R2-D2: Beneath the Dome

R2-D2 - Beneath the DomeSynopsis: A collection of short mockumentaries detailing R2-D2’s “career”, from his English upbringing to his daring bungee jump.  

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R2-D2: Beneath the Dome 8.0

eyelights: its irreverence. the celebrity involvement. the production.
eyesores: its relative brevity.

“I think R2 probably would have been a very good illustrator, or something else, but he would have had to come terms with his more feminine side” – Carrie Fisher

‘R2D2: Beneath the Dome’ is a mockumentary micro-series that was produced and released in 2001. Through three episodes, over the course of nearly 21 minutes, the programme explores R2-D2’s fictional and frequently outrageous biography – as though he were a real actor.

Seriously.

It takes us back to his birth in Bollux, England (ha!), explaining with the help of his two (perfectly human) siblings his alienation from his dad at a young age. It then looks at his early years as a performer, both as an actor and… a drummer (he hung out with Ringo and Jimi!)

He was moderately successful on television before getting his breakthrough on the silver screen with ‘Star Wars’, sending him into the stratosphere (before that he had been eyed for ‘The Godfather’ by Francis Ford Coppola -one of many celebrity cameos- but the studio nixed it).

He began to date starlets, including Candy Clarke (who says she loved gazing into his eye), and aimed for bigger roles, such as Indiana Jones or the leads in Shakespeare’s tragedies, but it never worked out for him. So he began a downward spiral that almost got him booted from the series.

Until, following a near-death experience, he finally cleaned himself up.

What makes ‘R2D2: Beneath the Dome’ so much fun is how they spoof celebrity biographies nearly perfectly, taking on all the clichés and inserting Artoo in them. They even fabricated all sorts of side-splitting archival material to serve as proof of Artoo’s existence.

But my favourite part is probably the large number of deadpan interviews that Ben Burtt, Hayden Christensen, Anthony Daniels, Richard Dreyfuss, Samuel L. Jackson, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Steven Spielberg and others contributed. Even George Lucas joined in the fun.

It was a blast.

I would highly recommend watching this short DVD. It’s very funny, well-conceived and produced and it’s stocked with more star power than most feature films. It’s just a hoot seeing this alternate take on R2-D2 unfold before one’s eyes. Whoever came up with the idea is a genius.

Date of viewing: November 30, 2015

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