Falling Into Darkness: The Making of Episode III

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Falling Into Darkness: The Making of Episode III
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Original Release Date:
2005
Original Running Time:
139
Fanedit Release Date:
Fanedit Running Time:
171
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Brief Synopsis:
Falling Into Darkness is a feature-length documentary on the making of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, that chronicles the behind the scenes process on the conclusion of the six-film Star Wars saga. Over five hours of footage of interviews from the cast and crew, featurettes, webisodes, outtakes, raw footage from on-set and inside the production, has all been combined and edited into an in-depth look at the process that brought the end of the Prequel trilogy to the big screen.
Intention:
As a lot of the Making-Of and Behind the Scenes content for the prequels and this film especially are stretched and broken up on multiple discs on multiple formats and even content exclusive to starwars.com, there isn't any easy way to watch all of it without needing to switch things around. So I sought out to make a definitive documentary, in the vein of Empire of Dreams, that you could sit down and watch to understand the process behind the making of the film.
Other Sources:
WEBISODES
One World, Two Movies
Two Worlds, One Movie
We Still Do A Little Bit
Creating General Grevious
This Weapon is Your Life
Video Village
Epic Designs for an Expanding Universe
C3PO: His Moment to Shine
Becoming Obi-Wan
The Wookies Are Back
B107: The Life of a HD Tape
Pickups and Reshoots
Bringing Creatures to Life
Becoming Sideous

starwars.com Exclusive Webisodes
Going to the Dark Side
Behind the Curtain
The Journey: Part 1 and 2

FEATURETTES

Episode III DVD (2005)
Anakin: The Chosen One
Its All For Real - The Stunts of Episode III

The Star Wars Trilogy Boxset Bonus Disc (2004)
The Return of Darth Vader: Episode III Preview

Star Wars: The Complete Saga Blu-Ray (2011)
Coruscant, Utapau, Order 66/Kashyyk and Mustafar Overviews
The Collection: Chewbacca, Darth Vader, Tion Medon, Burnt Anakin and Imperial Officer Costumes
Utapau Sinkhole, Mustafar Mountain, Kashyyk Tree, Felucia Landscape, Boga, Arc 170 and Jedi
Starfighters, The Invisible Hand, Grevious Models Minatures and Maquettes
Interviews: Samuel L Jackson, Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor and Blue Screen Acting Discussion

OTHER
Star Wars Episode III: ILM Siggraph 2005 Reel

FILMS
Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (1999)
Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
Special Thanks:
George
Release Information:
Digital
Editing Details:
All the featurettes from the DVDs, Blu-Rays and starwars.com were ripped and converted into a workable format. Then I made a rough outline on how to structure them, and decided on a somewhat chronological order based on the film, so that it opens on the Invisible Hand, and ends with Mustafar (basically). After that was a rough cut just placing everything togther into five chapters, and then trimming and adjusting things so that everything would flow accordingly. Then, the technical details were worked out, (cropping and framing the BR Collection footage so that it wasn't in an orange box, adding name tags to those who didn't have any, generally making sure there wasn't any repeated stuff or derivitive content, etc). Finally, the doco was exported in 720p as a lot of the content was poor upscales of SD stuff, as it made up the majority. The 1080p footage was heavily cropped, so a full 1080p was pointless in my opinion.
Cuts and Additions:
The documentary is broken up into 5 chapters, each discussing a different part or section of the film.

Chapter I - The Beginning of the End (42min)
The first chapter discusses the opening battle over Coruscant and talks about the ships featured, General Grevious, Dooku, digital filmmaking, lightsabers and Obi-Wan, and his progression from Episode II and then into Episode IV

Chapter II - Capital of the Republic (27min)
This one is a bit more broad and kind of a catchall for a lot of stuff, but is mostly stuff on the city planet itself. Things included are Coruscant locations, Padme, Palpatine, Mace Windu and their fight, C-3PO, and finally costume and creature design.

Chapter III - The Expanding Galactic War (35min)
Planets, planets and more planets. The Clone Wars cover a lot of planets, and so does this section. Utapau, the Utapauns and the Boga chase dominate the first section. But Order 66 is described as well and the featured planets with Kashyyk and the Wookies taking up the backend.

