Review: Robot Chicken: Star Wars

swrcA successful spoof needs two things: an audience that gets the joke and a spoofer with an encyclopedic knowledge of what it is he or she is ripping on. SinceStar Wars has been common cultural currency for the last 30 years, it’s an easy target for satirists, presuming everyone knows a stormtrooper from a tauntaun. No piece of science fiction is so ubiquitous. (Yeah, try making a Serenity parody, and see how many people get that hi-la-rious Reavers gag, fanboy.)

This easy target has paid varying bounties (Clerks good, Spaceballs bad), but Adult Swim’s stop-motion sketch-comedy series Robot Chicken and its half-hour Star Wars special have an advantage in the form of hyperactive actor/writer/producer/all-around creative force/Star Wars fanboy Seth Green. He’s the kid with all the coolest toys, which is handy, because the whole show is a tribute to the twisted, puerile joy of making your Ben Kenobi and Chewbacca figures make kissy-face. It’s Star Wars when the camera normally turns away to follow the heroes, focusing instead on a lascivious Boba Fett and cereal-shilling Adm. Ackbar.

Green has invited all his friends to play, including Chicken regular Breckin Meyer, Star Wars alumni Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Ahmed Best (Jar Jar Binks), and George Lucas (yes, that George Lucas), plus his Family Guy colleague Seth MacFarlane, who has done his own Lucas-sanctioned spoof special (also available on DVD). MacFarlane turns the planet-slaughtering Emperor Palpatine into a surly bureaucrat with a strangely misguided belief in his common touch. After Darth Vader – who Palpatine describes as smelling like “feet wrapped in leathery burnt bacon” – tells him who blew up the Death Star, he shrieks, “What the hell is an Aluminum Falcon?”

There is the normal swath of DVD extras, mainly drawn from the night Adult Swim handed over its channel to Green and company to debut this special. While these sometimes degenerate into Nerf gun fights, even this free-form filler is worth plowing though for moments like the immortal yet icky Bush-bashing gem “First Daughters, Second Base.” Yet the spoof is perfection, down to obsessive details of set dressing – again, the result of Green and his fellow proud nerds poring over all those making-of books every Star Wars fan collected. Robot Chicken: Star Wars is certain to keep that inner problem child happy.

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