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  Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The Exploiting Every Inch Of The Brand
Year: 2020
Director: Ken Cunningham
Stars: Helen Sadler, Omar Benson Miller, Trevor Devall, Jake Green, A.J. Lo Cascio, Anthony Daniels, Ben Prendergast, Billy Dee Williams, Dee Bradley Baker, Eric Bauza, Grey Griffin, James Arnold Taylor, Kelly Marie Tran, Matt Lanter, Matt Sloan, Matthew Wood
Genre: Comedy, Science Fiction, TV MovieBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Rey (voiced by Helen Sadler) is using her Jedi powers to teach her pal Finn (Omar Benson Miller) the ways of her sect, but it is not going very well as no matter how much she explains, he cannot get his head around it, despite trying out the lightsabre. This frustrates Rey and she retreats to her cabin on spaceship The Millennium Falcon to do more reading, realising she must travel to an arcane place to learn her skills even more - but it is Life Day, worth celebrating now the Empire is defeated for good, and she now may miss it...

The Star Wars Holiday Special in 1978 has undergone a strange trajectory, from horrifying the fans on its initial broadcast to becoming an article of kitsch fascination thanks to how ill-judged it was, to where it was in 2020, with the official Star Wars canon embracing it and taking it as inspiration for a new Holiday Special. This was part of the Lego toys line, so all the characters looked like those figures, which should have set off alarm bells this would be highly corporate and designed to sell a line of product for that Christmas.

Then again, name something in this franchise that wasn't, money makes the galaxy far, far away go around, after all, what mattered was how they treated the property and whether yet another spin-off was amusing or not. There was a definite hint the writers had been closely observing the Robot Chicken comedy television series for its Star Wars parodies, as this took a benevolent but not dissimilar approach to the material, though it was notable that the parody series managed to get bigger names to voice its characters than this effort did.

Indeed, only three of the original cast were apparently available for it, with Daisy Ridley almost painfully absent since she has a sweeter voice than the actress they had to replace her. Not really making up for that was the presence of Anthony Daniels getting a couple of lines as C3-PO, Billy Dee Williams not letting Lando Calrissian go after the Solo: A Star Wars Story debacle, and Kelly Marie Tran as Rose, as much indicating there were no hard feelings as she was ensuring she was still visible in the series (or audible, anyway). They were welcome, but mostly it was voice artist professionals all over this.

The plot was an excuse to revisit various scenes from before and "Lego-fy" them, with added jokes, thanks to a time travel device Rey has to increase her knowledge and understanding. This was pitched fairly young, but the older fans who were not turned off by the concept would be able to garner the odd laugh here and there. The contentious Life Day of the source had been retooled to be a celebration of friendship, which in a way Star Wars was, as well as all the other things to be read into it, and while Chewbacca's family were involved, they were the butt of jokes thanks to their crass behaviour, so that was fitting with what happened in 1978. If it was all a shade self-satisfied, even complacent, it was action-packed and fast-moving, and did not contain any musical numbers, which was a blessing (though a familiar musician is involved). As a holiday diversion, which the original was, this slicker reprise, let's face it, was fine.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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