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Star Wars Behind the Magic

Star Wars - Behind the Magic is Magical

A Cornucopia of Galactic Delights…

By Jim Bray

Star Wars fans have a new resource to help keep them satisfied until the 1999 release of "Episode One."

It’s LucasArts "Star Wars, Behind the Magic," a two CD-ROM reference work that features just about everything you need to know about that long ago galaxy far, far away.

One thing you don’t get is substantive information about the upcoming movies, just a few teasers and some rather innocuous shots from "Episode One." This is okay, though; there’s enough to show that George Lucas et al appear to be doing a good job, yet not enough to spoil your enjoyment of the film when it finally is released.

I like that. I remember when "The Empire Strikes Back" first came out I was in a grocery store, flipping through a comic book version of the film, tantalizing myself with what I’d see in a few days when I travelled to the big city to watch the flick. Then, much to my chagrin, the comic opened to a page that revealed (horror of horrors!) that Darth Vader was Luke’s father. This spoiled the suspense and I’ve vowed never to jump the gun again.

So LucasArts has given just the right amount of information here.

Cornucopia of Galactic Delights…

"Star Wars BTM" pulls info from all sorts of sources spread over various media – which is appropriate since the films have evolved into a multimedia empire that extends from movies and computer games to novels, comic books, toys, etc. etc. etc. You also get interviews with some of the people "behind the magic."

Easily accessible sections make up the two discs -- Scene-by-Scene, Characters, Locations, Technology, Events, Expanded Universe, Behind the Scenes, Star Wars: Episode I Preview and Glossary. You get more than 2,000 photographs and production art examples, a score of 3D models, 40 minutes of video, 20 minutes of audio and 30 ship schematics.

There are also scene-by-scene reviews of each of the Star Wars Trilogy Special Editions, as well as the story timelines from each movie. The "Characters" section features all of the main characters, prominent groups, creatures, and aliens, while the "Locations" section includes all the worlds and locales featured throughout the Star Wars universe.

If you want to find out how all the neat gadgets work, click on the "Technology" section and you’ll learn about the weapons, vehicles and devices. You can even try out some of the weapons!

There’s even a commentary, courtesy of C-3PO, that accompanies you as you go wander around a virtual 3D walk-through of the Millennium Falcon, the legendary ship that made the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs.

If you’re into costumes, you’ll want to check out the virtual fashion show of Princess Leia's costumes.

Movie freaks may enjoy the behind the scenes photographs and stories from the film sets.

And there’s also a reasonably in-depth look at the cast, crew, personnel, special effects, publicity, actor screen tests and Star Wars culture, along with a 700-entry searchable database, including images, that’s nestled in the "Glossary" section.

And you also get the inevitable trivia game.

Fans are also sure to enjoy the "Lost Scenes" section, which includes such "lost to the cutting room floor" scenes as Luke Skywalker on Tatooine, viewing the capture of the Rebel Blockade runner from the opening of "A New Hope."

As is typical of George Lucas and LucasArts, Star Wars Behind The Magic is very polished and is sure to be a "must have" for the millions of Star Wars fans all over the galaxy.


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January 31, 2006