Every once in a while, the Halloween season brings us some truly unique special episodes of our favorite TV shows and intellectual properties. From the classic Simpson Halloween episodes to the Robot Chicken specials, it seems everything can be turned into a Halloween spin off if there’s enough creativity and resources. Lego Star Wars Terrifying Tales adds a Halloween twist to the Star Wars universe, but is it a good match or a recipe for disaster?
Of course, the Star Wars Universe is one of the most popular in entertainment history. For more than four decades, the franchise has remained a strong pillar in the media, and it is all thanks to its ability to adapt to other mediums outside of the film. There are countless TV shows, board games, video games, music albums and a good deal of other stuff with the Star Wars brand on it. That’s why when Lego and Star Wars decided to combine forces, it was almost a certain success that the collaboration would make millions.
The Lego Star Wars franchise has been amazingly successful in the video game space. And now finds its way to Disney Plus with the release of this short film where the two franchises receive the Halloween treatment and the result is quite enjoyable.
The short film is directed by Ken Cunningham and stars Jake Green, Raphael Alejandro, Dana Snyder, Tony Hale and Christian Slater. The film tells the story of Poe Dameron, the best pilot in the galaxy, as he crashes into the lava planet of Mustafar. The planet is the location of Darth Vader’s castle, and now, because of its master’s absence, it is being transformed into a hotel. But the castle hides a lot more things than just simple terrible customer service.
Cunningham and his team of animators have created a wonderful little piece of Star Wars entertainment. The film combines both the visual style that has served the Lego films so far and, of course, all the mythical Star Wars iconography, which, of course, by itself, will bring tons of viewers. While the animation is competent enough, it is easy to see that it is not up to par with the quality of the Lego Movie or the Lego Batman Movie.
Where you can see and almost feel the texture of each character and building. The scratches and plastic quality are gone in favor of less detailed models that do look like CGI characters. This, of course, tells you that the project didn’t have enough time and resources to achieve those levels of quality. Either way, the film itself feels more like a cutscene from one of the games. It isn’t bad, but it isn’t outstanding either.
At the core, the film is an anthology series, with many references to classic shows like The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and Midnight Gallery. Even the infamous Monkey’s Paw makes an appearance here as the Wookie’s Paw. The quality of the stories is somewhat inconsistent. The show starts trying to be spooky, but soon after it drops the pretense and becomes a pure comedy that also tries to deliver a nice message about self acceptance for younger kids.
Even if the quality of the stories is lackluster, all the stories play with the Star Wars canon in fun ways, by pointing out discrepancies, absurd details from the movies and just any other meme on the internet. It’s fun and enjoyable, and thanks to the short running time, the visit to Mustafar never overstays its welcome. From all the stories, the one involving Kylo Ren seems to be the more interesting one, as it tries to fill a hole that the sequel trilogy left unexplained throughout all of its run. It isn’t much and, of course, it isn’t canon, but the story could very well be. It‘s pretty solid.
The voice cast also does a wonderful job at feeling the shoes of both a new character and those with live action counterparts. Jake Green, for example, transforms his voice into a very compelling and almost perfect version of Oscar Isaac’s voice. Meanwhile, Christian Slater uses his unique timbre to give voice to a wonderful new character. The rest of the cast also put in very solid comedic performances. It’s very nice to see that the film doesn’t need to cast celebrities to fill the roles and instead allows the true experts to deliver amazing performances.
On the whole, Lego Star Wars Terrifying Tales is a very nice Halloween special. Only time will tell if the work of Cunningham and his team can be transformed into a classic that will be revisited. But as an installment for this year’s Halloween, it will serve well to entertain adults and children and, of course, Star Wars fans of all ages.