Author: Bill Kimberlin

Publisher: Lyons Press (February 1, 2018)

ISBN-10: 1493032313

ISBN-13: 978-1493032310

If you pick up this title expecting to learn much about the Star Wars franchise, you’ll be mightily disappointed. But if you are interested in learning more about the Lucas empire built on what Star Wars bought, you will be richly rewarded.

As Bill Kimberlin admits in his “Foreword, “I was an employee at Lucasfilm, and not an especially important one . . . I did, however, work at Lucasfilm's Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) for twenty years, and ran a department for almost a decade. “He elaborates on his career saying:

I WAS ONE OF THOSE NAMES ON THAT ENDLESS LIST OF CREDITS AT THE   close of blockbuster movies. From Star Wars to Star Trek, Back to the Future to Forrest Gump, Roger Rabbit to Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan to Jurastic Park . . . I was one of those interminable people thanked as Oscars are collected by dazed winners, clutching that surprisingly heavy gold statue as they try not to leave out anyone that helped them. “

If that description sounds like an autobiography full of hit-and-run movie tidbits and trivia centered in Kimberlin’s ILM offices as he worked on creating magical special effects, then you can anticipate much of what to expect in this lively insider’s trip down his personal memory lane.

More specifically, Kimberlin’s book is all about Bill Kimberlin, including his research into his family genealogy, his research into reformed criminals as possible subjects for his own movies, and the films that brought him to the attention of George Lucas, especially Kimberlin’s 1979 “exploitation art” documentary, American Nitro.

Not surprisingly, famous filmmakers and other performers, like Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson, Mick Jagger, not to mention actors like Jim Carrey and Clint Eastwood, and producers like Joel Silver and especially Steven Spielberg parade through these pages. Perhaps more importantly, we also meet many other folks who were also part of the credit list we saw scrolling on the screen when a film is over but have never heard of before.

Of course, all of these names feature in anecdotes that reveal the hows and whys of many of the special effects that have wowed us for decades as well as many other aspects of the movie making industry. In short, this is a book that should appeal to anyone interested in inside stories of Hollywood blockbusters beginning with, naturally, 1977’s Star Wars up to Kimberlin’s forced, but not unexpected, retirement in 2002.

Ironically, while changes in technology are what made Kimberlin obsolete, he uses the internet now for other projects like giving his American Nitro a second life. As with all old-timers who look back over their experiences and have a desire to share what they learned from them, Kimberlin’s story ends with his sage advice, such as always have side projects in your creative hopper to keep you fresh and perhaps give you options when you need them. You may pick up this tome more interested in the title than the author, but you may well end up glad to have learned about one of the names you never noticed on those movie credit lists.