REVIEW: ‘Star Wars: Terrifying Tales’ Is Well Built

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Star Wars: Terrifying Tales

Star Wars: Terrifying Tales is the latest Lego Star Wars animated Disney+ Original. Poe Dameron (Jake Green) has crash-landed on Mustafar, the once home of Darth Vadar’s Castle. These days though, after the First Order has been defeated and Vader’s legacy has already begun to fade, one Graballa the Hutt (Dana Snyder) is set on turning the derelict Castle Vader into a tourist trap hotel. The castle’s caretaker, Vaneé (Tony Hale), and his droid companion, NI-L8 (Mary Elizabeth McGlynn), have other plans though.

This is my favorite kind of Star Wars storytelling. Where we’re not taking ourselves too seriously but still telling a strong story with great reference to the rest of the franchise’s vast lore and a few lessons learned by the end, it has a few jokes that don’t land for the same reasons they didn’t in the Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, chiefly attributable to being a kids movie and trying too hard to make Poe look extra macho. But overall, it’s a total joy and just the right amount of spooky for the season.

Star Wars: Terrifying Tales is the most fun because it’s a frame story containing three vignettes, one from each Star Wars era. One story is about how Ben Solo became Kylo Ren, one is about a duel between Maul and General Grevious shortly after both of their essential resurrections, and the third is an alternate history of Luke Skywalker in A New Hope. Each story, as well as the frame, is told with classic Lego animation humor while also possessing a rich depth of Star Wars references and in-jokes. There are so many little pieces to catch in every scene while also tantalizing Star Wars fans with scenes or ideas we’ve never seen on-screen before. Plus, like the holiday special, it is some of the only media taking place after Rise of Skywalker. While the movie isn’t canon per se, it is very fun to see a story in a world where our heroes are all fully realized.

In good Halloween special fashion, the story mostly revolves around lessons about fear and power, perfect conduits for tales from the Dark Side, and a great lesson for the kids hopefully watching the movie. Dean (Raphael Alejandro), the viewer’s stand-in character, is nothing all that special of a character. Still, he serves as a perfectly good conduit for all of the morals the movie imparts throughout. It’s very overt about its themes, but the movie is also self-aware of this and makes jokes about it at its own expense. The humor is pretty solid overall too. The only thing that bugs me is how Poe will make jokes lined with a type of machismo I never got from his character in the movies. The Poe I watched on the silver screen wasn’t insecure in the totally overt way he’s portrayed here. His insecurities were real, but they came across through his actions, like taking over Admiral Holdo’s command, not by cracking jokes about how great he is.

The animation in these Lego productions has reached a point where some of the models really look like real Lego sets. The level of detail and the slight differentiation between those models and everything else is particularly cool because they basically are reserved for models of kits that you can buy and build in real life. And it has me reminiscing on all the Lego Star Wars kits I built in my day. Everything is just so sharp-looking, though, and has come such a long way from the 2005 video game that started it all.

Star Wars: Terrifying Tales is a great little film filled with great horror homages and even greater tales from a Galaxy Far Far Away. I would really love to see full versions of each of the three vignettes after watching this 45-minute movie, especially the Luke and Maul vs. Grievous ones. I hope there are many more Lego Star Wars projects to come because the quality of the humor, animation, and storytelling are excellent and very fun.

Star Wars: Terrifying Tales is streaming now on Disney+.


Star Wars: Terrifying Tales
  • 8/10
    Rating - 8/10
8/10

TL;DR

Star Wars: Terrifying Tales is a great little film filled with great horror homages and even greater tales from a Galaxy Far Far Away. I would really love to see full versions of each of the three vignettes after watching this 45-minute movie, especially the Luke and Maul vs. Grievous ones. I hope there are many more Lego Star Wars projects to come because the quality of the humor, animation, and storytelling are excellent and very fun.