The Empire Strikes Back Uncut (Star Wars fan film) impressions…

Is this how epileptics feel?… After the break…

The Empire Strikes Back Uncut (Star Wars fan film) impressions…

I’ll be the first to confess that I’m not as enthralled with fan films as most franchise enthusiasts are. Make no mistake; Even a bad production takes a considerable amount of effort and at the very least they produced something. Yet I can’t readily think of a single fan production that rivals that of the source material that it aspires towards. If all they intend is to engage in some good, clean fun than who am I to stop them? Just so long as they remember that they are the ones to be most likely entertained by their efforts.

There are plenty of franchises where fans have created unofficial spin-off efforts. The sci-fi franchise “Star Trek” has an entire sub-culture that’s one creation story away from becoming a minor religion. “The Lord of the Rings,” “Doctor Who,” “Harry Potter,” “Aliens / Predator”… These are only a few of the franchises that have become so large that they inspire their fans to create unofficial material in significant quantities.

And then, of course, there is “Star Wars.” There seemed a time when it was popular for fans of that franchise to create videos of “lightsaber duels,” wielding the signature laser swords of the franchise to create long-winded one-on-one sword battles that were no different than Errol Flynn or Douglas Fairbanks except for the equipment used.

“The Empire Strikes Back Uncut” is less fan-made lightsaber duel and more fan-made shot-for-shot reproduction as performed in the style of a “Whose Line is it Anyway?” skit where a group of comedians are forced to generate a song, with each comedian coming up with a single word of the song and the group, as a whole, forced to follow the lead of the others before them to make the song coherent. A group of fans takes a moment or two from the Star Wars movie “The Empire Strikes Back” (episode V for the purists) and then re-creates it as faithfully as their resources allow. These moments are then all stitched together in an attempt to make a comprehensive film, sort of like a cinematic quilt.

You simply can’t judge “The Empire Strikes Back Uncut” as a serious creation that can be watched critically; It can’t. Watching the work from start to finish linearly is a painful experience. The segments are vastly uneven, with some moments being produced with a fair amount of care while others are more typical of the homework assignment being completed by someone while on the school bus going to school. A lot of the segments have an amount of humor in them that wasn’t there in the original movie. I wrote about “casual” movie-making earlier and, quite honestly, this is as casual a film-making experience as it could possibly get. You can’t watch more then three minutes of the film at a stretch without thinking to yourself if there isn’t anything better that you could be doing with your time… Like organizing your sock drawer or removing excessive bookmarks from your web browser or dusting in some forgotten corner of a room.

I have no doubt that everyone involved had a good time hamming it up while filming their own little slice of the movie. Good for them. Yet as a film-viewing experience, there simply isn’t anything here to see except the vast array of momentary visual styles and that gets boring very quickly.

“The Empire Strikes Back Uncut” is a fan film for fans only… And that’s about as polite as I can be while still being honest about it.

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