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Movie Guru: Disney+ celebrates the season with new ’Star Wars’ offerings

Movie Guru: Disney+ celebrates the season with new ’Star Wars’ offerings

“LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special” was clearly designed with kids in mind, though adults wouldn’t be ashamed to watch it. (Disney
Special to the Daily)

On Disney+, November is officially “Star Wars” season. The streaming channel has two new offerings for fans of the universe, both of them good but designed to appeal to completely different sections of the fandom. Whether you’re looking for something lighthearted and a little silly or a space western that offers a deep look at “Star Wars” history, there’s something worth watching.

’LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special’

The animated special, which runs under an hour, is the first cinematic outing for the universe first created in the “LEGO Star Wars” video games. Don’t worry if you’ve never played one, though — the holiday special, which is set after “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” basically follows the plot of the movies. This particular outing also ties in pretty much every other “Star Wars” movie ever made, giving the movie the kind of retro “Christmas Carol” feel while giving a bunch of different characters the opportunity for quick guest appearances. Though there are a few subtle LEGO-related jokes, most of the humor is firmly “Star Wars” based.

Though adults wouldn’t be ashamed to watch it, the show was clearly designed with kids in mind. The overall tone leans heavily toward silliness — there’s a running joke involving a “Galaxy’s Best Emperor” mug — and the jokes come thick and fast enough that some just don’t land. Even adults will end up giggling more than once, however, and there’s also plenty of opportunities for the kind of heartwarming messages that are so important for holiday movies. It doesn’t exactly work as an official sequel to the movies (though fans can entertain themselves figuring out which plot points from the movies have been completely ignored), but it’s a fun jaunt through a familiar universe.

Grade: Three stars (out of four)

’The Mandalorian’ season 2

Though most of the world knows this show as the origin of Baby Yoda, “The Mandalorian” is actually one of the best, most classic-feeling “Star Wars” properties made in the last 10 years. An episodic-style adventure with more than a touch of the space western about it, the series follows the adventures of a helmet-wearing bounty hunter who is currently trying to get a baby member of Yoda’s species back to its home planet. On the way, he either helps out or battles various people on a variety of planets.

Season 2, which is currently airing, doubles down on everything that made season 1 so iconic. The first episode, which was available for screening, is a deeply entertaining outing with Timothy Olyphant and a sandworm that looks like it could eat the ones on “Tremors” for breakfast. The rest of the season has appearances from lesser-known figures that are beloved by fans of the franchise, but you don’t need to know who they are to enjoy the adventures they’re in. If you wish “Star Wars” felt more like it used to, or just wish Boba Fett had gotten more to do, then you definitely want to check out “The Mandalorian.”

Grade: Four stars (out of four)

Jenniffer Wardell is an award-winning movie critic and member of the Denver Film Critics Society. Find her on Twitter at @wardellwriter or drop her a line at themovieguruslc@gmail.com.


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