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12/31/15

ROBOT CHICKEN: STAR WARS TRILOGY - REVIEW


Back in 2007, slightly before Family Guy tackled Star Wars with their own spoof Blue Harvest, the Robot Chicken team delivered a 22 minute-long episode full of nerdy lols then went on to produce two more.

Robot Chicken maestro Seth Green of course handled a good bunch of the voice work but the episodes also included cameos from the likes of George Lucas, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams and Anthony Daniels plus a handful of non-Star Wars-related celebrities. Seth MacFarlane also took on a few voices, the most memorable one being the Emperor.

The skits are presented in typical Robot Chicken form, separated by short bursts of white noise, and the jokes come fast. As is the case with most parodies, the whole thing is a bit hit-and-miss, but a lot of it does stick. In the first instalment, Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode I, some highlights include the Emperor receiving a collect call from Darth Vader telling him the Death Star has exploded, an Imperial officer explaining that Vader doesn't really have the power to strangle people with the Force but that everyone just plays along so they don't get really hurt, space slugs ordering Chinese food, personal favourite "The Empire On Ice!", Luke and Leia in bed after an incestuous night and Jar Jar Binks bothering Vader as if he was still a little kid.

Most of the other jokes are at least cute, there are no obvious stinkers. Even the recurring gag in which a janitor keeps sweeping away the people falling from high-up in the Death Star is amusing. The second episode, Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II, is a bit more Boba Fett heavy and begins with him shooting down Ewoks. Like with the other episodes, the films are all mixed together so you've got a monster truck rally ad for the arena scene in Attack Of The Clones, a stormtrooper taking his daughter to work during A New Hope, Admiral Ackbar selling goofy products, AT-ATs racing each other during the Battle Of Hoth, there's even some Revenge Of The Sith jokes in there. MacFarlane is back as the Emperor who, this time, gets a haircut from a barber while he's trying to deal with sending bounty hunters after Han Solo.

The third episode, Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode III, is 45 minutes long (twice as long as the others) so you can imagine the number of jokes thrown in. Funnily enough, it's maybe the weakest of the three specials. A lot of the gags in this one fall a little flat, especially the first few, but it does have its moments. Obi-Wan Kenobi Jedi mind tricking himself into thinking women find him attractive, C-3PO learning Spanish, Palpatine getting his comeuppance after finally figuring out the meaning of life, those all work but we probably could have done without those few slapstickier moments.

Fans of Robot Chicken and Star Wars will no doubt lap this series of specials up as they're not only creative as far as the animation is concerned but they're geeky as hell and a lot of the jokes pick apart small details from the space opera franchise so true fans will have a ball remembering those scenes. Those uninitiated to either will see a lot of gags fly over their heads, though, so you might want to give it a miss unless your knowledge of the epic saga is somewhat extensive.

Good fun regardless.

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