In anticipation of the brand new Star Wars films, I will finally be expressing my thoughts on the original trilogy plus its prequels. But before we do Empire, I’ll talk ab… oh… God…
Well, it’s finally Christmas, so I might as well direct my readers’ attention towards this truly unique entry in the Star Wars franchise: The Star Wars Holiday Special. Aired in 1978, a year after the original film took humanity by storm, it features much of the original cast, none of the original charm and is bad enough of an idea by itself that the final product becomes outright bizarre. Making a Star Wars Christmas special is a stupid idea; making this is a crime against anything with the ability to feel. I’m serious, folks. This is really bad!
The film opens with Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and his fuzzy pal Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) aboard the Milennium Falcon, flying away from stock footage of Imperial star destroyers from the first Star Wars. Han assures his friend that he will get him home to the planet of the Wookies in time for “Life Day”, a very special Wookie holiday, before we cut to the planet in question and we’re greeted to none other than Chewbacca’s wife, dad and child. For several genuinely insufferable minutes, all we hear is these fluffy monsters roaring and screeching at each other and no, we don’t even get subtitles. Art Carney, of all people, shows up, as do Imperial stormtroopers who have been sent, I swear to God, because Darth Vader (James Earle Jones) wants “every household in the system” to be searched for rebels. I really couldn’t make this up if I tried. The troopers take the family hostage and it’s up to Han and Chewie make it back home before the Bacca family and Art Carney are toast.
But this thin plot doesn’t even nearly make up the entire movie’s runtime. Most of it is devoted to random sketches that play on the Wookie family’s video device, some of which star Harvey Korman as all manners of unwatchably ugly characters, one of which stars Bea Arthur as a barkeep at Mos Eisley Cantina(the only tolerable sketch in the movie) and others that seem to work as pornography for the Wookies, even if the videos in question star humans. If I told you that there’s a Star Wars movie out there that features an inversion of furry porn, how much would you pay to see it?
There also exists an animated segment, which is actually the first time fan favourite Boba Fett (Don Francks), a fearsome bounty hunter with a cool mask, makes an appearance in the entire franchise. His scene of falling into the sand anus in Return of the Jedi is starting to look more dignified by comparison.
Mark Hamill makes a few reluctant (I would guess) re-appearances as Luke Skywalker, as do a seemingly stoned Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia, who gets a humiliatingly cheesy song number at the end, good old Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, and, as the intro puts it, R2-D2 as R2-D2. I guess they couldn’t get Kenny Baker.
This movie is aggressively bad. While any Star Wars fan will agree that the prequel trilogy is objectively sub-par when compared to the original classics, this movie rarely even earns their mere acknowledgement; as if to say that, unlike Jar-Jar Binks and “CG-3PO”, this is the George Lucas creation that doesn’t so much as deserve to exist. Even though Lucas himself didn’t technically write or direct it, he has still been doing everything in his power to make certain that this movie is forgotten and that all bootleg copies of it are destroyed, so if even he’s not okay with it, you know it’s hopeless.
The story is a first class snore-fest, all the actors look uncomfortable with what they’re putting themselves through, the Wookie costumes are nearly as horrible to look at as their screeches are to listen to for a good 80% (I swear I’m not joking) of a 97 minute film, the 2D animation is childishly bad, and the only special effects worth a damn are all the space battles and spaceship shots that they’ve just ripped from the first movie. Also, if you thought the main plot was insultingly boring on its own, wait ’til you see some of these filler sketches. One is a lengthy Jefferson Starship music video, one is a cooking show, and one is just a few minutes of Harvey Korman instructing the viewer on how to put together a transmitter. I don’t know to whom or what this is the greatest insult; the Star Wars fans, Christmas itself or Harvey Korman.
I don’t need to continue. This movie doesn’t deserve that I continue. It isn’t worthy of a review longer than the one I’ve put together as of this paragraph. It does, however, deserve the review it got in video form a few years back, courtesy of the Nostalgia Critic, which I’m posting mostly because I couldn’t find a trailer but also because this is the only way anyone should get through The Star Wars Holiday Special: with a high-pitched Internet reviewer who shouts a lot. You’re welcome!
And for what it’s worth: