Star Wars fan films are a dime a dozen. There are plenty that have been created and while it’s easy to admire the effort that has been injected into the process, most are lacking that special magic that separates professional-quality films from passion projects. Star Wars Downunder, however, is an entirely different case.
This ‘short’ film, which actually clocks in at just over 30 minutes, is a work of brilliance. It’s a tribute to the style, culture and aesthetic of Star Wars, but does two things differently from most fan films. The first of these is that it has infused the script, performances, character design, machine design and locations with an overtly Australian cultural twang. The second factor is that the quality of the writing, effects, stunt work and 3D animation is of a standard that is fully professional. How this was produced on an indie budget, I do not know, but it’s something special.
When it comes to the Australian-isms, you’ll be treated to a barrage of Aussie slang throughout. If you are Australian, you’ll follow the entire script. Others may struggle with some of the terms, but will probably recognise phrases such as “stone the flamin’ crows”, “cheers love”, “she’ll be right mate”, and a vocabulary that includes references such as: cobber, g’day, strewth, too right, larrikins, righty-o, mate, sweet, ripper and knackered. Character names include Bluey, Burko, Nugget and Bushwacka. Troopers are designed to resemble Australian bush ranger Ned Kelly and their arsenal includes kyber crystal-powered boomerangs. Walkers have been replaced by kangaroo-inspired “leapers”, and the big bad is one Darth Drongo (Aussie slang for ‘idiot’), who at one point invites the hero to bite his bum.
There are liberal references to beer, and our hero even uses his force pull to attract a cold can to his hand at one point. His droid’s initials feature the letters “VB”, which is short for Victoria Bitter, a popular brand of beer, and one of the end credits gives recognition to the production’s “Keg Operator.” It’s clear that those involved were having plenty of fun with the source material and in sending up Australian colloquialisms.
Outside of the fun script and character design, you’ll find a visually mesmerising film. The entire production is free to stream below.
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