In 1977 a little movie called Star Wars was released. Seven months later came an unlikely follow-up.
Hardware Wars is a 1978 Fan Film written and directed by Ernie Fosselius. It is a Short Film parody of A New Hope, expressed as a movie trailer. It's not just a low budget, straightforward spoof, though — the underlying gimmick is that all of the spaceships and even some of the characters have been replaced by household appliances and tools: the R2D2 Expy is a canister vacuum, the Millennium Falcon is represented by a steam iron, Star Destroyers are flying toasters and hand-cranked egg beaters, even Stormtroopers have turned into "Steam Troopers", and more. The silliness simply must be seen to be believed.
This film provides examples of:
- Affectionate Parody: Of Star Wars: A New Hope. It was so popular, even George Lucas said on an interview that it was his favorite Star Wars parody.
- Ascended Fanfic: Boba Fett's ship Slave One from The Empire Strikes Back was reportedly based on the egg whisker ships from Hardware Wars.
- Aside Glance: Augie Ben Doggie gives us one after the particularly awful (intentionally so) special effect of simulating a light saber with a flashlight in stage fog.
- Catchphrase: Fluke Starbucker's "Golly!" and "Jeepers!".
- Conspicuous CG: When the Star Wars Original Trilogy were re-released as a Special Edition, so too was Hardware Wars, with newly added CG effects. Said additions don't really mesh well with the original footage, possibly intentionally so.
- Cool Shades: 4-Q2 is wearing a pair in the trash compactor scene.
- Creator Cameo: Ernie Fosselius is the guy giving the mission briefing at the end.
- Disney Acid Sequence: The funky special effects when Ham Salad makes his ship go into "Dyna-space". We're treated to about a minute of weird kaleidoscopic imagery and strange noises.
- Expospeak Gag: The lengthy explanation of what must be done to take out the Death Star-Expy. When it's met with "huh?" the man sums it up as: Pull the plug.
- Fanservice Extra: Gratuitous to the extreme. A picture of a naked woman lying down appears out of nowhere during the "Blow Up The Death Star-Expy" exposition.
- Flanderization: For Rule of Funny....The Luke Expy is even more dorky, whiny, naive and doofy and he talks like a 50's sitcom kid (see the Gosh Dang It to Heck! entry).
- Funny Background Event: During a scene on the Desert Planet, in the background can be briefly seen a woman in a bathing suit, picking up her beach towel and walking away.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
- The C3-PO expy is called 4-Q2.note
- A nude centerfold appears on the screen at the Rebel Base during the "Blow Up The Death Star-Expy" exposition.
- Ham Salad says "You bet yer asteroid, kid" to Fluke Starbucker.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Fluke's reaction on being given the flashlight is "Gosh! Wow-ee! Jeepers, golly willickers!"
- Heroic Sacrifice: lampooned:note All: Hurry, Augie, come on, run for the ship!
Augie: Nah, you go on without me, I'll be alright.
All: (Sarcasm Mode) Oh fine, a martyr. Sure, see ya later, martyr!
- Hong Kong Dub: Even though it's an American film, the dubbing of the dialogue doesn't quite match the movement of the character's mouths. Likely deliberate, see the Special Effect Failure example below.
- Logo Joke: 20th Century Foss and "ZZZ: The audience is tired of logos" for the THX logo in the 1997 special edition.
- May the Farce Be with You: The last lines in the film. Given that it came out shortly after the real Star Wars, it's probably safe to call it the Trope Maker.
- Medium Awareness: This exchange.Fluke Starbucker: Get us outta here!Ham Salad: Relax, kid. It's only a movie.
- Mythology Gag: The Country music house band in the Mos Eisley-Expy bar is singing a song about the actual Obi-Wan Kenobi.Singer: ''Oh I'm prrroooouuuud to be ol' Obi-Wan...Kenobi!...."
- No Animals Were Harmed: Or killed, for that matter.
- No Ending: The film is presented as a movie trailer, so they never actually get around to the ending.
- Obi-Wan Moment: Spoofed. Augie Doggie stays to fight Darph Nader, and the rest of the cast sarcastically call him a martyr as they leave.
- Opening Monologue: "Meanwhile . . . in another part of the galaxy . . . later that same day."
- Public Domain Soundtrack: Richard Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries accompanies pretty much the entirety of the film.
- Punny Name: Let's see... Artie Deco, Ham Salad, Anne Droid, 4Q-2, Darph Nader, and let's not forget Chewchilla the Wookiee Monster. Not to mention the name of the Bar Band: Slim Chance and Derange Riders. In a meta-example, the film studio is credited as "20th Century Foss".
- Real Trailer, Fake Movie: Hardware Wars is presented as a trailer.
- One of the droids says "Here's another fine mess you've gotten us into".
- The C3-PO Expy looks like the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz.
- The Chewbacca Expy is an utterly adorable brown Cookie Monster from Sesame Street.note
- The Obi-Wan Expy is named after Augie Doggie from Hanna-Barbera's Quick Draw McGraw.
- The hologram with Princess Anne Droid's message comes out of Artie-Deco's vacuum-cleaner hose in a similar manner to Jeannie in I Dream of Jeannie.
- Ham Salad angrily replies to Anne Droid with a Steve Martin catchphrase (see Well, Excuse Me, Princess!).
- The lounge singer's "I'm Proud to Be Old Obi-Wan Kenobi" is a parody of Merle Haggard's "Okie From Muskogee".
- The "Sraw Rats" graffiti is "Star Wars" spelled backwards.
- At one point Anne Droid says to Darph Nader "You talkin' to me?" a'la Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver.
- Special Effect Failure: Invoked as part of the overall Stylistic Suck:
- They wanted you to see the strings on the models, and used more lighting on the strings to this end.
- They wanted you to see the flashlight as a flashlight, and the beam as its light scattered off fog.
- Anne-Droid's hairstyle consists of literal giant cinnamon buns on the sides of her head (which Chewchilla The Wookie-Monster eats at one point with much gusto! OMMM NOMNOMNOM....).note
- Stylistic Suck: The whole damn thing. Planet Basketball, for starters, is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
- Tagline: "You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll kiss 3 bucks goodbye", and "May the Farce Be With You".
- Take That!:
- The Unintelligible: Darph Nader.Darph Nader: [unintelligible]
Anne Droid: What? I can't understand you!
Darph Nader: [unintelligible]
Anne Droid: Are you talking to me? Are you talking to me?Darph Nader: [unintelligible]
Augie Doggie: What is he saying, can anyone understand?
- Visual Pun: The "Tractor Beam."
- Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: Almost word for word....and a Shout-Out to Steve Martin.Anne-Droid: "You'll get us all killed!"Ham Salad: "Well, EXCUUUUUUUUSE....ME!"
All scenes depicting violence towards animals were deleted from the film. Also, some animals tasted better than others. People with special dietary needs should consult with a physician before digesting the flesh of once-living things.