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‘Star Wars XXX’: The Porn Parody Is Still Better Than The Prequels [Review]

I swore off the Star Wars franchise back in 2005, but last week, there was something that made me want to give it another shot. There was a new version being released that promised to add an entirely new level of visual spectacle to the story that I enjoyed when I was a kid, and while I can’t say I was excited about it, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t at least curious.

What? 3D? No way, you couldn’t pay me enough to get me into a theater to see Episode I again. I’m talking about Vivid’s Star Wars XXX, “the most ambitious porn movie ever made.” In the interest of full disclosure, I want to point out that in my role as ComicsAlliance’s Senior Pornography Critic, Vivid sent me both a copy of the film and a glass jar of gumballs that was emblazoned with the Star Wars XXX logo (the gumballs themselves are also stamped with the title), which you can see here next to a copy of 2009′s 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand:

Not gonna lie, folks: I am notoriously easy to buy off, and having this thing show up in a FedEx box last week made my day. I’m seriously considering using the bottle as a sugar bowl, if only so that guests will have to make it all the way to my kitchen before they start wondering why I have sci-fi porn memorabilia on display.

Unfortunately, the movie itself doesn’t quite live up to the excitement of a jar of gumballs, and what it really comes down to is that this thing is problematic.

Let’s start with the most obvious snag. About six minutes into the movie, right after Darth Vader (Lexington Steele) and a bunch of scantily clad Stormtroopers bust in on Princess Leia (Allie Haze)’s spaceship, we get our first sex scene. Those of you who were paying attention to the number of proper nouns in that last sentence may have already figured out where this is going.

See, in the original films at least, Darth Vader is actually Princess Leia’s father, which makes it pretty darned uncomfortable when the first ten minutes of this movie find him going right at her for a pretty vigorous interrogation about the whereabouts of the Rebel Alliance. With his penis.

I was originally going to go ahead and give director Axel Braun the benefit of the doubt and assume that he just hasn’t seen The Empire Strikes Back, but once you get to the celebratory threesome with Leia, Han Solo (Rocco Reed) and Luke Skywalker (Seth Gamble) — spoiler alert, he’s her brother — it actually seems like they went for it as an intentional running gag. There’s a big set-up for it where Luke and Leia both talk about how they’re both orphans with no family so they’re in the clear to get it on, and I suppose it’s really just the infamous open-mouth makeout Luke and Leia have in Empire taken to its logical porn movie extreme. Still, it’s pretty distracting, to say the least.

I realize that it’s a parody, and to be fair, Steele and Haze don’t exactly have much of a family resemblance. At the same time, the whole point of the porn parody is that they add in and emphasize a story, and it only really works if they work within that story’s rules. It’s one of the reasons Braun’s previous effort, the incredibly successful Batman XXX, is so fun to watch: If you take out the sex (and there’s a cut of it on the DVD that does just that), then you’ve pretty much just got a straight-up Batman ’66 fan-film. With Star Wars, the idea seems to be to add in comedy, but there’s not quite enough of it to make it really work.

The whole Leia thing also points to a pretty big flaw in trying to adapt Star Wars into porn: There’s really only one woman in the entire story, and of the remaining main characters, half are blood relatives and another quarter is a giant bear-ape, which brings up a whole other set of problems.

There actually is a scene later on involving Chewbacca and a couple of stormtroopers, and it is TERRIFYING.

The full costume stays on throughout the entire thing, and it is a sight I will take to my grave. But believe it or not, it’s not the worst thing that happens in this movie.

Because they’re pretty limited in terms of female characters, and because they presumably didn’t want Haze to carry the entire burden of being in every scene, they decided to just add random ladies in wherever they could. When Luke gets attacked by the Sandpeople, for instance, Obi-Wan (Tom Byron) doesn’t just chase them away, he sweet-talks one into sticking around and taking her mask off to reveal a sexy lady (Jennifer White)!

Incidentally, in one of the absolute highlights of the film, she makes crazy hissing Sandpeople noises throughout the entire thing. It’s a hoot.

