Tuesday, February 5, 2008

"The Star Wars Holiday Special" review

Let me start off by saying that Star Wars is one of my favorite movie series of all time, in addition to Lord of the Rings. So I tracked down this critically reviled movie out of curiosity. I had to see that little missing chapter.

There's a reason people hate this TV special.

The show starts with some stock footage from Episode IV of Star Destroyers chasing the Millennium Falcon and it cuts to the badly reproduced interior of the ship. Han tells Chewbacca he'll get him back to Kashyyyk in time for Life Day (some sort of Wookiee holiday in which people sing and Wookiees wearing red robes walk into the sun. Go figure.) Then the Star Wars music starts to play. Only 1 hour 55 minutes to go.

An announcer who sounds too happy proclaims, "It's the STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL! Starring Mark Hammill!" This was shot right after Hammill was in a car accident, and he's got so much makeup on he resembles Michael Jackson. "Harrison Ford! Carrie Fisher!" Ms. Fisher seems to be on some sort of drugs, for her eyes aren't pointing in the same direction. "Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca!" Oh dear. He's in one of the top slots. "Anthony Daniels as C-3PO! Aaand... R2D2 as... R2D2!" This tells you a lot about the show. "Also starring James Earl Jones as the voice of Darth Vader! And introducing... Chewbacca's family!" Eyebrows start to raise. "His wife, Malla! His father, Itchy! And his son, Lumpy!" Not to self: don't name firstborn child Lumpy. He will be picked on at school every day of his life.

And the show begins. The Wookiees are speaking in Wookiee... for 10 minutes... without subtitles. Holding back the urge to throw up, I plunge on. Lumpy starts to look at some kind of holographic circus for a few minutes. Harvey Korman makes his first appearance in the show (out of 3) as a many-armed female host of a Wookiee cooking show.

This is not a movie you can watch all at once. If you're especialy lucky, you'll see one of the versions with the 70's commercials.

The animated part is the best. It has a story. And Boba Fett. Then we get to Life Day, thinking our misfortunes have ended, until... what's that I hear? Could it be the sound of Carrie Fisher singing?

I'll spare you the rest of the gory details. You can find this on the internet if you want to, but trust me, you don't want to. Some movies you avoid like the plague. This movie makes the plague look good.

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