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Review: 'Robot Chicken: Star Wars'

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

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DVD Case

DVD case for 'Robot Chicken: Star Wars.'

Cartoon Network

Cast:

  • Seth Green...George W. Bush, Max Reebo, Nerd, Ponda Baba, Qui-Gon Jinn
  • Abraham Benrubi...Darth Vader
  • Bob Bergen...Luke Skywalker
  • Ahmed Best...Jar Jar Binks
  • Donald Faison...Evazan
  • Keith Ferguson...Han Solo
  • Hulk Hogan...Abraham Lincoln
  • Tom Kane...C-3PO
  • George Lucas...Himself
  • Seth MacFarlane...Emperor Palpatine
  • Malcolm McDowell...Head Imperial Officer
  • Breckin Meyer...Admiral Ackbar, Boba Fett
  • Conan O'Brien...Zuckuss

Directed by Seth Green. Written by Jordan Allen-Dutton, Mike Fasolo, Douglas Goldstein, Seth Green, Charles Horn, Breckin Meyer, Tom Root, Matthew Senreich, Hugh Sterbakov, and Erik Weiner.

Content and Features

The Robot Chicken: Star Wars special is a series of rapid-fire stop-motion skits, some a few minutes long, others quick blackouts, in the style of Seth Green and Matthew Senreich's Robot Chicken series. (For an image gallery, click here.)

The skits included are: "Inside the AT-AT", "Darth Vader's Collect Call", "Jawa in the Mos Eisley Cantina", "The Aftermath of Darth Maul's Death", "Admiral Ackbar Cereal", "A Day in the Life of Ponda Baba", "Droids X-ray Machine", "Lightsaber Problems", "Helmet Stuck to Vader", "Orientation Day", "Luke is Alone", "George Lucas at a Star Wars Convention", "Learning The Force", "Space Slugs Order Chinese Food", "The Aftermath of Mace Windu's Death", "Jedi George Bush", "Weather on Cloud City", "Taken Tauntaun", "'Yo Momma' Fight", "The Aftermath of Emperor Palpatine's Death", "Delaying Stormtroopers", "Vader and Jar Jar Reunion", "Toshi Station Strippers", "Boba Fett with Carbonite-Frozen Han Solo", "Chewbacca Hair-Do", "The Empire Strikes Back Spoilers", "Interruption by Death Star II Construction", "Lobot's Personal Time", ""Max Reebo's Greatest Hits"", "Mid-Nite with Zuckuss", "Luke and Leia in Bed", and "The Empire on Ice!"

Features include "Chicken Nuggets," Animation Meeting, On Air Bumps, Trailers, Behind the Scenes, Deleted Scenes, Alternate Audio, Production Design, Time Lapse, Photo Gallery, Panel Presentations, and seven sets of Episode Commentary (two sets each of actors, writers, and crew, plus Katie and Jett).

Accessible Comedy

Evazan and Ponda Baba

Evazan (voice of Donald Faison) and Ponda Baba (voice of Seth Green) confront Luke Skywalker in 'Robot Chicken: Star Wars.'

Cartoon Network

Those who don't think of themselves as ardent fans of Star Wars might stay away from Robot Chicken: Star Wars, rightly suspecting it of being the creation of Star Wars geeks who've seen the original film and its sequels way too many times. But one of the best things about Robot Chicken: Star Wars is that its comedy is deliberately pitched both at the geeks and the non-geeks. The writers, in other words, tried to make sure that it would be funny if you don't know the references, and even funnier if you do.

The nucleus of the 22-minute special was a spot done in the second season of Robot Chicken, "Darth Vader's Collect Phone Call," in which Emperor Palpatine is interrupted in a meeting with Vader's bad news about the Death Star ("What the hell is an 'Aluminum Falcon'?"). The creators enjoyed doing the Vader skit a lot -- Robot Chicken co-creator Seth Green is himself a huge Star Wars geek -- and were thrilled to hear it had caught the attention of George Lucas. Invited up to the Ranch, the Robot Chicken team cautiously pitched the idea of a Star Wars-themed special, and the Jedi Master gave his blessing.

Layers of Fun

A few of the shorter skits, it's true, are treats especially for the fans: a scene showing Luke at Toshi Station is only funny if you remember Luke's line about picking up some power converters from an early scene in the first film. But most of the special riffs on the franchise in a way that doesn't require extensive knowledge of the movies or their backstories. (In this case the Star Wars of the title refers not merely to the first film but to the entire series, and in fact many of the skits are based on seminal moments in the highly regarded second film, The Empire Strikes Back.)

"A Day in the Life of Ponda Baba," for example, is funny even if you don't remember much about the unintelligible walrus-like alien featured in the cantina sequence in Episode IV. Several of the key images from the original scene are reproduced in the parody version as well, as an aid in telling the story even as it's being mocked. And a section in the middle of the special digresses into George W. Bushland, pitting a Jedi-empowered Dubya against such nemeses as Bill Clinton and -- Abraham Lincoln? Sure, why not?

The extras, including a huge pile of dueling commentary tracks, make the DVD worth considering: there's a making-of and other behind-the-scenes stuff, alternate audio, "chicken nuggets," and so forth. The deleted scenes take the form of audio over roughly animated storyboards, with brief intros that reveal that the writers knew these were the skits that didn't work and wisely shelved them.

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