THE LEGO STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL Review - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Alexander Wallace celebrates Life Day.

Lego and Star Wars were in some ways a match made in heaven. There’s the sense of boundless adventure that Star Wars has as its bread and butter, and the equally boundless creativity that is Lego’s raison d’etre. In some ways the decision to blend the two in the nineties was purely mercenary (Lucasfilm and the Lego company are still corporations, no matter how much our nostalgia may blind us to that), but in another way it was inspired. One can absolutely see how bustling Mos Eisley or the stark Death Star could be rendered in bricks.

The brand jumped to video games, then cartoons; Lego Star Wars II: the Original Trilogy was one of the major reasons that I became the Star Wars fan that I am. As much as I have enjoyed some of the shorts, I’ve never quite been able to get used to plastic Star Wars characters actually speaking Basic; the annoyed grunts that formed all the character dialogue in the original games lent them a certain silent film-esque charm. Even so, I looked forward to The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special with anticipation. I’d love to see how the black sheep of the franchise could be brought to Disney Plus.

In LEGO Star Wars tradition, the entire special is a funhouse romp through the universe that George Lucas created, a sillier form of what is seen in the main films done in a manner that was clearly a labor of love. It is a love for the universe, a love for the fandom (there are plenty of memes that are acknowledged), and a love for the spirit of Christmas (err, Life Day).

The plot revolves around Rey, who in a desire to be a better teacher for Finn, goes to a planet written of in Jedi texts to retrieve ancient knowledge. There, through a series of events, she finds herself being plunged back and forth through time throughout the entire history of the franchise (at least in the new canon). She, accompanied by BB-8, bounces through different iconic parts of the Star Wars mythos, causing both chaos and hilarity.The humor here is much like that of the LEGO Star Wars games, filled to the brim with slapstick and wit.

The characterizations here are mostly authentic to the movies with some minor changes to fit a Christmas special. Poe struck me as a bit more status-conscious than in the sequel trilogy, and Yoda is just a tad more of a prankster. The character I liked best, though, is Palpatine, who serves as the film’s main antagonist. He is every bit the narcissist he is in the films, but he is made much more of a petty tyrant (in addition to being a galactic tyrant); he throws tantrums over a mug Darth Vader gives him, for example. In doing so, he becomes the materialist, shallow sort of person that serves as the foil to the light side characters, who see the value in people and not just in power.

In some ways, though, I think there were some missed opportunities. Rey ends up altering timelines quite significantly, but the ramifications thereof are simply brushed off for the sake of gags. I’m reminded of a Sesame Street Christmas special that I watched when I was a child, where Elmo wishes it was Christmas every day. This comes true, and we are introduced to a world where the Christmas Tree has been rendered extinct due to the demand for such trees every day of the year. I feel like The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special could have gone in that direction, and it would have been so much the better for it.

Alexander Wallace is an alternate historian, reader, and writer who moderates the Alternate History Online group on Facebook and the Alternate Timelines Forum on Proboards. He writes regularly for the Sea Lion Press blog and for NeverWas magazine, and also appears regularly on the Alternate History Show with Ben Kearns. He is a member of several alternate history fora under the name 'SpanishSpy.'

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