Plot: What’s it about?
This disc features the wildly popular short film George Lucas In Love, as well as three other humorous short movies. I admit, four short films don’t make a value packed disc, but with all the supplements and a low price, I think this one is worth picking up. Below is a list of each short film, with a brief synopsis and also my brief thoughts on each one.
1. George Lucas In Love- This short is the focus of the disc and with good reason, it was viewed at an astronomical rate on the internet and even outsold The Phantom Menace at one point on VHS. Of course, this is a satire of Shakespeare In Love that tackles the issues of what inspired Lucas to pen his best known works. It is only nine minutes in length, but no time is wasted and this one is a must have for fans of Star Wars and Lucas’ other efforts as well.
2. Evil Hill- Ever wonder how Dr. Evil from Austin Powers became so mean? This send up of Notting Hill and Austin Powers answers that question, by delving into his past and revealing a long buried secret. We see that love can change a person, sometimes much for the worse. I liked this short film a lot as well, though you have to like Dr. Evil to appreciate it. In any case, it makes a very welcome addition to this disc.
3. Film Club- This one takes roots in Fight Club, but takes references from all over the cinematic map, which doesn’t always pan out. This one clocks in at a brisk six minutes though, so there’s not enough time for it to become dull. Some of the stuff works and the overall theme is fun, so I am pleased it was packed onto this disc.
4. Swing Blade- Wow. This one takes Carl from Sling Blade and throws him in with the hep cats from Swingers, what more can you ask for? I do wish the short was longer than four minutes, but it still works wonders and is a terrific addition to this release. I laughed from start to finish with this short and if you like Sling Blade, you will as well.
Video: How does it look?
The films are shown in their intended aspect ratios, whether full frame or 1.85:1 widescreen. I do wish these were anamorphic when possible, but I suppose the budget for this disc wouldn’t allow that. No real problems surface though and I was pleased to find minimal compression flaws, which is good for an independent release like this. The colors seem bright and bold, with no distortion I could see and flesh tones also look natural. The contrast is smooth as well, no visible detail loss is evident and black levels seem well balanced. All the shorts look great on this disc, much better than you might expect even.
Audio: How does it sound?
These are student films or the like, so the audio is rather basic and doesn’t need much power. So while the tracks might not blow out the speakers, the shorts sound good and I wasn’t let down in the least. The music sounds solid in them all, harshness is non existent, sound effects seem distinct, and no problems emerge with the dialogue either. The basics are present and in fine form, which is all you need for these short films.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The bonus materials included are for George Lucas In Love only, the others stand alone in terms of extras. An audio commentary track with director Joe Nussbaum and producer Joseph Levy is included, which makes for a brief, but interesting listen. You can also view the film with “pop up” trivia on Lucas, see some behind the scenes footage, and if you know the code, unlock a special bonus feature. The code is rather simple, especially if you’re a fan of Lucas’ career.