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In this mockumentary, Jar Jar is a drug addict, a drunk who is only appreciated for his comic genius in France? The narrator speaks in a deep, serious voice: “A gifted performer, a comic mastermind, loved throughout the world, Jar Jar Binks had everything going for him. Women loved him. Men wanted to be him. But behind the glamour and the fame, there lived a dark side that tragedy would soon expose. Was it the money? Was it the drugs? Was it the hype? Tonight Jar Jar Binks: The True Hollywood Story.” Thus begins the best Star Wars parody film I’ve seen since Troops. Following in the tradition and style of cable TV’s “E! True Hollywood Story”, we learn about the life of Jared Herbert Binkelstein. He was born in a normal suburb and we see his life in pictures starting with him as a baby along with school pictures as the voice of the narrator discusses Jar Jar’s early life. The narrator talks about how much Jar Jar is loved as we see photos of Jar Jar getting pelted with dodgeballs by children. Then we see a photo of Jar Jar getting his pants pulled down by other kids. Then the narrator informs us that Jar Jar finds his true calling on the stage as he is cast as the lead in a high school play. He then tries his hand at stand up comedy and fails horribly. Jar Jar quits stand up and goes to France where he is loved and appreciated. He gets a job on a French TV show called “Le Petit Pu-Pu!”
Interspersed with photos, archival video footage and reenactments are interviews with celebrities including a George Lucas look-a-like. “We had played with the idea of doing a full CG character, but as an independent filmmaker, I’m about story, not special effects. And when I saw his performance, I knew that I had found my Gungan.” This guy has Lucas nailed to a tee.
The story then shifts to the anticipation building for the debut of [ Star Wars Episode I. ] Jar Jar is on the cover of every magazine in the country during his meteoric rise. Delusional fans are camped out in lines waiting for the day to arrive. “The reason why we’re here is because Star Wars is going to be the most awesome greatest movie of all time and Jar Jar is gonna to rule.” (While this quote is from a staged interview, it sure sounds like some of the real things that fans said.)
Jar Jar is on top of the world and his life includes non-stop partying (with hilarious footage of Jar Jar spanking hot chicks at a club.) No documentary parody would be complete without an anonymous interview. (There are a few anonymous interviews, but I don’t want to ruin the surprise.) We finally meet Jar Jar’s ex-girlfriend Bambi Struthers, who just seems to like him for his talented tongue. The interviews work well since there is so much attention paid to details.
The opening day of Star Wars Episode 1 arrives and all does not go well. Fans leave the theater suicidal. This is where Jar Jar’s life takes a turn for the worse as he takes up drinking and drugs. Jar Jar is arrested while driving intoxicated. There is an interview with a friend of Jar Jar’s who says, “He was drinking pretty heavily at one point. And I said, ‘Dude, I can’t hang out with you.'” Like in all biographical documentaries, there must be a fall. Alone. Jobless. Jar Jar officially hit rock bottom.
The documentary reaches its conclusion with a telling quote from one of Jar Jar’s friends, “Everybody loved Jar Jar. Uh, except for all the people who saw Episode I, but how many people is that?”
Shot on a shoestring (about $1,700 bucks) and made by fans, the film mimics all the documentary devices used by the E! True Hollywood Story – tearful interviews with concerned friends, interviews with celebrities, interviews with anonymous sources, archival footage, reenactments, and dramatic storytelling from an authentic-sounding narrator.
This underground film is so damn funny, I’ve seen it five times now and laughed my a*s off every time. Ten seconds doesn’t go by in this 11-minute short without a big belly laugh. If you’re a distraught Star Wars fan, this movie is like a form of therapy for those who hated Jar Jar and felt betrayed by Episode I’s crass commercialism. Heck, even if you loved The Phantom Menace, this movie is hysterically funny as it parodies not just Jar Jar, Star Wars, and fandom, but the way in which the E! True Hollywood Story program reveal their stories in such an overly dramatic fashion. Every filmmaker out there who is even considering making any kind of Star Wars parody needs to take a cue from this flick – attention to detail and rapid fire jokes along with some smart insights is the path to a great short. It’s also not overly mean-spirited as the film makes light of the sensationalism of TV as much as it makes fun of Star Wars. Superb! Fantastic! Wonderful! Insert your own adjective, but definitely see it. And if you work at LucasFilm or ILM, get a copy to show to George and Ahmed Best, they’ll get a kick out of it, trust me.
Read the special two-part interview with the filmmakers behind Jar Jar: The True Hollywood Story>>>