We review Robot Chicken: Star Wars.
Firstly, for those who donâ€™t know, Robot Chicken is a stop-motion animated TV series that pokes fun at pop culture - a lot of it from the 80s. Created by Seth Green and Matthew Senreich, each episode features skits of various lengths all â€śactedâ€ť out by action figures, toys, dolls or claymation creations. The end result is a hilariously frantic 23 minutes of random parodies that can include cameos from Bob Saget, Optimus Prime, Godzilla, George W. Bush, Wonder Woman and many others.
Robot Chicken: Star Wars is a special one-off episode that combines dozens of clips all revolving around the Star Wars franchise. Although most of them are recognisable from the original trilogy, there are scenes taken from the later three films as well including a brilliant appearance by Jar Jar Binks. The main bulk of the cast is made up from the original action figures that came out back in the 70â€™s, using pain-staking stop motion techniques. The mouths and facial expressions are created using paper cut-outs or plasticine and the end result is amusing in itself; and was even nominated for an Emmy in the animation category.
However, what really makes Robot Chicken funny is the writing. The voice acting cast have had plenty of experience (Seth Green does numerous voices for Family Guy) and there are even cameo voice appearances by Mark Hamill, George Lucas and the original voice of Jar Jar, Ahmed Best. Although some of the skits are definitely hit-and-miss, there are some sparks of genius that leap out and slap you across the face like a wet Ewok. For example, the â€śA Day in the Life of Ponda Babaâ€ť skit is a moment of brilliance that portrays the point of view of Ponda Baba (that guy with balls on his face who gets his arm chopped off by Obi Wan in the cantina in Episode IV). Other highlights include Boba Fett seducing a carbonated enclosed Han Solo, space slugs ordering Chinese food and an advert for Admiral Ackbar breakfast cereal. Other skits may leave you less entertained, but the sheer pace and randomness of them all should still keep you laughing the whole way through.
Although the show features over 30 skits, surprisingly the running time of the feature is only 23 minutes (as it was intended for normal half-hour TV viewing on the Adult Swim network). Because of this, many people will feel that paying $29.95 isnâ€™t justified, especially considering the whole first season of Robot Chicken can cost you around the same price. However, this DVD is excellently packaged and includes 145 minutes of extras and a sampler disc containing a couple of episodes from other Adult Swim shows. For those who enjoyed the Family Guy Star Wars special, this title is sure to please.