Lego Star Wars Summer Vacation

STREAMING REVIEW:

Disney+;
Animated;
Not rated.
Voices of “Weird Al” Yankovic, Anthony Daniels, Billy Dee Williams, Dee Bradley Baker, James Arnold Taylor, Kelly Marie Tran, Helen Sadler, Matt Lannter, Matt Sloan, Omar Benson Miller, Ross Marquand, Shelby Young, Thomas Lennon, Trevor Devall.

The “Lego Star Wars” animated specials have the uncanny ability to both parody the brand while telling interesting tales set within it, and Summer Vacation is no exception.

The core story finds the sequel-era characters getting together for a trip to the starship Halcyon — a bit of brand synergy that ties into Walt Disney World’s new immersive “Star Wars” hotel role-play experience. Set following the events of Rise of Skywalker, the special focuses on Finn’s worries that the group won’t be together much longer as they have separate destinies to fulfill — a premise that makes good use of the “family” theme introduced by John Williams in the last film.

Despite his efforts to organize group activities on the ship, they get split up, prompting Finn to sulk at the bar where he is encountered by the ghost of Obi-Wan Kenobi, who tells him of a time he helped a Rebel spy infiltrate Jabba’s palace by singing Karaoke at one of the Hutt lord’s parties.

Next, the ghost of Anakin Skywalker recalls a trip to the tropical beaches of Scarif (the planet from the end of Rogue One), where the Emperor insisted on winning several contests for the beachgoers due to his obsession with ruling everything.

Finally, the ghost of Leia tells of a family vacation to Endor where young Ben Solo tried to impress a girl by letting her friends steal the Millennium Falcon.

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The sight gags mostly work, but the strength of the show is in staying true to the essence of the characters, which results in some unexpected moments of sentimentality. The portrayal of the Emperor-Vader relationship is the most over-the-top, straying closer to “Robot Chicken” territory as Palpatine acts like Cobra Commander in his obnoxious quest to dominate everything.

Another highlight is the voice cameo of “Weird Al” Yankovic as the beach party MC singing “Scarif Beach Party.” This lets Al add on to his oeuvre of “Star Wars” songs that previously included “Yoda” and “The Saga Begins.”

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Blu-ray Collection Focused on Making of Creature Features Due July 13

Music Box Films specialty label Doppelganger Releasing July 13 presents The Monster Collection, a three-disc Blu-ray set containing the feature-length documentaries Phil Tippett: Mad Dreams and Monsters and The Frankenstein Complex.

Both films are directed by Alexandre Poncet and Gilles Penso.

Released in 2019, Phil Tippett: Mad Dreams and Monsters examines the life and career of Phil Tippett, the Oscar and Emmy Award-winning visual effects genius whose work in creature design, stop-motion and computerized character animation has been seen in such classics as the original “Star Wars” trilogy, the “Jurassic Park” and “Twilight” franchises, and the effects powerhouses RoboCop, Dragonheart and Starship Troopers.

The Frankenstein Complex, from 2015, offers an appreciation of the greatest movie monsters in film history and the talented effects artists who have been bringing them to life for the past century. The film goes behind the scenes of such classics as King Kong, Avatar, The Lord of the Rings, An American Werewolf in London, Alien and more to talk to the filmmakers responsible, including Rick Baker, Greg Nicotero, Chris Wallas, Guillermo del Toro, Paul Verhoeven, Joe Dante, John Landis, Kevin Smith and others.

