Monday, December 16, 2019

Star Wars Holiday Special 1978

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The Star Wars Special sucks, but it was created in the ethos of the Star Wars franchise.

This movie is terrible, nearly unwatchable even. I admit that I used YouTube's preview feature to jump ahead to the scenes with a star, and by star, I don't mean to include Jefferson Starship. Carrie Fisher once called the Star Wars special "a punishment from God." The score is played poorly and its association with this film cheapens otherwise great music. Chewbacca's family scenes are rage inducing--the Wookie kid is inexplicably playing with an X-Wing toy. Mark Hamill's makeup makes him look like a Ken doll. And the height of the conflict is Han Solo's combat with a lone stormtrooper.
Now that we've gotten what makes this "Special" unwatchable out of the way, let's discuss what makes this movie somewhat interesting. The Star Wars Holiday Special is essentially a best hits of Episode IV: A New Hope: Han and Chewbacca escape pursuit by jumping into hyperspace, Leia inspires everyone with a message of hope, James Earl Jones says something Vadery, and R2 blows something up in time with Luke's "R2!" 

The idea of remixing Star Wars is, essentially, the idea of Star Wars. All of the Star Wars canon attests to this. The Star Wars property is an attraction, not much different than a tiger at the zoo. The tiger doesn't have to do anything, and yet we all go to see the tiger. Star Wars has hit that level of popularity that even if it is merely a series of callbacks, people are entertained.

In 1978's "Special," each of the Star Wars stars has between three to six minutes of screen time, with Harrison Ford contributing the most. Ford shines somehow, even if 90% of his lines are lines he's said before. He transcends the absence of a plot, nearly adding gravitas to an obvious cash grab. Though we've heard Ford deliver almost all of Han's lines before, the point is that most Star Wars fans rewatch the Star Wars movies over and over anyway. People want to hear those lines again and again and again.


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It's hard to believe that the good people that control Star Wars haven't been approached with more offers to create Holiday specials. I mean, wouldn't we all love to see Rey and Finn outrun an Imperial Star Destroyer to deliver gifts to the Twi'lek people? Bib Fortuna (pictured above) would surely melt with gratitude.



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