Sunday, December 8, 2013
By DENNIS PERKINS
After the 20th Century Fox logo's searchlights turn into lightsabers and duel, the opening line, "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away" appears – on someone's Twitter feed. Then John Williams' familiar theme blasts forth over the famous explanatory crawl – which is followed by user comments like "the empire sux" (from username "4ce4real").
“Star Wars Uncut” is compiled from 15-second re-creations, provided by fans from all over the globe, of every moment of the original film.
COMING TO LOCAL SCREENS
NICKELODEON CINEMA, Portland (patriotcinemas.com)
Thursday: "Halloween." All thanks to the Nick for bringing out John Carpenter's still brilliant, still terrifying 1978 horror classic for the titular holiday season. Come watch the reasons that modern horror movies are just pale imitations.
ST. LAWRENCE ARTS CENTER, Portland (stlawrencearts.org)
Sunday: Blue-Stocking Film Series. Portland's premier woman-directed short film festival is back! All entries (from Maine, New York, Los Angeles and Germany) are directed by women, and can definitely pass the Bechdel Test.
A pan over the vast field of stars is broken by the appearance of a tiny rebel blockade runner, and then the impossibly massive imperial star destroyer (all rendered like the cutscenes of a Nintendo game), which then turns into a meticulously constructed cardboard replica complete with flaming exhaust ports, which then becomes Flash animation, which then cuts to C-3PO and R2-D2 imagined as a guy wrapped in gold mylar and a paper cutout (respectively), and the rebel soldiers change from humans in newspaper helmets to "Star Wars" action figures to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and, wait – is that Woody from "Toy Story" firing at a clay stormtrooper?
Just what the heck is going on here?
It's "Star Wars Uncut," a fan-created re-creation of George Lucas' legendary sci-fi classic, where fanboys and fangirls from all over the globe sent in their 15-second re-creations of every moment of the original film. Edited together from hundreds of such entries, the resulting amalgam, playing at Space Gallery in Portland, is nigh-unmissable fun for "Star Wars" fans of all eras. (And Space knows it – the 7:30 p.m. screening on Tuesday is free and open to all ages.)
Legos, stop-motion, pen-and-pencil drawings, a baby with Princess Leia hair, approximations of every video game system ever, "Waking Life"-style rotoscoping, good old "guys dressed up in cheap costumes," cats in Jawa robes – "Star Wars Uncut" renders every single scene of the film in every conceivable variety of styles. Every 15-second segment, from the ambitious to the amateurish, are done with all the imagination and creativity that a "Star Wars" nerd with too much time on his hands can muster.
For any fan of the film, this rapid-fire collage of fan-filmed homages is a nonstop giggle machine, a testament to the obsessive, affectionate solidarity of everyone who came to the original films at just the right age to well, spend their time crafting a dozen marshmallow stormtroopers or the perfect Chewbacca scream.
Sure, some segments are better than others, and the film's insistence on visualizing every single second of the original film (even Luke at his whiniest) means it drags once in a while (much as, well, "Star Wars" did), but the sheer volume and pace of the clips means that something new is right around the corner. I'd re-watch this over "The Phantom Menace" any day.
It's loving, goofy and pure nerd-bait if, like me (and Seth Green, presumably), you spent countless hours acting out the films with your action figures.
You know, when we were kids.
Dennis Perkins is a Portland freelance writer.