Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Movie Review: "The Star Wars Holiday Special" (1978)

Director: Steve Binder
Year: 1978
Rating: NR
Running Time: 1 hour, 37 minutes

Han Solo tries to get Chewbacca home to Kashyyyk so he can spend 'Life Day' with his family.

We are huge "Star Wars" fans. If you've ever wondered if there's a "Star Wars" movie that the fans of the series should avoid at all costs, look no further than "The Star Wars Holiday Special," a made-for-TV movie that aired around Christmastime in 1978. The main cast appears in the film including Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels, and the voice of James Earl Jones, who all reprise their roles from "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope." This movie is directed by Steve Binder, who directed many television specials prior to this one. What this movie is supposed to be about is Chewbacca trying to return to his home planet of Kashyyyk to spend "Life Day" with his family. Life Day is what we assume to be the Wookie version of Christmas. What this movie actually winds up being about is Chewbacca's family sitting at home waiting for him to get back while they watch various things on various screens as a few famous-at-the-time stars who weren't too busy doing anything else perform skits that have nothing to do with "Star Wars." A few of the other big names that appear in this special are Art Carney, Harvey Corman, Bea Arthur, Diahann Carroll, and Jefferson Starship because you know, STAR Wars, spaceSHIP... that's seriously the closest thing we could come up with to connect any these people to a galaxy far, far away.

We had heard that this movie was bad. We figured, how bad could it really be? We have watched countless bad movies like "Manos: Hands of Fate," "Heaven's Gate," and "Catwoman" all in the name of cinematic masochism. Hell, we just saw "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians" for our Christmas marathon! But, nothing could have adequately prepared us for what we were about to witness. We hoped this would be a "so bad, it's good" type of experience like what happened when we viewed "Troll 2" or "Samurai Cop," and at first, this was almost the case. The feature starts out with Han Solo trying to get Chewbacca home before cutting to Chewie's family hanging out waiting in their tree house. They are 'talking' to each other, and as fans of "Star Wars" know, Wookies often sound like wounded animals struggling to survive. So here, we have a room full of Wookies screaming at each other. At first, it was a little funny, until we realized at some point about 20 minutes into the film that this was going to be continuing the whole movie. Sometimes Chewie's father Itchy, his mother Malla, and his son Lumpy watch some form of entertainment. For example, Chewbacca's son watches some weird precursor to Cirque du Soleil, and Chewbacca's father uses what seems to be a VR porn fantasy machine where Diahann Carroll sings a song about his inner fantasies. And speaking of songs, there are a lot of them, performed by Carroll, Jefferson Starship, Bea Arthur, and even Carrie Fisher. These tunes are interwoven with little interludes of Chewbacca's wife having a video call with Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Art Carney. The charm wears off really quickly and it's clear nobody was happy to be participating in this thing. Harrison Ford had no intent on hiding his disdain. The only thing that sticks with us about this movie is that Chewbacca was a terrible father who abandoned his family to smuggle illegal goods, to fight in the Rebellion, and to fight for the Resistance without ever mentioning them ever again. It's easy to understand why people HATE this movie, and it's easy to see why Chewie never mentioned his family ever again. "The Star Wars Holiday Special" is atrocious.

My Rating: 1.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 1.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 2.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 43%
Do we recommend this movie: AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!

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