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Solo Film Review

It didn't feel that long ago that the last Star Wars movie The Last Jedi was out, in fact it was a mere five months rather than the Disney 12 months or the George Lucas 3 Years. I for one was looking forward to seeing it, I enjoy the Star Wars movie ever since watching the first one on television. When the frst came out in 1977, I was too young to know anything about. Looks like I'm showing my age.

So far since Disney has brought the rights to the franchise, they've bought out four including this one. Two have been sequels and two have been prequels. The first prequel was released iin 2016 and that followed the efforts of Jyn Erso and a group of Rebels stealing the plans for the Death Star. It was set immediately before the first film, Star Wars IV - A New Hope.

This is set some time before the events of the A New Hope. It shows us the history and background of everyone's favourite space smuggler, Han Solo and how he befriended Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian. It also featured Han winning the Millennium Falcon off off Lando and completing the infamous Kessel Run in 12 Parsecs.

It didn't feature Jabba, the Hutt. It did mention him in all but name setting up a sequel when it comes. It also featured a surprise guest appearance from well know character from the prequels. I've given too much away so won't mention it any further. I did like the guest appearance but I would never have guessed s/he be back.

It won't win any oscars for acting, it was ok enough. The film had had a troubled past with the first directors being sacked and Ron Howard of Apollo 13 film fame to mention just one of his films took over. There were reports that Alden Ehrenreich needed acting lessons because Ron wasn't too happy. Whether it was true or not, Alden did ok. The other actors were decent enough including Oscar nominated Woody Harrelson who was the biggest star in the film.

Also appearing was veteran actress Thandie Newton whose character Val was the first non-white female in the films. Maz Kanata was played by Lupita Nyong'o but she was stop motion so she couldn't be called the first non-white female in the film.

The lead female was played by Emelia Clarke who rose to fame on the back of Game of Thrones as the Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of Dragons. Emelia had her normal hair unlike the white blonde wig that she normally wore in the television series. Unlike her character in Game, she does keep her clothes on, after all it is a family film. They'll be no Princess Leia metal bikini scenes anymore so no point hoping because its not going to happen. There were a number of people who had been upset that the previous films had had female leads in the case of Rey and Jyn Erso, for those, you have nothing to fear, the action is front and centre on Han Solo. When Qi'ra does re-appear after the first appearance, she does stick with Han and is an equal, sharing the lime light with him.

There were two guest appearances from Star Wars veterans, Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) and Warwick Davies who has played a number of roles but most memorably as Wicket. In Solo,you actually hear Warwick speak. Warwick is shown in the flesh at the end of the film reprising a character that he played in The Phantom Menace nearly twenty years ago now.

I'd be hard pressed to find something that I didn't like as I'm just a big Star Wars fan. The scenary is great using real scenary unlike the green screen that so typified the sequels. Real world locations used were Fawley Power Station in Hampshire, United Kingdom for parts of Corellia, Han's home world. The coast of Fuerteventura provided the scenary for Savareen, the desert planet at the end of the movie. I'm trying to find out where Vandor was filmed so if anyone knows...

At the box office, it failed to make the impact Disney had hoped for, according to B.B.C., it only made $103 million at the cinema over Veterans weekend in the United States. The fact that it didn't do that well at the cinema shouldn't put you off seeing it, it is a worthwhile film in the series despite its faults. If you love Star Wars, you'll love this. The next film out is in December 2019 so there's a bit more of a pause till the next one. In the meantime, they'll be quite a few Marvel films to fill the gap if you're into those. If anyones talking about oversaturation of films, its Marvel more than Star Wars.

If you're interested to know why they released it now at the end of May. The first Star Wars film came out on May 25th 1977, 41 years ago. If they wanted to celebrate, they should've done it last year, 40th anniversary rather than the 41st.

Comments28/05/2018 21:52

Another Han Solo Trailer

Its not very long now until the new Star Wars film arrives in the cinema. A new trailer reveals more of the plot but enough not to give it all away. In addition to the new trailer, the run time has been released, the film will be 2 Hours and 23 Mins, not the longest but one of the longest in the franchise series. Jabba, the Hutt is still missing from the trailer so as to whether he is in the film or the producers are just keeping him as a surprise is a secret.

The film does look like a heist movie, Han Solo and Chewbacca being recruited by Tobias Beckett to steal something on a moving train for a big time gangster. The gangster could well be Jabba but the next shot is of someone else who it is believed to be Paul Brettany and not some slug creature.

