As a producer, Gary Kurtz laid claim to helping shape one of the most influential properties in the history of motion pictures. Kurtz's early work included various duties for producers like Roger Corm...
The God of Legion secular Hollywood’s latest Biblically-inspired action flick is old-school an angry spiteful Almighty with a penchant for Old Testament theatrics. Fed up with humanity’s decadent warmongering ways He’s decided to pull the plug on the whole crazy experiment and start over from scratch.
Fortunately for us the God of Legion is also a rather lazy fellow. Instead of doing the apocalyptic work himself and wiping us out with a giant flood which worked perfectly well last time He opts to delegate the task to His army of angels — a questionable strategy that starts to fall apart when the archangel charged with leading the planned extermination Michael (Paul Bettany) refuses to comply.
Michael who unlike his boss still harbors affection for our sorry species abandons his post and descends to earth where inside the swollen belly of Charlie (Adrianne Palicki) an unwed mother-to-be working as a waitress in an out-of-the-way diner sits humanity’s lone hope for survival. Why is this particular baby so important? Is it the one destined to lead us to victory over Skynet? Heaven knows — Legion reveals little details its script devoid of actual scripture. What is clear is that God’s celestial hitmen want the kid whacked before it’s born.
But Michael won’t let humanity fall without a fight. Armed with a Waco-sized arsenal of assault weapons he hunkers down with the diner’s patrons a largely superfluous collection of thinly-sketched caricatures from various demographic groups led by Dennis Quaid as the diner’s grizzled owner Tyrese Gibson as a hip-hop hustler and Lucas Black as a simple-minded country boy.
Together they mount a heroic final stand against hordes of angels who’ve taken possession of “weak-willed” humans turning kindly old grandmas and mild-mannered ice cream vendors into snarling ravenous foul-mouthed beasts. They descend upon the ramshackle diner in a series of full-frontal assaults commanded by the archangel Gabriel (Kevin Durand) the George Pickett of End of Days generals.
Beneath its superficial religious facade Legion is really just a run-of-the-mill zombie flick a Biblical I Am Legend. Bettany an actor accustomed to smaller dramatic roles in films like A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci Code looks perfectly at ease in his first major action role wielding machine guns and bowie knives with equal aplomb. Conversely first-time director Scott Stewart a former visual effects artist does little to prove himself worthy of such a promotion serving up some impressive CGI work but not much else worthy of note.
The legendary lightsabers brandished by Star Wars characters Luke
Skywalker and Darth Vader have been sold for a staggering $284,000
at a sci-fi auction in Beverly Hills, California.
Gary Kurtz, the producer of Star Wars and The Empire
Strikes Back sold the weapons for double their estimated value. Skywalker's
lightsaber raised $200,000 while Vader's went for just $118,000.
Kurtz's sold a host of other Star Wars props on July 29 including
Yoda's walking stick, for $50,000 Skywalker's X-Wing flight suit for
$70,000 and a Chewbacca mask for $50,000.
Article Copyright World Entertainment News Network All Rights Reserved.
The legendary lightsabers brandished by Star Wars characters Luke Skywalker and
Darth Vader are up for auction alongside a bevy of memorabilia from the sci-fi
The iconic weapons, which go under the hammer on July 29, have been
valued at a staggering $140,000 by Los Angeles auction house Profiles
Other items soon to be at the centre of a bidding frenzy include Skywalker's
orange X-Wing pilot jumpsuit, which is valued at $80,000, Yoda's
mask, and a Stormtrooper "blaster" weapon.
The lightsaber used by Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back is likely to
fetch $60,000, while the Jedi Knight's weapon is estimated to reach
$80,000 in the auction.
But bidders will be disappointed if they expect the sabers to light up as
they did on screen--their glowing appearance was all down to special effects.
All 75 items are presently owned by Star Wars producer Gary Kurtz who created
a huge prop archive with Star Wars historian Jason Joiner.
Article Copyright World Entertainment News Network All Rights Reserved.
