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The ZONE - genre nonfiction
Soundchecks - music reviews
Rotary Action - helicopter movies
voice cast: Seth McFarlane, Seth Green, Brekin Meyer, Donald Faison
director: Chris McKay
45 minutes (15) 2010
widescreen ratio 1.78:1
Revolver DVD Region 2
review by Mark West
See also -
Robot Chicken: Star Wars
Robot Chicken: Star Wars II
Robot Chicken - Star Wars III
As a viewer, your enjoyment of this is going to be governed by three things - firstly, do you love Star Wars? Secondly, do you love stop-motion
animation? Thirdly, do you like spoof versions of Star Wars? As it happens, I love Star Wars - always have done, and I'm sure I always will.
I love stop-motion animation, from Morph, and The Mad Monster Party, right up to
Corpse Bride and the Aardman works.
Spoofs..? Well, it all depends. The first of anything is usually worth a watch but, as with the ever diminishing laughs in the
Family Guy genre spoofs, it's not as easy as people think and often, whole
stretches of time can pass without a chuckle. So it is with this, although it's not without laughs, I hasten to add.
Telling the story, fairly chronologically, of the entire six-film saga, this is narrated by Senator/ Emperor Palpatine (Seth McFarlane), explaining
how he got where he is, whether he made the right choice taking Vader as his apprentice, right up to being thrown down the Death Star's exhaust chute.
Highlights centre on Boba Fett (Breckin Meyer) and the time he spends in the Sarlaac pit, Prune Face's big scene, Max Rebo escaping the blown up Sail
Barge and wandering off, sans band, muttering "I got a gig tonight, man." But the best character is Gary the storm-trooper (Donald Faison), who always
seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Through Gary, we discover how the Lars homestead actually got burnt out, and his test-drive of a speeder bike is a genius piece of writing, animation
and voice acting. So what are the downsides? Well, as I mentioned, there are big lulls between some of the gags and, occasionally, a joke is mercilessly
hammered into the ground until the viewers finger is twitching on the fast-forward button. Worst of all, though, is having Seth McFarlane narrate the
whole thing in what is, for all intents and purposes, his Stewie Griffin voice.
One of the key selling points, so far as I can see, for charging �8 for Robot Chicken - Star Wars III is that it's packed with extras (though with
three separate commentaries, that's 135 minutes taken care of straight away) and whilst these are interesting, they're all very samey.
As featurettes, we have For The Love Of Toys (five minutes), For The Love Of Star Wars (four minutes), and For The Love Of Filmmaking
(five minutes), but all of them basically feature the key crew talking about why they love Star Wars toys, why they love the films, and why they
love filmmaking. There are also behind-the-scenes featurettes on writing (four minutes), and voice acting (five minutes), which are - to be frank - dreary.
My problem with them is that the crew, some of whom are in their early to mid-thirties at a guess, all subscribe to geek chic - plenty of Tim Burton hair,
Joe 90 glasses, parkas, hoodies and button-down shirts; they try so hard to be oddball that you actively start to dislike them.
There's a pointless 26-minute featurette on the Robot Chicken Skate Tour (they went to various places, took over roller-skating halls and had parties
- yawn), a poorly shot vignette (five minutes) on the premiere at Skywalker Ranch (don't show us Seth Greene in a poorly lit theatre, show us the ranch!),
Q&A panels (nine minutes), deleted scenes (30 minutes, but it's obvious why most had to go), and an audience with George Lucas (10 minutes). I was
really looking forward to the latter, but the great man just sits there, clearly out-of-place and mildly embarrassed, as the 'cool kids' adjust their
hoodies, make sure their hair is skewiff, and talk drivel.
There are three trailers, a gag reel (four minutes, and painful rather than funny), and an animatics reference featurette (10 minutes) to round out
the extras. If I rated this lot separately, I'd give 6/10 to the movie (mainly for Gary the storm-trooper, because he is funny), and a passable 3/10
for the extras. So, depending on what you're buying it for, take your pick of the scores.