I recently wrote about the 'May The Toys Be With You' Star Wars Toys exhibition which I attended at the Torquay Museum. Star Wars is a phenomenon and a huge part of pop culture. I like the original movies just fine but it never became a formative or integral part of my childhood, I never played with the toys, had the annuals or role played as characters from that universe but I appreciate what it did for media as a whole. However for many it was a huge part of their childhood and the toys fill them with nostalgia.
Whilst flicking through my Amazon Prime account I saw that Plastic Galaxy, a documentary film exploring the world of Star Wars and Kenner toys, was available to watch for free on the service so I took a chance and gave it a watch.
The documentary is just over an hour long and is a talking heads type of affair. It has informative sections where the narrator explains the events chronologically and this is interspersed with former Kenner designers, photographers and artists who made the figures and designed the artwork. This is all very informative and gives a good understanding of some of the behind the scenes details.
The documentary itself is very informative and was obviously created by fans for the fans of the franchise and as such it provides a quick and useful snapshot of this small pocket of time but when some of the workers discuss the crazy hours they had to do to get the toys in stores by Christmas, the director glosses over these. This would have been useful to have on film for posterity as crunch times were brutal and some of the former employees discuss sleeping at their offices for weeks on end, hardly ever going home. These are not wonderful memories for Star Wars fans but as an insight into the toy making business in the 80s this is invaluable.
For fans of the toys the documentary is serviceable but not essential. Being so niche I'm sure fans of the toys are already aware of this film but for those with even a passing curiosity Plastic Galaxy is worth an hour of your time.