The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special (2020) Review

As someone who has endured the original “Star Wars Holiday Special” (on a VHS bootleg no less), I won’t deny I was at least wary of embracing another celebration of Life Day, albeit an ironic Lego one. It says something about the state the franchise was left in by “The Rise Of Skywalker” that it needs small rectangular plastic bricks to smooth off the rough edges left by haphazard filmmaking.

When Rey begins to doubt herself as a teacher to Finn, she sets out to visit an old Jedi temple where she finds a crystal key which gives the power to travel through time. As she visits pivotal moments from Star Wars films and TV shows past and present, she starts to gain some perspective – until that is, she loses the key to Emporer Palpatine (circa “Return of The Jedi”). Meanwhile, Finn, Rose and Poe argue about how to organise a Life Day party.

It’s suitably cute and funny and while its best jokes feel shamelessly borrowed from “Family Guy” and “Robot Chicken”, there’s enough here to while away a pleasant forty-eight minutes. Unlike “Family Guy” or “Robot Chicken”, though, it’s clearly being careful not to mock the series’ flaws too overtly and there’s a reverence which means it’s pulling its punches when it comes to the comedy.

The vocal performances aren’t great either. Rey, Poe and Finn are all not-quite-right but at least Kellie Marie Tran, Billy Dee Williams and Anthony Daniels are on board to voice their characters authentically. Fortunately, Yoda, Palpatine and Vader are characters which work just fine with a bit of cartoony exaggeration so there, at least, the special achieves balance in the voice cast.

The tour through the greatest hits of “Star Wars” is fun enough, but it doesn’t make the most of the opportunity to bring characters together from across the saga’s storied history together in one big celebratory confrontation, although Vader vs Vader on Hoth is a hoot and it finally gives us the Luke Skywalker (with green lightsaber) / Kylo Ren dual we never got in “The Last Jedi“.