Lego Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles

Lego Star Wars - The Yoda ChroniclesSynopsis: In Episode 1 – The Phantom Clone, the action-packed adventure begins when Darth Sidious unveils his plan to create a new super-weapon – an enhanced Sith clone named Jek-14 – to help him defeat the Republic once and for all. It’s up to Jedi Master Yoda and his young Padawan students to work together and save the galaxy!

In Episode II – Menace of the Sith, Count Dooku uses his new and improved Clone-a-Matic to create an army of Jek clones, but the original Jek-14 wants no part of the sinister scheme. Now, with the help of some old friends and two familiar Droids, substitute teacher Anakin Skywalker must lead Yoda’s Padawan class to victory!

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Lego Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles 7.5

eyelights: its silliness. its spoofing of the ‘Star Wars’ universe.
eyesores: the continuity errors. the character discrepancies. the Sith clones.

“May the funk be with you.”

‘Lego Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles’ is an animated mini-series that aired on Cartoon Network in 2013. It is based on the Lego Star Wars property that spawned a few popular video games as well as ‘The Padawan Menace‘. Continuing where that one left off, it follows the adventures of Yoda and his Padawans as they try to stop Darth Sidious from taking over the galaxy.

Interestingly enough, although the mini-series consists of three episodes, only two of them were made available on home video. For reasons that escape me, the third one, ‘Attack of the Jedi‘, is missing in action – leaving only the first two on this DVD.

1. The Phantom Clone: This episode finds Chancellor Palpatine sending Yoda on a “rescue mission” to save Obi-Wan, who’s actually on a poolside holiday, so  General Grievous can go into the Jedi Temple and steal the Padawans’ lightsabers. Eventually, after a space battle, Yoda and Mace Windu end up on Dagobah and meet Lando and his father, who are running the galaxy’s greatest flying disco club aboard the Millenium Falcon. Outta sight! Meanwhile, C-3PO (or 3PO-C, as Yoda calls him) and the Padawans go off to try to retrieve their sabers…

As with ‘The Padawan Menace’, this episode opens with a really pointlesss scroll and annoying read-through. I know that it’s a series staple, but if you can’t inject more substance into it than this AND have someone read it, you might as well skip it; it’s so bloody redundant. Sadly, this would persist throughout the whole Lego Star Wars series. Thankfully, the series changed its formula after doing the “requisite” end battle between good and evil and closing celebrations/award ceremony here. In my estimation that’s no great loss.

Where the series judiciously departs from ‘The Padawan Menace’ is by being far less fast-paced; there’s only so much action you can cram into 22 minutes without frazzling your audience, and they did right in focusing on plot development just a tad more. The humour was also spread around a bit more, allowing us to savour the gags. They re-used the Palpatine/Darth Sidious hood gag as he took two phone calls at once – from Grievous and Yoda. Nice. There was also a memorable return cameo from “Ian” in Jabba’s palace at one point.

What I found interesting is how the producers of these Lego Star Wars episodes didn’t feel compelled to stay true to canon whatsoever, preferring instead to serve the gags and their own alternate universe than trying to make sense of it all. While this meant the creation of some Sith Clones, which lead to a preposterous ending that finds a clone outdoing Yoda and Mace combined (until the Padawans save the day, of course), this creative freedom brought about pleasant surprises – like Mace being more stereotypically Sammy J. 7.75

2. Menace of the Sith: This episode finds Yoda and Obi-Wan having infiltrated a speech by Darth Sidious. They discover that Count Dooku has created a Sith Clone cloning machine, and they intervene, but Sidious escapes before the pair can catch him. Meanwhile, C-3PO steps down as the Padawans’ substitute teacher and Anakin is picked to replace him. He takes them to Hoth. The Sith Clone decides to go his own way so Yoda/Ben and Dooku both chase after him separately. Luckily the Sith clone lands on Hoth, and Anakin warns the council…

This episode started with a mercifully brief scroll this time and had a hilarious opening spoof of the usual shot of space/large slow ship flying by. It also featured a few other memorable gags like Yoda disguised with Darth Maul face painting, Anakin being dissed by the mouthy Padawans for his acting ability, and C-3PO taking a job as a line cook, using a lightsaber to cut veggies. It was less enjoyable because of its focus on the Sith Clone, which I find a silly concept to begin with, but it’s still a fair bit of fun. 7.5

Essentially Lego Star Wars is a bit akin to watching someone else cheekily playing with Legos. It’s a blast in moderation, but it begs the question of why people wouldn’t simply play with Legos themselves instead of paying someone else to do it for them – especially since since these are CGI Legos, not even the real deal. Still, it’s a treat for both fans of ‘Star Wars’ and Legos.

It’s worth a look-see.

Date of viewing: December 4+5, 2015

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