As someone once pointed out: the Star Wars movies can't exactly be described as cult movies, even though fans would probably want them to be!

After all, they were simply too huge box office hits to achieve cult film statusdom. Maybe they can be best described as a major religion, the Catholicism of fandom or something. However that doesn't mean that they don't inspire cultish behavior . . .

This is made abundantly clear by The Force Among Us, a documentary look at the various faces of contemporary Star Wars fandom. We get the guy who has three rooms filled to the brim with Star Wars merchandise for instance. His bedroom is beginning to overflow with them and soon there won't be any place for him to sleep - as good as any reason to move to a bigger house one supposes. Then there're the guys who go on pilgrimages to Tunisia and Norway to check out the locations where A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back and Phantom Menace were filmed (the sets for Uncle Ben's Tatooine house still exists by the way and is a hotel today). There's the usual collection of convention-goers who pitch up in storm trooper armor and Chewbacca costumes. At the most extreme end we even get a guy who admits to liking Jar Jar Binks!

Star Wars however doesn't seem to engender the same fanatical following as Star Trek though: there are no dentists' offices made up to look like the interior of the Millennium Falcon (see Trekkies) for instance and there aren't any Star Wars alien language institutes.

The Force Among Us is a labor of love though. While it focuses on the more extreme guises of fandom, it is never to make any fun of them. The documentary focuses on them simply because they are more interesting and colorful as one interviewee points out. No one remarks on why of the myriad of talking heads featured only three are women though.

Whether you'll be shaking your head in disbelief or thrilling at the sight of fellow devotees, the point is that The Force Among Us is an entertaining way to spend 80 minutes of your life and the DVD (for sale at their Web site, see link below) is worth checking out.

Slow to start off with too many talking heads going on for too long, The Force Among Us however picks up soon and when it is finished you'll be checking out the various extended interviews on the disc to find out with which Star Wars object or toy the people interviewed would like to be buried with. (Strangely enough no-one wanted to be cremated on a funeral pyre like Darth Vader at the end of Return of the Jedi . . .)


The Force Among Us
Directed by Christian Macht
Written by Christian and Cortney Macht
Region-free DVD
Reviewed: 11 November 2007




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