December 30, 2015
(The Channel Awesome logo is shown, before showing a caption that says, "A long time ago, an event took place that changed science fiction forever..." Then another caption pops up, saying, "Years later, just in time for the holiday season, the saga continues...". The Star Wars logo, with the title "The Hanukkah Special", appears and moves backwards away as a variation of its theme plays. We see the Millennium Falcon flying in space, being chased by a starship. NC and the Cinema Snob (who is dressed like Han Solo) are shown driving the Falcon. NC roars like Chewbacca)
Cinema Snob: (Speaking like Han until noted) I know your family's waiting. (NC roars louder) I know it's an important day! (NC roars and whimpers) Oh, for God's sakes! Use your adult words!
NC: (Sighs) I'm sorry, Cinema Snob. It's just...I'm so excited! It's the Star Wars Holiday Sequel, and we're totally retconning the problems of the last one!
CS: We're not going anywhere unless we outrun that giant slice of pizza.
NC: Why don't you just jump to light speed? That's always the answer.
CS: Oh, yeah. Why does that always take me so long to remember that? (He jumps to light speed, and the Falcon blasts off into hyperspace, eventually landing on a planet filled with trees. NC and Snob get out of the Falcon and look at their destination) Critic, we're home.
NC: Yep. (The destination is revealed to be the Wookiee house from the special) The same old coloring book color we're used to. Come on, I want you to meet my extended family for Hanukkah*!
*(Note: He says "Han" in Chewie's roar; he will continue to do that every time he says "Hanukkah")
(They walk to the front door)
CS: Oh, God. They're not a bunch of Wookiees like in the last special, are there?
NC: No, I told you, Snob. We're doing something completely different this time.
(The door opens, revealing...a Gungan)
Gungan: Oh, hello-sa!
NC: (Smiles) They're Jar Jars!
Gungan: Honey, wesa got the company!
(The family is revealed to be all Gungans)
Gungan Wife: Wesa got the company!
(Both the Gungan husband and wife cheer in their all-annoying voices, annoying CS)
CS: I could use a Jefferson Starship cameo about now.
(NC and CS sit down on a couch)
Gungan Husband: Now you sit-sa here and watch things while I go and make the dinners. (Walks away, then steps on something) Oh, pee-yoosa! Pee-yoosa!
CS: So what do we watch? Holiday specials?
NC: Oh, no, no, no. We partake in the most classic of Hanukkah traditions: we just sit around and watch stuff that has absolutely nothing to do with the holiday whatsoever. (Looks at their off-screen TV) Oh, look! The Force Awakens is on!
(CS sighs, realizing what they're reviewing)
CS: I see what you did there.
NC: It's very subtle.
(Images of the movie are shown as we go to opening thoughts)
NC (vo): The highly-anticipated sequel to the now poorly-named sci-fi trilogy is here, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
CS: (vo; now speaking normally): Can it make up for the Siths of the past? Will there be a special edition where CG characters are replaced with puppets?
NC (vo): And most importantly, will it lead to even more holiday specials?
NC: Come on. Halloween, Easter. Would you love to see how Jar Jar celebrates Black History Month?
CS: I'd rather ride with Jake Lloyd.
NC: This is The Force Awakens!
(Just like Doug and the crew reenacted various scenes in Jurassic World and Pixels instead of footage, we begin the whole reenacted review, starting with Poe Dameron (Doug) encountering the droid BB-8)
CS (vo): So it starts off with...oh, hold on a second.
(He and NC move the scene away so they can stamp big "Spoiler" captions all over the screen)
NC: Though what if somebody out there can't read?
CS: Then how would they know to click on the video?
(NC shrugs and takes us back to the opening scene)
CS (vo): It starts off with a Rebel spy giving secret information to a little droid just before Stormtroopers come in and separate them. (A Stormtrooper appears and knocks Poe out before taking him away)
NC: Wait, that sounds eerily familiar.
CS: Road Chip had the same plot.
CS: (Scoffs) Who knows? You'll never see it to find out.
