Zagnorch | Terra, Sol System | 12/11/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After finding most of the Star Wars parody/mockumentary shorts that've come out over the last several years somewhat dumb, and inconsistently amusing at best, I wasn't expectin' much when I gave the "F True Hollywood Story: JarJar Binks" a rent. The only reason I even threw it a glance as I walked by it at the local video rental joint was that it focused on the man, the myth-- nay, the LEGEND-- that accomplished the nigh-impossible feat of surpassing the Ewoks as the lamest Star Wars character EVER conceived! And since I found nothing else of interest to rent (somebody'd beaten me to the only copy of 'Leonard Part 6' that day), I decided to go against my prejudice regarding Star Wars parody shorts and took a chance. Anything that takes shots at one of sci-fi's most-hated aliens can't be TOO lame, right? And I love watching those E! True Hollywood Story shows that this production satirizes, so at least I'd be familiar with the format. You know, a brief look at the star's not-so-stellar childhood, followed by a few early projects (like performing standup routines in France, and co-starring in a movie with a mime who does wrong things to an inflatable alien doll), his quick rise to stardom and eventual downfall into a morass of drugs, depression, and alcohol, and ending with him either: (a) overcoming his addictions, or (b) ending up dead (I'll not reveal which way JarJar goes here; find out for yourself you lazy sot!). After viewing this twelve-minute-long look into Jared Binkelstein's (heh) "real-life" rise and fall, I found myself pleasantly surprised; there were more than a few truly funny moments in this spoof! I mean, how could I NOT get a good guffaw over a rather, er, "swishy" Darth Maul? How could I NOT utter a light chuckle after viewing the familiar silhouettes of a couple of 'anonymous' interviewees? How could I NOT drop a few yuks after witnessing the poking fun at get-a-lifer Star Wars ubergeeks who camped out in front of the local multiplex for weeks on end in order to be among the first to watch Episode I? Then there was the biggest laugh of all when George Lucas (well, actually it wasn't REALLY George Lucas, but a reasonable facsimile) stated that "as a filmmaker, I'm all about stories, not special effects"! Heh, GOOD one, George...But now you're probably sayin' to yourself, "Well I'm glad it's funny and all... but is a 12-minute-long feature worth shellin' out the shekels they're askin' for this thing?" Well, if this platter had JUST the short, no it wouldn't. But thanks to the inclusion of...- Three commentary tracks, including a quasi-hidden 'easter egg' track featuring a pompous Eurotrash-sounding sort doling out flowery missives regarding the misunderstood genius of Binks' works. The other two are a bit more informative; the first one is the feature's writer and producer givin' ya all the tech-specs regarding the production of each scene, throwin' in a few amusing anecdotes here 'n' there to keep the viewer from slippin' too deeply into a coma. The secondary track, however, might actually put'cha right BACK into that coma-it features the director discussing this "effort in guerrilla filmmaking" in a low, hushed tone that's kinda relaxing, yet disturbing at the same time. Also featured hereis a couch-side chat with the aforementioned "George W. Lucas", who goes on a twelve-minute-long, seemingly nonstop ramble about the Star Wars flicks, the childhood memories that inspired some of the characters, and his response to the charges of racial stereotypes being portrayed in Eppie I. This particular track has some pretty amusing bits, and is accompanied by various stills of "George" that continually rotate as he just goes on and on and on...and ON... (hee hee... "Kiss my Wookiee"...)- Plenty of deleted scenes and outtakes, parts of which I found just as amusing-- if not MORE amusing-- than the stuff they decided to NOT cut out of the short! The best stuff includes Darth Maul hammin' it up with his preacher and Cheech Marin schticks as well as more, er, "fluffy" hijinks. You might also get a kick-- or get sick-- out of the outtake featuring the man of the hour doing a very wrong thing to "George" (Scandalous!). Also thrown in is an alternate ending that's a take-off of the last scene in Return of the Jedi, guest-starring Elvis and Jesus Christ. Uh-huh! Oh yeah, "Jack Nicholson" also chimes in with his fondest memories of the Binkster whilst practicing putts at a country club somewhere.- A selection of production pics & notes. Kinda boring, but worth looking at with the fast-forward turned on.- A couple not-all-that-well-hidden 'Easter Eggs', including the aforementioned commentary track, two satirical articles from the Landover Baptist Church newsletter that decry the immorality of two particular JarJar Binks toys, and a screenplay for 'The St. Nick Project'. I'd go into further detail about the latter feature, but I think you can get the gist of what it's all about by its title. And if you don't... well, you might wanna go outside more often. Kinda like what I should be doin', now that I think about it...Anyway, thanks to the inclusion of all the aforementioned tchochkes, I'd say that, at the most, it'd be worth a relative buying it for you as a Christmas or birthday gift. Otherwise, I suggest you try to find a local rental place that has it, and check it out. Although I enjoyed it, the "F True Hollywood Story: JarJar Binks" DVD is not something I'd consider a "keeper" for my collection. If I felt inclined to watch it more than once every couple'a years, then it'd be a different story. But as it is, I'm more than happy to give it a rent every once in a blue moon...'Late"