When I said at the start of the month that I’d be looking at streaming releases, I certainly didn’t expect anything like this.
Being the ardent Star Wars fan that I am, I am aware of the Star Wars Holiday Special by its reputation; I have never been enough of a masochist to seek it out and watch it (I have to draw the line somewhere) but suffice to say that I know of its legendary awfulness by virtue of its almost mythical status in the realms of bad film/TV.
It has long been a target of derision from fans and creators alike, it was so bad that even George Lucas decreed that he’d never release it, which is saying something, after all, this is the man that deemed Attack of the Clones worthy of release, so to know that even he has his limits makes me curious as to just how bad it could have been but then I remember that my time on this Earth is limited, and sitting down to watch it would just be merely wasting an hour of that precious time.
If it has any positives though, it’s at least ripe for satire. Indeed, several shows have taken stabs at it in the past, it almost seems like too perfect a match for LEGO to step in and take a swipe at it, injecting their usual brand of humour and parody as they do so. So perfect that I almost forgot it was a thing until a trailer for it released a few weeks ago, I was very pleased to be reminded of its existence, however.
After the events of Rise of Skywalker, Rey is training Finn in the ways of the Force while the rest of their friends make preparations for Life Day celebrations. Frustration leads Rey to seek guidance from an old Jedi temple and a force-sensitive crystal that allows the holder to travel through time, leading to a trek through the series’ timeline to find the answers she seeks…
I don’t feel like I should waste time explaining the level of seriousness we’re operating on here, we all know the LEGO formula by now, their films all share the same tongue-in-cheek tone, but also they carry a reverence for their source material that means their products are always love-letters to their respective franchises, but love-letters that are never afraid to poke fun at their targets either.
In that respect, The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special is nothing new and doesn’t re-invent the wheel or stray too far from the established formula, but there is enough to love about it for fans of the previous films, and even more to love for Star Wars fans. The film is full to the brim with relevant humour, utilising call-backs from earlier films, fan favourite characters, and even references to popular internet memes to create a lovingly satirical, and festive, Star Wars package.
It’s a light, fun watch for all the family that doesn’t outstay its welcome, and has just enough in the way of laughs for everyone from kids right up to the more seasoned Star Wars fans; and while it doesn’t bring anything new to the table, it’s certainly a welcome addition to Disney’s streaming service, bringing some well-meaning humour to the galaxy far, far away, as well as perhaps a new longstanding festive classic, should it stand the test of time, and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t.
It is one of those films that seems to have more to see the more you look at it too, and will probably reward eagle-eyed viewers on the hunt for hidden jokes on second viewings, but there is a lot to satisfy in general as the plot speeds through all the different eras of the galaxy, packing in more and more fun cameos and in-jokes as it goes in the trademark LEGO fashion. It probably won’t make a lot of sense to people unfamiliar with the franchise, but I dare say that they aren’t its intended audience, and probably won’t be watching anyway. The more into the universe you are, the more you will get out of it and recognise, is the bottom line.
The voice cast is highly varied too, mixing returning familiar faces with experienced video game and animation voice actors to create a cohesive cast that brings the familiar faces to life again. Special mentions should go to Helen Sadler, whose exemplary performance as Rey anchors the rest of the cast to a solid base and succeeds in making her a likeable and sympathetic character (something a few people would argue the sequel films didn’t do). She may have been made of LEGO bricks here, but her quest is still earnest, even if it is wacky.
There’s no more that can be said about this film, it’s not a long watch or a challenging one, but it is entertaining, engaging and, at times, hilarious. Although it didn’t face strong competition, it is almost certainly the greatest Star Wars– related Holiday Special, so take that for whatever it’s worth.