Tuesday, December 17, 2019

The Star Wars Holiday Special

Well how about that, two birds with one stone. You get a holiday special and something Star Wars before Episode 9.

What....was that? I can't even believe I just watched that. I have lived for almost 25 years and only now have just watched the Star Wars Holiday Special. I don't even know what to say. What can you say about it? Do I describe the special or talk about it's impact that surprisingly is still felt today? Well why not both. We really got to dig into this. So this special was conceived by George Lucas to help Star Wars remain in the public consciousness, which sort of baffles me because it was released just one year after Star Wars came out and honestly who could forget Star Wars? And I'm talking in 1978, no retroactively thinking. Do you know how much money that film made? It was only the highest grossing film ever, and won several Academy Awards, with an armada of merchandise and one hell of a fanbase that stretched the world over. It was said that when George watched the finished product he couldn't believe it and said it seemed like a cheap cash grab, and memorably went on to say if he had the time he would track down every known copy and smash it with a sledgehammer. So how did it garner such an unparalleled hatred in the Star Wars community that would make the prequels look like some of the finest films ever made? Well the story centers around Chewbacca and Han trying to get to Chewie's home planet (before it was called Kashyyk) to celebrate a traditional Wookie holiday known as Life Day. We mostly spend the special though with Chewie's family, which doesn't sound like a horrible idea until you realize the special doesn't even have subtitles or a translator on standby to fill you in on what the Wookies are actually saying. Some people say it's ear bleedingly bad, but I didn't have much of a problem with it and strangely enough there's multiple vignettes peppered throughout the special because, whoopsie daisy someone lost the plot, so pretty much 85 to 90% of the special is just pure filler. It's not even good filler with worldbuilding aspects and interesting characters that you can grasp from such moments. And to be honest, our main cast don't look that well, Harrison was dragged into it, poor Mark looks like a Ken doll though it is serendipitous to hear how comfortable and good he sounds as a voice actor, and Carrie dear sweet Carrie you can sing honey but that was hard to sit through. What sidetracking filler is there you might ask? Well, there's holographic circus performers, a cooking show by what looks like the evil stepmother from Cinderella, a moment that should never have been created let alone televised and was flat out stated by the producer to be soft core porn, an instructional video to create a radio transciever, a very 1970s looking cartoon, an odd yet very enjoyable I guess short musical with Bea Arthur, oh yeah and a Jefferson Starship music video. I would just like to say, WHAT THE F***?? And guess what, apparently the writer of this special did a lot of cocaine and you know what, I couldn't tell! Everything just gels so impeccably well! Oh sweet baby Yoda, save me. Okay. Breathe. First of all, if you are a fan of 70s television you will recognize the three guest stars of this programme, Art Carney, Harvey Korman, and Bea Arthur, all very talented and funny people. So what cracking material were they given here? Well Harvey Korman dresses as a woman during the cooking segment and plays a faulty replicant in the instructional segment, and I can safely say is wasted tremendously. Art Carney plays a friend of Chewbacca's family, and honestly he seems like he's trying but this writing is just ass. Bea Arthur is the best part of the special period just as a barkeep of a cantina on Tatooine, and I won't lie I loved her segment. In fact, there was quite a bit I enjoyed! Bea Arthur as a bartender on Tatooine sounds like the biggest waste ever, but it works for me, I fully believe her in the part and she's actually pretty funny, it feels like a real bar and just has nice little moments to it, and even when they burst into a musical number (For some weird reason?) I still have a blast with it. And yeah, let's talk about Jefferson Starship previously known as Jefferson Airplane, I honestly and truthfully want this band to be a really real thing in the Star Wars universe. It is totally random and out of nowhere, but damn do I like that song. I really dig the cartoon segment too, it has such a unique art style and is probably the most well known part of the special. It introduced the character of Boba Fett for the first time ever, and really kickstarted his popularity, and I totally get it now! I always really liked Boba Fett but I seriously have much more appreciation and love for the character now. No wonder he caught on so much with fans, badass look, great voice, cool personality, rides a frigging aquatic dragon lookin' thing, is flat out called the best bounty hunter in the galaxy by Lord Vader himself, he's pretty amazing for such a short appearance. So yes there is stuff to enjoy here but man do you have to put up with some absolute fluff to get to it. I was honestly shocked at how much stuff you see in this special that is brought up in the future of the series. The Wookie houses are identical in art style to today's, several of the aliens in the cantina we continue to see in the series that weren't in the original Star Wars, that cool cattle prod thing Boba Fett used is in The Mandalorian, and Chewbacca's family and Life Day are still considered canon by Disney. It's a part of this amazing pop culture dynasty, and while is not exactly the most highly acclaimed piece of Star Wars media even I can't condemn it too much. Beyond that one scene, which shall never be spoken of or even slightly mentioned by anyone or I will feed your carcass to a Rancor, I didn't hate it all that much. It truly is a coked out, rambling, incoherent, and the most worthless piece of fluff ever conceived but you know what? I'd still rather watch it than The Phantom Menace or Attack Of The Clones. Phantom Menace had Darth Maul and the climactic duel. Attack Of The Clones had Christopher Lee and.....um....the clones? This had Jefferson Starship, Bea Arthur, and even a few nice moments between characters. It's not very good, but I can live with it. I give it, 1.5 stars so check it out if you're morbidly curious. The whole thing is on the Youtubes, and if you got an hour and a half to spare and just want to laugh and make jokes, give it a shot. I think I'm so burnt out right now, I don't even care. I just gave an okay review to The Star Wars Holiday Special. I think it's a good thing I only have one more review for the year. Tune in next time for the end of the Skywalker saga and a final chapter to my childhood.

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