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The Star Wars Holiday Special (TV) More at IMDbPro »

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140 out of 147 people found the following review useful:

Now I know how Belloq Felt!

Author: Chris Chamberlain (ctchamb@hotmail.com) from NoVA
27 November 2004

As many other posters stated, I had been warned. And the legends are true! And like the Nazis, once you remove the cover to the Ark, you have to deal with the consequences. I paid 13 bucks for it, and it is a pile of crap. For the stouthearted who choose to soldier on, I have two recommendations:

1. Do not watch this alone! Like any other emotional trauma, the support of friends is crucial to survival. By the end, you will either want to climb a steeple with a rifle, or go into the garage and start the car.

2. Do not operate while unimpaired. An altered level of consciousness can cushion your psyche. I tried it straight, but within ten minutes I was forced to seek the companionship of my foamy 12 ounce friends.

At any rate, this helping of dog goo brings to light painful questions about Chewbacca and his people long ago in a galaxy far, far away. Questions probably better left unasked. Such as, despite the treetop setting, why does their dwelling place resemble a 70's ski lodge with an Astroturf floor?

Why does the local trader wear black plastic Earth glasses? How were the Wookies able to convert an ordinary cassette player into a Holograph projector? And, regarding said projector, why is the youth Lumpy (who is probably yelling "Franks and Beans!" in Wookie), so fascinated with the freakish flailings of a poor man's Cirque de Soleil? Finally, why in God's name does the patriarch of the clan, Itchy, get so aroused over a pseudo Irene Cara performing a sickening disco song and dance? It was highly disturbing.

Those are the questions that torment me. The other posters have done a far better job than myself covering the horrid sequences with Starship, Bea Arthur (shudder), Harvey Korman and Art Carney. But I must add this: I thought the animated sequence sucked. The story with decent artists probably would have been a cool comic book, but the animation and artwork was terrible. Too cartoony. Artoo physically jumping, his rigid metallic body curving about. And something about Han's head looking like it had been run over by a truck, all squashed...

Like Lot's wife, you have been warned...

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122 out of 132 people found the following review useful:

Don't talk to me about Episode I until you've seen this unholy mess

Author: The_Film_Cricket from Birmingham, Alabama
20 April 2004

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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101 out of 107 people found the following review useful:

One word: Misguided

2/10
Author: Mr. Pulse from Syracuse, NY
16 December 2001

I don't know whose idea this thing was, but it was a bad one. The "Star Wars Holiday Special" took place in between the two movies, and is famous amongst Star Wars fans for featuring the first appearance of Boba Fett, and completely forgotten by everyone else. Why so forgotten? Because, simply, the show is absolutely terrible.

The "special" (and I use that term as loosely as possible) is about Chewbacca's family, who await his return for the celebration of the holiday "Life Day." Far as I can gather, the holiday involves Christmas ornament-like globes and wearing red robes and being Wookies. The special is basically two hours of waiting, and along the way there are cameos by all the major stars of the original film (Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, etc.) It's shocking they appear at all, I have to believe the mob was involved for them to show up. They don't do much, and look thoroughly ashamed of themselves. And they should be; after all, all the action is given to Art Carney (Don't ask me), who plays a trader who's friends with the, uh, Baccas. Action hero Art Carney, ladies and gentlemen.

The show has more asides than a Shakespearian play. There is no plot, there are only little goofy tidbits. None of it is very Star Warsish. Harvey Korman plays a few roles, including an alien version of Julia Childs, and a robot explaining how to set up a communication device. Bea Arthur works in the infamous Cantina, which on a tv budget looks a lot like a diner with some guys with alien masks. She gets a very lengthy musical number and so do Jefferson Starship, and others.

Why would you make a Star Wars special that had nothing to do with Star Wars? It's mostly musical numbers, third rate celebrities (Way older than Star Wars' target audience I should mention), and Wookies who can't speak English. There's a good twenty minute period where no English is spoken since it's just the three Wookies goofing off. If this is genius stuff, then so's "Freddy Got Fingered."

The important Boba Fett apperanace is also one of the few truly entertaining moments of the show; a cartoon about Luke and co. meeting Boba for the first time. It's exciting and well voiced and animated. It's also just a little doo-dad that Lumpy (Yes, when you're named Chewie you name your son Lumpy) watches on a little video screen while waiting for his dad to come home.

It's funny to watch, and painful to watch, and annoying to watch, and mind-boggling to watch. It has to be seen to be believed, but do you really even want to?

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84 out of 97 people found the following review useful:

"Ludlow...you're HEARTLESS!"

