REVIEW: ‘LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special’

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LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special - But Why Tho?

The original 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special is a special piece of an oddity. So when the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special was announced as a Disney+ original, it could have gone any number of ways. Fortunately, the new short movie is pure fun with lots of nuggets for fans of every Star Wars era to enjoy.

The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special is told as a frame story by Yoda (Tom Kane) in a very Night Before Christmas type of way. Sometime post-The Rise of Skywalker our heroes Rey (Helen Sadler), Poe (Jake Green), Finn (Omar Benson Miller), Rose (Kelly Marie Tran), Chewbacca, and BB-8 are preparing the Millenium Falcon for a Life Day celebration with Chewie’s family. Off the bat, bringing this traditional Wookiee holiday into 2020 is both fun for longtime fans, and sweet for new fans who have a genuinely great holiday to learn about.

Despite the joyous occasion, Rey is going through some frustration while training Finn in the Force. And yes, I’ll stop right there. The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special is fully embracing all of the bits that The Rise of Skywalker teased, like Finn’s Force sensitivity, Rey’s new golden lightsaber, and her possession of the ancient Jedi texts. But as Finn and Rey get into a bit of a row about her disappointment in herself and Finn’s lack of self-confidence, she finds a page in the Jedi texts about a key to the past that will help her unlock the future, essentially. Rey goes off with BB-8 to find this key, much to Poe’s disappointment, because there is a lot of decorating and cooking to be done. He was looking forward to doing it all together.

Most truly, the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special is for fans of the Sequel Trilogy. It is rather off-putting at first that none of the original cast members are playing their parts except for Kelly Marie Tran, though unsurprising given the casts’ relationships with Star Wars these days. The voice acting is fine, and you get used to it, but it’s definitely jarring at first. At least Tran seems to have more lines in this movie than she did in all of TROS.

However, Star Wars fans of all stripes, Prequel fans, Original Trilogy fans, even Mandalorian fans should find their own place in this 45-minute feature. Although, there was a shocking dearth of Clone Wars content, save for returning voice actors, especially given the recent season 7 that aired on the same platform.

As Rey and BB-8 find the Key, they wind of time traveling throughout the nine films, crashing into different scenes of Jedi (and Sith) masters and apprentices training with one another. After all, she is on a journey to try and help Finn learn how to be a Jedi too. Eventually, this Forrest Gumping goes awry though, as Darth Vader (Matt Sloan) and Emperor Palpatine (Trevor Devall) discover Rey and the Key and attempt to take it for themselves so that Palpatine may rule the galaxy forever and ever.

The jumping through time leads to hilarious, laugh out loud moment after the next. Between self-referential dialogue, hilarious meetups between older and younger versions of characters (looking at you three Obi-Wans), and plenty of the classic LEGO-brand gags, a children’s program has not had me cackling quite like the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special in some time.

The only trouble I have with the show is that it just feels too short. I wish it could have been a full feature-length film so that the moments spent in each film scene could have lasted longer. The animation also looks a bit odd when you get too close up to the characters. There’s a texture to the LEGO that, while if you stare at your own LEGO Minifigures close up you may see at home, looks kind of odd here. The rest of the show looks great though. The LEGO objects throughout the world look like genuine LEGO sets you could build yourself and the animation is totally crisp. A long way from the early days of LEGO animation, for sure.

In all, the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special is a joyful, albeit short return to the Star Wars sequel era, and the entire saga, through a sweet story, hilarious writing, and an excellent Yoda in a bowler cap and sweater. Watch it with some friends or family this Life Day.

The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special is streaming now on Disney+.

LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

In all, the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special is a joyful, albeit short return to the Star Wars sequel era, and the entire saga, through a sweet story, hilarious writing, and an excellent Yoda in a bowler cap and sweater. Watch it with some friends or family this Life Day.