Did we like it?
Justin Lee Collins performed his usual freak show trick of gallivanting around LA, London and sundry other suburban hell holes with all the grace and manners of the hirsute, ill-mannered offspring of a baboon and a tornado to fawn (and then backstab) people who used to be famous, while anybody still famous prohibits his entry into their lives as if he were afflicted by the Black Death.
What was good about it?
• When one of JLC’s underlings almost gets squashed by Carrie Fisher’s security gates, resembling the garbage compactor scene in Star Wars. We would have enjoyed it more had the focus been on the unfortunate minion rather than JLC laughing in that “I’m the star, I laugh loudest” despicable chortle, which has been trademarked by rancid human breadcrust Ashton Kutcher.
• The one shocking thing we learned was that Carrie Fisher tried to play Princess Leia with an English accent. She makes Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins sound like Sir Laurence Olivier.
• The clips from the utterly appalling Star Wars TV, if only to prove that George Lucas’s dialogue in Attack of the Clones wasn’t the worst in Star Wars history.
• It revealed how many of the minor characters, some actors, some not (such as Peter ‘Chewbacca’ Mayhew who got the part simply for being tall) now shuffle from one Star Wars convention to the next, with some charging a fee for their autograph. It was also sad to see that the taller cast members – Mayhew and Dave ‘Darth Vader’ Prowse – now need crutches to help their mobility.
• The resemblance that was pointed out between the Sarlacc Pit from Return of the Jedi and a giant vagina.
• The personable and tolerant Warwick Davies, who played the Ewok Wicket in Return of the Jedi.
What was bad about it?
• JLC’s opening salvo: “Before Star Wars, sci-fi was rubbish!” As he did so, clips from the brilliant 1930s Flash Gordon serial starring Buster Crabbe were on screen crippling his argument beyond redemption (unless, of course, he wagered that his pseudo-trustworthy tones were cogent enough to batter his lies into subservient minds).
• The tendency in reality shows such as this, and By Any Means recently, too, in which the host is always in a rush because their target – whether it is washed up celebrities or a boat to India – is always just about to depart, prompting a melodramatic voice over. We can appreciate that it might add drama, but it is so overused, we’ve become inured to it as a device, instead suspecting that JLC has all the time in the world to interview Carrie Fisher or Jeremy Bulloch.
• Perhaps it’s necessary to coerce celebrities, ex- or otherwise, into appearing on his desiccated tribute shows, but the way in which JLC toadies to their insecurities with flatulent flattery and an insincere round of applause before addressing them as “sir” appears as genuine as the rickety AT-AT walkers in Empire Strikes Back.
• And JLC regales them with such banalities as: “I’ve travelled over 5,000 miles from Bristol to LA!” Speaking as if he is some pioneering modern-day Marco Polo and that he traversed the Atlantic Ocean paddling on a raft made of his own body hair.
• JLC has great contempt for the Star Wars audience. “Many people didn’t realise there was a man inside [R2D2].” No, that’s quite right – millions of people were deceived into thinking that robotics had suddenly leapt forward about 100 years in an era where home computers had to be delivered by elephants.
• After JLC discovered the conflict between Kenny Baker (R2D2) and Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Baker explained why he disliked his counterpart, an account that made Daniels sound like a humourless snob. Upon meeting Daniels, instead of asking him to verify or deny Baker’s accusations puerile (even for a Star Wars documentary) JLC instead concentrated on a photograph of C-3PO with a huge golden phallus. This meant that we were left with only Baker’s side of the story, which was worthless without Daniels’ perspective.
• “C-3PO and R2D2, arguably the most popular characters in the film” – “arguable” indeed, as this statement suggests that JLC never played Star Wars in the playground, or had any Star Wars figures (the droids were useless as they didn’t have weapons, so unless you were a budding Harold Pinter, they were always last pick in games among your friends). And he contradicted this later with the more truthful “Boba Fett was the most popular character”.
• JLC’s well-practised and enervating “No one will turn up” worries before the reunion – four did make it Warwick Davies, Kenny Baker, Jeremy Bulloch and Dave Prowse. There was more chance of the Millennium Falcon popping its head round the door than Harrison Ford, while Mark Hamill seemed to want paying more money than Han demanded to take Luke and Ben to Alderaan. Meanwhile, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew and Billy Dee Williams (Lando) couldn’t be bothered to fly over from America.