May 27, 2005

It Makes the Baby Ewoks Cry

Posted in General at 1:03 pm by Ian

So, I’m watching the Star Wars Holiday Special. I’m really wishing I weren’t, but at this point, I’m sticking through to the bitter end. I got it from a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy who got a bootleg at a convention. The internet was involved. It’s nth generation VHS from 20 years ago, so the quality is questionable, but I’m watching a DVD.

The plot (for lack of a more appropriate word) centers around getting Chewbacca home to celebrate “Life Day” with his family. Yes. Life Day.

The following is a scene-by-scene summary of the show, in all its glory.

Our scene opens with the Millenium Falcon fleeing from a Star Destroyer in a shot that is eerily reminiscent of Empire. No matter. The camera switches to the Falcon’s interior, which has become much smaller and cheaper-looking than I had remembered. Han speaks of the necessity of getting Chewie back for Life Day, but wants to turn back. Chewie yowls. Han decides to keep going. Conflict.

We then get a rundown of the characters. Mark Hamill as Luke. Harrison Ford as Han Solo. Carrie Fisher as a very drugged-looking Leia. Jefferson Starship. Wait, what?

Chewbacca’s family are major players in this movie, which is regrettable, since they can neither talk nor emote. Also, Chewbacca’s father and son are named, respectively, Itchy and Lumpy. I shit you not. And his father… let’s just say that Wookiees don’t age well.

Next scene: Lumpy is playing with a toy X-Wing, and making wookiee noises for it flying. Mala yowls at him and gestures for him to come over. Lumpy yowls back, shaking his head. Conflict.

Next, the family gathers around a picture of Chewbacca kept on the mantle, and yowl at it for a while. This is to establish that he is not there yet. But where could he be?

Rather than answer that question, we next get a 6 minute display of acrobatics by some miniature hologram circus performers on a hologram table. It doesn’t at all look like they just painted a stage to look like the table and had normal circus performers dance on it. No, sir. This is intercut with shots of Lumpy, and periodic yowling so that we don’t forget about the wookiees.

Once the circus performance is finished, Mala yowls at Lumpy to come dry the dishes. He yowls back. After sufficient yowling, he goes to dry the dishes. It is worth noting that this scene has been going for nearly 12 minutes now, with no dialog or exposition.

They then gather around the viewphone to call…. Luke!

He is working on a missle of some sort with R2-D2, and stops to greet them. While he speaks and they yowl, the missle begins to smoke, and R2 tries to get his attention. “Not now R2,” he says, until finally the smoke overwhelms him. When he turns back from fixing the missle, the family is holding up the picture of Chewbacca. Through sufficient gesturing, yowling, and guessing by Luke, it is established that Chewbacca is not yet there. It is a very Lassie moment. Then the missle starts smoking again. And R2 again fails to get Luke’s attention. It is in fact the same gag that they ran just 54 seconds previously (I timed it).

When Luke tells them that Chewbacca and Han left on schedule, ominous music plays. Tension. But, then, a few moments later, he tells them to cheer up, enjoy their life day. And happy music plays. Denoument.

A few more valuable seconds of screentime devoted to Wookiee yowling, and we’re off to…

A store. A very low-rent looking set of a store. Where the shopkeeper is speaking to an Imperial guard, who is looking to buy something. Is it a cheap little mini aquarium? It is not. Then Mala calls on the viewphone, and the shopkeeper gives her the following message. See if you can figure out the code.

“Good to see you again. Don’t say a word, Madam. I know why you’re calling. You’re wondering when that shaggy carpet you ordered will arrive at your home. Let me assure you, Madam: It’s on its way. You know, it was made especially for you by a little woman four planets away. She did it all by herself. In fact, you might say she did it by Hand. Solo. So it’s going to take some time to get to you. I know you understand. You understand, don’t you?

So, to recap: Chewie is coming (which we, and they, already knew). He’s coming with Han Solo (which everybody knows). It might be a while. I wonder how many Bothans had to die for this one.