But the whole idea of wedging in more female character hits critical mass once they get to the Cantina scene, where Braun decides to hang out for a while so we can watch a bunch of the background characters have sex with each other. This is a pretty weird choice, since these are characters that didn’t even have action figures until something like 2003, so it’s not like there’s any kind of emotional connection. Really it’s just cosplayers having sex, which makes it less like a movie and more like being in a hotel room at Dragon*Con.

You’d think that at the very least, they would’ve gotten Han Solo involved. He fits the role of the dashing smuggler with a girl (or four) in every port, and not only would it have given viewers a reason to care, it also would’ve been prime opportunity for a joke about shooting first. They do eventually get around to that, but it’s at the very end of the film, and since you’ve already had the anticlimax of him failing to say it earlier, it doesn’t have a whole lot of impact.

While we’re on the subject, there’s a lot of that sort of missed opportunity in the movie. All of the stuff that you’d think would be ripe for sex jokes is skipped over. On one level I respect that they weren’t going for the obvious — Spaceballs pretty much had the last word on lightsaber-as-penis jokes — but really, no “that’s no moon?” No “feel the Force flowing through you?” Hell, there’s a dude in this movie who says “the shaft is two meters wide” and it just passes without comment in a room full of porn stars. How did that happen?

But back to the Cantina. I’ve been on the Internet long enough to realize that there are people out there who want nothing more than to see Oola the Dancer and Ponda Baba consummate the relationship they’ve been chronicling in their fan-fiction, so I get why it’s in there. The problem is the way it’s done.

I’ve written a few of these reviews and I always try to stay away from evaluating the actual erotic content, because that’s a pretty inherently subjective thing. Some people like blondes, some people like brunettes, some people like girls in Twilek costumes; it’s going to be different for everybody. But with this one, there’s no getting around it.

So I’ll be honest: I think Kimberly Kane is a very attractive young lady, even when she’s dressed as what I can only describe as Outer Space Amy Winehouse:

But the thing is, while she and Aiden Ashley are doing their scene, it’s set in the Cantina. Which means that the Cantina music is playing. For half an hour.

Seriously, thirty solid minutes of that, except that the version they use is a 30-second loop that I think might’ve originated in Star Wars on the NES. Unless you experienced your first sexual awakening on an Angelfire page with an embedded midi, it’s the opposite of arousing.

The Cantina scene also has one more thing that’s worth mentioning, and that’s that in the parody, the guys at the bar don’t threaten Luke; they hit on him and then are met with Obi-Wan’s lightsaber in response. I initially thought this was a pretty surprising example of homophobic overtones, but to be honest, the original version of that scene isn’t really a whole lot better. Dude cuts a man’s arm off because he says he doesn’t like somebody. If the Internet was playing by Jedi rules, we’d all be typing with chopsticks held in our teeth.

So in the interest of keeping my arms where they are, I have to say that it’s not all bad. For one thing, when his character’s not shtupping his twin sister, Seth Gamble is actually hilarious as Luke. It’s a dead-on impression of the whiny parts from Star Wars, to the point where he even makes the (actually pretty reasonable in retrospect) demand that Obi-Wan put a warning label on the lightsaber before he hands it to someone who has no idea what it is. And while we’re at it, Tom Byron’s alcoholic Obi-Wan is a pretty great impression too.

There’s also a recurring gag that runs through the movie involving a waiter on the Death Star that is genuinely one of the funniest things I have seen in a movie in a while. It’s done so perfectly that I actually don’t want to spoil it.

The best gag, though, involves the Stormtroopers. They look like this:

So when Luke and Han steal their armor so that they can disguise themselves after the two women get Chewbacca’d, they end up looking like this:

It’s a pretty great gag. Unfortunately, as funny as it is, it’s not enough to elevate it to being as enjoyable to watch as Batman XXX. The nagging missed opportunities and the weird character relationships just end up weighing it down, not unlike the way the source material ended up playing out.

Still better than the prequels, though.

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