The Star Wars Holiday Special
What is it ? : Here we go, it's the legendarily bad Star Wars Holiday special.
So, we start off with Chewbacca and Han Solo fleeing two Imperial Star Destroyers, and Han promises to get Chewbacca home in time for life day. Before we cut to the home of some Wookiees, they're doing normal family stuff, cooking, playing with toys, taking out the garbage, etc, which goes on for 10 minutes.
Eventually one of them contacts Luke Skywalker and we discover that this is Chewbaccas family, his wife Malla, his father Itchy, and his son Lumpy. They are concerned as it is almost Life Day, and Chewbacca always returns for Life Day so they are worried something has happened to him (although I'm more worried about what's happened to Luke as he seems to be experimenting wearing makeup for some reason).
Luke promises them that Chewie will be okay, and gets Malla to smile for him (given the immovability of the Wookiee mask she basically tilts her head coquettishly).
Lumpy returns from putting out the garbage and balancing on the fence outside their home high in the trees of Kashyyyk, and Itchy gives him an entertainment cube which plays on a holochess like table and Lumpy entertains himself watching holograms of Jugglers and Acrobats.
Becoming concerned again they contact a local shopkeeper who assures them that "their hairy carpet will arrive soon" as he is being monitored by an Imperial officer, who he later tries to sell a pocket aquarium, but the officer takes an automatic groomer instead.
Meanwhile aboard a Star Destroyer, an Imperial officer informs Darth Vader that a blockade has been set up around Kashyyyk and a search has begun for the Rebels. Vader tells him to continue the search, even if it takes searching every household in the system.
Malla begins preparing food for the Life Day celebrations and puts on a cooking programme with a four armed alien, but she can't keep up and switches the show off.
In space, the Millennium Falcon approaches Kashyyyk. Unaware of the blockade, Chewbacca and Han are attacked by four TIE fighters. After taking out a few using the cockpit's remote controls, Han resorts to going down into the quad cannons to use them manually; Chewbacca takes the main controls.
Back in the house, Itchy is resting in his chair while Malla is walking around. Suddenly, an Imperial officer announces on the viewscreen that a blockade has been set up around the planet, and that the Empire has declared martial law. Immediately after the announcement, they get a knock at the door but it is only the Shopkeeper.
He has arrived to deliver presents to the Wookiees, and while Malla and Lumpy head off to open theirs, the shopkeeper helps Itchy with his, as it is a chip for his "Mind Evaporator" in which a human female sings, tells Itchy that he's cute and that she is his fantasy (so now we really know what Wookiee Porn is).
Princess Leia contacts the home to speak to Han or Chewie and is concerned they haven't arrived yet, and asks the shopkeeper to protect Chewbaccas family as he is part of the Alliance.
Han and Chewie arrive at Kashyyyk, but have to land a distance away from Chewbaccas home, but the Wookiees hear an engine and rush to the door to be confronted by Stormtroopers searching for the rebels.
The Stormtroopers tear up the home, becoming distracted by Mallas present from the Shopkeeper which is a hologram of Jefferson Starship playing a song, and Malla calms Lumpy by putting on a cartoon of Han, Chewie, Artoo, Threepio and Luke meeting Boba Fett for the first time (the cartoon is pretty good actually).
After his program Lumpy goes to his room to discover that in their search they've torn the head off his stuffed Bantha toy, so he puts on a video to instruct him on how to make a mini transmitter.
The video screen downstairs comes on with a mandatory video for all Imperial officers, about the Mos Eisley cantina, the romance between it's new female owner and a patron, and the new Curfew so the bar must close early to a song by the owner.
Lumpy uses his new transmitter to order the Imperials back to base, but their commander orders one stormtrooper to complete the search, and he locates Lumpy with the transmitter and chases him outside where Han and Chewie are awaiting.
After a brief scuffle the Stormtrooper wilhelms from the platform into the jungle below.
The Imperials contact the house looking for the missing Stormtrooper, but the Shopkeeper spins them a story about the trooper stealing food, which the commander accepts and orders a search for the trooper.
The Wookiees head to the Life Tree for their celebrations, and Leia sings them a song to the Star Wars theme tune, and holding crystals and wearing red robes a whole load of Wookiees growl a lot (and when I say a lot I mean it).
After some clips from A New Hope, Chewbaccas family head home for their feast, and bow their heads in prayer (presumably thanking god that this is finally over).
High Points : This is as bad as everyone says, really, but there are two very slight redeeming features.
Firstly Kashyyyk, the matte paintings to represent Kashyyyk are spectacular, it's got a look to itself unique from anywhere else we've seen, and is consistent with later appearances, since the artists from Revenge of the Sith and the like all returned to this for their designs.
Secondly the animated section, it's pretty darn good. Boba Fett is handled intelligently and interestingly, as he attempts to gain the heroes favour to locate their base for the Vader and the Empire. For an unknown character (this was a couple of years before Empire Strikes Back came out) it's a decent plan, since the viewers couldn't be aware that Boba was a bad guy until it was revealed. A great introduction for this iconic character, one which it's easy to ignore the brilliance of when watching this out of production order.
Low Points : The whole thing is slow, badly written, badly produced, badly acted, badly conceived and basically just a bad idea. But picking on the things I particularly noticed.
After introducing basic concept (Han and Chewie going home for Christmas), 10 full minutes go by without any intelligible words being spoken. Now there's a commitment to authenticity, with the Wookiees all speaking shyriiwook between themselves, and the fact they are doing incredibly mundane tasks (taking out garbage, cooking, playing with toys, etc) makes it somewhat easy to know whats going on. But ten full minutes of Growls, Whines and moans is just annoying, and makes time absolutely crawl past.
There's so many songs, so many ill conceived comedy sketches, not to forget minutes of Jugglers and Acrobats, but mainly just so many songs. Putting words to the Star Wars Theme, and words to Cantina band song is not only bad but may qualify as a sign of insanity.
Now they've got everyone back for this, even if Darth is just from Archive footage, and everyone looks slightly different because they've changed hairstyles for other roles in the time since Episode 4, but honestly what the hell is going on with Lukes appearance. He looks pale and heavily made up, was Mark Hamill seriously ill during the making of this? Because he doesn't look like himself at all.
I know the Empire is supposed to be a Human supremacist organisation, but the Shopkeeper, supposedly a member of the Alliance describes Chewbacca as a Hairy Carpet. Now it's supposed to be encoded, but couldn't he just have said, "your delivery", I'm sorry but that's just racist.
While the term for the device that Itchy uses is quite clever, the "Mind Evaporator", and plays on the idea of the Television being the "Idiot Box" and that kind of thing. But what the hell is Itchy watching on it, it's Wookiee Porn, a woman in your mind performing your fantasies, who thought of this? I could rant on about the inappropriateness of this, but really, just What The Hell.
So what do you really think ? : This is bad, in every way it could be bad. While I've come up with a couple of redeeming features, this is just terrible. The cast are embarrassed by it and rightly so.
I'm hoping to get a few things to stat out of this, and can find a couple of things, but the sooner I can forget about it the better.
Final Words : There's a tradition of horror at Christmas, and this is just horrible, so Happy Holidays.
Score : 1.5/10
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