Elstree 1976 full movie review - The force isn't strong with this one. This documentary was scraping the bottom of the barrel of what is Star Wars. It was very bad.
There have been countless documentaries on the "Star Wars" movies over the years & most of the films, are pretty good. However, this kick-starter documentary directed by Jon Spira is not one of them.
While, I'm a huge 'Star Wars' fanatic; I have to say, this documentary was very disappointing. It was a mess. While, the title of this film, refers to the studio, just outside London where director George Lucas shot the original 1977's masterpiece film, 'Star Wars'. The documentary does not really focus on, the actual production of that seminal space opera. Instead, the movie tells the mostly boring life-story of the bit actors and extras that were hired for the film. Talk about grasping for straws. The only sequence and interview that seem, somewhat interesting, was English bodybuilder, weightlifter and actor, David Prowse whom played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, though the character's voice was provided by James Earl Jones. That man, had a great life-story of fighting childhood illnesses, working with director Stanley Kubrick as well as being a role-model for children as a crossing guard superhero. What a character! The others actor's life story were highly bland, even the man that create a derivative martial arts form. Look, I get that, they probably couldn't get, any of the main cast to be, part of this film, but there were hardly any interesting colorful supporting actors, here. Where is the interviews of Kenny Baker (R2-D2), Anthony Daniels (C3PO) or Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca)? Is this, really the best, this film can often? Its sucks, that most of the interesting actors were long-past dead. It's get kinda worst, as some of the people that were being interview, weren't even credited in the film. God knows, if anything, they're talking about is honestly, true or not. Truly, as much, as I like, hearing about people talk about the production of 'Star Wars', this is pretty low on the entertainment chasm. What's next, a documentary about the jaintors who clean the studios toilets, where 'Star Wars' was filmed at!? Come on! They using the least desirable parts of the film. Another problem with this film, is how the title, doesn't relate to the subject, they're presenting. A good example of this, is how the film talks about actor Anthony Forrest, when in truth, he mostly filmed all of his scenes at Tunisia as both, the Stormtrooper and Laze 'Fixer' Loneozner. He barely step, foot at Elstree Studios at all. Another good example of an actor, not really being there was actor, Jeremy Bulloch, whom wasn't even in the original film, but in its 1980's sequel 'Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back'. The reason, why is pretty simple, when you think, deep about it. He couldn't be at Elstree Studios in 1976, because at that time, he was in Pinewood Studios, filming the James Bond movies in a minor role as Q's assistant. So, why is he in this film at all? It's probably, because he played one of the most popular, minor 'Star Wars' character of all-time, Boba Fett, the Bounty Hunter and fans wanted to see him. It's like the filmmakers, said to themselves, screw the premise of this film. Just add him in, so the movie would have, somewhat of an appeal. Yes, it somewhat work, but he seem like an out of place addition, comparing to the other people, being interview. In my opinion, I think the movie would had been more interesting, if they focus the spotlight on the film crew, rather than the extras and lesser supporting actors. After all, the costumes, the props, the locations and special effects of 'Star Wars' outshines the acting, big time! Sadly, this film doesn't do that, as it shows. It was very lackluster. Another problem of this film to me, is how it was made. The visuals of this documentary were really, below average. The weird badly grainy reenactment footage really, don't match well, with the behind-the-scenes footage of the actual 1977 film. It looks so fake. Also, the idea of having all of the bit part player's names, being shown on the screen alongside their 'Star Wars' action figure might sound cool, but it was delivered, really bad. It comes across, as confusing, as the film doesn't bother, showing their faces, screen presence or last names, until later. The editing for this film, was really, really horrible. There were plenty of botch interviews in the film, that should had been cut out from the final film. A good example is the actor, Angus MacInnes (Gold Leader) calling for his dog to stay still, while he talks. Honestly, did we really need to see that!? Another scene is when another actor, Derek Lyons was showing his 'Zen Swim' martial-arts moves, only to be distracted by the disappearing of people walking in the background, between shots. The way, the movie jump around, from person to person also felt a bit incomplete. It's pretty bad, for the film to start talking about somebody, only to have it, wait until another person finish talking, a little about his life. It was highly annoying. The director also unfortunately opts for this depressing ambient music throughout most of the film that makes everything seem really melancholy and bleak, even when it's not. It's less of a celebration of these actors and more of a show of bitterness. Overall: I have to say, this isn't the documentary, I was looking for. It barely gave any real insight of both 'Star Wars' and the background actors that starred in it. I really can't recommended, watching, not at all. Even if you're forced to watch it.