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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the Lego Star Wars Holiday Special is a family-friendly, non-holiday-specific show in which key characters from most of the Star Wars movies mix and mingle. The events pick up after Star Wars: Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. Characters including Rey (voiced by Helen Sadler), Poe (Jake Green), Chewbacca, and the droids are celebrating Life Day, a holiday introduced in the original 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special. A time-jumping portal allows them to interact with characters from other films at different points in their life, including some of the franchise's most treasured scenes. There are explosions, threats, battles, lasers, and menace, but since it's all involving or said by Lego characters, the villains don't feel very scary, and the pew-pew-pew of blasters seems more like how children play. One scene parodies the awkward tension between General Hux (Ben Prendergast) and a shirtless Kylo Ren (Matthew Wood), with Hux distracted by Ren's muscular (drawn-on) chest. Viewers -- including kids -- who haven't seen all the films won't necessarily be completely lost, but they certainly won't experience the same enjoyment. On the other hand, kids who have Lego at the top of their wish list may spot several appealing Star Wars Lego sets amidst the action.
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What's the story?
In the LEGO STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL, Rey (voiced by Helen Sadler) is training Finn to be a Jedi, but they take a break to prepare to celebrate Life Day with Rose (Kelly Marie Tran), Chewbacca, and other friends. While there's no mention of traditional American holidays, the meal looks a lot like turkey, and characters wear red and green sweaters and sing to the tune of a well-known carol. In an effort to increase her knowledge of the Force, Rey then travels with BB-8 to a Jedi temple. There she finds a stone that opens up a portal that transports them through time.
Is it any good?
Star Wars can be dark and brooding, but Lego productions are merry and bright -- together, they create a winky holiday funtacular that's guaranteed to appeal to fans of all ages. The special's celebratory gathering is a self-deprecatory nod to the franchise's infamous 1978 holiday special, and it's really only there to help fit the story into a holiday theme. The setup drags a bit, but things shoot into light speed once the actual plot kicks in as Rey and BB-8 explore the Jedi temple. The time portal they open allows them to jump into moments from the entire Star Wars cinematic universe. While the idea is that Rey is learning from the masters, 30 years of heroes and villains jump through the portal with her. The culmination is a realization of the ultimate Star Wars fantasy: All the characters are able to meet up, interact, and battle. And as anyone who collects Lego sets knows, that means different versions of the same characters can interact with each other!
If that sounds like a lot of fun, it is, and it's extremely rewarding to fans of the franchise. That said, it's also a tad derivative. Ever since Captain America battled Captain America in Avengers: Endgame, most of the superhero franchises have used similar devices. Still, that doesn't make it any less satisfying. It's as cute as an Ewok carrying Baby Yoda and as sassy as Han Solo debating Princess Leia. The most fulfilling part? We see a story that feels exactly like how kids play with their own Lego sets -- which is what Lego productions always do best. The quality of the writing is more on par with Lego's amusing TV series than the hilariously clever Chris Miller-Phil Lord movies. But we can definitely still be thankful for a holiday special that the whole family can enjoy together. As Yoda would say, "Enjoyable, it is."
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what the Lego Star Wars Holiday Special is celebrating. Do you think it's meant to be a particular holiday? Why is it important to respect others' beliefs, traditions, and celebrations?
How does Lego tell original stories about its characters while also acknowledging that they're toys? How does it encourage you to play with your imagination?
Considering that Lego bricks are toys you can buy, is this special actually a commercial? Would you watch a show about a different product, like toothpaste? Think up other items around your house: How would you tell a story about them?
Compare the menacing characters and violence in the live-action Star Wars movies to the action in this special. How are villains made to be less scary? Are battle scenes less violent if they involve figurines?
- Premiere date: November 17, 2020
- Cast: Kelly Marie Tran, Anthony Daniels, Billy Dee Williams, Helen Sadler
- Network: Disney+
- Genre: Kids' Animation
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Holidays, Space and Aliens
- Character strengths: Humility
- TV rating: TV-G
- Available on: Streaming
- Last updated: November 24, 2020
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