Star Wars Mos Eisley Multiplex By Mike White. Ahhh...the Internet. Depository of a multitude of meaningless tidbits, trivia, porn and...Star Wars stuff. Kevin Rubio’s Troops was revolutionary—not simply because it was one of the first in a new breed of Star Wars parodies but that it was distributed on the Internet...

Ahhh...the Internet. Depository of a multitude of meaningless tidbits, trivia, porn and...Star Wars stuff. Kevin Rubio’s Troops was revolutionary—not simply because it was one of the first in a new breed of Star Wars parodies but that it was distributed on the Internet. In early ’98 I took the plunge and downloaded Troops over a painfully slow 28.8 modem. In the months since I’ve managed to discover additional Star Wars -inspired pieces. It was only a matter of time before someone published links to all of these small SW films.

The Mos Eisley Multiplex website may not look like much but it’s been an invaluable source of information about Star Wars parodies; new and old, bad and good.

Death of a Jedi
"In the days of the rising Empire, Darth Vadar, Lord of the Sith, hunted down and destroyed all the Jedi Knights. During this time, a young Jedi, named Dei Jeigh, defended his home world by standing against Vadar. This is the story of his courage and loyalty to the Jedi Knights."

That’s the side-scrolling prologue to Matthew Ward’s short video, Death of a Jedi. With an opening like that one might think that the film would consist of more than a young goateed gent (Willie Trimmer) walking around in a field and having a light saber duel with Darth Vadar (Brian Main). There is no dialogue (other than some of Darth Vadar’s lines taken from Star Wars) and the ending is predictable. Duh.

To be fair, though, this was a student project for Ward’s Intro to Film and Video class. The Vadar costume looks pretty good and the light saber effects are kick ass, but that might have something to do with the fact that Ward had help from Louis Katz, technical director at Industrial Light & Magic.

Star Wars: Macbeth
Speaking of student projects... This is a Senior English class project from Glen Ridge High School. You’d better believe that it looks like something made by some High Schoolers with a little too much time on their hands and some Mediastudio software.

With a half-future, half-high school setting, the story and dialogue of Shakespeare’s MacBeth feel even more anachronistic than Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet. Combined with the rotten lighting, videography and acting, Star Wars: Macbeth wears out its welcome within seconds making its seventeen-minute running time intolerable.

You Can’t Handle the Greedo
The special effects may be better and it may be a lot shorter but it’s a real throw-away video that uses a minute of the final courtroom scene in Rob Reiner’s A Few Good Men. The twist is that instead of Jack Nicholson’s Colonel Jessep we see Greedo "speaking" his lines.

The video goes well with the site from which it was linked——which features a gallery of images from film and television that have been "Greedoized," that is that the head of the infamous bounty hunter from Star Wars has been inserted into images from pop culture (Spice Girls, Godzilla, Dukes of Hazzard, et cetera).

In context, You Can’t Handle the Greedo works. The site is entertaining and I got quite a chuckle from the link to the McGill Department of Exopolitics’ report, "Oona Goota, Solo?: The Greedo Assassination Conspiracy" which questions the physics of the "Magic Blaster Bolt" and how Greedo could miss shooting Han Solo at point blank range.

Trooper Clerks
This short has the highest potential of being annoying as I have an intense dislike of Kevin Smith and his oeuvre. Plus, I’m afraid that I might soon tire of hybrid shorts by maverick filmmakers (Troops, Swingblade, Saving Ryan’s Privates, etc.). Yet, despite these factors (and somewhat in spite of myself) I really dig Trooper Clerks.

It’s short, it’s silly, and it’s skillfully crafted. Trooper Clerks is Jeff Allen’s version of the Clerks trailer in a Star Wars universe. The trailer format guarantees brevity—as Star Wars: Macbeth would teach us, that’s a good thing. Plus, it keeps references to the film in a more familiar arena and allows a greater chance of the audience’s appreciation of this short as they needn’t have seen the entire film. Personally, having only been able to stand viewing Clerks one time, the trailer was surprisingly familiar to me as Miramax over-saturated the market with it when the film was released. Another clever reason to use the trailer is that like a lot of comedies, the preview contains the funniest parts of the film!

As for how Trooper Clerks fairs with its use of Star Wars characters—the two jive surprisingly well. A lot of this has to do with the great costumes and props—from the Stormtroopers outfits to the wide array of Imperial uniforms, all of the characters look great. The concept of a convenience store within the Death Star works too.

Another reason for the success of Trooper Clerks is that Allen is very clever in his use of Star Wars characters. He presents us with images of a disheveled Sandtrooper and stoic Imperial Guard as Jay and Silent Bob, a frantic Biker Scout exclaims, "You mean I’ve got to drink this coffee hot?!?", a portly Power Droid sifts through the milk cooler searching for the latest expiration date, a befuddled Death Star Gunner checks out all of the eggs, et cetera.

Allen appears to know how to make a good parody. His cinematography captures the bare bones visual style of Clerks, perhaps looking even more low budget which, when contrasted with the supposed high-tech surroundings of the Death Star, makes it all the more humorous. Also, as evidenced by Kevin Rubio’s Troops, showing the lighter side of the Empire’s army is a great source of comedy. By putting Stormtroopers in the irreverent roles of Clerks, the short is ripe with irony.

I’ve found two versions of this short online with the difference being in the sound. One features a poor Darth Vadar impersonation for a voiceover while the other is more light-hearted. I prefer the latter but it was the former I found when going to the download section of the website, which also features two great exposés on making one’s own Power Droid and Stormtrooper costumes!

The Star Wars
Leon, look no further! The knock-off Star Wars record of which you speak in your "Star Wars Memory" provides the soundtrack to Troy Durrett and Lance Robson’s video, The Star Wars. This ultra-condensed version of Lucas’ film (complete with major plot points missing, bad voice characterizations and "turn-the-page" chime) directs the onscreen action as Durrett and Robson use Kenner action figures and spaceships as props. I suppose one could say The Star Wars plays like a socially unconscious Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story or more of a traditional interpretation of Star Wars than Evan Mather’s work.

Hilariously low-budget in its card table set and desk lamp lighting, The Star Wars is ultimately highly compelling in leaving the viewer curious to see how Durrett and Robson will handle the next shot. Oddly enough, the production values of The Star Wars often appear to top those of Sex Wars.

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