i am delighted to report that James' recently found love of Star Wars continues nicely. he seems to be rather enjoying what bits of the films we let him see, and he certainly likes playing with my ace Darth Vader, Obi-Wan and Anakin toys. yes, my toys, and yes i know i hit 36 (!) next week.
with a distinct lack of variety in Star Wars things to show him (there is no way we are letting him near Episodes II & III for many a year), i opted to hunt down the one Star Wars related 'feature' that i was confident he could play from start to finish.......
now i vaguely recall watching this epic when we were all rather young in Australia. and, for the purposes of this post, let us assume that we videotaped this spectacle at the time, shall we?
my memories of it were vague at best - i didn't remember much of it, except that it was all about some sort of party or festival on Chewbaccas' home planet. the reviews across the whole wide interwebnetthingie suggest that few, if any, care for it - George "Mr Star Wars" Lucas, who had little to do with the making of it, has expressed a desire to "smash every copy of it", i believe. nonetheless, i decided to put it on for James. if nothing else, it would be a test of his new found love of all things Star Wars, i figured. and a test it was.
on the off chance that you have not seen this "lost work" and want to, well then, be warned, for there are *** SPOILERS AHEAD ***....
whilst not exactly saying "make it stop" at any point, James did look at me somewhat concerned, asking if we couldn't perhaps skip past one or two parts. oddly, the intergalactic, far out uber-funk of one Jefferson Starship was not one of the bits he wished to skip...
.....but the other song and dance numbers inexplicably spliced into the film certainly feature on his "i do not want to watch that again" list. i, having a flashback, clocked when Princess Leia was about to start singing along to the Star Wars theme and promptly left the room. i therefore have no idea exactly how James took to it, but when i went back to it all he didn't seem entirely disappointed that it was all finished. i suspect that part won't get played all that often in the future.
so, what else does the Holiday Special hold for the intrepid viewer? well, starting at the end, there's the curious Wookie life day celebration itself.
the reasons for "Life Day" are never made all that clear, nor are the motivations for the ceremony which takes place. i wouldn't want to spoil too much of this event, but if i mention that it features red robes and an inexplicable wander into the stratosphere to visit a star or something, you should get the idea.
then there's the return to the Cantina bar. there may well have been a reason given for this, but i missed it.
how to describe this one? well, it features most of the characters from the Cantina Bar in the original Star Wars film, only now they look rather more like bad actors in worse costumes than they look like convincing alien lifeforms. one or two of the characters from the original also seem to have there arms magically reattached, and Greedo, all back in one piece, for no apparent reason seems to have 30cm long floppy, string like fingers. and, believe me, the less said about the song intended to clear the bar the better.
it's not all doom, gloom and bewilderment, however. the Holiday Special is routinely thanked and applauded for the 12 minute animated sequence, a sequence which introduced the much loved Boba Fett to us all. as a rough sketch of the character, he's very cool indeed - not quite the awesome character from Empire Strikes Back who dared speak back to AND make demands of Darth Vader AND live to tell the tale, but he's pretty close. well, the fact that he seems to be a bit of a wandering shepherd with some nice toys rather than the most feared bounty hunter in the galaxy isn't ideal, but it's also easy to ignore.
that said, the animated cartoon isn't as great as some would have you believe. the picture here should give you a clue as to why. what's wrong with this picture? Han Solo seems to have some sort of deformity that has stretched his face out of proportion, Chewbacca looks like some bizarre Care Bear prototype, C-3PO's neck would appear to have been replaced by a broomstick, and Luke Skywalker looks like a draft version of the blonde boy out of Scooby Doo.
and finally, on the note of Luke, a round of applause please for Mark Hammil's appearance in this one! in this Holiday Special, Luke is seen with an odd orange-blond pastel hair colour and curious crop. the next time this look was seen was when David "Derek" Bowie unveiled it on the Serious Moonlight tour of 1983. one can only assume that Mr Bowie saw this television spectacle somewhere along the way, clocked that the look was, shall we say, somewhat ahead of its time and decided to wait until the New Romantic revolution of the early 80's to pass it off as his own. shame on you Mr Bowie, for it looked no better on you than it did on Luke!
so, does the Star Wars Holiday Special fall into that "it's so bad it's good" category? sort of. overall, the desire of George Lucas to destroy every copy of it is one that you cannot help agree with - ardent Star Wars junkies that take it all far too seriously probably weep and go into a rage at the though of it, whereas even the most casual and unassuming television watcher would be hard pressed to be entertained by it.
as bad as it is, though, it's because this is something that has been all but buried whilst carrying a name as big as Star Wars that you wish to see it. this really is as bad and dismal as you have heard, but there's no way that's going to let you stop finding your copy and watching it, right?
on that note, i bet you too also made a wise recording of this onto some sort of videotape, but have since misplaced the video cassette. not to worry, i think you will have left your copy in a place called "the internet", have a look, you will find yours there.....
so, will James wish to watch this again? i will be taken aback if he selected this over his top film, A New Hope or his current favourite, The Phantom Menace, to be honest. he might want to watch some of the bits with Lumpy, the odd child Wookie that seems to be Chewbacca's son, but that would be about it. other than the two films mentioned, i would imagine that the Star Wars edition of The Muppet Show will get watched more often. er, yeah, that's also one that i managed to catch on video at the time and save......
if you seek out the Holiday Special, all i can do is remind you of the warning that Yoda gave Luke before he went into that particular cave in The Empire Strikes Back. best of luck, be careful what you wish for, and happy viewing! sorry, i know i should end with "may the force be with you", but if you are in the know, you would be reluctant to mention that phrase in association with this.....
be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!