Star Wars: The Premake (2015) | By John D’Amico | 118 min.
A couple years ago when John D’Amico first told me he was planning on doing this, it of course sounded awesome, but it seemed to me like it might become a Synecdoche, New York-esque endeavor that would take over his life for decades. I just couldn’t fathom it ever actually being completed, even a rough cut. But then again, we’re talking about the guy behind Shot Context—if anyone were going to do this, and do it without growing old and grey, it’d be him. His encyclopedic knowledge of film, and ability to pinpoint homages, ripoffs, and coincidences throughout all of film history, never ceases to amaze me.
I know you’ve read the title of this post already, but let me just reiterate what exactly has been done here, because it’s so goddamn impressive that I guess I need to say it again in order to confirm to you that yes, you have, in fact, read it correctly: John D’Amico has recreated Star Wars: A New Hope, shot-by-shot, entirely from clips of pre-1977 media. A ‘premake’, as he has so humbly decided to call this mammoth undertaking. (A ‘One Of The Greatest Things Cody Clarke Has Ever Seen-make’ was too long and niche, I suppose.)
Over many, many months, I watched this thing grow as he sent me clips he’d cut together, clips that made my eyes as wide as dinner plates, as to be expected from the sheer brain food of it all. But what I wasn’t prepared for was how beautiful the finished product would be. Seeing Star Wars in this way is an educational experience, for sure—but even more than that, it’s an emotional one. Parts of this thing make me tear up, parts of it make me laugh hard. And I know I won’t be the only one.