Synopsis: Your favorite characters are back to save the galaxy in LEGO Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out. The heroes of the Rebel Alliance including heroic Luke Skywalker, swaggering Han Solo and steadfast Princess Leia have no time to celebrate their victory over the Empire as a new Imperial threat arises. But as Jedi-in-training Luke embarks on this next mission, he discovers that his celebrity status as a “Death-Star-Blower-Upper” can be a double-edged lightsaber when he’s constantly mobbed by crazed fans. So much for secret missions! Meanwhile, Darth Vader and Darth Maul are locked in a hilarious “Sith-ling” rivalry as they compete for the Emperor’s approval. It’s an action-packed comic adventure that’s out of this world!
eyelights: its brisk pace. its zany humour.
eyesores: its brevity.
“Oh, my stars, Han shot first!”
After the success of ‘The Padawan Menace‘, a second episode of Lego Star Wars was produced. The 22-minute short was broadcast on the Cartoon Network on September 26, 2012, a mere month before the franchise was sold to Disney, and continued to blend zany humour with a Lego mashup of the ‘Star Wars’ universe.
This time, however, instead of playing around with the prequels, this stand-alone episode was spun off of the original trilogy, taking us to the aftermath of ‘Star Wars‘ itself, right after the awards ceremony. Realizing that the Empire would want revenge, Leia decides that they should pre-empt their attack.
And so she goes to Naboo to take the battle to the Imperial forces stationed there – while the rebel forces evacuate to Hoth. Meanwhile, the Emperor and Darth Vader are working on a new Death Star, a huge interstellar Lego kit, with the help of Darth Maul, ‘causing friction between the two Sith apprentices.
The episode is filled with all sorts of gags, like Chewie and C-3PO being left behind, creating much distress, Darth Vader being mistaken for Luke by Imperial droids, Luke getting mobbed by fans until he shows them a picture of Anakin, Vader crash landing on Tatooine, being zapped by Jawas and almost sold to Watto.
Even the clichés played well, with the unlikely space battle lifting enough excitement to subdue the triteness of it and the finale’s medal ceremony being twisted into an “Employee of the Month” award for Darth Vader. The only major problem was the opening scrawl, which was so brief as to be redundant.
But also so brief that it was forgettable.
‘The Empire Strikes Out’ is very much my favourite of the Lego Star Wars franchise. It’s convoluted and limited to the existing ‘Star Wars’ universe (i.e. they didn’t create new characters or settings), but the way they used the material was original and amusing – they were both respectful and irreverent at once.
While the other Lego Star Wars episodes were good and have replay value, I can’t say that I’m especially drawn into watching them again. ‘The Empire Strikes Out’, however, made me want to watch it again immediately after it was done. I didn’t, but I know that I will watch it again at some point in the future.
Why they returned to the setting of ‘The Padawan Menace’ for ‘The Yoda Chronicles‘ is beyond me. The farce is stronger with this one.
Date of viewing: December 17, 2015