Lego Star Wars: The Padawan Menace (2011)

lego-star-wars--the-padWow. That’s all I can say right now. Wow. “Lego Star Wars” is good. Really good. In fact it’s quite great. It’s funny. It’s witty. It’s clever. And in many ways it’s brilliant. Sure it’s Lego propaganda meant for the kids, but there’s so much humor that will be accessible to Star Wars geeks, that it’s tough not to enjoy this. This is one of the finest examples of “Star Wars” satire that I’ve seen since “Robot Chicken.” Basically, the premise is as simple as it can get. Yoda is on a field trip with a group of Jedi Padawans and on their last stop of the trip, they visit the Galactic Senate to see how the political system works.

While there the evil Palpatine sends Asaaj Ventress to steal top secret robot plans. Yoda and she have a duel and now Yoda, paired with a young stowaway named Ian, must travel through Hoth to find the droid who possesses the plans. Meanwhile C-3P0 (as voiced by Anthony Daniels!) and R2D2 try to find a way back home with the class of Padawans without getting themselves hurt. Along the way we’re greeted by a slew of clever cameos from all sorts of Star Wars characters and every one of theme is a laugh riot and injected with strict tongue in cheek. Lego Jar Jar appears only to be blown in to pieces, Lego Palpatine is mistaken for a Sith when he has his hood on and as a regular person with his hood off, and poor Lego Obi-Wan is launched in to orbit during a random chase scene.

There’s even an appearance by camera hungry Lego Darth Vader and Lego George Lucas! I really don’t care that Yoda is turned in to a comedic character for most of the program, or that Ian nicknames him “Yo Yo,” the program is much too funny and sharp to be torn down. Hell, there’s even a clip of the classic “A New Hope” injected in to the action, at some point. The computer animation is absolutely excellent, with most of the action scenes providing engrossing moments of tension while adhering to the non-violent overtones of the Lego franchise.

Writer Michael Price thankfully manages to squeeze in so much in barely thirty minutes and I’m glad to say that it works and works very well. As a Lego freak, Star Wars geek, and animation buff, I’m happy to say that “Lego Star Wars: The Padawan Menace” went down smooth and easy. And I even chuckled through most of it, to boot. And trust me, once you find out who Ian really is at the climax, you’ll be suggesting this to even the most militant “Star Wars” fanatics. What can I say? I expected almost nothing and was given one of the smartest and funniest “Star Wars” satires in a long time. Filled with great animation, sharp voice work, and all sorts of Easter Eggs for “Star Wars” fans, this can’t be missed.