Star Wars 4 ½: The Holiday Special
Title: Star Wars 4 ½: The Holiday Special
Genre: Adventure, Comedy
Starring: Mickey Morton, Art Carney, Harrison Ford, Peter Mayhew
Director: Steve Binder
Producer: George Lucas
In celebration that Star Wars has finally made it blu-ray (even if it comes butchered once again), I thought it was time for me to reveal the much coveted 'seventh film,' though calling it a film might be a little bit of a stretch. Released a year after the original Episode IV, it features all your favourite characters; Solo, Chewie, Luke, Leia, C-3PO and R2-D2 all make appearances, along with plenty of celebrity appearances from people at the time I largely have no idea about. Following the story of Chewie and Han's quest to get to Chewie's home and family on Kashyyyk and celebrate life day, they fall under attack by the Imperal Empire. Much of the story, however, actually takes place on their forest homeworld with Chewies family trying to while away the time and not focus on their worries about where Chewbacca might be, or the fact that Imperials are raiding, with what I would best describe as 'comedy sketches,' despite there being no comedy involved whatsoever.
There are the occasional points where things begin to look promising, but give it but a moment and you'll realise that every time it's just a section of footage from the film. Sometimes they even use the same piece of footage multiple times. You see, 'special' is indeed the right word to describe this. Special like that kid with down syndrome down the street we would probably mock behind their back if it wasn't all too depressing and quite frankly not that funny. Special like Einstein's theory of Special Relativity we all wish we spent longer trying to figure out so we could go back in time and make sure this never happened. Special like the look of Chewbacca's family whom the film centres upon; the most normal of them all, Malla, Chewies wife, looking much like a slightly shorter version of Chewie with lipstick slapped on her; his slightly retarded (or should I say 'special') looking son Lumpy and his downright 'herp derp' level of 'special' father, Itchy. And I wish I could say I was making these names up.
There's just so much here that falls under 'wrong;' the look of a horny senile wookie fantasising over Diahann Carroll; the decision to resuscitate Greedo for the background of a Tatooine sketch; the big fight scene where not a single shot is fired (probably a result of the budget and the fact that it seems nobody in the department could manage their spending in a way that might make everything a little less shitty to look at) resulting in a storm trooper jumping off a balcony; the decision to give us a sneak peak into the character of Boba Fett before he had been cast, thereby forcing the use of animation that looks worse than the cheap crap used by kids TV at the time. It's as though nobody thought, just for a moment, a story focussing on three wookies and their wookie-ookies (read: wookie cookies. There really are some 'special' writers involved here) as they potter around worrying about Chewie and watching shitty programs that at their best have the youngest one clapping like a seal, might be a little difficult to pull off with a small budget and that niggly little problem that most of the core characters don't speak English.
None of the cast look particularly happy about being there; Harrison Ford constantly seems like he's gritting his teeth as he says his downright dreadful lines, grimacing in the place of a smile as he wonders how on earth they convinced him to do this crap, and presumably with the amount of make-up on Hamill he couldn't hide his thoughts even that badly. Even the big finalé, the celebration of Life day itself that had you curious from the start, turned out to be the most overrated celebration I've ever heard of. Spoiler alert: all that happens is you put on a red robe and bark at a tree. Or perhaps that was Wookie for “shut the fuck up Leia, who told you that you could sing?” And as if to add insult to injury they end it all with a few short clips of Episode IV to finish it all off with, right after the most nauseatingly disappointing ending – even coming after the preceding atrocities – as if to say 'hey, remember how awesome this film was before we started raping your memory of it?' This is a work that is so painfully bad that even George Lucas (yes, we're talking about the same man who proudly created 'Jar-Jar Binks') upon seeing it aired on TV for the first and only time ordered every copy to be burnt and for everyone involved to never speak of it again. Which they seemed all the more happy to do, doing everything in their power to erase the memory of creating the foetid turd of an aptly named 'special.' When the adverts still left in from the bootleg copy in your possession are hands down more fascinating to watch than the show itself, you're in trouble.