(We see the villains of the movie doing all their evil stuff, before revealing Kylo Ren)
NC (vo): Instead of the Empire this time, it's the First Order.
CS (vo): Which is just another name for Empire, isn't it?
NC (vo): Pretty much...as one of their leaders, named Kylo Ren, tells them to put the pilot named Poe on the ship and kill everybody else.
Kylo Ren: (To his Stormtroopers) Put the pilot named Poe on my ship and kill everybody else, especially Max von Sydow!
(Several citizens of the planet, standing alongside an image of Max von Sydow, scream in terror. Harvey Korman (Rob), dressed as the transmitter instructor, suddenly pops up)
Korman: This would be 001.
CS: (Grunts in disgust) What's Harvey Korman doing in this?
NC: Oh, he's a robot that lets us know when a good actor is completely wasted in a role.
Korman: #265: Max von Sydow. Gone, but not unforgotten.
CS: Does that happen a lot in this movie?
NC: Does the Jedi menorah have nine lightsabers?
(We see a menorah indeed having lightsabers on it instead of candles, before we go back to the scenes. We first see Finn (Malcolm) sobbing silently, stopping briefly to cheerfully wave to two Stormtroopers walking past him, before resuming sobbing)
CS (vo): But one Stormtrooper named Finn is shocked that being a psychotic killer means being a psychotic killer. (Poe helps Finn escape as they crash-land into Jakku, where the TIE Fighter starts sinking into the sand) So he breaks Poe out, but gets shot down to planet Not-Tatooine, where Finn presumes Poe's dead as the ship sinks into the sand. (Beat) And blows up. (The ship explodes)
NC: Perhaps it was allergic to sand?
NC: And it gets everywhere.
NC (vo): This is when we meet Rey (Tamara Chambers), a scavenger waiting for her family to return, who comes across the droid named BB-8.
Rey: Well, aren't you an adorable soccer ball with a Stormtrooper's buttcheek on top.
(A laser blast sets the top of Rey's head on fire, and she puts it out before running)
NC (vo): But the Not-Empire finds the droid, too, (Rey runs past Finn, who is now wearing civilian clothes, and then he runs away when he sees she is being chased by Stormtroopers) causing her to run into Finn*, and the two of them team up, trying to escape. (Shows the Millennium Falcon with a sign that says "Not Worth Millions") They come across the Millennium Falcon, which is confused for scrap metal...
*(Actually, Finn came across Rey and BB-8 just before the First Order does)
CS: (As Indiana Jones) It belongs in a museum!
NC (vo): And they take off in it, seeing how apparently none of these ships require keys of any kind.
(Several TIE Fighters are shown flying straight into each other as the Falcon escapes)
CS (vo): Of course, all the TIE fighters miss them, because only the drunkest of soldiers pilot those things, and they escape into space.
NC: But because the galaxy is such a small place...
NC (vo): ...they bump into Han Solo and Chewbacca's ship.
(That ship is shown literally eating the Falcon. As Finn and Rey look, the doors open to reveal a poorly drawn Han Solo and Chewbacca from the Holiday Special)
CS: Well, wait a minute. What's with the animation all the sudden?
NC: Well, through certain camera lenses, some people look like poorly animated cartoon characters.
CS: Nuh-uh, not happening.
(He snaps his fingers and they turn real, with Han played by Brad Jones)
NC: Wait a minute. How's that possible? You're watching the special with me!
CS: That's your biggest question? You're not concerned why the Jar Jars are watching gay acrobatic holograms?
(Cut to a Gungan, played by Doug, watching the images of Jean-Claude Van Damme fighting off different colors)
Gungan: (laughs and slaps his hand on the table, hitting a pile of poop with a squelching sound) Oh, pee-yoosa!
NC: You just don't understand Hanukkah.
CS: Yes, because you never explained it to me.
NC: It's not something you explain, it's something you feel.
CS: (sighs) I feel like a scotch right now.
(Another squelch is heard)
Gungan: (offscreen) Double pee-yoosa!
