At a mere 45 minutes, LEGO Star Wars Summer Vacation is bearable enough for the whole family rather than being a kid-only animated affair.
Published on September 8, 2022
Rating 3 /5
The Star Wars LEGO movies always feel like they have the lowest stakes. The one rousing tale of rebels versus oppressive systems in a galaxy-wide war has been reduced to quirky toys bickering amid movie references. So your expectations need to be set a bit low for this off-shoot of the franchise. With all things considered, this is one of the better LEGO Star Wars movies, for whatever that criticism may be worth.
The premise is a bit surprising. Set sometime after the events of The Rise of Skywalker, the ragtag group of rebels takes some vacation time. Everybody is in a rush to do something and Finn is feeling like nobody else wants to follow his schedule of stuff he’d like to do on his off time. Feeling alone for not joining his friends in their various vacation activities, Finn gets some visits from the spirits of other Star Wars characters. The ghosts tell him tales of their own vacation and how it’s important to just enjoy the moment rather than stress about the future. Color me surprised that this Star Wars LEGO movie would be A Christmas Carol-style tale of coming to terms with existentialism.
Despite the heavy theme, the anthology of Star Wars vacation stories is all pretty bland. We get a crossover with the Obi-Wan miniseries, where the Jedi finds himself singing karaoke and enjoying himself, despite needing to keep a low profile. We get to see Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine have a spat over finding fun on vacations. We also get a Kylo Ren story where the young Jedi has a bit of a feud with his father and ends up causing trouble. There are not a whole lot of memorable moments, despite that one big surprise of Weird Al appearing at a concert where he sings a new song. That’s just another thing I didn’t expect to see in this film.
The animation remains about as simplistic and exaggerated as all the other Star Wars LEGO movies. It’s far from the absurd rigidity of The LEGO Movie, favoring a smoother flow for the toys rather than the more comical exaggerations. I would say this is a flaw but this film series seems to be aiming for at least an ounce of extra emotion amid its toy-centric and kid-friendly Star Wars tales. The comedy has mostly Star Wars references that range from passable to lazy. One gag that really has me on the fence is a wrap stand manned by Admiral Akbar, where customers try to convince him to say his catchphrase and he refuses. It’s a funny joke but only for a reluctance to go with an expected gag amid a script of so many expected gags.
At a mere 45 minutes, LEGO Star Wars Summer Vacation is bearable enough for the whole family rather than being a kid-only animated affair. This is mostly due to the overall message being a rather strong one about learning to enjoy yourself on vacation rather than stress about all the things you want to do. That’s a decent enough message for kids who might feel overwhelmed that it mostly makes up for the tiresome bit of Emperor Palpatine being an annoying brat and Darth Vader being the responsible one in a lukewarm Odd Couple segment.
Mark has been a professional film critic for over five years and a film lover all his life.