxy, can it at least save the franchise?"
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LucasArts Embargoes "Clone Wars" Reviews

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  • by ShieldVV0lf (1343419) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @08:47AM (#24581237)
    I was QUITE surprised at the scheming behind the scenes when I read this article [businessweek.com] some time back. They *know* what they have and aren't holding back. It is interesting just how little they try to hide it and how no one really cares how much they are milking the franchise.

    Some odd FORCE really drives the market. I have a collection with items dating as recent as 1981, valued between $5000 and $7500. The original prices for the items summed to no more than $670!
  • Re:First Amendment? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Fieryphoenix (1161565) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @09:11AM (#24581555)
    No, not even the spirit. Two parties made a contract with each other, and one is insisting the contract is followed. That's just not a first amendment issue at all.
  • by rudeboy1 (516023) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @09:13AM (#24581585)

    I second that motion. TIE Fighter was definitely one of the best games of all time. LucasArts really had a streak going there for a while where everything they touched turned to gold. TIE Fighter, Full Throttle, Monkey Island, Dark Forces... I remember Star Wars Rebellion moved me into a completely new genre of vidja games. Recently, I played the first Galactic Battlegrounds, and as soon as I got over the spiffy graphics, I realized the company doesn't have the same outstanding sparkle it used to.

  • Re:First Amendment? (Score:3, Informative)

    by CheeseTroll (696413) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @09:15AM (#24581607)

    Only if George Lucas = government

  • by Le Jimmeh (1086671) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @09:16AM (#24581627)
    At least, according to AintItCool's [aintitcool.com] reply.
  • Re:First Amendment? (Score:3, Informative)

    by BokLM (550487) <boklm@mars-attacks.org> on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @09:22AM (#24581721) Homepage Journal

    That was what I was wondering, how the hell can he get reviews pulled???

    Well, they could keep the reviews online if they wanted. It's just that they want to continue be allowed to see movies before they are released in the futur ...

  • by jgtg32a (1173373) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @09:25AM (#24581745)
    Lets not forget that Has Solo made "I Know" and appropriate response to "I love you."
  • by Tridus (79566) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @09:28AM (#24581785) Homepage

    Its Warner AFAIK, and yeah, they can bar them from future screenings. If your job is movie reviews, being barred from screenings of the largest studio in the market is a pretty big deal.

    Its just like with game reviews: ones that come out first get more hits then the later ones. Being last all the time is bad for your career.

  • by kungfugleek (1314949) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @09:53AM (#24582223)

    General Grievous is one big WTF if you don't at least take a glance at the animated series.

    Actually, I thought all of the prequels are one big WTF whether or not I had watched the animated series.

    But then I read the Secret History of Star Wars and it all became clear -- Lucas never really liked Star Wars himself. At least, he never intended it to be the deep quasi-spiritual struggle of good and evil. He wanted a high adventure space-romp. It was Empire (which he didn't have much involvement with) that made things deeper and more spiritual. Compare Obi Wan's talk of the Force, "The Force is what gives a Jedi his powers." with Yoda's, "...for my ally is The Force, and a powerful ally it is." Obi-wan's line was written by Lucas and reveals is initial, shallow desire for the force to be a tool for magic tricks, Yoda's line, written by Brackett/Kasdan, shows where the franchise started to get deeper. It's the depth that really fascinated myself and I think a lot of us fans, but Lucas hated the idea and I think he still does.

    Lucas has been trying to lighten it up ever since then, and is quoted as saying that one of the main reasons he made the prequels at all was to "fund other projects."

    I think he doesn't care if he ruins it for us, as long as he can make money from it to fund the things he really cares about. It's sad but he has creator's rights over it so there's nothing you can do about it.

  • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @09:58AM (#24582337) Homepage

    'course, that also wasn't Lucas' idea (surprise surprise)... you can thank Harrison Ford for ad-libbing that line in the movie.

  • Re:Embargo? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Watson Ladd (955755) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @10:02AM (#24582441)
    Don't go up against a Sicilian when mod points are on the line.
  • by Tridus (79566) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @10:03AM (#24582465) Homepage

    "When I went to see THE CLONE WARS in Los Angeles, I was told there was an embargo on reviews until the day of release. [aintitcool.com]"

    From one of the summary's linked articles. So at least some people clearly did. The taken down articles did too. The ones that are still up are a mixed bag, but they weren't under an embargo (MSNBC's is negative, and the above embargoed one is positive, so its not just banning negative reviews).

    Why they did it that way is a mystery, but they're completely within the rights to say "we'll give you an advance screening if you don't post your review until Friday." They could just as easily say "we don't trust you, so you can buy a ticket on opening night and then review it later."

    Really, the whole thing is pretty routine. Its only turned into a big deal because... well, I'm not sure. Maybe out of a sentiment of sticking it to The Man®. But its not a free speech issue, and its not a reviewer integrity issue. There's nothing anywhere here that says "its embargoed unless its positive."