There are reports that the antagonist is female and her name is Enfys Nest and is believed to be the person in the helmet you see in the trailer. There is speculation that Qi'ra is the person in the mask which then will go someway to explaining why Qi'ra and Han Solo go separate ways. Screenrant

Tobias tells Han that to assume that everyone will betray him. If you remember though, Lando Calrissian betrayed Han Solo to Darth Vader at the end of Star Wars V - The Empire Strikes Back so it could well be alluding to that and not to Qi'ra.

We're not introduced to any characters we not see in the previous trailer. We do see a planet that is industrialised which we can probably safely say is Corellia, the home planet of Han Solo. Corellia has yet to make any appearance in any movies yet so where better to make a first appearance than in its favourite son's movie.

Chewbacca gets close to another Wookie which rumours suggest could be a girlfriend or his wife. In the unofficial Christmas special, Chewbacca had a wife and child therefore the Wookie could be Malla, his wife. Aslo seen in the trailer is the Millennium Falcon which has the middle bit filled unlike how we remember it in the older films. As for the Imperials, we see some Stormtroopers and an AT-ST in addition to the Star Destroyer and Tie Fighters that we saw in the first trailer.

Han Solo's Second Trailer

Comments09/04/2018 19:33

Battle for Azeroth Begins 14th (US) and 15th (Europe) of August

When Battle for Azeroth commences on the 14th of August for those who would normally get patches on a Tuesday and the 15th for those on a Wednesday. Blizzard had previously said that the game would be released on or about the 21st of September but they have brought the release date forwards.

Unlike in the previous expansions, there doesn't seem to be a lead antagonist, it has gone back to the roots of the original version. Queen Azshara, the once leader of the elves millenias ago will make an appearance in a raid in the future. It might well be that it is her who is stoking the rivalry between the two factions. What did start the renewed hatred of each other is the burning down of Teldrassil, the World Tree.

There's six new races, three aside which can be unlocked now through a series of scenarios, one player missions. The new races aren't as unique as previous races such as the Pandarens and Goblins, they are just varieties of old races such as Void Elves and Highmountain Taurens.

I know we not yet got into Battle for Azeroth but wonder where we go after, the planet of Azeroth is looking a bit cluttered now. Had originally thought that the Broken Isles would open a port to another world but that was not to be. Yes, Argus was opened up but they were just zones rather than a new planet.

There are six main zones, three that are Horde starting zones and three that are Alliance starting zone. Don't expect to see any of the other factions for the few hours until someone has reached the new maximum and then, they'll make their way over unless Blizz has something up their sleeves to keep everyone apart.

Battle for Azeroth Horde

Battle for Azeroth Alliance

Comments09/04/2018 19:16

R.I.P. Prof. Stephen Hawkings

Stephen Hawkings in the grounds of Cambridge University

Professor Stephen Hawkings was one of the greatest minds in astrophysics of the twentieth and then the twenty first century. The area he will be most remembered for is around black holes and the beginning of the universe.

Stephen was born 8th January 1942 in Oxford, one of three children born to Frank and Isobel Hawking. The date happened to be the 300th anniversary of Galileo's death, the inventor of the telescope. Incidentally, he died on the same day as Albert Einstein was born. The day is also known as PI day, dedicated to the number constant because when written in M.DD, it is 3.14 .

Stephen had two younger sisters and an adopted brother called Edward. Isobel had gone to Oxford for safety because it was the Second World War at the time. During his early years, he moved to St. Albans and would eventually return to Oxford as an undergraduate.

At Oxford, he would become involved in rowings and become a cox. After graduation, he moved to Cambridge University where he would stay for the rest of his academic career. Wiki

It was only after graduating with his whole life ahead of him that he would become struck down with Motor Neuron Disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) for which the Great Ice Bucket challenge of 2015+ was raising money for. MND is a group of diseases of which ALS is just one. Wiki

Hawkings life has been the subject of two films, the first in 2004 starred Benedict Cumberbatch as the professor telling the story of how he become afflicted by the disease and how he worked with Sir Roger Penrose to come up with a theory about everything, merging the theories of the great (Relativity) and the small (Quantum) and tracing the universe back to The Big Bang. The term Big Bang came from Sir Fred Hoyle who was not impressed with the theory and called it the Big Bang as an insult but it stuck. The first film was a B.B.C. production.

The second film was The Theory of Everything and would star Eddie Redmayne as the professor. Eddie would later be awarded an Oscar for his portray of Stephen. Felicity Jones portrayed Jane Wilde, although she was nominated for the award, she was unsuccessful as the award went to Julianne Moore for her role in Still Alice.

