Ah, the internet. It’s almost impossible not to fall down the rabbit hole of websites like YouTube and find a near-endless supply of viewings to suit any palate. Personally, I LOVE videos of people hurting themselves. Which probably says more about my psyche then my affinity for watching movies, but I digress.
Last week, my WONDERFUL editor Dave, sent me a link to a fairly well-put-together Star Wars fan film written and directed by Jordan Inconstant called Le Secret de Tatooine…yes, it’s French. And in case you’re REALLY bad at translations, that means THE Secret OF Tatooine. Read a book why don’cha.
While it’s not perfect (few, if any, fan films ever are) Le Secret de Tatooine has many things working in it’s favor. Unfortunately, its imperfections really hinder it.
The story takes place between Episodes III and IV (popular nowadays) and is about Obi-Wan Kenobi continuing to train in the Jedi arts and the lengths he’ll go to to protect young Luke Skywalker.
Now, this review may seem kind of harsh, but I hope it comes off more as a what-to-do/not-to-do list for young filmmakers.
First, if you’re making a fan film based on a VERY popular American intellectual property that has a VERY recognizable prologue style, it might behoove you to do an English version. Most Americans can read English subtitles of French dialogue, but not all of us can read a French crawl.
That being said, “Know your audience.”
Who is gonna watch a Star Wars fan film…class?
Star Wars fans, correct. So, you probably don’t need to spend as much time/effort/energy/dialogue/screen time explaining things that the audience most likely already knows. Speaking of spending time…
Part of what makes the canonical Star Wars films so powerful is that, right off the bat they allow the audience time to sink into the world that is presented to them before the dialogue sinks in. In less than 15 seconds Le Secret de Tatooine goes from opening crawl to dialogue. I understand it’s a short film, but give us a sec, please. Let us get there.
One of the things that “takes us there” should be the music. This one is really tricky. I appreciate that they used John Williams’ iconic score for this, but where was the original composition? Now granted, had the new music not fit it would REALLY hurt this project, but I would’ve appreciated the effort.
Gautier Del Pia was a good find to play a slightly weathered, post-Order 66, Ben Kenobi. He actually, kinda sounds like Ewan McGregor if he were a Frenchman. And Luka Quinn does a decent job as a young Luke Skywalker. He kinda looks like him. He’s not annoying (ahem).
Then, while the lighting could have used some more attention, the things that disappointed me most were the things that weren’t in this film. More time with Luke, more time with Ben, more background on the bounty hunter and his VW Bus-lookin’ ship, ANYTHING else with Vader.
One thing that absolutely stands out in this film are the locations. The film was shot in the French Alps and the Spanish Desert, and both areas look amazing. If you’re a sucker for good locations, this one definitely delivers in that department, and really helps the overall look of everything.
In the digital age, in a world populated by cosplayers, it’s not nearly as difficult to make a SW fan film as it was, maybe 15 years ago. In fact, had this come out around the late 90’s, Jordan Inconstant would probably be making films for Disney right now.
The Bottom Line:
As it stands, I can’t say I’m a fan of Le Secret de Tatooine, but I think it’s a good start. Understand that this is, of course, a FAN FILM, and thus is a non-profit production done entirely for the love of the product, and definitely take that into consideration. As far as fan films go, this was one of the better ones out there for sure, but of course it was still just a fan film. Take that however you’d like. – 6.0/10
Disagree with my review? Feel free to shove it in your trash compactor in the comment section below.
-Todd A. Davis
Staff Writer: Nerd Nation Magazine