Author: roark-12 from New York City
25 April 2002

I was stoned out of my mind when I saw this thing. It's truly stunning. Note that Hollywood Squares staple Bruce Vilanch was one of the writers. (This show bears odd similarities to his other opus, "The Brady Bunch Variety Hour".) By the time this creation, which I call "Episode 4.5" was in its zenith, so was I; the pipe was empty. I felt as though Princess Leia's voice was vibrating in my spine. At one point she looked right at me and I saw her with my entire face, not just my eyes. The best moments are with Bea Arthur. I rewound the exchange between her and "Ludlow" and "Thorpe" about twenty times. "Short memory, eh, Thorpe? SHORT MEMORY!" By the time the Wookies were walking through outer space in red robes towards what appears to be the sun I felt as though I was with them. I don't remember the cartoon, but I do recall Mark Hamill looking like he was auditioning for the Gay Ice Capades. Also, you will find out several things you may have wanted to know about "Star Wars":

How do Wookies entertain themselves? Why is Grandpa Wookie named "Itchy"? What is the warm, cuddly side of Han Solo? What would a love scene between Bea Arthur and Harvey Korman REALLY look like? What are the lyrics to the "Star Wars" theme? And what would they sound like if Princess Leia sang them? What would it be like for an aged, portly Art Carney to engage in a familiar "Honeymooners" routine with an Imperial Guard as his Ralphie-boy? But it stll leaves several questions: Why does "Lumpy" so resemble the kid from "Eight is Enough"? Why do the characters from "Star Wars" never change their clothes until "The Empire Strikes Back"? What was the story behind the "Short memory!" crack? Was there a romance between Bea Arthur and "Thorpe"? If so, what are the long-term consequences to the Cantina atmosphere? Was Bea Arthur just filling in that day for the big ugly fellow who ran the bar in "A New Hope"? Or does she own the place? Why do Imperial Guards adore "Jefferson Starship", and why do old Wookies have a fetish for African-American Humans?

I hope Lucas creates another one of these. I would love to see Jar-Jar Binks exchange puns with Kelsey Grammar or Ray Romano.

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59 out of 67 people found the following review useful:

Oh Harrison, oh Mark, oh Carrie.........................................how could you?

Author: tom farrell from dublin, Ireland
21 December 2004

It is safe to say that Star Wars was THE big culture craze of the 1970s. The Sixities had Beatlemania, the Seventies had Star Wars-mania. And just to underscore the parallel, the Fab Four released a film 'The Magical Mystery Tour' which was shown on Christmas 1968 by the BBC in black and white. The movie was a critical and commercial disaster, regarded as painfully bad. Exactly a decade later, the Midas-touch of Star Wars also gave out when Luke, Han, Leia and Chewie ventured onto the small screen for this seasonal special. But while the 1968 TV fiasco at least gave us hits like 'I am the Walrus' and 'Fool on the Hill', the 1978 special has Carrie Fisher singing 'The Life Day Song' to the tune of the John Williams theme music! Yep..you read that right. Carrie Fisher, resplendent in her bedlinen-and 'donught' hairdo warbles a song... "A day that takes us through the darkness/A day that leads us to life/A day that leads us to celebrate/A lifeee/To live/To laugh/To dream/To grow/To know....!!!!" Anyone who thought 'Attack of the Clones' was a disappointment needs to check out this CBS 'family special' in which Han and Chewbacca are racing across the galaxy to get to Chewie's home planet in time for the Wookie's equivalent of Thanksgiving, Life Day. This being 'A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far, Far Away' there can't be a Christmas, you see. The equivalent seems to involve lots of robed and hooded Wookies marching across the stars into the sun! Parts of 'Episode Four a New Hope' that ended up on the cutting room floor are slotted in for the space sequences. The Millennium Falcon is being pursued by some highly camp Imperials. Meanwhile, back on Chewbacca's planet we are introduced to his 'wife' (Malla) his cutsey proto-Ewok son (Lumpy) and his rather perverted father-in-law Itchy. Thus for about 10-15 minutes we have Malla in an apron making 'HHHAARPPPPHH!' and 'WHHHUUUUURRRRRRRKKK' noises at her son for not tidying up his room (it has stuffed Banthas). Without subtitles too... At intervals, Lumpy contacts some of the Star Wars Cast by videophone. Remember, this is the winter of 1978 when Carrie Fisher was having boyfriend trouble with Paul Simon and drug problems while Mark Hamill had recently been in a near-death car accident. In both cases, it really shows... Hamill, in particular, having recently undergone extensive facial reconstruction anticipates 'New Romantic' fashions by three years, appearing caked in make-up. Elsewhere, Art Carney and Bea Arthur appear in the Mos Eisley cantina where, having chatted to a giant hamster, launch into a musical number. Of course, being a Seventies Holiday Special, musical numbers abound. The viewer half expects Marie and Donny Osmond to start a musical debut on the Yavin rebel base but sadly, this never happens. Instead, Jefferson Starship turn up on some kind of hologrammic chessboard. But best of all, Itchy settles into an interactive video-machine and watches Diahann Carroll sing a 'lurve' song that causes him to become 'excited' in a way that must have at least some parents shielding their kids' eyes. What is fascinating about this 1978 TV Special is the way in which all involved have conspired to airbrush it from history. Carrie Fisher pretended not to know what the journalist was talking about in an interview some years later. The director Steve Binder is known for directing the 1968 Elvis 'Comeback' while writer Pat Profit later went on to script the 'Naked Gun' movies. The lesson would seem to be that while music and comedy have their place, they need to be kept to a minimum in a galactic epic. The 'musical' number in Jabba's palace was the least watchable part of the 'Special Edition' Return of the Jedi. Comic relief can be painful if not thought out properly (We're looking at you, Jar Jar Binks...)

