What is Ani: the musical?



Okay as it’s the time of the year when you all gather round the box in the corner to watch either somebody wander over a mountain range in definatly unsuitable outdoors wear or somebody desperate for more food just after you’ve finished stuffing your face with your third round of turkey. So in my quest to find a new alternative I’m going to be discussing the latest from starkid productions. A team that have so far done musicals about an egotistical adolescent, a dim witted but lonely one percenter  and Jafar from Aladdin. After managing to turn each of those into an interesting protagonist they’ve turned their hand to what could be their most difficult task to date. Ani Skywalker.

But do they manage it, let’s find out.

The movie opens up shortly after the completion of the first Death Star with Anakin Skywalker reminiscing about the good old days. It seems Darth Vader isn’t doing too well. He’s overweight, in a dead end job with an up and coming replacement and a longing for his lost love. Podracing!

This is the gist of the plot with the Emperors new apprentice coming to town and encouraging Vader to chase his dream and go back home for one last lap of the Boonta Eve. You see it seems there isn’t much job satisfaction for standing in on meetings and choking random people for calling out your forgotten religion and questioning your life choices.

Speaking of the generals they’re all here british accents and all which seems to serve as an excuse to let the cast let rip with their best “wankers”. For the most part they don’t have much to do with the plot not they had much to do in the original movie. Here they are a put upon work force who must try and sort out the serious points, like that open exhaust port while the Emperor’s favourite cracks Star Wars jokes and points out how much the Death Star looks like a giant boob. When he runs off it seems things are looking up, with Tarkin even thinking he might stand a chance with the prettiest Stormtrooper on the station, Emily. However the Emperor is coming for a surprise visit and while he’s all smiles and “call me Papy”, probably because even he doesn’t like Sheev, that could all change if he finds out his apprentice has run away from home.

What follows is Vader’s attempt to get the band back together as he reassembles the old pit crew, which apparently just consisted of Jar-Jar, avoid Tarkin’s attempts to bring him back and defeat his greatest foe of all time, Sebulba.

Okay first of all and perhaps the greatest problem with the movie is the fact that unlike all the ones to go before it, it’s not really a musical. Oh it has a small handful of songs being sung in it but they’re all sung off screen by the catina band leaving the cast to dance on stage. While I’ve loved some of the songs in the past musicals these just don’t measure up and all your left with is the choreography which has never been the high point of these shows. Why the change, I couldn ‘t say. With Chris Allen stepping up from the supporting role of characters like Alfred and Mad eye moody, maybe there was a question over his singing abilities. I hope this isn’t the case as it would only make him look worse after having played this character who I struggled to muster much enthusiasm or interest in. This is made all the worse when Superman and Voldemort round out the main trio of characters and outshine him despite playing Jar-Jar and having to read aloud Anakin’s best pickup lines respectively.

There is some questionable miming, as they utilise their typical minimalist sets, that I struggled to follow at times and the costumes fall down compared to the super suits or the quite good eastern turbans and baggy pants. This time they have opted for a combination of onsies and hoodies printed up in mock cosplay style probably from thinkgeek or someplace likewise.

There are a few good lines in the show such as Anakin’s claim that the only fight he has ever won was against a bunch of kids, which got a really good reaction from the audience but in the end it feels like they put far more effort into their Star Wars jokes than a script or story for anyone to follow.

In the end I think the main problem is that unlike all the other parodies they’ve done I don’t get the feeling that they like the source material. Back in the day I got the feeling that while they could list every plot hole and inconsistency they really liked Harry Potter. Sure they knew the argument against Robin and campy comic books from the silver age but they really liked them. They knew that Disney’s Aladdin was a light fluff piece but, well you get the idea.

In this musical there are a load of digs at cartoon characters, and Anakin being better when he was a dark mystery but there isn’t a feeling of love for the source material and that’s why my favorite of Starkids work is probably still Holy Musical Batman but my blanket recommendation for all of you looking for a good Christmas musical would probably go to Twisted

All of which are available for free on youtube Here!


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