The Yoda Chronicles Review: The Phantom Clone

As you may know, the latest in the series of animated Lego Star Wars specials is called the Yoda Chronicles and follows the adventures of Master Yoda in trying to stop a new menace, the Sith clone JEK-14. The first episode in this three-part series, titled The Phantom Clone, debuted on May 29 with Episode II: Menace of the Sith premiering tomorrow, September 4, at 8 pm on Cartoon Network. So how does the first episode hold up to the popular previous Lego Star Wars specials? Here is what we Rebel Bloggers thought:

Brickdoctor: I realize that this is a non-canon production targeted at kids, so I’m going to try to keep this review fair by judging the episode as such. I can overlook things like the Calrissians having the Falcon instead of it being the Stellar Envoy flown by Tobb Jadak, and the fact that Jabba didn’t have the Rancor yet. But even though this is that kids show that is obviously not canon, I was still impressed by all the obscure and/or more…sophisticated…references. (? I’m searching for the right adjective here that doesn’t make it sound like there was something obscene in the episode. :look: ) I liked that they kept with the Star Destroyer flyover opening, I liked the sign that read “A parsec is a unit of distance”, I liked how Mace mentions the minor/background character Mas Amedda – and Yoda has no idea who the MegaBloks that is. And while I know it’s been mentioned a lot before, I still like the reference to Splinter of the Mind’s Eye in the Kaiburr crystals. (And by the way, even though you would never give such a weapon to a bunch of younglings, there is precedence for removing a shard from the Kaiburr crystal and using it in a lightsaber.) Not just in this episode, but in other mini movies, too, I think TLG has done really well in including references like those in their animations. :thumbup:

Now, on the other side of the references, there are some that are so obviously wrong that I’m disappointed that they’ve been used so incorrectly, even in a show like this. Imperial-class Star Destroyers? The Imperator-class, which would eventually become the Imperial I-class of Star Wars, were in development in the later years of the Clone Wars, but they would obviously not be used in such great numbers by an enemy faction. (Presumably the Separatists; I think they launched Tri-fighters.) Then there’s the LAAT/i that can apparently travel through hyperspace – I don’t understand how hard it would have been to have them be dropped off by a Venator, which would still have been seriously outgunned by the…Separatist ISD Fleet. (I understand that they didn’t take a shuttle, since TLG doesn’t have a shuttle set coming out soon while it is rereleasing the gunship in this next wave.) Also, while I couldn’t really tell, it appeared the Yoda saw the threat of Jek-14 in the holocron, a device with previously recorded information. (They usually have a gatekeeper and are intelligent enough to discern what a pupil should learn or needs answered, but they shouldn’t show a vision of the future.)

There were a couple things unexplained that I felt needed to be even in a non-canon kids show: how the MegaBloks did Yoda and Mace get to Dagobah? They’re in space in the Core Worlds, and then suddenly they lands on a planet in the Outer Rim. Other than the one joke ‘I could live here someday’, the planet serves no unique purpose in the plot. It wouldn’t be that hard to just have them land on Alderaan, and they’d at least fall out of space onto the planet they’re over instead of to one halfway across the galaxy, plus it’d be a great opportunity to show people more of what Alderaan looks like. And why did Grievous give the lightsabers to Jabba? He never gives his trophies to anyone else, and the reason for his doing so here is never touched on.

In conclusion: I can overlook the jokes and inaccuracies that are in this show because of at whom it’s targeted. (And I’ll admit, I laughed for a second when Yoda said, “It’s a trap!” and Ackbar is suddenly there to say, “Well duh!”. :blush: ) But it seemed to have a lot more obviously ridiculous or unexplained moments than the previous LEGO mini movies, and considering the big push that TLG is doing with this show, with the Times Square event and the set from the series, I expected more of this one. The plot concept of the Force-imbued super clone is not exactly new; something closer to Republic Commando would’ve been a more popular choice, I think.

Oky: When it was announced that Lego would make an animated mini-series, I was not too thrilled. It just seemed like an excuse for them to make up their own vehicles and characters inside the Star Wars universe and market toys based on them such as Jek-14 and his starfighter. And I still think that’s what it is, but I enjoyed the first two specials, so I decided to check it out, and it was actually not bad. It is definitely still targeted at kids, but it had a slightly more serious plot and the same delightfully satiric humor we have come to expect from the previous specials. A lot of the jokes were pretty childish of course, but some of them were pretty good. Surprisingly, the “It’s a trap” joke was one of the best ones! I also liked the part about Palpatine getting his two identities mixed up and Yoda and Mace failing miserably at recognizing him as the Sith Lord despite R2’s efforts to tell them. Who knew astromechs were capable of performing a facepalm?

The main plot was fairly simple and continued the one set up in the mini-movies that led up to this episode: Count Dooku and Grievous assemble a machine to make an army of sith clones for Darth Sidious. There are a lot of plot holes in there, even for a kids show, but I didn’t expect much to begin with, so that didn’t bother me too much. The climax is a lightsaber battle between Yoda, Mace Windu, Count Dooku, and General Grievous which was actually kinda cool and gets plus points from me for using Battle of the Heroes. In fact, they used the John Williams songs quite well throughout the episode. The end sets up the next episodes of course, but it still had a small medal ceremony, so it felt self-contained enough.

What didn’t I like? Well, for one thing, Yoda’s darn backwards talking! He couldn’t say anything right, not even C-3PO’s name! I know it was supposed to be funny, but it got quite annoying for me. Some of the other jokes were pretty lame too, and the fact that Grievous inexplicably gave the lightsabers to Jabba bothered me as well since it seemed so out of character. And the use of the Imperial Star Destroyers as Separatist capital ships was just odd. If this would have been an upcoming set, I could have dismissed this as TLG just trying to plug one of their products, but it looked just like 6211, so unless they are planning to re-release that set (which would be great) I really don’t see why they didn’t use the Malevolence or something instead other than for the sole reason of having that Episode VI style opening scene.

Overall, I’d say it was decent. Yes, it’s childish and silly and a few things don’t add up, but it’s a LEGO special, so what do you expect. If you liked the last two specials, you’ll enjoy this one too. It will be interesting to see where they will take this Jek-14 plot, so I’m curious to see the next two episodes.

Masked Builder: When I heard about LEGO making their own made-up Star Wars characters and ships, I wasn’t that thrilled.  However, I was pleasantly surprised with the content of the sets and the accompanying television show.

The show had quite a few jokes that, while funny, got a bit old as the episode progressed. It is a kids show, but the darker tone of the episode was kept light by the very common jokes. It was LEGO’s usual flowing animation style that is quite pleasant to watch. There were a few strange inconsistencies, as a few of my fellow reviewers mentioned. All in all though, I quite enjoyed the show.

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