NC (vo): So Rey and Finn explain their situation and Solo agrees to help them get the droid to the not-Rebels. (A doorbell is heard) After he's attacked by some people he owes money to. (During this sentence, Han opens a trapdoor and kicks Rey and Finn in)
Han: You just hide here until this pointless detour blows over.
NC: Pointless detour? That ties in perfectly with--
(A Gungan appears again, holding a DVD)
Gungan: Okay, time to watch the human pornographies I have for some reason! (Gives a DVD to NC and somehow ends up with poop on his hand again) Oh, pee-yoosa!
CS: How is that even possible?!
NC: Well, this should fittingly explain how pointless this scene is.
(He puts on the DVD. As the scene of Han, Chewie, Finn and Rey fighting the bounty hunters plays in the background, a woman with a revealing outfit appears and talks in a whispering and soothing tone that echos every time)
Woman: Mmm...angry men wanting their money back. Ooh...giant octopuses that come out of nowhere. Mmm...none of its...tying into the story*. Oh, yes. But still shorter...than the opening...of Return of the Jedi. (Makes several sexual sounds) All right.
*(In the movie, Han Solo was delivering these Rathtars, "octopuses" as mentioned, to an employer. Rey accidentally released them in an attempt to distract the gangs)
CS: You sure this isn't the porno version of Star Whores?
NC: No, I think the plot would actually be more focused.
NC (vo): So Kylo Ren talks to Supreme Leader Snoke and--
(The Supreme Leader turns out to be very huge)
NC: Holy shit!
CS: What the hell is that?!
NC: Oh, my God, that's the new Emperor? He's gigantic! Holy smoke-- Imagine the possibilities you can do with this--
Kylo Ren: Supreme Leader, I am sorry we have to talk to you via non-cost-effective gigantic hologram.
(NC and CS become ticked off)
NC & CS: Boo!
CS: That's for making me think you were awesome!
NC: Who knows? Maybe it still has a pretty good design.
(We see the Supreme Leader's face)
CS: I thought I said no more cartoons in this!
NC: Actually, I think that's supposed to look realistic.
NC (vo): Yeah, remember that (picture of) cheap-ass alien from Kingdom of the Crystal Skull? He's your Emperor now, except somehow, he looks even faker.
(Korman pops up)
Korman: Not to mention a whopping seven lines from the actor you're never allowed to see act, Andy Serkis. Ouch.
CS: Even the name Snoke, it sounds like an 80's cartoon about a bunch of colorful creatures that live underwater*.
*(That show he's mentioning is The Snorks)
NC (vo): But he does at least let out this important bit of information.
Snoke: By the way, how is your father Han Solo?
(Snoke turns and looks dramatically at the camera. Cut to Rey, Finn and Han on the ship. Han looks uneasy)
Rey: Are you alright?
Han: Anyone else get a "you're so dead" vibe just now?
Finn: Not really.
Rey: In fact, I'm getting more of a "two more movies" vibe, to be honest.
Finn: Yeah, it's probably just you.
Han: That's exactly what I'm afraid of.
(A suspenseful sting plays and we cut to commercial. After the break ends, we see the ship descend into a building with a sign out front that reads 'Moe's Eisley' with a picture of Moe from "The Simpsons")
NC (vo): So after finding out the villain has a father-son relationship with one of the good guys, we go to a cantina where a ton of weird aliens hang out--
NC: Okay, none of this is ringing a bell as having been done before?
CS: Oh, I see where you're going with this!
(The bartender at the cantina turns to reveal she's Bea Arthur (Barney Walker) from the Holiday Special. She serves as a replacement for the actual character in the movie, Maz Kanata, who is never mentioned in this review)
Bea: I'm Bea Arthur. Welcome to my watering hole.
Finn: (disgusted) Please tell me no more about your watering hole.
Bea: I wouldn't talk, Eraser Head.
(Finn balls his fists and moves forward to fight her, only to be held back by Han)
Han: All right, settle down.
Bea: You're not even a real fighter. You want us all to run.
Finn: So what if I do?
Rey: Finn! Don't ever think that. Only fools and cowards run. (to Bea) Now, we hear you might have something that could lead us to Luke Skywalker.
