Saturday, 7 May 2016

LEGO Star Wars: Droid Tales, Volume 1

It’s safe to say the world has gone pretty Star Wars crazy in recent years. Ever since Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm back in 2012, we’ve been seeing a lot more stories from a galaxy far, far away. Most importantly, of course, we had the long awaited Episode VII (The Force Awakens) and it’s only a matter of time until this year has flown by and Rogue One is on our screens this Christmas. But not content with just making films, Disney have set about bringing us all manner of other Star Wars-y things, including this little series which has its first volume out now on DVD.

In true Disney fashion, straight from the get-go the UK release of this show is a cash-grab. LEGO Star Wars: Droid Tales was a five-part mini-series that premiered on DisneyXD last Summer. FIVE parts. Each part was 20 minutes. That’s five 20-minute parts. That’s an hour and 40 minutes. So I bet you’re wondering why this DVD is entitled ‘Volume 1’. This DVD contains just the first 2 episodes, with Volume 2 released at a later date. Unbelievable! Anything to make a bit more money, right? I guess they need it…Wait. No they don’t. They’re DISNEY! They have more money than they know what to do with! I’m surprised they didn’t split The Force Awakens for two separate DVD releases! This is just a deliberate attempt to squeeze more money out of the consumer, a nasty move especially with a children’s DVD. Think of all the parents that are going to have to pay out twice.

Ah, I digress. Despite Disney’s cunning release, Droid Tales is a sweet little series. In the aftermath of Return of the Jedi, the rebels celebrate their victory against the Empire by having C-3PO and R2-D2 share their previous adventures. In between his story-telling, C-3PO pursues a mysterious person who has abducted R2-D2. Thankfully, Anthony Daniels reprises his iconic voice-role as the humanoid robot – any other voice would’ve made this show unbearable. Other than Daniels, the only other returning ‘star’ is Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian – outside of these guys, we’re left with a bunch of imitators. But as the majority of the dialogue comes from C-3PO’s narration, this isn’t much of an issue.

I bet you’re on the edge of your seat right now, wondering what these Droid Tales are? Well settle down, dear reader. The first two parts of the series that are included on this Volume 1 DVD are ‘Exit From Endor’ and ‘Crisis on Coruscant’. In the first, C-3PO quickly recalls the stories of The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. And in the second, he tells us Revenge of the Sith. It isn’t until Parts 3-5 of the series that C-3PO gets to the good Star Wars stories…But despite this, Droid Tales: Volume 1 is still decent. Although I guess I’m a little biased, I love anything LEGO. 

LEGO’s now-iconic spoof humour is evident throughout, with some rather sharp jokes that’ll surely go over the target audience children’s heads. Yes, there’s a lot here for the fans – and while I’m not a hardcore Star Wars fan and some of these references went over my head, I can tell that this isn’t a dumbed down spin-off. If you liked the humour of the LEGO Star Wars video games, you’ll eat this up. The R2-D2 kidnap subplot is a little tedious, especially when the title suggests this show is simply going to just be Droid Tales. But when C-3PO is moving through the stories at a brisk pace, anyone who knows the films should enjoy the charming spoofing.

The animation isn’t incredible – don’t expect it to look anything like The LEGO Movie – but I guess it’s basing itself off the video games, where the LEGO Star Wars brand is most loved. And at the end of the day, it’s largely a kids’ TV show. Will this target audience care about the animation? Will they even notice the voice cast doesn’t include Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill? No, they’ll just enjoy the characters. And show me a kid who doesn’t like LEGO!

There’s not a great deal that can be said about this 40 minute release. The simple narrative makes for an easy watch, the humour works (for the most part), and Anthony Daniels’ C-3PO is always a watchable character. Of course, Droid Tales is just Disney milking the Star Wars udder but it is good, clean fun.

LEGO Star Wars: Droid Tales, Volume 1 is an innocent little series that you can’t really fault too much. It is what it is. But Disney’s 2 releases are a sickening example of corporate greed. 3/5.


Sam Love

LEGO Star Wars: Droid Tales, Volume 1 at CeX

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