“While not being completely mind-blowingly brilliant, it’s a million times better than its 1970s counterpart”
‘The Star Wars Holiday Special‘ has gone down in history as one of THE worst ideas in the history of television. It all centered around the Wookiee holiday of ‘Life Day‘. And it turned out to be a singing, dancing and ‘comedic’ event which was a complete disaster. Stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and the rest of the cast of the original film alongside George Lucas himself have distanced themselves from it ever since it was shown. It was so bad that I don’t think it has ever been shown again. So to find out that ‘The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special‘ was going to use ‘Life Day’ as its basis was, to be honest, something that struck dread into the heart of me. I shouldn’t have been so worried. Yes, the special is childish at times. Yes, it can be annoying slightly in places. But it does exactly what it should do and provide the audience with an enjoyable, fun, and rewarding experience. This isn’t any live-action debacle, this is forty-three minutes of comedic fun with a message at its heart.
The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special | Disney+
The basic premise is this: Rey is trying to train Finn in the arts of the Jedi, to become the teacher for the next generation. Finn though is pretty much useless. Rey keeps referring to the ancient Jedi texts she keeps on board the Millenium Falcon (where a fair amount of time is spent during the show) in the hope of adapting her training technique to help Finn better. But nothing seems to work. Meanwhile, Poe Dameron and Rose Tico are busy trying to set up the Falcon for the arrival of Chewbacca‘s family to celebrate ‘Life Day’.
Rey has a job to do to help with the preparations but she abandons it to travel to a planet she discovers in the texts that will help her. Both she and BB-8 leave in Luke Skywalker‘s old X-Wing and travel to the temple she has discovered and there finds a ‘Key’ that opens a portal. She and BB-8 enter the portal and find themselves traveling through ‘Star Wars‘ history, discovering Luke’s training on Dagobah with Yoda, Padawan Obi-Wan onboard the Trade Federation ship with Qui Gon Jinn, Master Obi-Wan alongside Padawan Anakin, and a trip to the second Death Star and a fateful encounter with The Emperor and Darth Vader which leads to all sorts of problems.
Throughout the show, there are wonderful little nods and easter eggs to be found. I will not spoil them for you but as a hint, look behind and slightly Padawan Obi-Wan in one scene and you’ll get a nice visual easter egg. Some of what happens during the 43 minutes are quite funny and there is at least one brief but a funny cameo from a certain pair of characters that are in the minds of ‘Star Wars‘ fans right at this moment. Other highlights include TWO Han Solo‘s confronting Greedo and a great comedic line between the three of them. A pair of Clone Troopers on traffic duty is also quite amusing and the tone is light as it should be.
Detractions though come in the shape of Poe Dameron, here shown to be a bumbling fool who breaks down in tears at any given moment, Kylo Ren who’s hero-worship of Vader and The Emperor grates after a while, and The Emperor and Vader himself at times. We have seen the pair clowning around in other ‘Lego Star Wars‘ shows such as ‘The Freemaker Adventures‘ and ‘The Yoda Chronicles‘ among others but here, their antics grow tiresome after a while before managing to bring themselves back to the right side of enjoyable before the climax. There is a funny scene, however, on Hoth just as the Imperial forces, led by Vader enter the base only to come face to face with a second Vader. You will need to watch the show to find out how but it is comedic all the same.
When it comes to the voices of the characters, there are a few surprises to be had concerning who is in the voice cast. As there should be, there are vocal performances from Ben Prendergast, Dee Bradley Baker, James Arnold Taylor, Matt Lanter, Matthew Wood, Matt Sloan and Tom Kane from various other animated ‘Star Wars‘ shows and their presence here is expected but once again, enjoyable nonetheless but the standout vocal performance is by actress Helen Sadler, lending her tones to Rey and sounding almost pitch-perfect as the character. At times, you could be mistaken for thinking Daisy Ridley herself was voicing Rey. Although not a stranger to voicing characters in the ‘Star Wars‘ world, whether it be in an animated show or a videogame, her voice is spot on here. And of course, there are a few of the movie veterans on hand to lend support by voicing their characters such as Billy Dee Williams as Lando, Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, and Kelly Marie Tran voicing Rose Tico.
All in all, the show doesn’t outstay it’s welcome and will bring smiles to the faces of the younger fans as well as their parents who will have smiles on their faces and will nod knowingly at some of the references and events presented throughout the show. While not being completely mind-blowingly brilliant, it certainly is a million times better than its 1970s live-action counterpart. My advice is to sit down in front of the TV as a family, settle back together and allow ‘The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special‘ to take you away from what’s going on in the world outside. All in all, a welcome and enjoyable little time-wasting distraction.
The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special is streaming on Disney+ NOW!
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Carl Roberts is a Senior Entertainment/Books and Literature Correspondent for The Future of the Force. Aside from being our horror genre aficionado, he is also passionate about Star Wars, Marvel, DC, and the Indiana Jones movies. Follow him on Twitter @CarlRoberts2 where he uses the force frequently!