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DVD Review

DVD cover

Robot Chicken
Star Wars


Starring (voice): Seth Green, Seth MacFarlane, Mark Hamill, George Lucas, Malcolm McDowell, Hulk Hogan and Ahmed Best
Revolver Entertainment
RRP: £12.99
Certificate: 15
Available 11 August 2008

Not long ago, in a galaxy not far enough away, a legendary story unfolds of the intergalactic struggle between good vs. evil. Witness Emperor Palpatine receive a reverse charge call from the Dark Lord announcing the destruction of the Death Star, watch the droids have trouble getting through airport security and see Admiral Akbar selling out in an advert for his own breakfast cereal. In addition, George Lucas gets saved from a mob of nerds at a Star Wars convention, Luke and the Emperor settle things with a 'yo mama' fight and there's even a new unforgettable addition to the Star Wars franchise with Empire on Ice... and that's just a snippet of the many sketches featured...

Robot Chicken: Star Wars is a specially produced extended episode of Robot Chicken, which was officially endorsed by Lucasfilm - in fact George Lucas provides the voice of his animated action figure.

The genesis of this collection of sketches was born after someone from Lucasfilm contacted the Robot Chicken studio to say how much the studio had enjoyed a Star Wars sketch (the telephone conversation between Darth Vader and the Emperor) they'd featured in the show. Eventually, after several meetings, an officially endorsed Star Wars episode was commissioned. Thankfully though, Lucasfilm seems to have had no input on the actual content, allowing the creators to really poke fun at the franchise.

The episode puts its own Robot Chicken spin on the Star Wars universe in 23 minutes of non-stop, and beautifully realised, stop-motion animation.

There are gags that everyone will get instantly, as well as more subtle jokes that die-hard Star Wars fans will love. The two most notable include a Jawa standing at the bar in the Mos Eisley Cantina, shouting; "Martini!" - fans will remember that a Jawa in the movie shouts "Utini!". Then there's the sketch where Luke is sat in the Toshi Station night club watching the Power Converters all-girl pole dancers. This will mean nothing to you unless you remember the line in Star Wars where Uncle Owen makes Luke work on the droids and Luke whines: "but I have to go to Toshi Station to pick up some power converters!"

The producers succeeded in getting Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker - although he didn't voice all of the Luke scenes), Ahmed Best (Jar Jar Binks) and George Lucas to lend their vocal talents. In addition Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy, American Dad), Malcolm McDowell and Hulk Hogan also make appearances.

Extras include Video Commentary (53 minutes video with creators Seth Green and Matthew Senreich talking us through the sketches. I'm not sure how this will look on the finished DVD - whether they will be in a small box on the screen as the episode plays, but on the review disc we received it was just the footage of Green and Senreich - which made working out what they were talking about a little difficult in places); Animation Meeting (6 min, 43 sec walk through of the entire episode, which fast forwards to show highlights of Green showing animatics to the rest of the crew while he acts it all out); On Air Bumps (Aired and Unaired) (22 min, 10 sec which is basically the cast and crew messing about in the studio and doing pieces to camera); Trailers (6 min, 43 sec collection of short promo trailers. This is worth watching as it contains additional content with the George Lucas doll); Behind the Scenes (6 min, 55 sec); Deleted Scenes (4 min, 34 seconds of animatics); Alternate Audio (10 min, 17 sec of extended ad-libbed dialogue for numerous scenes); Production Design (19 min, 11 sec behind the scenes look at the construction of a number of sets and models); Time Lapse (3 min, 15 sec which shows the animators animating several scenes of a period of time); and Panel Presentation (5 min, 57 second convention Q&A with cast and crew).

At 23 minutes some might moan that it's a little expensive. But personally, frame for frame, you'll be hard pressed to find better value for money.


Nick Smithson

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