A familiar feeling: it is still several months until the release of the next Star Wars film, you are thinking about re-watching one of the old movies, but you have watched them too many times that you aren’t sure. If there was a way to re-watch them somehow with fresh eyes?
There is at least one such option in the form of Star Wars Uncut, a film project that started years ago from a fans’ idea. It’s a remake of A New Hope (and it was followed by that of The Empire Strikes Back) – a remake on which thousands of fans from all over the world participated. What does it consist of? To put it simply: it is the original movie composed of 15-second segments, each recorded by a different group of fans, and put together so that they form the entire film.
The project originated with Casey Pugh, an enthusiast who wanted to explore the creative potential of the internet – and the result turned out to be more successful than expected. The request to record and send home-made fifteen-second segments of particular scenes has created immense response. No wonder: it was a chance to star in Star Wars, and to direct it – even if just a small piece of it. 473 groups of fans had sent their recorded bits to help re-create A New Hope in a way never seen before – nor after.
The scenes range from perfectly rehearsed bits by amateur actors in costumes absolutely true to the original, through children galloping in cardboard armour through backyard with wooden swords, to digital art and super-creative and even mind-boggling pieces of art. You can judge for yourselves – the film is free to watch on the project’s site, http://www.starwarsuncut.com, with the blessing of Lucasfilm, who gave the creators the permission to make it freely accessible.
It is sufficient to say that watching the film like this is entirely captivating. It isn’t the kind of thing you’d show someone instead of the actual film, but if you know the films (especially if you are the kind of fan who knows them by heart), Star Wars Uncut is something that can keep you entertained for the full length of the film. The better you know the original, the more you can appreciate tiny details in the scenes the fans have toyed with. There is no wonder the film actually won an Emmy for Outstanding Creative Achievement In Interactive Media – Fiction.
The sequel, The Empire Strikes Back Uncut, has expanded on the original idea – and its existence leaves us with some hope that maybe those of us who have missed it the first time around could one day get the chance to participate in Return of the Jedi Uncut. Best to start thinking of the scene you’d like to claim – just in case…