Tuesday, March 27, 2018

DVD REVIEW: Lego Star Wars The Freemaker Adventures: The Complete Second Season

The Freemaker family’s adventures with the Rebellion earns the wrath of Darth Vader and the Emperor, who unleash an assassin robot to destroy them. Featuring the voices of Nicolas Cantu, Vanessa Lengies, Eugene Byrd, Matthew Wood, and Yvette Nicole Brown.

Episodes on the two-disc set are “Trouble on Tibalt” (Episode #201), “The Tower of Alistan Nor” (#202), “The Embersteel Blade” (#203), “The Storms of Taul” (#204), “Return to the Wheel” (#205), “The Lost Crystals of Qalydon” (#206), “The Pit and the Pinnacle” (#207), “Flight of the Arrowhead” (#208), “A Perilous Rescue” (#209), “Escape From Coruscant” (#210), “Free Fall” (#211), and “Return of the Return of the Jedi” (#212).

"Lego Star Wars," as a sub-franchise of the popular movie series, is way more fun than one would expect. I admit to not being a huge fan of The Lego Movie or any of the other Lego tie-ins, so I wasn’t expecting much from "Lego Star Wars" when it premiered as one-off specials. However, it is clear the producers have the right formula here, and it carries into the series "The Freemaker Adventures."

Rather than descend into parody or childish jokes to merely sell toys, "The Freemaker Adventures" tell an interesting story, one that respects the original trilogy while giving us new characters to care about. It captures the fun and adventure of the source material with enough tongue-in-cheek humor to keep younger kids entertained. By not taking itself too seriously, it’s easy to buy into the fun of "Lego Star Wars."

Season two takes place just before and during the events in Return of the Jedi, and follow the Freemakers as they work with the Rebels and avoid M-OC, an assassin droid sent by the Emperor. Rowan is a Force Builder, and can quickly construct anything in the Lego universe. That makes him a target of the Empire, and Rowan’s brother and sister do their best to protect him while keeping Rebel fleet ships flying.

I was surprised at the amount of actual storytelling here, with a solid plot and character development. Fans will enjoy seeing plenty of familiar faces from the films and even "Rebels," including Hera Sedulla, voiced once again by Vanessa Marshall. I won’t spoil the other cameos, but they are nicely done.

The Freemaker Adventures is fun and entertaining, paying homage to the original films while striking an original tone. Very young kids might find it too talky, but there is enough there to hold their interest. And the season finale is fantastic. 

The standard definition DVD offers a solid transfer of the CGI image, with good sharpness and bold colors. I’ve gotten a bit spoiled with Blu-ray and 4K, but the overall image here is very well done.

The audio is an excellent 5.1 Dolby Digital mix, with a good surround effect and nice clarity.

Five shorts and one pack-in make up the special features in the set. They include:

“Home One.” The Freemakers take on a mission to prove their worth to the Rebel Alliance. Running time: 4:33

“Thrown Into Battle.” R0-GR saves the day when the Empire attacks. Running time: 4:33

“Rowan’s Secret Adventure.” Rowan gets roped into a bombing run on an Imperial base.
Running time: 4:33

“Zander Freemaker, Superstar Pilot Guy.” Zander tries to prove he’s space-battle ready, but his custom-made fighter has some issues. Running time: 4:33

“Beware the Gamorrean Flu.” The Freemakers scheme to steal a vital piece of technology from the Empire. Running time: 4:33

Lego Darth Vader Enamel Pin. This cool little pack-in features the Dark Lord of the Sith, ready to ride your lapel.

Lego Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures is better than it should be. It’s entertaining for both young and old. Original Trilogy enthusiasts will appreciate all the little callbacks and cameos to the films. The technical presentation is solid, and the extras are a bit scarce, but the episodes are the key here, and they are well worth it.

Release Date: March 13, 2018
Running Time: 267 minutes
Rating: TV-Y7
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0, French Dolby Digital 2.0
Subtitles: English for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, French, Spanish
Special Features: Five short features, Enamel pin.
Label: Walt Disney Home Entertainment

Click here to order Lego Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures - The Complete Season Two on DVD through Amazon.

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