- The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)
- #140RVW: Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008)
- Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion (2014) – Series Premiere
- Dark Disciple: Star Wars (2015)
- Plastic Galaxy: The Story of Star Wars Toys (2014)
- Star Wars: Episode I.II – The Phantom Edit (2000)
- Star Wars: 30’s Serial Edition (2008)
140 Character Movie Review – #140RVW
Would Star Wars really work as a silent film? Many always thought so. Now that The Man Behind The Mask has done it, fares pretty well…
Spoiler-free Movie Review of Star Wars: 30’s Serial Edition:
It’s long been maintained that the Star Wars films are so timeless, visual and universal that they don’t even need language. I know that my sister used to say that the movies would work just as well as silent films. Well, let’s see if she’s right…
Because faneditor The Man Behind the Mask created silent, black and white versions of Episodes I-VI. Stripped of color, dialogue and sound effects, this is a very different way to experience the films.
Not only has the presentation of the films been significantly altered, the movies themselves have been severely edited. Partly this is a function of the removal of spoken dialogue; with old-fashioned titled cards simply recapping the action, most scenes don’t need to run anywhere near as long. But the editor has really run with this approach, taking the opportunity to strip most scenes to their basic essentials.
Those title cards really strip the dialogue, for good and bad. Short statements replacing the audible mangling of the English language that the films (particularly the prequels) are often guilty of is mostly an improvement. The minimalist approach largely helps the story and removes the fluff. However, the wording on these cards is so sparse and clearly translated from another language that at times they read as too simplistic. Not a big issue, though, as the whole point is that you barely need to understand the language at all to follow these great stories.
Removing the color from the films produces mixed results. Black and white masks some of the “fake” quality of the CG. But since the films were quite obviously meant to be in vivid color, the effect looks similarly unreal. It’s also very clean, which sort of breaks the metaphor of these being like old films…
(Actually, I just found out that the editor created “dusty” versions of his edits, 4:3 cropped and looking beat up. It works much better.)
So, does this approach work? Results may vary. Condensing the prequel films so much is probably extremely welcome for those who don’t really like those episodes. It’s effective even if you are a fan of all the pictures, just not quite as satisfying. They play as Reader’s Digest condensed versions of the stories.
The biggest thing missing in these versions of the films is the sound. While the John Williams score is wonderful to hear in isolation, the 30’s Serial Edition certainly serves as a reminder of the importance of the Saga’s sound design. Not only are the award-winning sound effects sorely missed, their absence lessens some of the weight of the visual effects.
Personally, while I really enjoyed Star Wars: 30’s Serial Edition, it comes off as more of a cool experiment than anything.