This is the promotional feature for the latest Star Wars film: Star Wars Episode II - The Heretic. We're treated to an opening that sees the finished film's trailer play, although the effects seem to be highly variable and unexpectedly gory in places, plus there's far more swearing than in any of the previous films combined. But we're here for the real meat of the project, that is, how was such a awe-inspiring motion picture event created? How exactly does the great film maker George Lucas work? And what really went on behind the scenes?
Damon Packard attained a level of notoriety for his epic Reflections of Evil, so where was he to go next? Where so many amateur film makers had gone before, not to a galaxy far far away but to one that's all too familiar, yes, the Star Wars spoof. However, this is no loving tribute, but a savage parody of the franchise, dedicated to Lucas with the dates "1944-1977" added which should give you an idea of where Packard's allegiances lie. If his previous film skewered Steven Spielberg, then this time it's the turn of the creator of R2-D2 and Packard pulls no punches.
By editing in footage from a variety of sources, not only the Star Wars franchise, a frequently hilarious landscape of a director gone mad with power emerges; whether that's Lucas or Packard is unclear. It also creates a well-overdue satire of all those tedious featurettes on the DVDs of Hollywood blockbusters, you know the ones where everything is numbingly marvellous and everyone is having a great time and what a cinematic masterpiece they have wrought! Except you haven't been as impressed as you would have wanted - but they got your money anyway.
The spoof lashes out at many targets, but especially funny is the disdain it shows for the CGI effects that have taken over big budget cinema. Lucas' workers chant on the wondrousness of computer graphics, we witness the marvel of motion capture (which includes homeless people brandishing axes for reference) and deliberately shoddy effects are edited in to show up the shallowness of the whole enterprise, with the E.T. explosion a particular highlight. In fact, there's no denying Packard's expertise with editing and perhaps the irony of him being as reliant on technology to make his films as Lucas is won't be lost on him. And he's not exactly taking aim at a difficult target, either. But mainly this makes you laugh, with Chewbacca recast as a horror movie menace, a baby Chewbacca moving at high speeds and the fans going wild for Women in Love during the climax.