A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Lego Star Wars: Droid Tales is a five-part miniseries that revisits the entire Star Wars story -- from The Phantom Menace to Return of the Jedi -- through C-3PO's memory of the events. There are lightsaber battles, explosions that break spacecraft into pieces, and the implication of many deaths, but as the characters are plastic and the set is made of Lego bricks, it's hard to be affected by the action. Those who know the Star Wars story well will enjoy this series the most, since it moves at a brisk clip through the overall plot to toy with some of the funnier moments. Expect to hear some name-calling ("jerk" and "scum," for instance). The show's commercial tie-ins to both Star Wars and Lego are the biggest concern for young viewers.
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What's the story?
LEGO STAR WARS: DROID TALES is a parody retelling of the Star Wars saga as imagined by C-3PO (voiced by Anthony Daniels). It opens during the celebration on Endor after the rebels' successful mission to destroy the Empire's second Death Star. As C-3PO recounts his adventures with R2-D2 alongside Anakin Skywalker (Kirby Morrow) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Michael Donovan) and later Luke Skywalker (Eric Bauza), Leia (Heather Doerksen), and Han Solo (Michael Daingerfield), a mysterious cloaked figure abducts R2-D2. An intergalactic pursuit ensues, bringing C-3PO back to his old haunts and dusting off more memories for him to share as he crisscrosses the galaxy searching for his friend.
Is it any good?
There's no better way to stage a self-deprecating spoof of a story line than to put it in the cupped hands of a Lego cast, and this five-part series definitely doesn't disappoint. It plays out like a CliffsNotes version of the Star Wars story that took six full-length movies -- plus a handful of animated series -- to tell, condensing them to a few minutes' worth of highlights with more than a few hilarious plot twists. Of course the outcome is never in doubt to anyone who knows the story, but Star Wars fans of any age won't want to miss this little gem that's packed with insider jokes (multiple expulsions of the resilient Jar-Jar Binks is only one high point) and lots and lots of Lego-inspired funnies.
Even so, the flip side of marrying two commercial juggernauts such as Star Wars and Lego is that every visual aspect of the show is a full-color ad for the products it inspires. Part of what the show does so well is incorporate as many characters as it can from the movies, if even only for a cameo, but that also increases the chances youngsters will see a product they just can't live without. So long as that's not a problem, this series is a very entertaining pick for kids who know and like the Star Wars story.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about series and movies inspired by toys. Do they influence your desires for the action figures and other toys they represent? Can this one stand on its own merit as good entertainment?
What effects does animation allow that live-action movies can't? Did any scenes in this show look particularly realistic? Why is it fun to see toys in action like this?
Does C-3PO have a hero complex? In your estimation, what does it take to be a hero? Is it enough to be part of a brave act, or must you be a leader?
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