Bea: Sure do.
(She tosses her Luke's lightsaber. Upon grabbing it, she sees frightening visions of her past)
Rey: Got to run.
(Rey tosses up the lightsaber and bolts. Han catches it)
Cantina patron: Typical Mary Sue...
(Rey runs blindly toward Kylo Ren, who uses the Force to knock her unconscious and catches her easily)
Kylo Ren: Huh. That was easy. (motions to his Stormtroopers) Blow 'em up!
(The Stormtroopers shoot at the cantina as Kylo Ren drags Rey away)
Han: Anyone want Taun-Taun for dinner? (gets behind Finn as Stormtroopers start blasting. Bea Arthur, however, is seemingly unaware of the chaos as she is more preoccupied with her own problem)
Bea: The Empire is shutting us down! Lousy Anti-Jedis!
(While everyone is running for their lives, Bea begins to sing the song she sang in the holiday special)
Bea: (singing) It's not the end, friend. Don't say goodbye, friend. (pulls over a random purple alien) Is that a tear, friend, in your eye? (The purple alien runs away as Bea gets blown up)
Han: I'm all right, kid.
NC: So Rey is captured and interrogated by Kylo Ren.
NC (vo): Only to have Rey interrogate him.
Kylo Ren: (using the Force to search her mind) Why do you seek Skywalker?
Rey: Why do YOU seek Skywalker?
Kylo Ren: (his hand turns from Rey to him) He's a jerky uncle who didn't let me play with the dark side! Ugh! You have the Force!
Rey: I do? Well, then you will leave me with a weak-minded Stormtrooper so that I can escape.
Kylo Ren: Ha! Joke's on you. That's what I was gonna do anyway.
(He leaves and is replaced by said Stormtrooper, voiced by Doug)
Rey: Release me.
CS (vo): Meanwhile, Finn meets up with his old friend Poe...
Poe: Hey, surprised I'm alive?
Finn: Nah, I saw it in the trailer.
CS (vo): While Solo meets up with his old flame, General Leia.
(Leia here is played by Tamara)
Han: Leia, I saw our son.
Leia: Han, I know there's still good in him.
Han: He just Jackson Pollock-ed a cantina with a bunch of space Nazis. He's a little past grounding at this point.
Leia: Please promise me that you'll try and win him back. Promise.
Han: All right, I'll try to win him back.
Leia: Also, can you fill out these insurance forms?
Leia: And close out these bank accounts.
Han: All right.
Leia: (holding a red shirt from Star Trek) Also, wear this red shirt, I really think it screams you.
Han: It's an Abrams movie, why not?
Leia: Oh, I know you can do it!
(As she hugs him, her encouraging smile turns to a look of sadness. We see Finn and Han confront the Stormtrooper, Captain Phasma, first by greeting her in a friendly manner, before pointing their blasters at her)
NC (vo): Solo and Finn sneak aboard their base and force the captain of the Stormtroopers to lower the shield.
Finn: Lower the shields!
(Captain Phasma lowers the shields)
Han: Now into the garbage chute, unseen Gwendoline Christie performance!
(And Korman appears again)
Korman: I think this one speaks for itself.
NC (vo): They run into Rey, but also into Kylo Ren, who Solo decides he's going to confront.
Han: I decides I'm going to confront.
Rey: Have I ever told you you're like a mentor to me?
Han: Christ, I have no chance. (Walks away to confront Kylo Ren)
NC (vo): So Solo approaches his son, who takes his mask off to reveal that he's actually a pretty good-looking guy.
(Kylo Ren takes off his mask to reveal a handsome face (played by Jim Jarosz), who smiles at the camera)
CS: Well, why the hell does he wear a mask?
NC: Well, the Dark Side does seem to be anti-pretty people. (Images of the Emperor, Darth Maul, an unmasked Anakin Skywalker, Snoke, and Donald Trump are shown)
Han: Son, I know we haven't seen each other in years, and there's people pointing guns at us, and I know I haven't given you any new reasons to come back, but I'd like you to come back.
