Directed by Ken Cunningham — Available on Disney+.
It can be difficult to enjoy Star Wars fully when the fanbase is as fractured as it has been these last few years. A significant part of the fandom has a deep hatred for a film that I like quite a bit, and it has made it so draining to debate Star Wars opinions these days. These last few weeks, I have been watching the second season of The Mandalorian, which I will hopefully be reviewing soon, and it, along with this LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special released on Disney+, truly reminded me why I have always loved Star Wars so much that even online disputes can’t ruin it for me. The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special is genuinely wonderful and a good time for the whole family.
Back in 1978, a now-infamous television special aired on CBS. The Star Wars Holiday Special was met with so much negative criticism that it has not been released officially since then. However, it is still something of a cult film, even though it is certainly not regarded as being good. Now, in 2020, Lucasfilm and the LEGO Group have teamed up to make a holiday special that both celebrates the Star Wars-franchise and pokes fun at the misbegotten CBS television special that has since been swept under the rug.
The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special takes place after the events of The Rise of Skywalker. The film follows Rey (voiced by Helen Sadler) as she struggles to properly teach and train Finn (voiced by Omar Benson Miller), who is training to become a Jedi. While Rey travels through time to learn from other Jedi Masters, Poe Dameron (voiced by Jake Green) and the rest of her friends prepare to celebrate Life Day, a Star Wars holiday created for the 1978 television special, on the Millenium Falcon.
Of course, it should be noted that since this is a straight-to-streaming film, with a measly runtime of just forty-to-fifty-minutes, this is not as polished, as well animated, or as visually impressive as the theatrically released LEGO-films. But, with that being said, I was still very impressed by how well it actually looked. It doesn’t look like the theatrically-released films, but it doesn’t exactly look cheap either. Your mileage may vary, but I don’t think it ultimately matters all that much that it isn’t as polished an animated ‘film’ since this is such a well-written tribute to friendship, togetherness, and what makes Star Wars special.
There are so many things that I genuinely love about this LEGO special. For one, this is just such a kind and cute animated film with a nice message about the importance of friendship at the heart of it. But I also love that the filmmakers behind the holiday special clearly have a breadth of knowledge about, and a true love for, the franchise. This is a very amusing time-travel film that takes you through the greatest hits of Star Wars, and the film takes its time to include easter eggs, as well as inside jokes and references that just put a huge smile on my face. The writers also weren’t afraid of poking fun at the various films and characters, and I, honestly, think those friendly jabs are the funniest moments in the entire film.
I just really loved this little holiday special, and I could actually see myself watching this with my nephew every Christmas when he gets older. This is such a wonderful surprise for Star Wars fans of all ages, even though it is slightly corny and cheesy. There is no denying the fact that this is a straight-to-streaming animated special that isn’t particularly original, but it does work well as a holiday special. Now Star Wars fans have a holiday special that the whole family can, and likely will, enjoy. And, if I may be so bold, I genuinely think this straight-to-streaming holiday special is more entertaining than both the LEGO Ninjago Movie and The LEGO Movie 2. The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special is a ‘Life Day-miracle!’
7 out of 10
– Review Written by Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen.