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Star Wars Frames - Mixed Feelings
on 4 November 2014
I am a big fan of Star Wars - I love all six movies and think that the saga is one of the best-looking series of films ever created. So naturally, I had high expectations for this book of Star Wars Frames. I have mixed feelings about the results... I love the concept of the book and what it represents, but I think the execution of the idea was poor in a few areas.
As a play-by-play through the films, this book is a massive success. A person who hand never seen Star Wars would get a good idea of the overall story just by looking at these frames (over 200 images per film). Virtually every scene/sequence of the saga is represented with at least one frame. If you love the movies, this book is a trip down memory lane.
As for the printed image quality, I think it is quite good - although you must understand that these are frames taken directly from the films and adjust your expectations accordingly. Since the images are not enhanced in any way, the entire frame is not always in focus (and some action shots are going to appear blurry altogether). What you see in the book is essentially what you'd see if you paused a blu-ray of the movie and looked at one frame.
Apparently George Lucas himself curated this massive collection of frames, going through over a million images and reducing it to the 1400 that appear in this book... a remarkable feat, and one that no doubt was very time-consuming. But I'll be honest: in looking through the book, it sometimes feels as though the frames could have been randomly selected. I am assuming that's not the case, but some of Mr. Lucas's decisions are bewildering to me - I would love to get some insight into why he chose what he chose.
Obviously, Star Wars is first a motion picture. But the principles of motion pictures and the principles of still imagery differ in some areas, and in a sense the printed book format does not lend itself to isolated frames from what was originally intended to be a moving image. I say this because in flipping through the book it becomes quite obvious that many of these isolated frames (each of which contributed to a marvelous movie) would not pass a high-school photography class. They do not follow the basic rules of what make a good image - color balance, composition, etc. [Several examples of such frames can be seen in my video review - I trust that you'll easily spot a few overexposed frames that certainly don't belong.]
Now, to be clear about the problems stated above: I am talking about a relatively small percentage of frames. The majority of the book is marvelous. I can see that Mr. Lucas and/or his editors took the time and effort to ensure that most of the 4-frame spreads had optimal symmetry. Many of the scenes get an even-number of frames, which is a good thing because it allows an entire page or two to be dedicated to the same scene/setting (rather than having two completely unrelated frames sharing the same page).
Having looked through the book, it is fun to think about which frames I would personally add or omit had I curated this collection. Overall, this is a nice collectible for the Star Wars fan and one that I'm proud to own.
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