Saturday, August 13, 2016

Short Film Spotlight: STAR WARS: EXILE - PART 1

Welcome back to another installment of SHORT FILM SPOTLIGHT.  This week, we take a look at the amazing Star Wars short film...STAR WARS: EXILE - Part 1.

Jedi around the galaxy are being viciously hunted and killed by the evil Galactic Empire. Aware of the imminent danger, Jedi Master Boemana Tora and her Padawan Makal Lori, flee to the outer rim systems close to the planet of Lothal.

Since I started this segment, I have watch hundreds of short films, a few of which happened to be based on the most prolific sci-fi franchise of all time, Star Wars, and while most are just alright, once in a while you get one that stands out.  Exile is definitely one of those.

Much like the highly popular Star Wars short film, Darth Maul: Apprentice, Exile has a very high production value, which makes you feel like it belongs in that universe.  Right off the bat you see that the Georgia State grad who created this film, Noel Braham, truly understands this universe, from inside and outside of the films.  We get some great fight choreography and effects in the opening 5-minutes alone.  It's fantastic.  We see a couple of Stormtroopers, the infamous Mandalorian bounty hunter Boba Fett, and even Jedi Master Quinlan Vos.

One of the things I loved, which is something that fan films tend to do as opposed to the films, is when they "show" the Force as its being used.  What I mean by this is that reality seems to ripple when it's used, at least to the eyes of the audience, and that is something I've always wished they'd use in the actual films.  I also enjoyed seeing well known Jedi like Quinlan Vos, who is a much more tribal looking Force user as opposed to the "prim an proper" looking Jedi we're used to, which we do also get to see.  I question whether or not the female at the beginning are actually a Jedi (even though she's credited as "Jedi J") because she snaps the neck of a Stormtrooper with the Force, something a true Jedi would never do in my opinion.  Perhaps she's actually a dark Jedi as it seems she is ready to battle Quinlan when they meet.

Then enters the Inquisitor.  Someone we have yet to see in the main films, but have popped up several times in books and comics.  From the beginning you know just how viscous and twisted this Inquisitor really is as he tortures Jedi J, using her like a creepy marionette puppet, right before ripping out her heart with the Force.  We then get a great surprise as the one and only Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Vader, makes an appearance, ready to take out Quinlan Vos, who's fate is currently unknown.

Up until this point (about 5-6 minutes or so) this film has felt exactly like a Star Wars film, and then they do one better and gives us some classic Star Wars music and the one thing that every Star Wars property should have...the opening text crawl.  In the crawl we learn that the Inquisitor is hunting down Force sensitive beings in an attempt to turn them to the Dark Side of the Force.  Also, those of us familiar with the two animated series get a very familiar name, Ahsoka Tano.  Ahsako was the main character in the animated series Star Wars: Clone Wars, and recently made appearances in Star Wars: Rebels.  She doesn't appear in the film, but I have hopes that she will pop up in future films.

Then we come to our main protagonists, Jedi Master Boemana Tora and her Padawan Makal Lori.  We quickly discover that Boemana has a serious distrust of the Jedi Order, blaming them for the results of Order 66, the order Palpatine gave causing the Clone Troppers to begin the slaughter of all Jedi in Revenge of the Sith.  Makal obviously doesn't share this distrust, as he defends the Order.

We get some beautiful background scenery and a very cool Force vision from Makal.  Then we get a fight between Boemana and the Inquisitor, which to be honest, wasn't very impressive.  It seemed a bit slow paced as far as the lightsaber battling went.  Makal (who is played by writer and director Noel Braham) gives such a great, emotional performance and I can't wait to see what he does in the next installment and even in films outside of the Star Wars universe.

If you have a short film or know of one you'd like to see featured on SHORT FILM SPOTLIGHT, please EMAIL me and don't forget to like and follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!!

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