HUMMEL Review: LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special (2020)

I can’t say I’ve felt flummoxed by a film quite like this in a while. At its face, it’s one of the most cynical products I’ve seen this year. It’s a product of the Disney mega machine that spits out dozens of this straight-to-dvd Lego specials with no notable story to tell or unique voice. It is, at its face, fairly irritating to watch at times. Star Wars characters appear quoting their one famous moment from the movies and playing up a caricature of their personalities.

That said, there’s some massive balls involved in using The Star Wars Holiday Special as a point of reference…

I reviewed the infamous television special last year for Geeks Under Grace and I can affirm that it is every bit as awful as the reputation it’s accumulated. It’s two hours of Wookiee growling, softcore PG rated pornography and unfunny SNL sketches intercut with cameos by Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill who REALLY don’t enjoy having to contractually do this gig…

George Lucas has went miles out of his way during his tenure at Lucasfilm to keep the film away from the public eye and downplay its existence because of just how bad it is as a blight on his franchise. The fact that Disney has decided to resuscitate the name ironically under their LEGO brand is kind of hilarious.

I almost respect it JUST for this fact alone.

The story of the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special is set in the aftermath of The Rise of Skywalker where the surviving members of the Resistance have decided to join Chewbacca’s family on Kaskyyk for Life Day, the universal celebration of peace and friendship. While Rey is beginning Fin’s Jedi training, she’s struggling to find a way to teach him and realizes there’s a way she may be able to learn how on Life Day at a Jedi Temple.

She skips the holiday proceedings, disappointing the crew, to find her solution and discovers an artifact in the temple that allows her to time travel and see great moments in Jedi history. Unfortunately this sets her in the sights of the Emperor who decides to steal the artifact and secure his reign in the future, only the realize that Darth Vader kills him. Realizing this, this takes Kylo Ren as his new apprentice and decides to face Rey and Luke Skywalker together to secure his rule once and for all.

The proceedings are all just alittle but too wacky. Poe Dameron runs around celebrating Life Day like a frat boy. Kylo Ren, in the past, is shown brooding in his bedroom like an angry teenager listening to heavy metal. The Wookies and the Porgs run around the falcon like little gremlins causing chaos. Naturally Yoda is a big part of this and shows up as the narrator as he generally does in these LEGO specials but he’s also wearing a Christmas sweater which is just… Lynchian… Surreal…

Admittedly the time travel aspect is a bit fun. This is exactly the kind of story I’d never want in a serious Star Wars movie but a goofy LEGO movie is perfect for this kind of self justifying and self referential plot. Watching Rey duel Darth Vader across time and space is dumb nonsense but watching different versions of characters meet their future selves and battle against each other on the sands of Tatooine is glorious in its stupidity.

It’s like a kid pouring out all their Star Wars toys onto the floor at once and calling it a story.

For good measure, the time travel story actually comes tied with a nice moral about friendship and trust. Rey’s story is all about figuring out how to train Finn so the moral of the story is just that she needs to trust Finn and put her confidence in him if he’s going to succeed. It’s actually a clever moral for a story like this to use and ties back into the Life Day theme well! It ends up being a pretty good holiday special in terms of themes!

I can’t, and won’t, call the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special a good movie. There are actual good LEGO movies now, with Star Wars characters in them, and this doesn’t keep up. It’s at best a curiosity. That said, I was peaked in my interest just at the premise. The idea that Disney was willing to scratch the itch of fans nostalgic for this particular bit of cocaine addled late ‘70s schlock is hilarious, even if the final product is rather meager.

Still, I’d go as far as to call it cute… in a condescending sort of way…

Published by Tyler Hummel

Editor-in-Chief at Cultural Review, Regular Film Critic for Geeks Under Grace, Published at ArcDigital, Rebeller, The DailyWire, Hollywood in Toto, Legal Insurrection and The ED Blog, Host of The AntiSocial Network Podcast

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