Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Jedi Junkies Underwhelms Both Fans And Documentary Aficionados.

The Good: Some decent interviews
The Bad: Lacking a number of significant perspectives, Meanders
The Basics: A meandering documentary, Jedi Junkies glosses over Star Wars fandom.

Every now and then, there is a documentary that explores something truly uncommon and actually manages to explore an aspect of that previously unpresented topic. For a change, I find myself actually impressed by the Star Trek documentary Trekkies (reviewed here!). Even if that documentary portrayed a very negative aspect of Star Trek fandom, at least it made something of a statement. Jedi Junkies does not.

Jedi Junkies is a documentary on Star Wars fandom. Unfortunately, it is not a particularly good documentary. When a seventy-five minute documentary spends twenty seconds fixed on the director of a fan film listening to his cell phone, not reacting at all to what he is hearing, one has to wonder what the point is.

Jedi Junkies meanders through Star Wars culture – without clips from any of the Star Wars films – and with interviews only from four performers from the Sextet. The movie starts with a broad exploration of Star Wars fandom (pretty much introducing a dozen Star Wars fans) and shows a few different collections. The documentary then moves into light saber training, fan films, the debate between who shot first (Greedo or Han Solo), and then collectibles. After a debate over who would win between Darth Maul and Darth Vader, the documentary gives exposure to one filk band and then more fan films and prop replica manufacturers.

Jedi Junkies is notably lacking in interviews from George Lucas or any of the other directors from the Star Wars movies. Olivia Munn is a poor substitute to Lucas speaking about the phenomenon he created. That only supporting performers from the Star Wars movies are interviewed and their footage is minimized in comparison to, for example, a random collector (he is not listed as having a superlatively large collection) who should either put his gauges back in or cover his grossly sagging lobes.

Director Mark Edlitz smartly gets interviews from psychologists, but he does not manage to ask any truly probing questions or get any truly audacious footage. Instead, the premise of the movie is “hey, there are Star Wars fans . . . here are some.” That’s not particularly compelling moviemaking or documentary work and that is why Jedi Junkies largely fails.

For other documentaries, please check out my reviews of:
Trek Nation
Great White Odyssey
After Porn Ends


For other film reviews, please visit my Movie Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2013 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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