Chapter IV - Last Turn to the Dark Side (35min)
Anakin and his turn to Darth Vader is explored in great detail here in what I think is the longest section. Anakin as a character is discussed as well as Hayden Christianson as an actor. His development as a character across the trilogy and his darkness within, character design and costuming from his Jedi robes to his horrible burns and the Vader suit itself.

Chapter V - The Fires Within (21min)
The last chapter covers Mustafar and the surprising miniatures that make up the planet. This is covered amazingly in "Within A Minute" so there's just a few tidbits here as well as some of the new Imperials being talked about. Reshoots at the end of production are also talked about, as it flows into the production wrap, the film's premiere, the joy from within the fanbase and the cast/crew and the conclusion of the journey of Episode I-VI.
Opening

User reviews

4 reviews
Overall rating
 
9.5
Audio/Video Quality
 
9.3(4)
Audio Editing
 
9.5(4)
Visual Editing
 
9.5(4)
Narrative
 
9.5(4)
Enjoyment
 
9.8(4)
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Overall rating
 
8.8
Audio/Video Quality
 
9.0
Audio Editing
 
9.0
Visual Editing
 
9.0
Narrative
 
8.0
Enjoyment
 
9.0
The description for this states that it's over 5 hours long (maybe there's some other version out there?) but what I watched was a single-sitting documentary, 2h50m from starting credits to ending fade-out. It's a pretty comprehensive look at Episode III, in fact, maybe going TOO far in that it frequently looks back at the trilogy as a whole. Since Bobson has gone on to do a true 5 hour plus doc for Episode I, I'd like to see a new version of this that cuts out the Episode I and II behind-the-scenes footage to avoid duplication.

I actually watched that Episode I doc first, and I think it unfortunately hurts my appreciation of this one, which Bobson made a year earlier. It suffers by comparison in that it doesn't have the clear chapters of the Episode I doc, and it's sometimes hard to see what the throughline is. The footage is assembled in a way that doesn't feel as clearly thematic and have such a clear progression as in the other doc. There's also the matter that the audio levels and quality jump up and down massively between sources. The video quality differs quite a bit as well. Effort put into unifying these somewhat across the sources would really help this to feel more like one coherent documentary instead of just a bunch of featurettes in a playlist, sometimes with pieces of footage repeating.

If you haven't seen much on Episode III, there's quite a bit of nice information here that takes you into the process. The most interesting bit for me was a segment following a digital "reel" from when it's shot through the process to where it ends up in the final work. It's a great insight into how shooting on digital has fundamentally changed the filmmaking process. It was also interesting to hear some of the bits where the actors reflect back on the challenges of shooting these kind of films, with so few actual physical bits and having such a struggle to make the material emotionally connect. It's the most frank criticism (sometimes SELF-criticism) I've heard from anyone in the Prequel Trilogy.

I do wish Bobson hadn't put so much of that negative material at the end though, as the film felt like ending the trilogy on a high note for me, but the doc trends downwards and then stops on some uber-Star Wars geeks waxing poetic about the old films. I think it was meant to end on a funny note, but the tone overall ends up feeling cynical at the end to me. This one should feel like Lucas' victory lap, so I think the footage would benefit from rearranging a bit.

User Review

Do you recommend this edit?
Yes
Format Watched?
Digital
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Overall rating
 
10.0
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
Audio Editing
 
10.0
Visual Editing
 
10.0
Narrative
 
10.0
Enjoyment
 
10.0
I really enjoyed this, a well thought out documentary similar to the Appendices from Lord of the Rings. It's extremely well put together and well worth your time.
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Overall rating
 
9.8
Audio/Video Quality
 
9.0
Audio Editing
 
10.0
Visual Editing
 
10.0
Narrative
 
10.0
Enjoyment
 
10.0
Basically something I've always wanted - all the bonus features in one place. Thank you, Bobson.

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Do you recommend this edit?
Yes
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Digital
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Overall rating
 
9.4
Audio/Video Quality
 
9.0
Audio Editing
 
9.0
Visual Editing
 
9.0
Narrative
 
10.0
Enjoyment
 
10.0
Really great job basically putting together a really compelling documentary out of a lot of interesting doc/featurettes. I really loved watching it.

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Do you recommend this edit?
Yes
Format Watched?
Digital
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