Running Time: 93 minutes
MPAA Rating: NR, probably G
Format: Standard 4:3
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0
Languages: English
Subtitles: None
Region: 1
MSRP: $9.99

Own It!
The Stars of Star Wars (1999)

Look up "Star Wars" on any DVD-exclusive web site and the only entry you'll find is for this pathetic "documentary," a haphazard collection of television interviews with stars, on-the-spot news coverage of fan activities, and half-hearted comparisons of the Star Wars franchise to other science fiction series. Catering to a fan population that is desperate for Star Wars-related material on DVD, The Stars of Star Wars will not only disappoint fans, but quite possibly embarrass them as well.

The "stars" portion of the disc merely takes recycled junket interviews of the modern stars (including some George Lucas comments at the Star Wars Special Edition world premiere -- just try to hear what he's saying over the brass band) and combines it with old TV interviews of the stars of the classic trilogy (see the extras section), gluing everything together with inane commentary and even sillier comments by Hollywood stars who aren't even related to the movies. Sure, it's kind of amusing to watch Jennifer Tilly and Christina Ricci gush over the original trilogy (Ricci was born the same year that The Empire Strikes Back was released, so I'm sure her comments have historical relevance), but it's the documentary equivalent of name-dropping. No one really cares what Sharon Stone thinks about Jar Jar Binks.

The "film" also derails into a quick history of special effects and science fiction, bringing some slightly interesting details into focus, such as Lucas' obssession with the original Flash Gordon serials, and a comparison between Star Wars and Star Trek -- as if anyone who rented this film doesn't already know. The last portion of the disc is some rather embarrassing footage of Star Wars fans dressing up and generally being goofy. The silliest example of this is the toy shop owner who puts on a Darth Vader mask and does a little song and dance routine. Fans everywhere will be burying their hands in their faces and reconsidering their plans to attend the local sci-fi convention.

Given that most of the footage in The Stars of Star Wars was originally shot on videotape, the disc looks about as good as you might expect. Some of the older TV footage is, of course, a bit washed out and fuzzy, but that's hardly the fault of anyone involved in the production of the disc. Similarly, the disc is pressed in Dolby Digital Surround, but it's not as if the original sound from any of the various sources (Spaceballs trailer, anyone?) takes advantage of this.

The only feature that might possibly appeal to any serious Star Wars fan is the set of collected interviews, which are apparently presented in their entirety. Not only do you get all of the staged interviews from the modern stars (most notably Jake Lloyd, Sam Jackson, and Natalie Portman), but also some more candid material from the likes of Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, and even George Lucas. This is the disc's only saving grace, and is actually interesting if you can wade through the more obvious question-and-answer segments.

Chris Holland, 6/20/00