I had the pleasure or pain of watching the Star Wars Holiday special. It’s one of the creepiest surreal-like things I’ve seen a long time, a long-time. Directed by Elvis Presley's '68 Comeback Special’s Steve Binder, the 97 minute program focuses on the family of Chewbacca waiting for the walking carpet himself coming home for’ Life Day’. However, Chewie and Han Solo are held up by the Galactic Empire.
You get to see the 70’s Wookie style version of Family Ties or modern equivalent ‘In The middle’ as Chewbacca's wife Malla tell off their son Lumpy for pinching Wookie cookies. Lumpy looks like a cross between Teen-Wolf, Cornelius from Planet of the Apes and an Ewok. I should point out that Chewie’s father Itchy is a grey Wookie with a chilling face. This nuclear-like family doesn’t capture anything Star Wars.
Sponsored by GM motors with intermittent plugs The Holiday Special is made up of several oddly toned segments. One includes Blazing Saddles‘ Hedley Lamarr , Harvey Korman himself dressed up as a female TV cook while Chewie’s wife follows a recipe that needs more than two hands. There is a completely outlandish scene where Itchy dons on some head gear to have some kind of sensual cyber encounter with Carol Diahann reminiscent of Sly Stallone in ‘Demolition Man’. There’s a chessboard ala New Hope that has dancing holograms accompanied by eerie dreamlike music. By this time you’re thinking is this for children.
It compasses everything about 70’s bad TV, it’s looks like a game show, even the nostalgic Top’s of the Pops type special effects can’t make it more palatable. It all serves as an excuse to string together a series of musical dance numbers, celebrity cameos, including Art Carney and Bea Arthur. While Malla contacts the gang from a hidden monitor, she speaks to Mark Hamill who looks as odd as the Wookies, eyes piercing blue, nothing wrong with that but with his short blonde hair and bad make up he looks like Bowie in ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’. Also Princes Leia, C3PO and R2D put in an appearance though Malla’s video phone.
The scenes are cringe worthy and it feels a lot longer than it actually is. The music score a watered down romanticized version of the original themes annoyingly plays throughout and I’m sure parents couldn’t wait to switch off and watch Dallas.
Surprisingly Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher grace the screen in this car wreck too. Harrison’s Han Solo is punished by having to deliver possibly the worst misplaced sounding dialogue ever in TV history., “That's the spirit! You'll be celebrating Life Day before you know it!” and “You're like... family... to me,” spring to mind. Or Luke Skywalker saying “Come on Mala, let's see a little smile. Come on...”
It could have been a bit of cheesy fun but it’s so painful, nightmarish and elusive you can’t help but feel acid trip scared. If only some horrors got the under the skin this effectively. Carrie Fisher sings the closing number (quite well) before we get drowned out by some more Wookie action and noises. The only saving grace is the animated segment which features Boba Fett and the main cast voiced by the original actors - even if Solo is drawn like Mr. Magoo and Luke's eyes are like blue plates.