LEGO STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES OUT
MOVIE: **** (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5)
Anthony Daniels as C-3PO
Lloyd Floyd as LUKE SKYWALKER
Matt Sloan as DARTH VADER
Lisa Fuson as PRINCESS LEIA ORGANA
John Armstrong as HAN SOLO
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Directed by: Guy Vasilovich
BY KEVIN CARR
I grew up a “Star Wars” baby, so I am predisposed to like anything with that logo slapped on it. Yes, even the prequel. Dammit, I like those prequels. They’re not without flaws, but I appreciated them for what they were as kids’ movies.
Growing up, I devoured everything “Star Wars,” though the marketing slowed down a bit when I finally became an adult. However, once the prequels came out and the expanded universe was developed, the marketing machine exploded again. Now, with cross-platform “Star Wars” merchandise, my kids have become addicted as well.
I’ve known about Lego Star Wars for a while, mainly because my kids play the Wii games, and we’ve bought some of the toys for them. However, “The Empire Strikes Out” was the first time I’ve had a chance to take a real close look at the product beyond just simple toys.
Similar to “The Padawan Menace,” previously released on DVD and Blu-ray, “The Empire Strikes Out” works as a spoof of the series itself. The story mashes together the various films, supposedly taking place as we lead into “The Empire Strikes Back,” with Luke and R2-D2 on their own missions while Han and Leia escape in a different direction.
However, like any good send-up, the story doesn’t follow too closely. There’s out-of-place appearances by various characters like Boss Nass, Yoda and the Emperor. While this might not sit right with die-hard fans who adhere too much to canon, it’s here that we find the best jokes. In particular, the introduction of Darth Maul and his ego was so hilarious in this video that I rewound it no less than three times to watch again and again.
What makes the silliness of this little story work is the internal love for the series. The folks putting this together aren’t just people linking cogs and wheels. They understand the source material and have fun with it. We get jokes about Jar Jar Binks, Han shooting first and the idiocy of building a new Death Star.
“The Empire Strikes Out” may not get me downstairs to play hours of the Wii with my kids, but it was a great source of entertainment for me during its relatively short 22-minute television-special running time.
Finally, there’s an added bonus to this product that goes beyond the need to DVR the special when it comes on TV. The packaging comes with a Lego Darth Vader figure, complete with a removable helmet to reveal the nastiness of Anakin Skywalker’s facial injuries.
It’s a fun package to enjoy for a “Star Wars” fan, and it’s a nice addition for anyone collecting the Lego Star Wars figurines as well.