Fan Film - The Imperials Strike Back (Review)

  I've got an absolute treat for you. I just discovered -until proven otherwise the first Star Wars fan film ever made.  This project is completely made by a group of kids (8-12 years old) who started in 1977, just after the release of Star Wars. Having misread the title of the sequel in Fan Magazine "Bantha Tracks", they called it The Imperials Strike Back. This 22 minute movie shows how much impact Star Wars had on the world.

  They filmed it with their parents' 8mm camera and, because they lost the original cassette tape, it only features music. They did add subtitles, so be sure to enable the closed captions for the full story. 

  The story starts right after the Death Star's destruction, when Han leaves Yavin 4 to pay off Jabba the Hutt. The rebels are still celebrating when they run into a new Imperial weapon; the Death Ship. After they barely escape Han still wants to go to Tatooine, but Leia takes control of the Falcon to save the rebel base on Yavin. There they will build their very own Mega Destroyer to destroy the ominous superweapon.

  I always love to see home-made props in fan-films, and there are a lot of these in this one. Paper maché planets and ships, helmets, a flashlight as lightsaber, a Yudo robe, Falcon's cockpit, cardboard doors, even fireworks for explosives; absolutely fantastic. The official Millennium Falcon, X-wings, TIE fighters and Stardestroyer models, as well as a Chewbacca costume and Darth Vader mask, all add to the charm.

  At one point they celebrate their first time to destroy a Star Destroyer, which is awesome because these kids realize that the rebels didn't get cocky after destroying the much larger Death Star. And when the Mega Destroyer had to make a kamikaze move on the Death Ship, the rebel losses don't go unmourned - which is often neglected in fan films and Hollywood. Han gets called out for going solo, Ben telling Luke not to take revenge on Vader, Leia has a bad feeling about this, the bickering of R2 and 3PO for comedic relief; these passionate kids show a deep understanding of our beloved galaxy far far away.

Review by: Joel "Mith" Storms