At University, he met his future first wife, Jane Wilde who stuck with him when he was becoming ill. The two would later marry and have three children, Robert, Lucy and Timothy. The marriage would last for thirty years before it ended. Stephen would later marry Elaine Mason who was a nurse. The second marriage would last nearly a decade before it ended.

He never won the Nobel prize for science but had his theory on Hawkings Radiation been proven then he most surely would have won it. Hawkings Radiation is the theory that black holes, the remnants of a dead massive star leak radiation. Black Holes are centres of immence gravity that not even light is said to escape however Hawkings theorized radiation did. At the end of the universe in the extreme future, all that will be left are photons and black holes but eventually black holes will dissipate and they'll be absolutely nothing. He wrote the book 'A Brief History of Time' which was a best seller for months but its been said most people bought the book but never read it.

Stephen didn't take himself too seriously, he appeared as a hologram of himself at a poker table created by Lt. Commander Data in an episode of Star Trek. He also appeared as himself in an episode of The Big Bang Theory where Sheldon gets to meet his idol and messes up big time. He also appeared with Davd Walliams in a sketch for Comic Relief.

The closest he got to space was to be able to fly aboard the Vomit comet, the N.A.S.A. aircraft that gives its astronauts and budding astronauts the feeling of weightlessness. The tribute from E.S.A. shows Stephen Hawkings aboard the Vomit Comet.

Stephen Hawkings wasn't too fussed about meeting an alien. Stephen believed that aliens when they arrived would be aggressive and try to conquer the planet. The aliens would have the objects as the creatures from Independence Day or V. The former wanted to wipe us off the planet where as the aliens in the original series wanted to eat us and enslave us. He based his prediction on what happened when Europeans colonized North America and saw the same happening with aliens instead of Europeans. National Geographic

Tributes have poured in from across the world, including from N.A.S.A. where they have dedicated a page to Stephen along with tweets of which this is One. E.S.A. also tweeted in honour of the professor.

Comments14/03/2018 19:24

The Largest and Smallest in the Solar System

The list here is not meant to be a complete list, just a taster of objects in the Solar system, if you think of something that needs to be added then add a comment and I'll update the list.

<+3 id="planets">Planets

The largest planet in the solar system is Jupiter which is the fifth planet from the Sun. It is considered to be a failed star, not having the sufficient mass that was required to start nuclear fusion. The smallest star so far discovered, ELBM J0555-57AB which is not in the Solar System is smaller than Jupiter but has more mass. Jupiter is also the largest planet with a ring system, the rings were discovered by Voyager 1 as it flew past. The largest rocky planet is Earth, just slightly bigger than Venus.

The smallest planet in the Solar System is Mercury after Pluto was downgraded to dwarf planet status in a controversial vote by the International Astronomical Union in 2005. Mercury is also the smallest rocky planet in the solar system. The smallest gas giant is Neptune at the very edge of the solar system.

<+3 id="moons">Moons

Although I have covered this previously in the article, What are the Largest Moons in the Solar System, I'll just do a very brief coverage. The largest moon is Ganymede which is a moon of Jupiter. Our our moon, the moon is the largest in comparison to the planet it orbits.

As for the smallest, some of the moons around the planets are mere specs, based on the data I have, the smallest is S/2009 S1 which is smaller than a kilometer. I don't have all the moon radiuses in the database so that's my best answer. It is a moon than orbits Saturn.

<+3 id="star">Star

There is only one star in the solar system and that's the Sun so its both the largest and the smallest star in the Solar System. nemesis is a hypothetical brown dwarf that's not been proven or disproved as yet. The question is whether it is part of our solar system is not, it is believed to come close every so often and is accused of sending the comet that killed the dinosaurs.

<+3 id="asteroids">Asteroids

The largest asteroid that we've discovered and has been upgraded from asteroid to dwarf planet is Ceres. When it was first discovered, Ceres was classed as a planet then in was downgraded before being upgraded. Ceres is the only asteroid that is spherical in nature in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

Comments04/03/2018 09:57

The Brightest Stars in the Night Sky

The brightest star that we can see full stop is the Sun with an apparent magnitude of -26.74 which is so bright we are unable to see any other Stars during the day. If you see a star during the morning, it is probably Venus and not a star.

For the list below, the list is based on the apparent magnitude from the Hipparcos Catalogue. Hipparcos was the name of a satellite that was sent into space by the European Space Agency on August 8th, 1989 which monitored over 100,000 closest stars.

Something you will notice is that generally the brightest star in a constellation will have the Alpha designation but not always, for example, the constellation of Orion where Rigel is the Beta star but isn't the brightest. The other thing you notice is that both stars from the same constellation make the list, its not uncommon as a couple of stars from Canis Major and Gemini make the list. A lot of Alpha stars of major constellations such as Acubens, the alpha star of Cancer the Crab doesn't make the list.

