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The Force Awakens: The New Hope

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is now in theaters!

It all started back in 1977 with Star Wars IV: A New Hope. As we all know, it was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

Good vs. Evil. Droids and Lightsabers. Storm Troopers and Jedi’s. Han Solo and Princess Leia. The Death Star and the Millennium Falcon.

The spoiler-free reviews and reactions from the privileged few who have already seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens have been stellar. And why shouldn’t they be? Embracing the out-of-this-world expectations, director and sci-fi aficionado J.J. Abrams seems to have delivered on the fresh reboot of the beloved franchise. The trailers look fantastic, the cast incredible (Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac), the story appears to have an intriguing premise and feel and, most importantly, the sets are rooted in practical effects.

The latter is paramount because green-screens can ruin even the most popular series (cough cough Star Wars prequels). Yes, there are digital effects in The Force Awakens. However, practical sets seems to have trumped digital wherever possible. This extra effort and attention to detail is a great tribute to the original 1977 and 1980s episodes IV-VI, which were driven by the story and its iconic characters.

Speaking of iconic characters, perhaps the best way to prepare for Episode VII is to watch the most famously pivotal scene from the Star Wars saga.

Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader.

After the disastrous prequels, The Force Awakens seems to be offering Star Wars fans optimism not only for this movie, but for the next two chapters episodes in this epic space saga.

J.J. Abrams + Company (Bad Robot and Lucasfilm) seems to have found the force within themselves and it has led them to their cinematic destiny:

The right side of the Star Wars universe.

The Art of the “Cowabunga”

The day has finally arrived: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles premieres to audiences nationwide tonight!

The first live-action movie since the ’90s featuring the fighting ninja turtles was produced by Transformers guru Michael Bay. That means a few things: big, continuous action sequences, attractive female leads, special effects around every corner and a fair amount of destruction.

Will this creative style sync with the legacy of the Turtles?

We will literally have to wait and see. Fortunately, that can start as early as today.

In getting excited to watch the 21st century adaptation of this franchise, it’s important to remember where this story has been through the years. Specifically, the soundtrack…

“Go ninja, go ninja, go!”

Walking into a Movie (Literally)

For some, 3D is a difficult entertainment medium to endure. It’s completely understandable. Still, for those who do or can enjoy the three dimensional interactive movie-watching experience, what’s exciting is thinking what could be coming to a theater near you in the not so distant future…

Just contemplating how awesome seeing “Gravity” in IMAX 3D will be, it stirred up a wild and crazy idea. Though it has been done before at theme parks to some degree, imagine movie theaters that, for special screenings or major premiers of particular movies, are customized to the sounds, sights and settings of the anticipated blockbuster movie.

For example: say that for “Jurassic Park,” the theater showing this epic film in 4D would be decorated like the jungle and compound of Isla Nublar with a few surprises for the moviegoers. As opposed to strictly sitting and watching the movie, a 4D screening would provide the audience with more of an experience, while not detracting from the cinematic storytelling on-screen.

In this reality, the audience would truly transport to the world of the specific movie. Maybe a little wind, mist, ground shaking, or mysterious breathing from a prehistoric creature…

The theater set design would need to flow from the major studio for authenticity, effectiveness and creativity, but the possibilities for certain movies could redefine the power (and feel) of certain blockbusters.

If you’ve been to a theme park and gone on a ride based on a popular movie, imagine that experience but slightly toned down and/or customized for a movie theater. What’s paramount is not to disrupt or distract from the storytelling and acting, but simply to enhance and to gently play with our senses. Immersion is the key to this concept.

It’s important to note that movie theaters are already expensive, as has been mentioned in this blog previously. The cost from production studios to achieve this groundbreaking dynamic may be difficult, but if there is a way that this kind of promotion could give the movie and the studios a great return on investment (plus fan satisfaction), then surely they will quickly adopt the spirit of “why not?”

If this can be accomplished, then is there really anything holding the movie industry back in the future?

Talk about a break from the constraints of cinematic gravity.

The sky really could be the limit…and not just for Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.