‘Tour guide Master Yoda leads a group of rambunctious Jedi younglings through Senate chambers when he senses a disturbance in the Force. Summoned to help save the Republic, he discovers that one of the younglings secretly boarded his ship…and has a taste for adventure!‘
After the disappointment of the last two Family Guy Star Wars Specials I was beginning to think that Robot Chicken was the only place that I’d be able to find some good Star Wars humour, but out of nowhere comes LEGO Star Wars – The Padawan Menace, and it’s the most fun I’ve had watching Star Wars for quite a while.
While The Padawan Menace is obviously targeted at kids, long time Star Wars fans will get the most out of this short film. There are so many references crammed in here that I’ll need to rewatch it to make sure that I caught them all. From Darth Maul’s ‘Half-Off!’ billboards to C-3PO bursting forth with two blasters while shouting ‘Say hello to my metal friends!’ there is something for every film buff in here.
The LEGO Star Wars games were some of the best games in the Star Wars universe that had been released outside of Bioware, largely because they didn’t take themselves too seriously. The Padawan Menace follows the same self deprecating theme, and you know that everyone working on this had a lot of fun. The Star Wars universe is full of silly things just waiting to be made fun of, but the humour on display here is never mocking, it just recognises that sometimes it’s worth acknowledging how silly it all is. There’s some great breaking of the 4th wall on display here as well with Darth Vader continually trying to steal scenes, much to the disgust of George Lucas and the other characters.
I won’t go too much into the story here as it is fairly barebones, it’s designed to keep us moving from one famous Star Wars locale to the next. One thing that is worth commenting on is the animation. I haven’t seen the new Clone Wars cartoons, but from what I’ve seen of the animation The Padawan Menace puts it to shame. The universe and characters are very believable while still being recognisably made out of Lego. Characters and buildings are knocked apart into their individual blocks and put back together again without missing a beat, and everything you see on display feels like you could build it yourself if you had the right pieces.
Overall, The Padawan Menace was a pleasant surprise that I hope leads to more LEGO Star Wars shorts. Kids will enjoy it for the adventure, and adults will enjoy it for the many jokes aimed at them. I recommend it for anyone that enjoys Star Wars, or who has small children.
What I Liked – Didn’t take itself seriously. Plenty of references for fans. Great animation.
What I Didn’t Like – Some of the lines were a little cringe-worthy, but I suppose it is a kids movie.
Rating – 4 out of 5 (Really Enjoyable)