We then have some more intercut scenes stolen from other movies with new dialog spliced over the old. Darth Vader wants the rebels found.

Then, back to the wookiees. Mala starts to watch a cooking show. Hosted by a transvestite. The joke here seems to be that the cook has a bunch of arms, played by a guy standing behind him who reaches around with costumed arms and then does hand movements that don’t quite match up. They clearly didn’t spend more than one take on this.

Then, back to very short clips of action shots from the other movies. TIE fighters are attacking.

Back at the wookiee house, the shopkeeper from before shows up, and the wookiees yowl at him for a while. Itchy gets plugged into some kind of helmet viewing thing, and then watches Diahann Carroll sing a song while wearing pink hair. The background is all shimmering and kaleidascopic, and you keep expecting her to say “Kal-El,” but she does not.

Princess Leia then talks to the wookiees through C-3PO. She is so stoned. Leia asks to speak to Han or Chewie, and we are yet again reminded that they are not yet there.

Oh, man. According to IMdB, this thing runs for 97 minutes, and it’s only been 35.

Except that we now see that the Millenium Falcon has arrived. It just flew over the planet That was the only freaking minor bit of tension that they had, and they threw it all away on–Wait!

Stormtroopers! Infiltrating a random wookie treehouse! For no reason!

Luckily, our friendly shopkeeper is able to talk them down by rambling in a nervous manner. Guaranteed to get the fuzz off your back. He starts up a machine. Jefferson Starship, in hologram form! That kills 7 minutes.

The Imperial troops are going to search the place. There is something important upstairs, because the wookiees keep trying to stop them from going up. Actually, a few minutes later, we find that there was nothing important upstairs. Someone should tell the orchestra.

And, all of a sudden, we’re into the cartoon section. Wow, Mark Hamill never had such cheekbones in real life. Something strange has happened with the Milenium Falcon, and Luke starts off after them. The Falcon fires on them, and the following dialog is spoken:
C-3PO: He’s firing on us.
Luke: I know.

George Lucas at his best, folks.

It cuts back to the wookies, so that we see that Lumpy is watching this cartoon. Which features his father and friends. Now, random circus performers and rock bands, I can believe. But who watches cartoons of their own (intergalactic criminal) friends on TV?

They crash land on a planet, and a giant dinosaur thing eats part of the ship. And, then, Boba Fett (!) is riding another dinosaur thing. He befriends them, and leads them to the Falcon. He doesn’t sound Maori.

Luke gets a “sleeping virus,” and Boba Fett goes off to get the antidote. And then, we see his treachery: He commmunicates with Darth Vader! C-3PO and R2-D2 intercept this message. Boba Fett wants to find the Rebel base. Then Boba returns and saves Luke.

“Boba, you’re a hero and a faithful friend. You must come back with us.”

But the droids save the day. Ha ha ha ha ha. (I don’t know. It was funny to the cartoon characters.)

The Imperial guys bust up Lumpy’s room, then tell him to go clean it up. The leader says to Mala with a smile: “That will keep him busy for a while.” WTF?!

Oh, man. I can’t keep going. I just can’t. And I didn’t even get to Bea Arthur.

P.S. Oh God: She’s singing.

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5 Comments »

  1. Dad said,

    It just cries out for Jar-Jar, doesn’t it?

  2. Ian said,

    I could watch Episode I after this and see nothing but genius.

  3. JT said,

    Since I have delved into the world of the Star Wars books, I feel the need to point out that Lumpy is only a nickname, just as Chewie is. His full name is Lumpawarrump. Meanwhile, Itchy’s real name is Attichitcuk.

    And before you call me ultra-geekey, I only knew they were nicknames. I had to look up their real names.

  4. Ian said,

    Yeah. I noticed that on IMdB, but they never say that. We at least hear “Chewbacca” once before they go to “Chewie”.

  5. Victor said,

    No wonder George Lucas decided to go uncredited.


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