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The Blu-ray set also includes 12 hours of bonus materials, including:

  • Feature Commentary with Phil Tippett and directors Alexandre Poncet and Gilles Penso;
  • “Meeting the Monsters” making-of documentary;
  • Prehistoric Beast (1985), a short film by Phil Tippett with audio commentary;
  • Mutant Land (2010), a short film by Phil Tippett with audio commentary;
  • Phil Tippett Museum: A Virtual Gallery of Tippett Creations;
  • “Joy of Working With Phil,” an interview with Paul Verhoeven;
  • “Phil Will Fix This!,” an interview with Joe Johnston;
  • “Animating With Phil,” an interview with Tom St. Amand;
  • “Phil’s Vision,” an interview with Chris Walas;
  • “Friendship, Robots, and Dinosaurs,” an interview with Dennis Muren;
  • “From Stop-Motion to Computer,” an interview with Craig Hayes;
  • Memories and Archives with Phil Tippett;
  • Dinosaur Supervisor (Jurassic Park) with Phil Tippett;
  • Starship Troopers 2 with Phil Tippet and Jon Davison;
  • “Dinosaur!” with Paul Verhoeven and Jon Davison;
  • Mutant Fish (Piranha) with Joe Dante (1978);
  • “Modern Craftsmanship” with Alec Gillis-Robot Design with Craig Hayes;
  • “The Birth of a Poster” with Paul Wee;
  • “Musical Storytelling” with Alexandre Poncet;
  • Mad Dreams and Monsters Isolated Musical Score;
  • “The Frankenstein Odyssey” making-of documentary;
  • “Digital Craftmanship” post-production featurette;
  • The Frankenstein Complex Musical Score;
  • Master Class with Guillermo Del Toro;
  • An Extended Conversation with John Landis and Joe Dante;
  • An Extended Conversation with Mick Garris;
  • An Extended Conversation with Steve Johnson and John Vulich;
  • Q&A with Joe Dante, Alexandre Poncet and Gilles Penso;
  • Inside the Lair of Rick Baker;
  • Inside the Lair of Tom Woodruff and Alec Gillis;
  • “Paper Monsters: The Art of Charles Chiodo”;
  • “Living With Monsters: The Art of Kevin Yagh”;
  • “Sympathy for the Devil,” an interview with Bernard Rose;
  • “The Gremlins Pool,” an interview with Sacha Feiner;
  • “From Latex to Pixels: The Art of Gino Acevedo”;
  • “The Beauty and the Beasts: The Art of Ve Neill”;
  • Deleted and alternate scenes;
  • Photo galleries;
  • Theatrical trailers;

 

In addition, Phil Tippett: Mad Dreams and Monsters and The Frankenstein Complex will be released individually on VOD starting July 13.

Disney+ Presenting ‘The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special’

Disney+ is embracing the holiday traditions of a galaxy far, far away. Tuesday, Nov. 17, the streaming service will debut The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, a new animated adventure featuring a return to Chewbacca’s homeworld of Kashyyyk for a Wookiee-sized celebration of the galaxy’s most cheerful and magical holiday, Life Day.

The show harkens back to the infamous 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special, a cheaply made variety show framed by the attempts of Chewbacca to return to his family to celebrate Life Day. It was released a year after the original “Star Wars” movie dominated theaters and is probably best known today for introducing the character of Boba Fett before his appearance in 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back.

The new special will debut 42 years to the day after the lone official airing of the original Star Wars Holiday Special on CBS.

The holiday celebrated in the special, Life Day, the “Star Wars” galaxy’s equivalent of Christmas and Hanukkah, has been embraced by fans and is marked each year on Nov. 17 with ceremonies involving bringing glowing orbs to the “Tree of Life.”

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The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special

Taking place following the events of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special reunites Rey, Finn, Poe, Chewie, Rose and the droids for a joyous Life Day feast. Rey leaves her friends to prepare for Life Day as she sets off on a new adventure with BB-8 to gain a deeper knowledge of the Force. At a mysterious Jedi Temple, she is hurled into a cross-timeline adventure through beloved moments in Star Wars cinematic history, coming into contact with Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Yoda, Obi-Wan and other iconic heroes and villains from all nine Skywalker saga films.

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The latest collaboration between Lucasfilm and Lego, which have produced several “Star Wars” Lego animations before, marks the first “Lego Star Wars” program to debut exclusively on Disney+.

Merchandise tie-ins with the new Holiday Special include a “Lego Star Wars” advent calendar available Sept. 1, designed in tandem with the new show and featuring holiday-themed characters from it. Also available will be a tie-in sticker book from DK.

The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special