Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Vic's DVD Review: Lego Star Wars: Droid Tales

The Star Wars saga is retold through the eyes of C-3PO and R2-D2. Featuring the voice of Anthony Daniels, Tom Kane, and Billy Dee Williams. The DVD features all five episodes of the Droid Tales miniseries: “Exit from Endor,” “Crisis on Coruscant,” “Mission to Mos Eisley,” “Flight of the Falcon,” and “Gambit on Geonosis.”

Lego Star Wars: Droid Tales strikes a rare balance, entertaining both kids and adults with a unique and funny take on the Star Wars movies. The miniseries, which premiered on Disney XD last summer, follows C-3PO as he searches for R2-D2, who has been kidnapped after the events in Return of the Jedi. Along the way, Threepio recounts his experiences, retelling the original and prequel trilogies as only he can.

I’m not exactly a fan of the recent rash of Lego versions of pop culture properties like DC Comics and Marvel. I found The Lego Movie only mildly amusing, so I didn’t have high hopes that Lego Star Wars would hit the right tone for me as a die-hard original trilogy fan.

I was pleasantly surprised with Droid Tales, however. Not only did it pay proper homage to the original films, the jokes were clever and fun. It also did something I didn’t think a Lucasfilm production would actually do: poke fun at the many failings of the prequel trilogy. When Threepio starts waxing nostalgic about The Phantom Menace’s taxation of trade routes and Naboo politics, he puts the characters to sleep. Other characters openly question the logic and plot holes of the prequels in a way that’s actually funny, on a level that’s more than just fanboy whining. There’s plenty of in-jokes for the old-school trilogy crowd, to let them know there are true fans telling these Droid Tales.

The five episodes of the miniseries jump around across the first six movies, and while the original trilogy stories resonate better with the viewer, all of the episodes are entertaining. That is thanks in large part to a silly sense of humor that mixes slapstick with smart callbacks to the films. Young kids will enjoy the broad humor, while adults will enjoy the nostalgia. There are few liberties taken with the retelling of the stories, but it is mostly to make it a bit more kid-friendly and fit within a thirty minute time-frame.

If you think you've heard every new take on the films or possible inside joke about midichlorians, Droid Tales manages to feel original and entertain. It helps that the original John Williams music is used liberally, and familiar voices Tom Kane, Anthony Daniels, and Billy Dee Williams are along for the ride. It also helps that the writing is genuinely funny; the tongue-in-cheek humor is perfect. The Force is strong with Droid Tales. In all the right ways.

The video transfer for Droid Tales on DVD is surprisingly sharp, with excellent detail and bright colors. Even though it’s not in high definition, the image translates the CGI image well. The audio is a 5.1 Dolby Digital mix, and it sounds great on a multi-channel system. Hearing the John Williams score (and Anthony Daniels’ iconic voice) in 5.1 is always a good thing.

No special features are included, which is a real minus, but the DVD package does include a set of three Lego Star Wars trading cards featuring characters from the show. Different sets are randomly enclosed in each DVD, so you won’t know which characters you will get.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Droid Tales is surprisingly fun for young and old
Droid Tales is an entertaining watch - it’s funny and smart, and Star Wars fans will enjoy all the inside jokes and references to the films. Even with the lack of special features, Droid Tales is worth picking up and adding to your library.

Release Date: March 1, 2016
Rating: TV-Y7
Running Time: 115 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 2.0 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Special Features: Lego Star Wars Trading Cards (included as a pack-in)
Label: Walt Disney Home Entertainment

Click here to order Lego Star Wars:Droid Tales on DVD from Amazon!

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