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Tuesday, 17 December 2013

AFICIONADO CLASSIC REVIEW (2008): 'BRING BACK 'STAR WARS'' TV REUNION EVENT

A Princess and her Wookiee: Carrie Fisher and Justin Lee Collins in BRING BACK 'STAR WARS'!



BRING BACK 'STAR WARS'


CREATED BY, HOSTED AND STARRING JUSTIN LEE COLLINS

FIRST AIRED ON CHANNEL 4 (UK) TELEVISION -14TH SEPTEMBER 2008


Reviewed by Scott Weller


Also known as BRING BACK 'STAR WARS' - BUT ONLY IF ANTHONY DANIELS DOESN’T COME ALONG!


I never in my life expected to see a cast reunion that included the holy trinity of Ford, Hamill and Fisher-I knew it wouldn’t ever, EVER happen, and that Ford isn't interested in STAR WARS apart from making money signing OFFICIALPIX images-but I have to say that, despite that knowledge, I was hoping the powers of persuasion belonging to charismatic and charmingly British Justin Lee Collins might at the very least reunite Hamill and Fisher, so I was slightly disappointed by his at times noble/comedic/nostalgic/bold adventure to BRING BACK STAR WARS, and it may have been a reaction felt similarly by CHANNEL 4, too, after months of holding the programme back from it's original transmission plans last year (or were their other factors involved, like possible LUCASFILM/actor problems (Justin Lee Collins didn't pursue Harrison Ford, I felt, with any of the kind of zeal that he did with the other WARS people (or even those from previous BRING BACK specials he’d done-his getting hold of Mister T for the previous A-TEAM edition having been superb!)-at least from what I saw in the finished programme!)). Yes, as ever, Collins was on fine enthusiastic Bristolian fare and you could see that he genuinely loves STAR WARS (it was fun seeing him the pictures of him at the years he went to see each of the classic films), and you could plainly feel that he was loving meeting, or trying to meet (his attempts to raise a money collection from Los Angeles residents to pay for Mark Hamill’s interview was very funny (what happened to the $1,000 odd bucks they'd raised, though!)), all the actors in this well-produced and edited programme (loved those rare STAR WARS fans clips and the reasonably good quality HOLIDAY SPECIAL scenes, too), of which I felt the new look (for 2007), blond-haired Carrie Fisher was on top form –at first charmingly reluctantly to talk, but soon reluctantly charming in her conversation with Collins (and her memories of that first hairstyle as Leia will probably haunt her from beyond the grave), as was the genuinely surprised Warwick Davis, who bravely talked JEDI and Ewoks in his hot tub with the presenter for an equally amusing segment! But the rest of it, from time to time with the other actors pursued, left me feeling a bit down in the dumps-I knew that there were problems between certain actors/production team members on set, and frictions in the years following the success of STAR WARS, but it kind of upsets me to see it all officially coming out-Hamill's supposed jealousy of Ford and his career, Daniels and Baker hating one another, Fisher wanting an affair at 18 and probably trying it on with Ford, Dave Prowse ostracised by Lucas after JEDI, etc-its like a GODFATHER moment-imagine the Corleone family are all in confession, in some kind of catharsis treatment, then letting loose the Tommy Gun's!

Yep, Collins and, I'm sure, the general viewers, were lapping it all up and the revelations will make wonderful pub conversation for years to come-along the lines of “another happy family (like STAR TREK, DALLAS, etc) that was not as innocent and charming and friendly as the fans thought- ho, ho” - but to me it kind of soured this fun nostalgic programme (I'd love to know what LUCASFILM thought about the final cut-we'll never know, they'll never tell us, but I'd love to be a fly on the wall at the Ranch!). Satisfying it may be for the stars to get the anger of things off their chests but at the end of the programme with only the four regular crowd pleasing UK STAR WARS ambassadors (Prowse, Bulloch, Davis and Baker) meeting up for the drink in London's 24 bar, it saddened me that it seems that our heroes, on screen and off, aren't perfect-heck, I want them to be perfect. Is that too much to ask! Seriously though, all those years of watching their camaraderie and fun on the behind the scenes documentaries have perhaps given me bigger rose-tinted spectacles than I thought I’d worn, but I'd hoped that there would be more enjoyment for me watching the stars taking part in the programme rather than occasionally covering my head in embarrassment as some of their revealed grudges-especially when two of the four BRING BACK actors wouldn't come to the event if Anthony Daniels was attending-such is his unpopularity off camera. I found that all very sad.

What a shame then that the BRING BACK event, what with Collins zest and love for STAR WARS and it’s cast, as well as re-opening old wounds up after thirty years, couldn't have been able to heal them at the same time...


AFICIONADO RATING: The most ambitious "Bring Back" yet didn't totally live up to its lofty aims and promise, though not for want of trying. You have to give kudos to Lee Collins for his gusto and enthusiasm for getting this programme made without much original interest from the UK's CHANNEL 4. One to be seen for the nostalgia rather than the occasional bitterness: 7 out of 10.

FOR A GREAT INTERVIEW WITH JUSTIN LEE COLLINS ON THE PROGRAMME, CHECK OUT THE THREE-PART INTERVIEW ON THE JEDI NEWS SITE: http://www.jedinews.co.uk/news/news.aspx?newsID=1710

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