  • by SoundGuyNoise (864550) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @10:25AM (#24582909) Homepage
    The reviews were temporarily pulled because it was part of the agreement that they wouldn't be published until the release date of the movie. According to the aintitcool.com retraction: [aintitcool.com]

    When I went to see THE CLONE WARS in Los Angeles, I was told there was an embargo on reviews until the day of release....The review is off the site until Friday.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @10:53AM (#24583447)

    George Lucas didn't write the screeplays. ANH had its genesis as a remake of Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress. He iterated on the script for years, and then eventually got it made and the original cut was apparently absolutely terrible. He ended up getting an entirely new editing team to salvage a good film out of the pieces - really the only visionary part of his work was his overseeing the special effects.

    ESB started out as a general story idea, and from that it was fleshed out into a screenplay first by Leigh Brackett, then after her death by Lawrence Kasdan with some input from Gary Kurtz and Irvin Kirshner. RotJ was produced in the same manner, with Lucas coming up with the general idea and Kasdan doing the writing again, but I think Lucas had a larger hand in it.

    Kasdan also wrote the script for Raiders of the Lost Ark.

    Personally I've always believed that Lucas is fantastic at coming up with ideas, but terrible at making them into reality, and his successes with the original Star Wars trilogy were pretty much entirely because he had a lot of talented people keeping him in check. The instant that you take away those people and have him calling all the shots, his films turn out extremely disappointing.

  • by poot_rootbeer (188613) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @11:01AM (#24583601)

    Had you had amazing foresight and put it in Apple stock, you'd have almost $41,000!

    The amazing part wouldn't have been buying AAPL stock in 1981. The amazing part would be not selling it off during any of the low points of the following 25 years.

  • by NFNNMIDATA (449069) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @11:19AM (#24583899) Journal

    Look, the original three had a lot of creative spark and energy in them, and a couple of good actors who stole the show, but most of all you were like 5 years old when they came out. To kids today the new movies are just as good. At the end of the day I have to agree with Lucas and say that these are really kids movies and we are simply nostalgic for them.

    That argument is nonsensical. Everyone who saw Star Wars in 1977 was not 5 years old at the time. It got fairly damn good reviews. It was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor, and a ton of stuff in the technical area. Star Wars was considered Good. What kids today think about the latest boatload of tripe is not relevant.

  • by SnowDog74 (745848) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @01:48PM (#24586733)

    Incorrect. If you purchased $670 worth of AAPL at its closing price on Jan 1, 1981, you would today have 1512 shares (three 2:1 splits) and at a price of $180 (which it hit yesterday) you would have $272,160... a 40,520% return.

    Had you purchased $670 worth of Dell at close on January 1, 1990, at 6 cents a share, you would have 11,166 shares. Since they had one 3:2 split and six 2:1 splits since then, you would today have 1,071,936 shares, or a market value of $26,798,400.

    Of course there is equal likelihood that none of you would have held either of these investments that long since the pressure to avoid Ben Graham's long term value investing principles was already huge in the 1980s, and even more so in today's age of mobile trading platforms for the millions of ADHD fools who are quickly and repeatedly deprived of their money.

    Also, in 1981 Apple was still hugely popular. In 1990, Dell was a rinkydink outfit whose market value would have made them unattractive to most investors who tend to buy already overvalued stocks rather than seeking out undervalued stocks and hanging on to them for long periods of time (e.g. 20 years). The greater likelihood is that none of us would have thought of purchasing Dell in 1990, but many of us might have considered an investment in Apple in 1981.

    Dell stayed at under a dollar a share for seven years... even those few who might have thought to purchase it might very well have gotten impatient and sold it.

    Apple would have hit some speedbumps and people would have sold LONG before anyone even conceived it possible for Apple to make a comeback... Michael Dell himself proposed in 1997 that were he to run the company, he would liquidate Apple's assets.

    Go figure.

  • by Fallingcow (213461) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @03:32PM (#24588599) Homepage

    He personally edited practically the entire film, if not the entire film.

    My understanding of it is that the first edit was a complete mess, and bombed at a couple of test screenings. A couple other people (one of whom being his wife, IIRC, or I may be thinking of something else) totally re-did the whole thing, including some famous creative editing (the looped Tusken Raider thing), often having to search through various takes to find one that had what they wanted, then take that shot right up to the word "cut".

    There's an amazing SW fan documentary out there that covers all of this, WHILE showing the whole movie in the background, seamlessly splicing in behind-the-scenes shots, long-ish cut sections (including the entire Tosche Station scene) and interviews. It's THE best making-of documentary I've ever seen. Called "Deleted Magic". You can probably find it on some torrent sites. WELL worth a watch.

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