The little panda fighter is better than the infamous usual suspects, disguised beneath the tale of a lonely panda is a mystery of greed and desire. No movie has a larger twist than this, which is truly beautiful and I personally love it.
It is Life Day, a holiday that is celebrated on Chewbacca's home planet Kashyyyk. Chewie and Han Solo are trying to get to the planet where Chewie's family is waiting for him, but the Empire is out searching for the Rebels, giving everyone a hard time. While we are waiting we get a look at the everyday life of a Wookiee family. We meet all the familiar characters from Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) and we are introduced to Boba Fett during a short cartoon. We also pay a visit to the Cantina and meet all the monsters again. Written by
Don't talk to me about Episode I until you've seen this unholy mess
Not long ago I attended a party give by my Star Wars group and as a prize in the trivia contest I received - among other things - a VHS copy of The Star Wars Holiday Special. Having now seen it I have begun to wonder if it wouldn't have best been served as the booby prize. Anyone who obsessively bashes Episode I for being too lame, too mamby pamby or too childish obviously has yet to set eyes of this 1978 hunk of Christmas cow flop strung together on the authority of George Lucas' ex wife Marsha. I know they got divorced sometime after this special aired but I'm guessing that is she had it in mind to ruin him, this was the perfect weapon.
It's been 25 years since CBS hoisted this unholy nightmare on the American public and in that time I had never seen it until last night and oh my lord I could have gone another 25, 40, 50, 300 years without ever having it drilled into my brain a second time.
This is without a doubt the most horrific thing I have ever witnessed on screen and I've seen Howard the Duck! What in the world possessed anyone to soil the Star Wars name with this dreck? My friend assured me that the special was actually pretty good if you got past all the Wookie manure - BUT THE WOOKIES TAKE OVER THE WHOLE SHOW!!!!
The story takes place sometime after Episode IV and finds Chewbacca's family waiting for him to come home for something called Life Day (I dunno, maybe it's a day where they worship board games). The wookies are nothing short of nauseating. Mama bear (Chewie's wife) gushes over a picture of her beloved and is forever scolding Chewie's son Lumpy. Lumpy (yes, Lumpy) whines, disobeys and aggravates the stew out of his mother. Sadly, he becomes the central character.
The most curious character is Itchy, the grandfather (where's Scratchy?) a gray haired old codger with a serious under bite and a strange fixation on Diahann Carroll. She plays a character credited as "Holographic Wow". He's given a gift for Life Day that looks something like a hair dryer, the kind you might have found in a beauty parlor when segregation was in effect. This strange device offers gramps a vision of Carroll superimposed on something that looks like a dirty bathtub drain. He gets so excited at one point that he begins beating the chair arm rapidly with his fist. And that's all I have to say about that.
Chewie's family isn't the most repulsive thing in this mess. No, the fingernails-on-the-blackboard award goes to Harvey Korman who plays three ungainly characters, one more jaw-dropping than the last. First, he plays a rather odd looking female robotic chef who hosts a cooking show and gets a little excited when she gets to the part where she is suppose to stir and whip at the same time (the mixture that is). The second is the most bizarre, a robotic instructor who gives Lumpy instructions on how to put an electronic device together and malfunctions in ways that just shouldn't be seen on public television. The third is a strange creature who drinks through a hole in the top of his head and has a fixation on Bea Arthur (don't ask). Bea Arthur by the way plays the Cantina bartender and has to get everyone out because the Empire has imposed a curfew. How does she clear the place? She sings!
In the midst of all the guest star hooey are Mark Hamill smacked with so much eye make-up that he looks like his own action figure. And then there's Harrison "what in the heck am I doing here" Ford and a hopped-up, glassy-eyed Carrie Fisher looking like . . . well there is a Betty Ford joke here but it's just too easy.
I will say that the day is almost saved by an odd but kind of fun animated sequence involving Luke and the droids befriending Boba Fett who is secretly leading them to Vader. It's cute and I would like to have seen more but I have yet to understand why Han's animated face looks like a Clone Trooper helmet (shrug).
3PO appears briefly in this special for recognition sake and truthfully when it was all over I was surprised that he didn't once muse "How did we get into this mess?" I would have asked that question myself.
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