Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Movie Marathon Day 30

           I'm trying something different to get in the holiday spirit this year. Every day, from now through Christmas, I will be watching a different Christmas movie or television special. I have compiled the list of features ahead of time and am drawing one, at random, from my Christmas stocking everyday to determine what gets watched. Thank you for joining me in this endeavor. We have reached the end of this project. Time to reveal the last feature.

The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)

           Full disclosure, this pick was not random. Since around 2007 or so it has become tradition for my brother and I to watch this every Christmas Eve. Why do we subject ourselves to this? That is a really good question. The Star Wars Holiday Special aired on CBS exactly once and has never received an official retail release. However, because it is Star Wars related, early VHS recordings of it have persisted, dubbed and passed from fan to fan through the years. This pick is also the second one where I am not viewing an unadulterated copy. Like Nestor earlier this month, the version that we always watch is the Rifftrax version. Believe me, if you are planning on watching along do yourself a favor and get one with intentional jokes added.


           Where do you even start with describing the Star Wars Holiday Special? The main plot can be summarized succinctly as Chewbacca is trying to make it back home to his family on Kashyyyk in time to celebrate the wookiee holiday of Life Day. However, while that may be the overarching plot of the special it misses so much of what makes the Star Wars Special so notoriously bad. First, rather than seeing Han and Chewie struggling to get Chewie back in time while dodging Imperials, we instead spend most of the special with Chewie's family. Most of the first half hour of the special is simply Chewie's wife Mala, son Lumpy, and father Itchy growling and grunting at each other with absolutely no subtitles.

Gripping, just gripping.

           Outside of this, the special falls in to all the traps of a seventies variety show. We are subjected to long drawn out musical numbers by Diahann Caroll and Jefferson Starship. There are also comedy bits with Harvey Korman that fall completely flat. All of this makes the special feel really disjointed and slow. So very, very slow. In the end, Han and Chewie make it back to Kashyyyk, Han kills a stormtrooper and the trader Saun Dann throws the Imperials off their scent. Life Day can the proceed. Chewbacca and his family don red robes, grab crystal balls and walk into a sun. They are then in a weird, empty room and Han, Luke, Leia, and the droids are all there suddenly. Leia sings a song, and it is bad. Later, Chewie and his family are back in their house and Life Day winds down.

I honestly have no idea what is supposed to be happening here.

Final Thoughts

           The Star Wars Holiday Special is as bad as you have heard. There is almost nothing redeeming about it. Watching the Rifftrax version helps but even with the added jokes it is a chore to make your way through this. My brother and I have gotten a good number of inside jokes that we can bring up at holidays but I am fairly certain that the price we paid for those jokes was not worth it. This special is intolerably slow. The pacing is so bad that it still feels like a slog even though I know it by every beat at this point. The seventies commercials that are part of the Rifftrax version are pretty fun. They are honestly more enjoyable than the special for the most part. As a bonus, you know that every commercial break that you make it to brings you ever close to the end of the special.

Buy Tobor.  As the commercial points out, Tobor is robot spelled backwards.

           I can’t really recommend this one, but I don’t think that will prevent anyone who was considering watching this from doing so. After all, it is a Star Wars feature and there is a cartoon segment in the middle that features the first appearance of inexplicable fan favorite character Boba Fett. That alone means that people will seek this out. Don’t, just don’t. Do yourself a favor and avoid this. If you must see this, make sure you get the Rifftrax version and watch it with someone else. Misery loves company. Thanks for going on this journey with me this holiday season. It really did work to get me in the spirit and I have felt good about getting to write more. Anyway, thank you for reading. I’ve got some more features planned so keep checking back as Pixelated Pastimes branches out in 2017. See you soon.

Boba Fett seen here doing more than he ever did in the actual movies.

No comments:

Post a Comment