21 January 2012

Movies: Star Wars Uncut: Director's Cut

Star Wars Uncut: Director's Cut

 Crowdsourced Reimagination

Here's a description of the project from its YouTube page:
In 2009, Casey Pugh asked thousands of Internet users to remake "Star Wars: A New Hope" into a fan film, 15 seconds at a time. Contributors were allowed to recreate scenes from Star Wars however they wanted.
... [T]he crowd-sourced project has been stitched together and put online for your streaming pleasure. The "Director's Cut" is a feature-length film that contains hand-picked scenes from the entire StarWarsUncut.com collection. 
StarWarsUncut.com won a 2010 Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Creative Achievement In Interactive Media - Fiction.

 Yes - the whole original Star Wars film reassembled into a coherent and recognizable film from bits and pieces generated by hundreds of people.  Beat per beat it matches one of Lucas's recut versions of the film. I dunno which Lucas recut was used as the template, but I know it's not the original theatrical cut.  But it really doesn't matter. You can't tell if Han shoots first in this one anyhow.
Some of the clips are amazing, some are funny, some are animated, some are acted out by puppets or Legos or people or pets or babies or styrofoam cups and whatnot, but all are obviously labors of love. I don't know if I could watch the whole film recreated in any single one of the styles, but the beauty of the project is the sheer number of different recreations reassembled, resulting in a film where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

I didn't get to sit and watch the whole film in one go, but it was very easy to pause then pick up right where I left off. Especially if one is very familiar with the film from multiple viewings. I know I've lost count of how many times I've seen Star Wars, but I come from a generation that got to see its original theatrical release and subsequently gripe about every Lucas re-release that changes the original cut.

If you happen to be one of the many who have an undying love for the first Star Wars film despite everything Lucas has done to rework it, this compilation is worth every minute of watching. It is amazing.

The whole 2 hour film can be viewed at:
YouTube: http://youtu.be/7ezeYJUz-84
Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/34948855

Project Website: http://www.starwarsuncut.com
It's home site seems really slow loading.


I first heard about the project from this 20 January 2012 Onion A.V. Club article "The crowd-sourced Star Wars Uncut film is here, in all its DIY glory" and watched it that very night.  I recognize the coincidence of the article appearing so close to the SOPA-PIPA discussion in the House and Senate.  Isn't it sad that projects like this would never happen under SOPA/PIPA.

I realize they are just films and the world will continue regardless of their existence. But Star Wars is a world wide cross cultural multi-generational shared experience. It's a good thing, for everyone. Labors of love like this project highlight how big and influential SW really is, and it is amazing to see how so many diverse parts can be brought together into one recognizable whole.

PS If you're sort of a sci-fi/fantasy nerd and appreciate some of the fan generated content out there, take a look at Superman: Requiem.

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