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Review: 'The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special' celebrates, recycles the franchise's past

The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special (Photo: Disney+)

The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special
3 out of 5 Stars
: Ken Cunningham
Writer: David Shayne
Starring: Billy Dee Williams, Dee Bradley Baker, Anthony Daniels, Kelly Marie Tran
Genre: Animation, Action
Rated: TV-G

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SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — Synopsis: It’s almost Life Day, but Rey, feeling like she’s not fulfilling her duties as a Jedi, decides to embark on a mission that sends her back in time.

Review: 1978 or: A long time ago in a galaxy that suddenly feels far, far away, the “Star Wars Holiday Special” was broadcast on CBS. It wasn’t particularly well received. Everything, except for “The Faithful Wookiee,” an animated segment that introduced Boba Fett to world, was officially stuffed into the nearest dustbin moments after it aired. Bootleg VHS copies circulated, but the program was never officially released. It was almost impossible to see.

In modern times, the internet has found what was once lost and for better or worse you can easily find a recording of the disastrous program. It is truly terrible.

So, the existence of “The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special” is a joke in and of itself. Not a particularly surprising one, but it is the sort of jab you’d expect from LEGO. This is lowbrow satire after all.

[Before you get upset, “lowbrow” isn’t intended as an insult. Shakespeare also made use of that form of comedy in most of his plays. John Falstaff is the poster child of the genre.]

“The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special” sees everyone (Lando, Poe, Rose, Finn, Chewbacca etc.) looking ahead to Life Day, the Wookiee holiday celebrated in the original Holiday Special. Everyone except Rey who is stewing over how she doesn’t feel like she is fulfilling her duties as a Jedi. So, Rey and BB-8 embark on an adventure that sees her and the droid bouncing back and forth along the Star Wars timeline and dropping into some of the franchise’s most famous scenes. It’s essentially a remix of the greatest hits with a few oddities and Easter eggs scattered throughout.

“The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special” is far better than the 1978 special as it mines the past for a few funny moments. Like with most LEGO films, the narrative is always less important than the spectacle. This story seems to exists mostly to have older versions of character interact with their younger selves. It’s amusing and ultimately meaningless as it cancels itself out. That’s time travel for you. And yes, Rose and Finn are still marginalized. At least they brought back Kelly Marie Tran to voice Rose.