Robot Chicken: Star Wars

Robot Chicken: Star Wars

B+

Robot Chicken: Star Wars

The Star Wars franchise has been more or less plucked clean by George Lucas and his legion of fans, but somehow, improbably, the people behind Cartoon Network's popular Adult Swim series Robot Chicken were able to come up with about 15 minutes of good gags for their Robot Chicken: Star Wars special. (And given that the episode is only 22 minutes long, that's a pretty good ratio.) Recently nominated for an Emmy, Robot Chicken: Star Wars follows the show's usual formula of pop-culture parody and absurdist blackout gags, enacted by stop-motion-animated toys and puppets. This particular episode is pitched to anyone who grew up playing with the lesser-known Star Wars toys: the Ugnaughts, Bossks, and Dengars of the Kenner line.

Robot Chicken: Star Wars brings in some of Lucas' major players, like Emperor Palpatine (who pledges to put down the rebellion "by shooting it with lightning… that's how I solve all my problems") and major locations like the Cloud City (weather forecast: "cloudy this evening, followed by clouds"), but the special is at its best when it gives center stage to the likes of Admiral Akbar and Ponda Baba. Things that will always be funny: Chewbacca's growl, Admiral Akbar pitching a line of cereal with the slogan "Your tongues can't repel flavor of that magnitude," and poor Ponda Baba inadvertently freaking out Luke Skywalker at the cantina, then getting his arm severed by Obi-Wan Kenobi, thereby killing his career as an architect.

Key features: Deleted scenes, making-of featurettes, and a video commentary that all try to overexplain the jokes.