Book review: Star Wars: Frames, selected by George Lucas

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 24 November, 2013, 5:00pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 24 November, 2013, 5:00pm

Star Wars: Frames
selected by George Lucas
4 stars

Tish Wells

Who hasn't in their lifetime wanted to study a moment in a film, to pause the action and survey what is going on without fear that the hold suddenly will end?

For fans of George Lucas' Star Wars saga, that moment has finally come with Star Wars: Frames. It is all six of the Star Wars films frame-by-frame.

In 2011, Frames was issued in a limited edition of six volumes that cost US$3,000; now it's been trimmed down to a two-volume set, for US$150.

Frames is for fans who know the movies well. There are no captions or explanations - just photographs.

Film director and Star Wars devotee Guillermo del Toro provides the foreword for the volume that covers Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

"For my generation - for me - the first two Star Wars films were pillars of not only entertainment, but of filmic myth-generating and mythmaking," he says. "For the generation that immediately followed mine, the third film was that and Episodes I, II, and III spoke to each successive generation."

The introduction to the volume that covers The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith" was written by Lucasfilm author J.W. Rinzler who says Lucas sat down in 2005 to select frames for the original six-volume set. He calculated that the producer "had exactly 184,196 images to examine (for the complete Prequel Trilogy, 566,481 images)".

Lucas completed Frames in 2008.

"Lucas' reasons for choosing a specific frame can be narrowed down. One motivation was to give both fans and cinephiles the time to examine complex images, battle scenes, exotic locations, images that were on screen for only seconds but which had 10 months, if not years, to create," Rinzler writes.

Progress in film technology is clearly shown in the two books: the first three made in the 1970s and early 1980s - Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi - were all shot on film. The three made decades later used digital technology pioneered by Lucas' own Industrial Light and Magic.