Being nearby doesn't necessarily mean they will be the brightest in the night sky, the nearest star to Earth, Proxima Centauri is not visible to the naked eye, it is a small red dwarf a mere 4 light years away. The next closest star, Rigil Kentaurus does make the list.

#Star NameConstellationLatin NameDistance (Lt. Yr)Magnitude
1SiriusCanis MajorAlpha Canis Majoris8.60-1.44
2CanopusCarinaAlpha Carinae309.16-0.62
3ArcturusBootesAlpha Bootis36.72-0.05
4Rigil KentaurusCentaurusAlpha Centauri4.32-0.01
5VegaLyraAlpha Lyrae25.050.03
6CapellaAurigaAlpha Aurigae42.800.08
7RigelOrionBeta Orionis862.870.18
8ProcyonCanis MinorAlpha Canis Minoris11.460.4
9AchernarEridanusAlpha Eridani139.450.45
10BetelgeuseOrionAlpha Orionis497.960.45
11HadarCentaurusBeta Centauri392.020.61
12AltairAquilaAlpha Aquilae16.730.76
13AcruxCruxAlpha Crucis321.980.77
14AldebaranTaurusAlpha Tauri66.650.87
15SpicaVirgoAlpha Virginis249.740.98
16AntaresScorpiusAlpha Scorpii553.761.06
17PolluxGeminiBeta Geminorum33.791.16
18FomalhautPiscis AustrinusAlpha Piscis Austrini25.131.17
19MimosaCruxBeta Crucis278.531.25
20DenebCygnusAlpha Cygni1411.961.25
21RegulusLeoAlpha Leonis79.301.36
22AdharaCanis MajorEpsilon Canis Majoris405.171.5
23CastorGeminiAlpha Geminorum50.871.58
24GacruxCruxGamma Crucis88.561.59
25ShaulaScorpiusLambda Scorpii571.211.62
26BellatrixOrionGamma Orionis252.451.64
27ElnathTaurusBeta Tauri133.891.65
28MiaplacidusCarinaBeta Carinae113.171.67
29AlnilamOrionEpsilon Orionis1976.751.69
30Al NairGrusAlpha Gruis101.011.73
Comments04/03/2018 08:03

Free "Dead Space" Game for the P.C.

Screenshot from Dead Space

Everyone likes something free right? However, whether you like this free thing is debatable. The game Dead Space was released in 2008 and had an "Alienesque" feel about it. The game had you playing the role of Isaac Clarke, an engineer who is sent to investigate what happened to the USG Ishimura space ship after a distress signal is received.

As it has an "Alien" feel to it, its not for people who are scared easily so not for young or old who wouldn't be able to cope with the on screen horrors. It is similar to "original" horror game, Doom. Whereas Doom was set on Mars with a portal to hell, this is set on board a space ship.

The game spawned two sequels, out in 2011 and 2013. In the original, Isaac wore his helmet after the initial video and never said anything. In the sequels, he is spoken by actor, Gunner Wright. In the third game, the adventure takes place on Tau Volantis, an ice world. Whilst the name sounds like a legitimate star / planet name, there is no star in the constellation of Volans with the designation of Tau Volantis.

The team behind the Dead Space trilogy has been disbanded so therefore any chance of a new updated sequel has faded. There is rumours of a Movie but given previous game to movie versions including the disrespectful Doom movie, any hope of a film worthy of the title is slim. Doom disrespected the games because the aliens were humans who were turned into Imps and monsters rather than a wormhole portal to hell.

To access the free game, visit Origin, log in or sign up, you shouldn't/won't need to provide any credit card etc. details to download the game. I say that because I've signed up and only give my details when necessary. For the record, I don't work for E.A. and am not getting any thing from E.A. for letting people about it. Normal price for UK is about £7 but whilst its free, might as well take advantage.

It also possible to buy Battlefront 2 for the P.C. at a significantly reduced price whilst the promotion is going on, £27 instead of £60+. One last thing, both are large downloads so they will take a long time. Battlefront 2 is 65 Gigabytes and that's probably without patches.

Comments25/02/2018 10:02

ULAS J1342+0928, Furthest Quasar Discovered

Quasars in brief are extremely active galactic nucleus surrounded by dust, gas and stars. Quasars are located billions of light years away from our galaxy. Most were formed not long after the creation of the universe, 13.8 billion years ago.

