You can’t throw a brick on the internet without hitting a Star Wars-related image/cartoon/video somewhere. One of the most heavily watched in recent years is, of course, the Red Letter Media series of epic video reviews of the Prequels, most notably the one dealing with The Phantom Menace (which would be a dazzling piece of film criticism, if it wasn’t for the tiresome and rather mean-spirited ‘Serial Killer reviews a movie’ gag that’s been eventually run into the ground), and much of what’s out there deals heavily with the truly gigantic level of disillusionment Star Wars fandom went through as a result of the prequels. Certainly, it’d take something astonishing to actually get me truly excited about any Star Wars-related project now (the fact that we’ve now got 3-D conversions of all the films coming up had me basically thinking “So What?”) and I know there are plenty who feel the same.
However – there are people out there who’ve kept the faith, and one of them (Youtube user jambedavdar) has made a fan documentary that, frankly, will take some beating. Star Wars Begins is a fourteen part, two-and-a-half-hour documentary that takes you through the whole movie and shows you alternate takes, storyboards, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes footage and concept work, as well as giving you a gigantic selection of audio interviews with a massive number of both the cast and crew. There’s a lot of minute detail here (including things like minor differences in dialogue between versions), but there’s also some big surprises, and a gigantic amount of trivia in what adds up to the greatest unofficial Star Wars DVD extra ever. A long watch but one that’s well worth it, Star Wars Begins is a fascinating exploration of the magic of old-school movie making, as well as a reminder that before the franchise, before the prequels, and before the disappointment, Star Wars was just a movie – and a rather bloody good one, too…