Robot Chicken Star Wars – Episodes 1&2 boxset
Heresy or hilarious? To Star Wars fans world over, Robot Chicken (like the Family Guy spoof before it) can only be one. Robot Chicken Star Wars Episode I set the scene and differentiated itself from the other Seth’s animated comedy by being not so much a parody narrative and being more a series of vignettes based loosely on the events of the films, and Episode II is likewise handled lovingly enough that we expect tears of laughter from fans as opposed to outrage. Where Robot Chicken always flourishes is by riffing on the familiar tropes of The Star Wars Universe and screwing with them to the point of no return. Be it the Storm-trooper ‘take your daughter to work day’ – in which a nervous trooper is forced to make an impassioned appeal to Lord Vader, who sympathetically replies: "That really hit me where I live" - or the callous but inevitably hilarious re-imagining of Anakin's brutal slaughter of the young Jedi Padawans which sees him go to his happy place in the sunflowers of Naboo (hint…he’s not where he thinks he is when he’s flinging that lightsaber around) - the almost schizophrenic 38 minute extended version of Episode II offers a never before seen look at the universe a lot of us have come to know and love. Pleasantly, with the very rare exception, each and every sketch is either straight up or morbidly brilliant.
A particular highlight is the Vader-Solo meal on Bespin. Boba Fett and Solo’s posturing and Vader’s re-enactment of the destruction of Alderaan with a muffin is ridiculous, and the awkwardness of the situation is hilarious. It's a much longer sketch than most on this disk, and proves the pacing of the mad-cap parody is as considered as the gags themselves. This factor, combined with the offbeat way Robot Chicken sees the Stars Wars universe, makes for incredibly smooth viewing. The boxset also includes the original broadcast versions, bonus Robot Chicken episodes and the requisite host of extras such as promo spots, makings of, commentaries and behind the scenes footage. They all represent a significant addition to the DVDs, both in terms of quality and how long the boxset will last you. Ultimately, though the Special Edition (of Episode II) does only run for the previously mentioned 34 minutes, the quality far outweighs the quantity. Whilst for many it might seem that there is hitherto no Star Wars pun, joke or parody un-made, Robot Chicken has succeeded against all odds and brought a whole slew of geek fodder to the canon.
The Limited Edition set including exclusive art-cards is available on DVD October 25th, at £9.99 RRP exclusively from HMV.