Book Review “Jerry Bruckheimer: When Lightning Strikes – Four Decades of Filmmaking”

Author: Michael Singer
Foreword: Johnny Depp
Series: Disney Editions Deluxe (Film)
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Disney Editions
Release date: December 17, 2013

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

When you think about Jerry Bruckheimer, you think BIG and then BIGGER! If you do they this book shouldn’t be surprising since it is HUGE. Love him or hate him, Bruckheimer has quite the resume and a very long list of box office blockbusters under his name. Here are a few of them including “Top Gun”, “Days of Thunder”, “Beverly Hills Cop”, “Bad Boys”, “Crimson Tide”, “The Rock” …(deep breath)…”Con Air”, “Armageddon”, “Gone in Sixty Seconds”, “Pearl Harbor”, “Black Hawk Down”, “Pirates of the Caribbean” series and “National Treasure” series. Besides films, he also has his hand in TV with the following series including “CSI” franchise, “The Amazing Race”, “Cold Case”, and “Without a Trace”. So if you are a fan of Bruckheimer, then I cannot recommend this book enough since it is really the ultimate ode to an amazing filmmaker…just make sure you have enough room on your bookshelf.

“Jerry Bruckheimer: When Lightning Strikes – Four Decades of Filmmaking” really gives deep to his start in the early 70’s with “The Culpepper Cattle Co.” all the way to the most recent “The Lone Ranger” from last summer. There are some very great behind-the-scenes information provided for these projects. The author, Michael Singer, is a writer and production unit publicist that has been in the business for over 35 years. He has worked beside Bruckheimer on his films whether it was in the deserts, on a tropical islands and many other filming locations. So Singer really is the best person for the job and to have an great insight into Bruckheimer’s body of work. Also previous books he has released include “The Art of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”.

Besides the writing, let’s get to the real good stuff, which would be the images. They are extremely high quality images from these films. In case you forgot that I said this book was HUGE, so expect that these images have big pages to fill. My only concern with this book was due to its size, the biding seems a little wobbly and weak. I think they should have make the structure a little more hardcover and this would have been perfect. Also included is a great foreword from Johnny Depp, who worked with Bruckheimer on numerous projects over the year. There is an exclusive interview with Bruckheimer’s wife, Linda. There is also (and this made me laugh) an introduction from Bruckheimer himself. I loved the fact that he gave his own intro. Jerry Bruckheimer is a legend and his work is very well-respected and will continue to be. Whenever you see a Jerry Bruckheimer film, you know it is going to be fun and quite a ride and that is what you get when you open this fantastic comprehensive guide to his still going strong career.

DVD Review "LEGO Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out"

Directed by: Guy Vasilovich
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: 20th Century Fox
DVD Release Date: March 26, 2013
Run Time: 22 minutes

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

I love the idea of “LEGO Star Wars”. I have various pieces built together all over my home office. When they made the feature, “LEGO Star Wars: The Padawan Menace”, I was head over heals. It was released in a beautiful Blu-ray/Combo pack with a limited edition Han Solo character. That brings be to wonder for this release, Why no Blu-ray? That is one thing that I am caught up for this release (would have been a 5/5 rating). Why release one in high def and not the other. If you can get over that than this is absolutely hysterical and a must own for any “Star Wars fan”. There is so much crammed in the short 22-minute feature that you are left wanting more but at the same time absolutely satisfied.

Official Premise: Your favorite characters are back to save the galaxy in LEGO Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out. The heroes of the Rebel Alliance including heroic Luke Skywalker, swaggering Han Solo and steadfast Princess Leia have no time to celebrate their victory over the Empire as a new Imperial threat arises. But as Jedi-in-training Luke embarks on this next mission, he discovers that his celebrity status as a “Death-Star-Blower-Upper” can be a double-edged lightsaber when he’s constantly mobbed by crazed fans. So much for secret missions! Meanwhile, Darth Vader and Darth Maul are locked in a hilarious “Sith-ling” rivalry as they compete for the Emperor’s approval. It’s an action-packed comic adventure that’s out of this world!

To be honest, I am shocked that they even got to release this film now that Disney owns Lucasfilm. They already canceled “The Clone Wars” and shelved “Detours”, so I am just happy that they didn’t shelf this as well. I do hope that Disney smartens up and that they are planning more of these “LEGO Star Wars” features because they are so much fun. “The Empire Strikes Out” packs some very funny yet witty slapstick humor. Fans can also expect your favorite LEGO Star Wars characters. Just because this title is related to “Empire Strikes Back”, we still get our favorites like Darth Maul, Ahsoka Tano and many more who pop in for a laugh or two.

Written by Emmy Award winner Michael Price (“The Simpsons”), the feature includes voices from series regulars including Anthony Daniels, Ahmed Best, Tom Kane and  Sam Witwer appear as the voices of C-3PO, Jar Jar Binks, Yoda and Darth Maul. Also a bunch of other veterans return including Kenneth Colley, Brian Blessed, Andrew Secombe and Julian Glover, whom reprise their roles of Admiral Piett, Boss Nass, Watto and General Veers, respectively. “The Empire Strikes Out” was dedicated in memory of Ralph McQuarrie, the designer of the original trilogy, who recently passed away. Lastly I haven’t forgotten  the DVD will include an exclusive collectible Darth Vader w/Metal LEGO minifigure. So that is easily worth the $10 price point alone.