'Frames': a book set for a devotee of 'Star Wars'

McClatchy Washington BureauNovember 6, 2013 

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” trilogy frame-by-frame.

In 2011, “Frames” was issued in a very limited edition of six volumes, and came in a hard case adorned with a Darth Vader medallion. It costs $3,000.

Now it’s been trimmed down to a two-volume set in an elaborate laser-cut slipcase box. The cost? $150.

“Frames” is for fans that know the movies well. There are no captions or explanations — just photographs.

Film director, and “Star Wars” devotee, Guillermo del Toro provides the forward for the volume that covers “Star Wars,” “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi.” He fell in love with the saga as a young man.

“For my generation — for me — the first two “Star Wars” films were pillars of not only entertainment, but of filmic myth-generating and mythmaking.”

“For the generation that immediately followed mine, the third film was that and Episodes I, II, and III spoke to each successive generation,” says del Toro. “

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 director George Lucas sat down in 2005 to select frames for the original six volume set. He calculated that Lucas “had exactly 184,196 images to examine (for the complete Prequel Trilogy, 566,481 images.)”

Despite numerous interruptions for other “Star Wars”-related projects, Lucas completed “Frames” in 2008.

Rinzler says, “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 dogfight scenes, battle scenes, exotic locations, images that were on screen for only seconds but which had 10 months, if not years, to create.”

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.

One note: “Frames” uses the “Star Wars” with galactic celebrations after the death of the Emperor and the ghostly form of Hayden Christensen (Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader) from the end of “Return of the Jedi” instead of the original mask-less Vader, Sebastian Shaw.

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“Star Wars: Frames” selected by George Lucas; Abrams, NY ($150)

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