I don’t know if this was ever its intention, but it feels like Lego Star Wars Terrifying Tales is actually trying to give a message that the dark side will win in the end. But I guess that’s kind of expected from a TV special trying to awkwardly combine Star Wars, Legos, and Halloween- three drastically different properties that shouldn’t ever combine within a storytelling format. Since there was no sense of direction, it resulted in a vibe that goes against the “light side always wins” notion of the series.
The idea alone is lazy: A hotel (complete with a gift shop for some reason) has been built in Darth Vader’s old castle on Mustafar… was this script written in the 1980s by an SNL writer or something? Or maybe it was written by a six-year-old? Either way, the idea is stupid and outdated. Now obviously, this is meant to be a special for little kids only, so it apparently shouldn’t be taken so seriously, but even those younglings may get bored because this just does not feel Halloweeny at all, despite how much it’s trying to market itself as a seasonal special. And no, the mega fast pace won’t work in keeping up with kids’ attention spans. The parents wouldn’t care for this either, as none of the cast behind the voices are the traditional actors from the films, and various important characters to the franchise, such as Rey and Finn, are left out. It also stoops as low as insulting the character of Luke Skywalker in the same way toxic fans have accused Rian Johnson of doing to him in The Last Jedi. The awesome lightsaber duels are no more, as any cool action is replaced with a mere tickle fight.
Even under the intention of trying to simply be something spooky, it doesn’t work there either. It just resorts to doing what every other horror property ever has done, there’s the obvious creepy woods with dead trees, but there’s also an underwhelming copy of the big scene in The Shining. Plus, its idea of a climax is to just turn the battle droids into zombies- in the most lazy and unappealing way possible. There is one part though that managed to be a bit funny: when it took from the cliché “face appears from behind the wall/ceiling as if it were made of rubber” trope. Except this time, it’s a Lego face, which makes it even funnier as it’s done with those features instead of the humanistic ones. But other than that, the copying of better movies will not please anyone… at least the Christmas special last year was able to please kids, Star Wars fans, and those seeking for the Christmas spirit all at once- without parodying better seasonal films.
Even to someone not interested in the saga, there’s no entertainment value; the virtually nonexistent plot has no stakes, no conflict, no nothing, like it was made by someone who had no understanding of Star Wars, or storytelling in that regard. Its odes to the galaxy far, far away are limited to mostly unfunny self-parody jokes, such as a new hutt character being referred to by a kid as, “Mr. the Hutt.” Sometimes it works though, as among the three anthology stories that make up the special, Darth Maul takes on a Frankenstein persona with new robotic spider legs, which makes for some rather amusing gags and even a somewhat interesting duel between him and General Grievous. It’s the closest thing to creepy this little special gets, but isn’t enough to make the whole runtime worth anything.
It doesn’t help that the main character this time around is Poe Dameron, who has all his charm and sternness taken away, leaving nothing but the blank Lego face template to give him something replicating a personality. He’s not even heroic—trying to serve others rather than himself, yet is still depicted as the inferior one. The narrative turns on the whole “good triumphs over evil” theme to instead say that evil triumphs, which is why more boys who watch this will imaginably want to be like Palpatine rather than like Poe. But with a cast of lousy, forgettable “good guy” characters surrounding Poe, that siding toward the villain ought to be expected. Don’t bother believing this will be fun for girls to watch either, as this special stars exactly one female character, and it’s just Princess Leia in less than a minute of screentime. Palpatine gets treated carelessly as well, since he’s part of the self-parody syndrome as he casually whistles the Imperial March tune.
Now for the whole idea of this being a Lego movie…. just… why? There was no artistic purpose for them to be made out of those toys other than the obvious reason—merchandising. Yet the prevalence of the Lego scenario only hurts the logic more than if it were just made with regular computer animation. At one point, Poe’s Lego hair falls off like a wig, while no other character has such Lego traits, and Lego bricks are used to plank up a window in a way that defies the way Lego physics would work. The only nice thing that can be said about the Lego treatment is how they translated the mouse droid into the medium. That’s it.
Oh, and one more piece of praise I can think of: “The Wookiee’s Paw” is the funniest of the three short stories told by Palpatine, because it makes a joke about that one Stormtrooper who hit his head in A New Hope, which admittedly got me bursting out loud with laughter. It was funny enough to make the whole substory pretty dang hilarious. Then again, some of the gags should have been expanded on further in that story, such as when Vader and Luke do piggyback like with Yoda, or like what a father and son would do together. I would have preferred if the whole special had me bursting out with laughter, rather than just during that one callback to a nitpick only true Star Wars fans would know about.
So if you’re looking for something that the whole family can enjoy together, or if you’re just looking for something to shut your five-year-old son up for a measly hour, don’t resort to Lego Star Wars Terrifying Tales. Both you and your kid deserve better.
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see graded, or if you are interested in guest blogging for my site, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!