Luke Skywalker joins forces with a Jedi Knight, a cocky pilot, a wookiee and two droids to save the universe from the Empire's world-destroying battle-station, while also attempting to rescue Princess Leia from the evil Darth Vader.
This tribute to George W. Lucas starts off with William Shatner singing "My Way" accompanied by dancing stormtroopers, so who said the Star Wars Holiday Special was dead? American Film Institute recipients from all over Hollywood converse to welcome George Lucas into their midst, and unlike some earlier shows, there is as much roasting as their is flattering being directed at the man of the hour. But whenever someone goes a bit too far, Steve Spielberg pats his pal George on the back as if to say "It's all right, buddy". Meanwhile, on the other side of the table Harrison Ford is pulling faces and drawing attention to himself while Callista Flockheart hides behind a single rose.
After some home movies laying out Lucas' early years (narrated by himself) Robert Duval and Richard Dreyfuss earnestly introduce segments on THX 1138 and American Graffiti. 2002 AFI recipient Tom Hanks comes out quoting lines from Star Wars, which to all the Hollywood alums seems like some kind of sidesplitting comedy monologue (because they don't know every line by heart like some of us do). Let's be honest: although it's called a Life Achievement award, Lucas is really being honored for just one film, the one that changed cinema history and defined the summer blockbuster. Therefore a lot of time is spend on the original Star Wars, with Darth Vader's voice introducing the various Joseph Campbell archetypes, who one by one they take the stage to reenact the final Throne room scene (not sure if it was actually Peter Mayhew and Anthony Daniels in those suits again, certainly not Kenny Baker).
As the first Star Warrior speaker, Mark Hamill steals a bit of Carrie Fisher's thunder by mentioning the Pez-dispenser and the Underoos with his likeness (dont worry, she repeats the joke with vigor anyway). Carrie seems to have had her lips done preparing for a rant worthy of Dean Martin's Celebrity Roast while Harrison plays it bitter, once for Han Solo and then again for Indy Jones. The second time he starts doing impressions and makes a not so subtle plea to hurry up with the next one, otherwise 'Sean Connery will be too old to play his dad". To make up for all the mock-negativity, Peter Jackson, having lost his glasses and so much weight that he looks almost exactly like Merry and/or Pippin (proving all the hairstyles in his Lord of the Rings were based on his own), leads a group of pre recorded directors raving about Star Wars.
Strangely enough, Jimmy Smits is the only prequel trilogy star to attend (Sam Jackson was no doubt filming a dozen movies simultaneously), and only introduces Maroon 5, the Lucas kid's favorite band. During their number there are a few clips from other Lucasfilm productions like Willow and Tucker(the man and his dreams) projected on a view-screen, so they don't need any further mention. In fact, the only thing worth mentioning about Willow these days is that it features ILM's very first morphing effect. The prequels also gets the short end of the stick, when interviews with Lucas make it seem these three films were only made 'because digital technology allowed it' Lastly there is a montage of gushing fans thanking George for creating Star Wars (only two of them mention his other films) and when The Maker himself takes the stage, he reasons that the two trilogies are really one movie, meaning he only made three films in his entire career (Irvin Kerchner and the late Richard Marquand are neither mentioned nor thanked).
7 out of 10
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