When it comes to Star Wars there’s very little out there with the name that hasn’t become popular in some fashion. Okay, maybe the Christmas Special wasn’t so hot, but that’s a distant memory to most modern fans. When you’re talking about all the brands that are available, Lego’s take on the franchise definitely comes to mind. From toys and games to short films, Lego Star Wars has definitely become a force to be reckoned with. The latest release, The Padawan Menace is proof of that.
Clocking in at 22 minutes, Lego Star Wars: The Padawan Menace knows its audience. Subtle references to the original trilogy, a fine bit of fan-service for the Clone Wars crowd, and hilarious antics aplenty, this little morsel will entertaining anyone that ever dreamed of wielding a lightsaber.
Taking place during a Jedi Academy field trip, The Padawan Menace sees a young group of padawans seeing the universe and meeting interesting characters in the process. Master Yoda makes an early appearance, as do R2-D2and C3PO. Things get a little nutty as a stowaway named “Ian” appears and wreaks some havoc in a Galactic Senate session. A short while later, some secret Jedi plans are stolen by the Sith, which prompts a high-speed chase to Star Wars hot-spots with the aspiring Jedi in tow.
While the main group of Padawans winds up in the care of C3PO and R2D2, Ian and Yoda go off on their own adventure to recover the stolen documents. Both sides of the plot are equally fun and the breakneck pacing allows for the creators to squeeze a lot into the short runtime. It may be a sign of the ADD generation, but the visual humor, witty quips, and action are fast and furious. Then again, they kind of have to be to fit in all into a twenty minute time span.
In addition to The Padawan Menace several other shorts are included as bonus material. “The Quest for R2-D2″, “Bombad Bounty”, “Star Wars in 2 minutes (Parts 1 & 2)”, and “The Clone Wars Animated Comics” are all featured here. While Menace is the main attraction, these other inclusions help flesh out the world of Lego Star Wars. Production values may not be as high, and they seem to be fan-made rather than professionally done, but there’s a simple joy in watching Bobba Fett chase down Jar-Jar Binks; even if it only lasts a few minutes. This dual pack also includes an exclusive Young Han Solo Lego figure.
This release includes both a DVD and high definition Blu-ray disc. Taken straight from the digital source, the picture quality is great on both accounts, though the Blu-ray is easily the better of the two. Details are sharp, colors are bold and vibrant, shadows are refined and rich, and all around the show is a sight to behold. Likewise the audio, which is featured as a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track, is as impressive on the sound side of the equation.
Available at Walmart retail locations and select online retailers only, Lego Star Wars: The Padawan Menace is a pretty sweet ride. It’s fun for the kids and it’s a blast for older fans looking for a whimsical take on Lucas’s universe. The list price for this title is $20, though it can be found for cheaper (as of this review Walmart.com sells it for $13). Keep in mind that you’re getting a 22-minute animated short and a selection of other shorts. It’s not a lasting experience, but to the right audience it’s easily recommended.