As a producer, Gary Kurtz laid claim to helping shape one of the most influential properties in the history of motion pictures. Kurtz's early work included various duties for producers like Roger Corman and such directors as Monte Hellman on B-movies like "Ride in the Whirlwind" (1965) and "Two Lane Blacktop" (1971). Through fellow Corman disciple Francis Ford Coppola, he met young filmmaker George Lucas, who later hired him to produce his classic ode to 1960s teen car culture, "American Graffiti" (1973). The duo worked so well together that their collaborative efforts continued on Lucas' epic science-fiction masterpiece, "Star Wars" (1977) and its sequel, "The Empire Strikes Back" (1980). Differences in creative vision, however, soon put an end to the partnership, and Kurtz left Lucas to produce such artistically impressive - albeit commercially disastrous - features as "The Dark Crystal" (1982) and "Return to Oz" (1985). Over the years that followed, Kurtz worked less frequently, producing the little-seen sci-fi thriller "Slipstream" (1989) and seen on camera as an interviewee for a documentary about his former partner's dubious legacy amongst his own fans, "The People vs. George Lucas" (2010). Although his later career yielded little of lasting note, Kurtz would remain a key figure in what was widely considered the apex of the "Star Wars" saga by followers endlessly fascinated by the franchise's convoluted history.<p>Born July 27, 1940, young Kurtz grew up in Los Angeles. Initially interested in a career in music, he later studied film at the University of Southern California from 1959 to 1962, and upon graduation, found work as a cameraman in the often grueling arena of industrial films. Before long, he began picking up production manager or assistant director positions on several low-budget films directed and produced by famed B-movie king, Roger Corman. Among these features were such films as "Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet" (1965) "Queen of Blood" (1966) and most notably, the Monte Hellman-directed "Ride in the Whirlwind" (1965), a Western written by and starring a young Jack Nicholson. During this time, Kurtz met another talented young film director named Francis Ford Coppola who also worked for Corman as the writer-director of the horror film "Dementia 13" (1963).<p>But as was the case with many young American men at the time, Kurtz's career was put on hold when he was drafted into military service by the U.S. Marine Corps. As a conscientious objector, he was assigned duties as a combat cameraman and served a three-year tour of duty in Vietnam. Once safely back home, Kurtz returned to low-budget filmmaking. He partnered again with Hellman on "Two Lane Blacktop" (1971), a road movie starring folk singer James Taylor and Warren Oates, this time in the role of associate producer. The low-budget Universal film was shot in Techniscope, a specialty film format that put Kurtz back in touch with Coppola for use of the equipment. Coppola, in turn, recommended Kurtz to his protégé at the time, George Lucas, and a fateful relationship began. Kurtz also went on to produce the little-seen detective thriller "Chandler" (1971) that same year, which also starred Oates.<p>A few years later, Kurtz was called upon by Lucas to produce his 1960s coming-of-age tale, "American Graffiti" (1973). It short order, Kurtz became a trusted and valuable right-hand man to Lucas, as the small production struggled with a rigorous all-night shooting schedule and - with the exception of former child star Ron Howard - mostly inexperienced actors. Budgeted at $700,000, the film - featuring such future stars as Richard Dreyfuss, Cindy Williams and Harrison Ford - grossed over $50 million and long held the record for the most profitable film in history. Their working relationship secure, Kurtz next worked with Lucas on his dream project - a sci-fi film originally intended as a "Flash Gordon"-type homage - which went on to become "Star Wars" (1977). Again, Kurtz proved invaluable to Lucas, helping sell the otherworldly concept to a skeptical Twentieth Century Fox, running interference with a persnickety British film crew, and managing the development of entirely new photographic technology to generate the mind-blowing special effects.<p>The astounding success of "Star Wars" brought massive personal fortunes to both Lucas and Kurtz. They collaborated again on its sequel, "The Empire Strikes Back" (1980). For the second installment, Kurtz came up with the title and supervised production in England, even shooting second unit himself while Lucas remained in the U.S. to oversee the increasingly complex visual effects. Having bankrolled the entire movie himself in order to maintain complete control, Lucas' financial exposure put stress on the production and his relationship with Kurtz. Nevertheless, "Empire" was a monster hit, earning Lucas all of his money back and more. Although the much darker sequel confused some critics and fans at the time, these same people would later reevaluate "Empire" as the superior film of the original trilogy, due in no small part to Kurtz's creative vision, among other notable contributions from Lucas, director Irvin Kershner and screenwriters Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan.<p>Unfortunately, due to increasingly divergent opinions about the future direction of the "Star Wars" franchise, Lucas elected to part ways with Kurtz. As Lucas continued his space saga with new collaborators, Kurtz, still brimming with ideas, moved on to his own projects. First among them was "The Dark Crystal" (1982), which he produced for Muppets creator and the film's director, Jim Henson. Despite impressive effects and then state-of-the-art puppetry, the dark fantasy tale failed to capture the imagination of audiences more accustomed to whimsy and humor from Henson. Kurtz followed with producing duties on "Return to Oz" (1985), an unofficial sequel to the MGM film, directed by Walter Murch and starring a young Fairuza Balk as Dorothy. Decidedly darker in tone than the Judy Garland film and following the books by L. Frank Baum more closely, it met with little enthusiasm at the box office. Both personally and professionally, times remained difficult for Kurtz when his marriage ended in 1986. Between a divorce settlement, court payments and failed business ventures, he had lost almost the entire $10 million he earned from "Star Wars."<p>Kurtz returned to the producer's chair four years later with a low-budget sci-fi thriller, "Slipstream" (1989), starring Mark "Luke Skywalker" Hamill and up-and-comer Bill Paxton. Other sporadic work included the U.K. crime drama "The Steal" (1994) and, following decade-long sabbatical, executive producer duties on the television movie "The Tale of Jack Frost" (BBC, 2004). Channeling his experiences during those early heady days with Lucas, Kurtz returned to filmmaking, producing the indie film, "5-25-77" (2006), which follows the exploits of 1977-era teenagers as they ready themselves to see "Star Wars" for the first time - an event which, much like in real life, goes on to both capture their imaginations and change their lives. Later, Kurtz was given the opportunity to air his grievances with his former collaborator in "The People vs. George Lucas" (2010), a clever documentary that examined the growing disenchantment fans of "Star Wars" felt for the man who created the beloved film franchise but felt he needed to tinker and tweak it via CGI throughout the years, making the original installments unavailable to fans.<p><i>By Matthew Reynolds and Bryce Coleman</i>
School of Cinema-Television, University of Southern California