Lego Star Wars: Droid Tales (2015)

Rating: ****
Review Date: 5/11/14
Cast: Anthony Daniels, Billy Dee Williams

Divided into five episodes.

Taking place after the Ewok celebration at the end of "Return Of The Jedi" (1983), C-3PO recounts his prequel adventures to Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, and whoever else will listen. Meanwhile, R2-D2 is kidnapped by a mysterious figure and taken offworld. When C-3PO discovers that his friend is missing, he takes off to rescue him and recounts episodes IV-VI to the people he encounters along the way. Everyone finally ends up on Geonosis and R2-D2 saves the day.

Admittedly, the earlier "Lego Star Wars" series are pretty terrible and appallingly juvenile, but "Droid Tales" is extremely funny and exceedingly well done. The writing and humor are intelligent and mature, and the parody of the entire franchise is well thought out and hits all the right notes. Some of the jabs at episodes I-III are hilariously honest and brutal, and rightly so. Episodes IV-VI get a softer treatment, but the results are just as funny. I was happy to see some harsh Special Edition jokes, and those really hit the spot. The writers are clearly die-hard "Star Wars" fans and they obviously know the score. There are even a few well-placed Lego jokes (black and dark gray look identical in the instructions!) and a surprise Monty Python reference from "The Holy Grail" (1974). The only place where the show stumbles is when C-3PO recounts his adventures in "Star Wars Rebels" (2014), which feels more like a gratuitous plug for that series than anything else.

Like the other "Lego Star Wars" shows, the animation is excellent and the voice acting is quite good. The jokes are fired so quickly that you miss a good portion of what's going on, and the episodes race by at a dizzying pace. In between the laugh-out-loud moments, I wore a constant grin of appreciation and anticipation, and I wanted to rewatch the whole thing as soon as it was over. What makes this series such an improvement over the others is that it treats the audience with maturity and respect, and honors the material while poking fun at it at the same time. Nicely done all around. I hope that future "Lego Star Wars" installments receive the same treatment.