Lucas, who gave the go ahead to the Thanksgiving Special is reported to have said he'd like to smash every every bootlegged VHS tape of this excruciating show...serves you right George for such a cynical attempt to grab the pre-Christmas toy market.

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59 out of 69 people found the following review useful:

in the name of all that is holy please watch this pile of crap!

Author: aj_guy3181 from United States
20 December 2004

I've always been a big fan of star wars and I thought I knew a lot about it until my boy friend and his best friend asked me if I have ever seen the holiday special. I didn't even know one existed and I had actually seen both Ewok movies, go figure.

Well as a joke I suppose our friend gave us the movie last night for xmas and we popped it in. It is by far the most heinous piece of crap I have ever seen. I was warned it was bad but, WOW it was terrible. I lost an hour and a half of my life and really nothing happened during that time other than losing any shred of respect I may have had for George Lucas.

The effects are so bad they are hilarious and there seems to be some type of odd porn scene involving Chewbaca's father and some 70's Disco Queen. I watched most of the program with my mouth hanging wide open in utter disbelief. The rest of the time I was laughing at just how awful the whole thing really is.

I still recommend watching the film if only to say that you have. Especially if you claim to be a Star Wars geek. Just make sure you have plenty of alcohol on hand and some friends with an excellent sense of humor.

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48 out of 50 people found the following review useful:

It Isn't a Train Wreck- it Moves too Slowly

1/10
Author: CTS-1 from USA
23 August 2006

OK, if you are reading this, you have probably already heard about the nightmarish details of this film. Carrie Fisher sings, badly, an "inspirational" version of the Star Wars theme. Art Carney shows way too much skin. Mark Hammill looks like a drag queen, and Harrison Ford looks like he was dragged on set against his will by a gang of thugs.

The "musical numbers" are bizarre, irrelevant, and bear no resemblance to anything else. I think I speak for everyone when I say that I hope that mysterious orifice on the top of Harvey Korman's head has one, and only one, use.

But, gentle reader, I do not criticize the painful individual moments of this disaster, no matter how many there are. I do not even criticize the fact that Wookies are made to look like either obnoxious twits or creepy perverts. No, I want to talk about pacing, or in this work's case, p-a-c-i-n-g...

Taken as a whole, there was about enough plot here for a 30 minute network special. But, that would not be long enough. So, the viewer gets 20 minutes of wookie-speak, which goes nowhere. And dance numbers, which go nowhere... And Bea Arthur singing, which might go somewhere we don't want to know about... The fact is, amazingly little happens during this thing's excruciatingly long running time.

Having a martini handy is a must. Just do not drink every time you get bored.

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49 out of 54 people found the following review useful:

Of course you want to watch it.....

Author: (stevenfallonnyc@yahoo.com) from NYC
12 August 2003

...seriously, what Star Wars fan *wouldn't* want to watch this? Well, maybe a few - I remember when this first aired, this young kid was totally psyched, and got all my snacks ready and sat at the TV -- and after 15 minutes, I turned if OFF. I am going to try to give a different take towards this one than the other reviewers, because of course they are all correct, this is an amazingly bad piece of garbage.

First off, yep, I and no one else who is a Star Wars fan who has seen this will ever disagree it is complete and total crap. But you know the old saying about train wrecks, you just *have* to watch them, this is that. Because as unbelievably horrible as it is, and as totally unfathomably bad every scene is, as a Star Wars fan you wanna see these characters in new scenes.