Kylo Ren: Uh, before I answer, can you just take another few steps forward?
Han: Oh, sure. (Walks into a shot target on the floor) Your mother misses you, son. I miss you, too. And if you could forget for a minute that both the writer and I wanted me to die in Return of the Jedi, well, it would be great if you could...
(Kylo Ren instantly uses his lightsaber to impale Han)
NC and CS: (sounding bored and speaking deadpan) What a surprise.
Han: I love you.
Kylo Ren: I know.
(Han falls into the shaft to his death as Kylo Ren waves goodbye)
Han: Great shot, kid! That was one in a million!
(Several X-Wings are shown approaching the Starkiller Base, which has a sign saying "Not a PokeBall". Rey is also shown dueling with Kylo Ren)
NC (vo): So after the old mentor is killed, a bunch of ships fly in to stop the giant planet-destroying ball that's about to blow up the base where Leia is, while a lightsaber duel takes place with a villain who seems torn between good and evil...
NC: NONE OF THIS IS SOUNDING FAMILIAR IN THE SLIGHTEST, LIKE, AT ALL?!
CS: Hey, you're the one who keeps living in the past, having Harvey Korman in drag teach the dreidel.
(In the kitchen, a Gungan tries to spin a dreidel as a cooking show hosted by Korman is shown on TV)
Korman: Spin, turn, spin, turn, spin, spin, turn! Whaa!
NC: Three thousand years of beautiful tradition from Moses to Sandy Koufax, you're goddamn RIGHT I'M LIVING IN THE PAST!
CS: Oh, come off it, Critic! You're not even fucking Jewish, man!
NC: I converted to Chewbacca-ism the minute I married Mrs. Jar Jar!
Korman: (off-screen) Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel! I made you out of whaa!
(Images from the movie as well as the originals are shown)
NC (vo): This does bring up a good point, though. As similar as these scenes are to the past, there's not as much investment in them. We care for the Death Star battles in the other films because we knew Luke Skywalker, we knew Lando Calrissian, and we knew the emotional stakes. Here, we have Poe in the space battle, who hasn't had a lot of screentime. And we don't really know the consequences of either base blowing up. The bad guys always seem to make a bigger base after one is destroyed, and we're not sure if the majority of Rebels are on the planet this time or if they're spread out.
(We go back to Rey and Kylo Ren dueling)
NC (vo): Even the lightsaber duel seems kind of underwhelming. We only have one scene where these two have any real connection, and while it's a good scene, it's not really enough for a climax. (Images of lightsaber duels from the original films are shown) With the other ones, they talked and discussed their history while fighting. "Your powers are weak, old man." "I was the student, but now, I'm the master." "You are not a Jedi." "Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father." Here, it's...
Kylo Ren: Join me!
NC: And that's it! You get more dialogue out of a mime screenplay!
CS: Oh, please! When has J.J. Abrams ever repeated anything in a sci-fi franchi...? (Poster for Star Trek Into Darkness is shown) Can't even finish that.
CS (vo): The fighters destroy the base, causing Kylo and Rey to be separated.
Rey: (cheerfully) Here's to figuring out how we're related!
Kylo Ren: (cheerfully) I say cousins!
Rey: I say siblings!
(Finn pops up)
Finn: Ooh! Can I be related to Lando?
Finn: What? Come on! Everyone else is related!
NC (vo): So the Not-Death Star is blown up, Rey travels to see Luke Skywalker, and she meets him on top of a mountain, where she hands him back his lightsaber.
(That scene is shown, with Luke here played by Doug)
NC: So, it was good. But, did it really have to be so similar to the other movies?
CS: Oh, come on. If you honestly see a connection between...
(Lots of images, both from the other films and this film for comparison, are shown)
CS (vo): ...an evil dictatorship, chasing a droid with secret plans, landing on a desert planet, where a wide-eyed youth comes across it, follows in the footsteps of a mentor, who has a connection to the villain, being controlled by a shadowy overlord, only to lose that mentor while discovering a surprise father/son relationship, leading to a battle against a giant round weapon that destroys planets, and is about to destroy the base of a heroic resistance, but is stopped just in time, resulting in our main character leaving to train with an old wise master from the past...
