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Robot Chicken: Star Wars
voice cast: Breckin Meyer, Ahmed Best, Seth McFarlane, and Tom Kane

creators: Seth Green and Matthew Senreich

23 minutes (15) 2007
Revolver DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 6/10
reviewed by Ben J. Lamb
Long gone are the days that Star Wars (1977) was simply an entertaining film. Now due to an enthusiastic fanbase and a whole host of spin offs including toys, video games and books, it is has become a thriving business and a way of life for so many fans.

For those unfamiliar with Robot Chicken it is an Emmy award winning stop motion animation sketch show created by Seth Green and Matthew Senreich. Broadcast as part of the 'Adult Swim' segment of the Bravo television channel it has a strong cult following which has boasted the guest celebrity voices of Scarlett Johansson, Elijah Wood, Snoop Dogg, and Burt Reynolds.

In one particular episode a humorous Star Wars orientated sketch named 'Emperor phone call' attracted Lucasfilm. In the sketch the emperor receives a phone call from Darth Vader and he is distraught to find out how his precious Death Star has been blown up by "a bunch of greasy teenagers." Instead of looking to sue, Lucasfilm were keen to green light a feature-length Star Wars special. On the strength of that one sketch alone such an episode was broadcast a year ago. Now since the DVD sales success of Family Guy: Blue Harvest, Robot Chicken: Star Wars has now been released looking to attract the same demographic.

The main problem with Family Guy: Blue Harvest was that the Star Wars films were simply retold with cartoon characters which soon wore very thin. Whereas here we have 31 sketches crammed into 23 minutes that collectively provides a fresh and interesting take on the series. It is far more anarchic than Family Guy with many sketches only lasting a few seconds. In such a short running time these short sketches manage to question the feasibility of certain plotlines, give back-stories to lesser known alien characters, highlight plot loopholes and juxtapose the films themes with modern day politics and pop culture.

With so many Star Wars products it is a nice change to see a piece of work actually taking digs at the franchise rather than adding to its self proclaimed brilliance. The fact it is licensed by Lucasfilm and has characters voiced by George Lucas and Mark Hamill themselves demonstrates how such a business empire may have a sense of humour after all. Even though a percentage of the profits will add to the vast empire of Star Wars at least it is a product made by the fans for the fans. It is not a dire sequel like The Clone Wars (2008) trying to squeeze every last cent out of the dead franchise, but a colourful take on its legacy.

The main issue with this DVD is that it retails at �12.99 - which may seem a rip off for 23 minutes of content as this works out around �1 for every 2 minutes. However, the extra content does make up for the main feature's short running time. With a whole host of special features clocking at around 195 minutes you get as much re-watching as humanly possible. The disc contains seven commentaries, a chicken nugget Easter egg for every sketch, an animation meeting, on-air bumps, promos, behind the scenes feature, deleted scenes, alternate audio, production design, time lapse, photo gallery, a panel presentation and three extra episodes. Although before investing it is worth familiarising yourself with Robot Chicken on TV first as it is a very specific sort of humour. If you cannot keep up with the fast pace of the show then all of this content will be wasted on you anyway.

This is an essential must have for all Star Wars enthusiasts and worth a watch for those familiar with the films as it will provoke many giggles. But for those who are unfamiliar or hate the franchise it should be avoided at all costs!
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