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STUDIO: Warner Home
MSRP: $14.98

RATED: Unrated
RUNNING TIME: 23 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES::
• ‘Chicken Nuggets’
• Animation Meeting
• On Air Bumps
• Trailers
• Behind the Scenes
• Deleted Scenes
• Alternate Audio
• Production Design
• Time Lapse
• Photo Gallery
• Panel Presentations
• 2 Cast Commentaries
• 2 Writer Commentaries
• 2 Crew Commentaries
• Commentary with Katie and Jett



The Pitch

“We play with toys and obsess over Star Wars so you don’t have to (admit that you do too)!”
   

The Humans

Voices of: Seth Green, Ahmed Best, Donald Faison, Joey Fatone, Mark Hamill, Hulk Hogan, George Lucas, Seth McFarlane, Malcolm McDowell, Breckin Meyer, Conan O’Brien, Robert Smigel, James Van Der Beek

Head writers: Doug Goldstein, Tom Root

Directed by Seth Green

Created by Seth Green and Matthew Senreich


When collectors go bad


The Nutshell

As our own Rob noted here, Robot Chicken evolved from Twisted Toyfare Theatre, which grew out of the universal tendency for kids to play with their toys any damn way they please. Who cares if that action figure represents a minor character? If he looks cool, make him the leader.

It was inevitable that the RC team would gravitate to Star Wars toys. For geeks of a certain age the Kenner collection was a core element of childhood, alongside glitter iron-ons, Mork posters and chewing an entire pack of Fruit Stripe all at once. If your Luke still had his Action Lightsaber with the little skinny bit on the end you probably weren’t much fun. If you had the Death Star Playset you were popular. And if you had the Jawa (cloth robe) you were pretty much God.


Desolate wasteland sold separately.


The Lowdown

This Very Special Episode of Robot Chicken collects most of the Star Wars-related sketches from Seasons 1 and 2 (kicking off with the YouTube hit ‘Palpatine Takes a Call’) and intercuts them with new segments. The writers have embraced the opportunity to let their full-on nerd out, and their in-depth knowledge of the SW universe is on abundant display. They also do a good job of keeping the humor fresh—no small achievement since you’d think every possible Star Wars joke would have already been made by now.

The sketches fall into two basic categories: spoofs of scenes from the films, and pop-culture lampoons featuring Star Wars characters or concepts. The best of the former is ‘Ponda’s Big Day’, which plays a scene from the first film as written, but with subtitles that make all the difference. Winner of the latter is a tie between ‘Admiral Ackbar Cereal’ and ‘Max Rebo’s Greatest Hits’, which are irresistibly silly. The weakest entry is ‘The Zuckus Show’, which is overlong and fails to make a case for itself outside of its celebrity guest voices.

The general tone of the comedy isn’t as gruesome or anarchic as the regular show has been  known to get, probably due to restrictions working with the license, but there are still plenty of ‘mature audience’ moments.


Ben shoots first


I’m a big fan of stop-motion animation, and it does my heart good to see the form surviving well into the digital age. If I have any real complaint it’s by way of a compliment: some of the puppets and sets seen here are so intricately constructed one can barely consider them toys at all. When everything onscreen is a lovingly-detailed custom job, the kick of seeing familiar childhood objects brought to life gets lost.


Notice something about the above screen grab? That’s right, the disc’s closed-captioning program actually identifies the made-up alien language by name!
Devoted attention to detail, or too much free time? You decide, since I’ve obviously disqualified myself.


The Package

This disc contains the highest ratio of extras-to-feature since the Lord of the Rings Extended Editions. Given the program’s short running time, the seven audio commentaries allow the many speakers to make observations without rushing, but the only really interesting track is the last as it features George Lucas’ own offspring. And it’s memorable because, like most teenagers, they seem only vaguely interested in what Dad does for a living. Count two childhoods saved, anyway.

More informative by far is the Chicken Nuggets option, a ‘white-rabbit’ affair that allows you to jump to video of Green and Senreich discussing each segment in detail, then return to the program. This is the only way that commentary for animated projects should be done: there are two-second shots here that easily merit five minutes of analysis.

Video is standard 4:3, with the individual segments letterboxed to various ratios. Since the show is compiled from both old and new material, the technical quality varies as well.

Behind-the-scenes documentation is extensive, and the captions in the photo gallery are worth reading on their own. I count two easter eggs: a demo of one of the songs from ‘Empire on Ice’ and a slideshow of the creative team’s visit to ILM. Lucky bastards.


“And then, just as I escape from the deep, wet, fleshy cave I realize I’m being chased by a gigantic leathery snake!
C’mon, what’s that supposed to mean?”



9 out of 10