The Director and the Jedi is an interesting, joyous, and sometimes heartbreaking look at the making of one of the biggest movies of all time.
Director: Anthony Wonke
Summary: An intimate documentary delving into Rian Johnson’s process as he comes in as a director new to the Star Wars universe.
There are so many moving parts that go into making a movie happen, and when you’re making something as big as a Star Wars movie there are even more. We so rarely get a chance to see behind the curtain, and the fact that we have something like The Director and the Jedi is so awesome — not only as Star Wars fans but as fans of moviemaking in the first place. Director Anthony Wonke put radio mics on Rian Johnson and Ram Burgman and followed them around from the beginning of the shoot to the final day.
We see Johnson as he goes through the writing process and trying to figure out budgets. We see them decide which creatures can be built and which creatures will be CGI. We see the dog with the straws on it to get the look of the vulptices. Johnson is an endlessly charming person with this adorable high-pitched laugh whenever he is happy, and we get to see him happy a lot. The moments where we get to see Carrie Fisher are truly heartbreaking, and the fact that she’s gone is really only mentioned once by Johnson. The documentary doesn’t cover all of the post-production work, just the actual production, so her loss isn’t really addressed. But it doesn’t make her scenes any less tough to watch. To see her and Mark Hamill shoot their scene from the movie is somehow even more moving.
Hamill is also a joy to watch in this. There is clearly no one who is loving life more than Mark Hamill, and it comes across so clearly in this documentary. They address the fact that Hamill didn’t agree with Johnson’s direction for Luke right away, but he acknowledges that he isn’t person steering this ship. Luke isn’t his character, he just plays him, which is nice to see. It’s also nice to see how he reacts when he sees Frank Oz with the Yoda puppet.
The Director and the Jedi probably won’t change the minds of people who hated Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but for those looking for an in-depth peek look at how the movie was made, this is a must-see. If nothing else we get to see some more of the always-fantastic Carrie Fisher as Rian Johnson giggles in the background.
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