CS: ...well, then, that's just silly.
NC: I just don't get it! Why would they, after all these years, do something this similar?!
(A Gungan comes in)
Gungan: Ex-squeeze me, but mesa got to know how to... (Suddenly coughs and starts speaking in a deep, normal voice) Oh, thank heavens that finally passed.
CS: Wha...that's not your real voice?
Gungan: Oh, no, no, no, no, no. That's just a phase my race goes through. You see, we all start off whiny and annoying, but then, we hit a certain age where we become quite charming and brilliant. The rest of my family will hit it soon enough, but until then, I thank you for indulging in all of my insufferable antics.
CS: Um...no problem.
Gungan: Now, let us prepare for our wonderful holiday. (Starts to leave, then stops) Oh, dear. There appears to be feces on the floor. Better step around that.
(He does so and leaves. NC, smiling, looks at a bewildered CS)
CS: Well, that actually made things a lot better.
NC: Well, yeah. I'm trying to make up for the sins of the past holiday special.
CS: So that's why you did so many things that the other one did?
NC: Exactly. If I want to move forward with more specials, I have to prove I can do a regular one okay. So, I stick to the formula, only this time, I do it a lot better. (Beat) Shit, this is a metaphor, isn't it?
CS: Pretty much. (NC groans, realizing he just found the resolving answer to his main issue with the film)
(Several images from the movie are shown as NC and CS give their final thoughts. At one point, posters of The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith are shown as well)
NC (vo): I guess it does kind of make sense when you really think about it. After so many years of people hating the prequels, these filmmakers had a lot to prove. So they had to demonstrate that they could do something that looks and feels like Star Wars before they could move forward with anything different. Sure, a lot of it’s on repeat, but it’s done in such an entertaining and whimsical way that it’s still really enjoyable. And who knows? Maybe the new stuff that should’ve gotten a lot more attention in this film will get attention in the next film.
CS (vo): And besides, they’ve done practically every plot thread the other movies have done, there’s not many left, leaving it open to new ideas in upcoming films. It’s not a classic, but it doesn’t need to be yet. It’s the reintroduction of an old friend who’s taken a beating and just needed to show that he’s gonna be okay before he accomplishes better things.
NC: Well said, Snob. Well said.
CS: But, Critic, I still don't understand. What is the true meaning of Hanukkah?
NC: Well, (brings out a ball) just touch the magic ball, and I'll show you.
CS: You're all...like family to me.
NC: (makes a weird face) Just touch the goddamn ball.
(CS touches the ball, causing them to be teleported through a bright, heavenly light. NC and CS are shown walking in a straight line in space towards the light. After walking through it, Leia walks up to the two)
NC: Leia! You made it!
Leia: Oh, I wouldn't miss this holiday for the world.
NC: Leia, my friend here would like to know the true meaning of Hanukkah. Would you kindly explain it to him?
Leia: Of course.
(As soft piano music plays, the camera dissolves to close-ups of Leia, NC and CS looking in wonder and awe. Leia is about to sing to the music...but then, it suddenly cuts to black and the credits roll. After that, we go back to the scene of Rey holding out Luke's lightsaber for Luke to take)
Rey: Are you gonna take it or...should I...what?
Luke: You need to hold it for a month.
Rey: A month? But next month is January.
(Luke suddenly smiles and speaks to the viewers)
Luke: You know what that means? Shyamalan Month! (Luke begins dancing to electric music as Rey attempts to leave) Keep it up!
(Rey is forced to keep holding the lightsaber up as Luke keeps dancing. The caption "Next Month: Shyamalan Month" is shown)
Elliot Moore (from The Happening; vo): What? No!
(Cut to a blooper of a scene with Brad as Han Solo and Jim as Kylo Ren)
Brad as Han Solo: At the end of the day, you're still not as big a disappointment as Mutt Williams.
Channel Awesome Tagline: NC: Hanukkah!