When I was a kid, my cousin and I collected the entire Star Wars toy collection from Kenner. I mean, we had it all: the Millenium Falcon, the AT-AT, the Hoth playset, the Endor playset, and even the original Anakin Skywalker action figure (you had to collect UPC symbols and send off for him along with some money). We were serious about our Star Wars. There’s even a picture of us watching the original film with a rented VCR from our nearby pharmacy, decked out in our PJs, sleeping bags and popcorn. We took it seriously in our house back when were kids and by golly, we take it seriously now.
For many people, Star Wars is sacred ground, especially for those fans that grew up in the 1970s and ‘80s. While the entire film franchise is open to parody (especially the prequels) it takes a special kind of precision, a special kind of care, cleverness and panache to properly pull it off. While Mel Brooks’ Spaceballs and Seth MacFarlane’s Family Guy, among countless others have parodied George Lucas’ epic space opera saga successfully, Kaboom’s Spaced Warped crashes and burns.
Here’s the premise. Far away in a land long ago… (that’s really how it starts) a young farm boy named Jean-Luc Groundwalker happens upon two druids, Hal and Ravi, who have both barely escaped the wrath of Lord Salvador. They meet Bernard the Mad Monk, an old Jadis Knight and set out on an adventure to save Lady Leica. Because the story of Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader are so engrained in popular culture, the plot and characters are easily recognizable.
Because this version is geared toward children and other parodies are targeted toward the adults that watched the originals as kids, much of the charm of the original story is lost. Other versions have a more mature brand of humor, multi-leveled and clever, that can be appreciated by both grown-ups and children, much in the same way as Star Wars itself.
Perhaps it was lost in the translation from French to English but the humor is cliché and just not that funny. And the fact that writer Hervé Bourhis chose to place the characters in medieval times with wagons, swords and castles instead of starships, Death Stars and lightsabers just doesn’t work in this context.
It’s not that Star Wars fans mind the parodying. In fact, we welcome it. But, there is a level of respect that must be given to the original source material. And where that respect lies is in the brand of humor that is used. Unfortunately, Spaced Warped just doesn’t cut it.
As those of us who grew up with the original Star Wars trilogy grow older with families of our own, we’ll introduce our children to the version we grew up with. And, age permitting, we’ll introduce them to the films that parody it.