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“Tatooine” by Eric Power

Minneapolis musician Jeremy Messersmith’s latest song inspired Austin-based animator Eric Power (Waking Life) to recreate the Star Wars trilogy with paper cut-outs. The end result:

  • Animation: Great. Incredibly annoying cellphone ads: Brand hate-inducing.

  • I just don’t get it. Why do people make these “tribute” films?

    Here’s STAR WARS with cutouts.
    Here’s STAR WARS with sock puppets.
    Here’s STAR WARS made out of belly-button lint.

    Are filmmakers so creatively bankrupt that they need to ‘honor’ (too polite to say RIP OFF) a 30+ year old movie?

    Sure. The animation’s nice. Blah, blah, blah… But it’s boring. The story has been told. Been there. Seen it (the first time around – opening day – first kid in line at the theater).

    So what do I suggest? Read a book. Read “War and Peace”. Read “The Winds of War”, or “Gone With The Wind”. Explore literature beyond what is published by Marvel or DC. That will help you grow as a filmmaker, as an artist and as a person.

    P.S. I have dibs on the Belly-Button Lint idea.

  • Tony C

    This is what the credits to Star Wars would look like done by Pixar. It’s a wicked little recap of one of the worlds favourite stories.

  • Thomas Hatch

    That was awesome!

  • David Breneman

    The battle scenes accompanied by the lilting piano music was certainly an unusual stylistic touch.

  • Randy Koger

    Ummmm…..the whole thing seemed completely pointless to me – not to mention totally without charm.
    Really, why bother? What is the point?
    And something that REALLY needs to die, right now…..imbedded internet ads. I usually immediately click off of anything that has ads posted in front of it.

    I agree with Steve above…..broaden your horizons filmmaker.

  • Sean D

    Randy and Steve,

    It’s called participation within one’s culture. Does everything in your world need to make a point with you? I’m sure Eric had a great deal of fun making the video. Besides, the video has achieved exactly what it was meant to do… get you familiar with the music of Jeremy Messersmith in an enjoyable way. I liked both the song and the accompanying visuals myself.

    True, the world needs more original tales, but this music video in no way diminishes your ability to create something yourselves.

    Kids, if you’re ever inspired to create anything, go with your impulse and do it! Don’t let curmudgeons like these two make you second guess your ideas. You don’t need their permission or their approval. Just stay inspired and create, create, create!

  • The Gee

    I’ve expressed it before and I’ll express it again:
    Boy! That George Lucas inspired a lot with his accomplishments.

    One of the very simple things he did wasn’t innovative but certainly was effective as all get-out: he had toys made which allowed kids to recreate what was a pretty big universe, filled with gadgets, doodads, characters both good and bad and it was set in spaaaaace! So, there was infinite unknowns to play with. Additionally, there’s been comics, novels, novelizations, and tons of merchandise made based on those movies.

    There’s something about all that stuff that’s been made and the fact that some people think Lucas fell short on making each stories in the series as great as possible seems to have led some to either re-create the stories, add to the stories or one up it all.

    Lucas inspired people to play with toys based on his imagination, and those of the people who worked on the Star Wars movies. Somehow that all resonates and people feel perfectly fine with building off of those ideas.

    I don’t know if it is right or wrong. But, like that Donald Duck re-mix, it isn’t something I’d feel comfortable staking claim with. I’d rather try to make something close to original. But, I can’t begrudge others for being creative with Star Wars related ideas. I would hope if they truly have creative bones in their bodies that they would shoot for different stars though. So, I agree with Randy and Steve…take less, make more.

  • Dugg

    Music like in the Apple ads, and a Star Wars tribute.

    There’s a lot of great well executed stuff here, but sadly, I have to side with the haters: It’s following the herd.

  • @ Sean D:

    Look at it this way, if Eric Power ever had the opportunity to show “Tatooine” to George Lucas, Lucas would probably raise and eyebrow and say its very nice. But would he be impressed in any way, on any level? No. There’s nothing impressive or thought provoking about “Tatooine”.

    If a filmmaker showed a unique, interesting, well thought out vision to George Lucas and said that it was inspired by STAR WARS, Lucas might stop and think about it for a minute and stop to chat.

    Participation in the culture doesn’t mean slavishly following popular works. It means ADDING to the culture.

    What filmmaker would be interested in seeing an “unauthorized sequel”? Total waste of time and effort.

    But I still have dibs on the “Belly Button Lint” edition.

  • The Gee

    I gotta agree with Steve. (and believe me, over the years, that hasn’t always been the case)

    I would add that filmmakers of Lucas’ generation were influenced by a lot of different filmmakers and other artists. They were lucky enough to be some of the earliest film students. And their influences showed. But beyond that, their innovation and experimentation showed, too.

    I would think that Lucas and others of his generation would like to see younger generations have multiple influences beyond just one. That’s a guess but I can’t be that far off.

  • Randy Koger

    Yo, Sean.
    Really, you have no idea how off base you are about me…..I’m am about as far from a “curmudgeon” as one can get. I love animated movies of all types, LOVED Star Wars when it came out, LOVED the sequels, love music of all types, collect vintage toys (and play with them on occasion), I sing (fairly well), read a lot (of everything),build and show models, volunteer helping folks learn to read, and – among what seems like a million other things – I do voice work on a semi-serious level when the work comes my way. (Local ads, readings, etc.) And yes, I have a degree and a “real” job that I go to every day. And trust me, I don’t visit Cartoon Brew every day just for the thrill of stomping on everyone’s work. Most of the artists on here blow me away with how creative they are, and I’ll never reach the level of most who show on here.

    No, my gripe with this piece isn’t that it has no point (though I did say that- poor choice of words on my part). My gripe is that it’s just soooooooo hack. And it’s tired. I mean my God….has frickin’ Star Wars not been done to DEATH?? Dugg said it best: It’s following the herd. I run into the same problem in my voice work when I do something substandard or that is so uninspired or an obvious rip-off of something….I get called on the carpet for it. In a worst case scenario, I don’t get the job. Besides, what the hell does that song have to do with Star Wars?

    And kids, there’s no sin when you follow your instincts and produce something from your heart. It makes you happy? Do it! BUT be aware that producing something and putting it out there means taking some flak for it sometimes. You’re gonna show your work? OK…but you better be inspired….or damn good. Or something. And you better have a thick skin. ‘Cause there are gonna be people that don’t like it. (Make that me as far as this video is concerned.) And if you’re smart you won’t blow off your detractors as Sean does. That’s the coward’s way out. Listen and learn. And up the game the next time.

    Ya missed the boat on this one, Jeremy.

    • Tony C

      There there, it’s ok. You’re not a bad person.

  • Texas

    I really loved the animation and the song- it had alot of heart.Actually liked it more than the movies :)

  • “Besides, what the hell does that song have to do with Star Wars?” Are you telling us you didn’t catch the recurring line “Twin suns of Tatooine”?

    I’m not blown away by the short/music-video/tribute, but I did enjoy it. It’s not forging new ground in storytelling sure, but why does it have to? This film maker obviously likes Star Wars and has every right to pay tribute to it.

    There’s a world of rightable wrongs to rant about, why focus on someone’s personal creative work? Sure they put it out there and therefore it’s ripe for critique, but do you really want to be the guy who is seen to piss on other people’s fires just because you can?