Friday, December 16, 2016

I Am Your Father - 5 stars out of 10

I Am Your Father - 5 stars out of 10

Since everybody else is out seeing “Rogue One” and I am at home with the baby, I am getting my Star Wars fix by reviewing “I Am Your Father.”  At first, this documentary appears to be an homage to cinema’s greatest villain but it quickly reveals itself to be a tribute to David Prowse, the actor that played Darth Vader.  When Prowse signed on to play this role, he believed that he would be the body AND the voice of Vader.  This film is very one-sided but its perspective paints Prowse as a victim who had his voice replaced by James Earl Jones; moreover, during the filming of “Return of the Jedi,” the director secretly filmed the scene where Darth Vader’s helmet is removed with a different actor!  This divisive issue reminds me of a main plot point from “Singing in the Rain” only it happened in real life.  The documentary succeeds in building sympathy for Prowse as he is not invited to official Star Wars conventions and is basically ignored by Lucasfilm due to tension during the filming of the trilogy.  At the same time, I have to question how much of this story is exaggerated after 30 years of bitterness.  The documentary fails at properly representing the other side of the argument.  It also falls short of the excitement that you expect from anything involving Star Wars.  When I watch a film like “Man on Wire,” I could look up all of the information online but the story is so compelling that it necessitates seeing the documentary to gain a complete understanding of the subject matter.  Conversely, I feel that I could have learned everything about this story by reading a quick article online.  It is worth seeing for any Star Wars fan because it is Star Wars.  However, the film lacks that is generated by a documentary that unfolds like a mystery novel.  “I Am Your Father” is informative that will give you a greater appreciation for the actor behind the mask of Darth Vader but I definitely would have rather been watching “Rogue One” (or any film from the Star Wars catalog other than “Episode I”).

[Pictured: It is pretty cool to see David Prowse in the Darth Vader costume nearly 40 years after filming "A New Hope," but the documentary is dry and mainly opinionated]

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