Our Milky Way galaxy is inactive at the moment, its not to say that our galaxy was never a Quasar in its early life nor could it become a quasar again. It is theorized that when the Andromeda Galaxy collides with our galaxy, the supermassive black hole at the centre could become active again due to having consumed a lot of materials. This might be scary but you need to realise that this won't happen for billions of years. The Andromeda Galaxy is only moving at about 75 miles a second towards us and its a long way away. Universe Today

The furthest quasar at the time of writing, February 2018 is ULAS J1342+0928, it is in the constellation of Bootes, the Bear Driver or Herdsman. The Quasar is about 29.36 Billion Light Years away and what we are seeing now is what it looked like a mere 690 million years after the The Big Bang when the Universe was formed. If we were to travel to quasar now, it will probably be inactive and be a regular galaxy like our own having finished feasting.

The previous record holder of furthest quasar was ULAS J1120+0641, a quasar that is located in Leo constellation. It was discovered in 2011 and therefore held the title for nearly seven years. The quasar is about 28.85 million light years away and we are observing it as it looked 770 million years after the big bang. Wiki

The numbers in the names are the RA and Dec locations of the coordinates. ULAS stands for UKIDSS Large Area Survey with UKIDSS standing for UKIRT Infrared Deep Sky Survey. UKIRT in turn stands for United Kingdom Infra-red Telescope which is situated on Mauna Kea dormant volcano in Hawaii.

The quasar has a mass that 800 times the mass of our own star, the Sun. The location of the Quasar is R.A. 13h 42m 08.10 and Declination +09d 28' 38.61. The estimated location of the quasar is shown below. It is too faint to see the quasar with the naked eye.

Location of ULAS J1342+0928

Comments24/02/2018 09:42

First Han Solo Movie Trailer Released

You wait ages for a trailer then two come along at the same time. The first trailer was released during the Superbowl where the Philadelphia Eagles took on the New England Patriots. If you're interested, the Eagles won for the first time and it was a shock as many expected the Patriots to win. Back to Star Wars. During the half time, a number of trailers were released, some sci-fi such as Solo - A star Wars Story and others such as Mission Impossible : Fallout.

We got to see a minute snippet of the film where we got to see Han Solo, Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian. We also saw Thandie Newton's character but we aren't sure of her role and character name at the time of writing. New characters were Tobias Beckett who is Han's mentor and business contact. It is Tobias that first hires and gives Han a job.

We see that the main female lead is Qi'ra pronounced Kira played by Emelia Clarke. In the trailer, we do see the Millennium Falcon and how pristine it looks compared to how it looked in other films. Although we see the Imperial Navy and a Star Destroyer chasing the heroes, its unlikely we'll see Darth Vader like we did in Rogue one.

A theory on the film is that Han fails the Imperial Navy examination, gets kicked out. Han meets with Chewbacca and they go off adventuring together. Along the way, they meet Tobias and Qi'ra who offer a job which involves the Kessel Run which he completes in 12 Parsecs presumably being chased by the Star Destroyer. A Parsec is 3.26 light years and not time.

Han Solo Movie Trailer

Comments05/02/2018 07:05

Han Solo Movie Trailer

Promotional picture of the Han Solo Movie

Its not long now, five months to go before the next Star Wars movie is due but still no trailer. The film has had a chequered past, the original directors, Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired from the production with Ron Howard taking up the mantle to finish the film. There were reports that Alden Ehrenreich needed acting lessons because his acting was so poor. Movieweb

There's very little in the way of shots from the movie and hardly any promotionals except the odd Lego pictures. Here at U.G. won't be surprised if the film is pushed back, it won't be cancelled, there's too much interest in the film to cancel it. Besides, Disney has to make a healthy return on the $4 Billion that it splashed out on the film franchise.

An official synopsis has been released but it doesn't tell you much. The now official picture virtually confirms that Qira as played by Emelia Clarke will have a substantial or an important role especially as the lead female. The synopsis along with the now official picture is below. The synopsis doesn't give away a lot. What we guess though will happen is Han Solo will meet Chewbacca and will win the Millennium Falcon off his best friend, Lando Calrissian.

Board the Millennium Falcon and journey to a galaxy far, far away in Solo: A Star Wars Story,
an all-new adventure with the most beloved scoundrel in the galaxy,

Through a series of daring escapades deep within a dark and dangerous criminal underworld,
Han Solo meets his mighty future copilot Chewbacca and encounters the notorious gambler Lando Calrissian,
in a journey that will set the course of one of the Star Wars saga’s most unlikely heroes.

Everyday there's a new story that the trailer is coming but our hopes are dashed. U.G. hopes that when the film does finally arrive, its as a good as Rogue One, the other un-aligned prequel.

Comments25/01/2018 20:40

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