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STAR WARP’d ($13) is two things- one, a clever and amusing science fiction parody; two, proof positive that modern technology has allowed anyone with a vision to become a guerilla filmmaker. Melding the crude with the slick, STAR WARP’d mixes stop motion claymation with home grown CGI in a fairly ingenious and relatively inexpensive way. Imagine turning your garage into a movie studio- all that’s required is some talent, a camera, a green piece of cloth, a PC and some software. Well, maybe I’m exaggerating, but it takes very little these days for anyone to create his or her very own direct-to-video productions. Certainly, STAR WARP’d is a major cut above the kid down the street with a digital camcorder pretending he is Steven Spielberg, but the film shows that emerging filmmakers don’t need the backing of a studio to create something good.

STAR WARP’d itself is something that will appeal to sci-fi movie geeks because it gleefully disrespects all of the characters that have become genre icons. There is a good deal of lowbrow humor and some moments are vaguely reminiscent of MTV’s CELEBRITY DEATH MATCH, so you know what the tone of this film is going to be. The plot of STAR WARP’d involves a breakdown in the boundaries between the science fiction universes, with the likes of Captain Kwirk and his first officer Mr. Spuck coming up against the likes of Darth Vapor who uses the dark smell of the force against his enemies. Allied with Vapor are the nefarious Mini-Mall and the Schwartzenator, while Robofuzz and N.T., the non-terrestrial, aid Kwirk and Spuck. STAR WARP’d also includes an audience pleasing moment that should have occurred in Episode One of a certain movie series.

Synapse Films has made STAR WARP’d available on DVD in a 1.66:1 presentation that has NOT been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. For a very inexpensive production, STAR WARP’d looks very good on DVD. The completely computer generated stuff looks fairly slick and the claymation is crude, but cleanly photographed. Image quality is good, with the technical limitations of the production being the only noticeable flaws in the presentation. There is good level of detail in the picture, while the colors are appealing and stable. Digital compression artifacts are never a problem during the program’s thirty-two minute running time.

STAR WARP’d is presented with a Dolby Digital 2.0 channel stereo soundtrack. The track decodes well enough to surround, with the music and ambient sound finding their way to the rear channels. Music is parodied from a number of science fiction films and sounds quite good when amplified. Dialogue is always understandable, although the character that sounds surprisingly like Sean Connery does push the intelligibility factor on occasion.

Music underscores the basic interactive menus, which allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features. Through the menus, one can also access the DVD's surprising amount of supplemental features. Included on the DVD is a running audio commentary with the production team who goes into detail as to who did what on this program. There is also a behind-the-scenes featurette that gives one a look at how STAR WARP’d was made in a garage and on a PC. There is also a sneak peak at STAR WARP’d 2, which has the indication of being more irreverent and funnier than the original.

I am impressed with how much can be done be talented filmmakers with virtually no money and just a bit of equipment. On top of that, STAR WARP’d is a pretty funny film and a cool little DVD from Synapse Films. If you are a sci-fi junkie, you’ll want to check out STAR WARP’d for yourself.


Star Warp'd (2002)


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2002 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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