It IS cool seeing "new" footage of Han and Chewie in the Falcon's cockpit. It's cool seeing Luke do his thing, Leia, the droids, everyone, although this is nothing but a huge mess, you gotta like seeing these characters again somewhere. Of course, as you watch you may say to yourself that you wish you had NEVER seen this, because it taints the memory of these great Star Wars characters. So was actually seeing this special worth it? If you can keep your feelings about Star Wars in check and dismiss this easily, sure it is.

The Boba Fett appearance in the animated sequence is very cool, best thing about the show probably. It's too short though, especially in such a long show.

But you know, this is one part of the Star Wars universe where I would love some additional information. The special itself we have - but this is the only piece of the Star Wars universe we know almost nothing of the background about. How was this show proposed? What were the creative meetings for this abomination like? Who felt this should be 2 hours long in broadcast time? What did the actors say and feel when they read what they were supposed to do? How did the recording of Carrie Fisher's "Star Wars song" go? Did everyone on screen just think this was a big joke before it was through?

And most importantly...did absolutely no one whatsoever in power have any ability at all to see this final product and realize what a complete piece of garbage this was, and what a blight on the Star Wars universe this would surely become? Were there stipulations that said this HAD to air, and they couldn't even trim it down?

I can't believe after creating such a masterpiece like "Star Wars" that George Lucas didn't have the eyes to see what a total hack job this Star Wars Holiday TV Special was. (Even with "Episode 2" in existence I still have to give George the benefit on this one.)

So c'mon....what is the REAL untold story behind this...this....this thing?

Maybe the "E" network can help?

THAT would make for a much better tale than anything on this special.

But you gotta watch.

One more interesting note -- at a sci-fi con in New Jersey in the later 90's, at the end when the place was clearing out, one dealer that was selling tapes still had his TV on and he had none other than the Star Wars Holiday Special playing, maybe hoping to sell a last copy or two. Then, none other than convention guests Peter Mayhew (Chewie) and Kenny Baker (R2D2), by themselves, passed this dealer's table on their way out, and saw the Special playing, and then they started staring intently at it. Their jaws just dropped. The dealer was shocked when he noticed them (he was packing his stuff) and then he said something like "hi guys," and both Peter and Kenny answered with something along the lines of that they haven't thought about the Special in many years. Then Peter said "c'mon Kenny" and they walked off. Interesting!

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29 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

Truly horrible!

1/10
Author: CRidgeNorway from Norway
26 November 2006

A film about Chewbaccas family, and their celebration of Life Day. A film so bad, it was only aired once. George Lucas has been quoted as saying: If he had the time, he would break every existing VHS-copy of this movie - it is that bad! It contains Leia singing, Chewbaccas dad watching a fantasy movie, with erotic undertones, acrobats, an animated section and a rock concert. All your favorite characters from the first movie is here - one worse than the other.

The film isn't helped by the fact that much of the dialog is in Chewbaccas language.

There are also many logical holes in the story, like when Chewbaccas wife calls the local tradesman on the video phone, she gets to watch a long sequence of what goes on in the shop before the tradesman suddenly notices that someone is calling.

The core of the story - if you can call it a story - is that Chewbacca isn't home for Life Day in time - he is held up by fighting the Empire. This probably only takes up 5% of the movie time - most of the movie takes place in Chewbaccas home. We see what goes on with the family while they wait, with occasional brief appearances by characters from the first Star Wars movie.

This is truly a horrible movie - worth watching, just to see how bad it can be done!

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35 out of 49 people found the following review useful:

Lucas tried to burn every copy of this (tried)

10/10
Author: MisterWhiplash from United States
18 May 2002

I can see why Lucas would take the action he would against this piece; TV took his characters and actors and created a spectacularly cheesy and laughably stupid special with characters never created by Lucas (or even the writers from the Star Wars novels). Who are these characters? Well, it gets in part with the story, where in which Han and Chewie have to get back to Chewie's home planet and, yes, family- his wife Mala, his father Iggy, his sone Lumpy, to celebrate life day.

The highlight of this program, of course, is the cartoon where in which we see the first sign of Boba Fett (although with episode II in chronological order that comes first), and the rest of it has the cast members singing songs and delivering bad, bad acting. But what was weird was that I couldn't take my eyes off the screen the whole show, it was basically the Star Wars train wreck. You will laugh at its incredible ridiculousness if you have a sense of humor, but if you are a strident Star Wars fan who loves the intense action and mystery from the saga (and believe me I'm one of them also), walk away from it, never happened. Art Carney, Bea Arthur, Jefferson Starship and Diahann Caroll co-star. B-

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