I spent several hours last weekend watching the bonus features that are a part of “The Force Awakens” Blu-ray release. As with many a set of bonus features, there is stuff out there to be learned, but one thing in particular struck me as I was watching – the enthusiasm everyone had working on the film.
There is more than that to it though – the people working on the movie seem to have a genuine honor and respect for the original trilogy, the way it was created, and the story that it told. There are several moments in the extras where people working on the new film talk about working with those from the original trilogy, or where those who worked on any of the first six talk about coming back for this one (what doesn’t really exist is someone talking extensively about just about the prequels).
In short, “The Force Awakens” extras offer the sense that the new movie is a labor of love, that the people who worked on it did so because they truly wanted to be a part of “Star Wars” rather than just wanting to work or just wanting to push technology to the extreme.
As I say, I spent hours watching the extras and usually when I finish going through such a thing I’m completely spent and stupefied. Extras can be a real slog to get through, but, happily, that is not the case here. From the larger behind the scenes documentary to the individual smaller pieces about things like creating a lightsaber fight or John Williams’ work, they are all individually fascinating.
Well, I think the reasons there are two fold. First, the labor of love thing – we are watching some of the best people in their field put something together that they are passionate about. Second, we know that the result of there efforts, the film itself, is fantastic. Put together, that works something like this — we want to know more about how the movie was made because these people very much want to tell us about how they did something quite so brilliant.
Having finished watching all those pieces what I am left with is a rather extraordinary feeling: I want more. I want that big documentary to be two hours instead of one and for all the smaller featurettes to still be there as well.
The biggest fear I have with the whole thing is Disney’s incredibly ambitious “Star Wars” slate – a movie a year, alternating between stand-alones and the larger “Episodes.” That is a whole lot of “Star Wars,” and I have to wonder if the people working on them in a few years will have the same sort of enthusiasm that is so evident here. I want it to remain special, to remain a gathering of the best and brightest who have reverence for the galaxy far, far away. There will of course be greater and lesser entries as we move forward, but movies that people make because they care about them always have an extra oomph, an extra sense of emotion, over those that are made for a paycheck.
I am well aware that I am being foolishly naïve about this, but I tend to think that’s the exact point of what I’m saying.
And now, I’ll close by reinserting last week’s “Lass is More” on “The Force Awakens.” Listen and enjoy.
photo credit: Lucasfilm