Of all the things I am fannish about, one of the strangest ones is this: I’m a fan of infrastructure. Bridges and tunnels. Water and sewage treatment plans. Mass transit. It’s the very stuff of civilization. So when I get to see a documentary like Star Wars Within a Minute: The Making of Episode III, about how films are made, down to the accounting department, you know I’m already excited.
Accounting department. Waitaminnit … did I just make the world’s most dynamic Star Wars documentary sound dull? Let’s back up.
Within a Minute is a one-hour-plus documentary found in the DVD extras on Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. The name tells it all it: It’s about how much work goes into exactly one minute of footage. And that minute takes place within the fight scene near the end of the film, where Anakin and Obi-Wan clash sabers on Mustafar.
Every detail is accounted for. We learn that cinematographers flew to Mount Etna, which conveniently erupted, in order to capture the deep orange-reds that make Mustafar so vibrant. We see how the prop maker has to make different lightsabers, for display or for combat, depending on the scene's purpose.
Fascinatingly, we also see how the costumers had to create multiple versions of the same outfit for Anakin and Obi-Wan; as the duel on Mustafar spun out, the costumes needed to look more distressed and burned.
Narrated by producer Rick McCallum, this exhaustive look at the filmmaking process is a must-see for Star Wars fans, fans of cinema in general, and people who want to become producers when they grow up.
You can find it on the Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith DVD/Blu-ray collection or here, below. It’s one of the best making-of documentaries you’ll see, and it's full of nitty-gritty details that are catnip to the obsessive fan, like me. I urge you to check it out.