We’re heading into the final stretch of the season for Star Wars: The Clone Wars, with the last two episodes of the Ahsoka arc coming this way in the next two Saturdays. ‘Sabotage’ put a terrorist attack on the Jedi Temple, with Ahsoka catching the culprit, but ‘The Jedi Who Knew Too Much’ now has Ahsoka on the run, framed for killing that suspect, and some clonetroopers I do a little reviewing and catch up on other reviews and news for The Clone Wars:
I’ve been struggling with how to approach this arc, and I guess I wasn’t the only one. When these four episodes premiered at Celebration VI, it looked as if Lucasfilm wasn’t sure what to do with them. Maybe the Powers That Be™ thought the story skewed a bit too young, maybe they were considering it for a possible spin-off series, maybe they just didn’t know if it was any good. Those are all guesses, I honestly have no idea. All I know for sure is this: I won’t review this arc. I can’t.
Here’s why. If you haven’t seen this arc, it’d be a crime to ruin any of it for you. This is the flat-out best work this show has ever done. The characterizations are smart and layered, the action is breathtaking, the emotions are earned, the gags are funny, the pacing is superb, the casting is brilliant and the voicework in general is a joy to hear. In short, each and every creative decision is terrific. Even characters who should be tired by now feel fresh and surprising. So instead of a review, consider this a challenge: if you don’t watch The Clone Wars, take my word for it and check out these four episodes. I’ll burn you a DVD if you can’t find them on your own! This show keeps managing to top its own high-standards, and this storyline really illustrates just how far the series has come.
One of the weird realizations about The Big Announcement is that if they’re going to make Episodes VII through IX, there’s no reason they won’t make Episodes X through XII as well. And if you find the idea of endless Star Wars movies a bit jarring, well, you’re not alone. But the truth is, we’ve already seen new Star Wars movies, because that’s what The Clone Wars has become: a series of longer-form stories, told over several installments. Yes, there are some standalone episodes throw in (and they’re almost always terrific), but it seems like these mini-movies are now the dominant mode. And that can be good. And that can be bad.
Editor’s note: This review covers the whole Onderon arc, episodes 5.02 – 5.05: ‘A War on Two Fronts,’ ‘Front Runners,’ ‘The Soft War,’ and ‘Tipping Points.’
Everyone’s mouthing off about Adi Gallia in this episode, so allow me to join in the chorus. Though my complaint isn’t quite the same as everyone else’s. I mean, c’mon folks, it’s Adi Gallia. Maybe she’s someone’s favorite character in the history of ever, but to me, she’s always been a big pile of whoop-dee-doo. True, I once wrote a limerick in which I charmingly rhymed her name with diarrhea, but her appearances in this show and elsewhere in the EU have left me with exactly zero impression of her. So it’s hard to get emotional about a dullard, even a dullard who just happens to be a famous prequel Jedi. (Is that redundant? I kid, I kid.)
To mark the end of the fourth season of TCW, we organized a little email discussion to talk about what went right, what went wrong, and the unsinkable Darth Maul. Here is an abridged version of our discussion (edited for clarity and length):
So I’ve been out to the theaters now twice to see The Phantom Menace 3D and what do I think? It had been a while since I had popped in this episode to watch at home, and seeing on the big screen in 3D with my friends and fellow Star Wars fans was the thing to do. I took in both a midnight show and a regular evening show on opening day, and got some popcorn and a great seat and enjoyed. Here’s are my thoughts on seeing The Phantom Menace in 3D.
2011 brought us a plethora of Star Wars comics from Dark Horse. With 44 individual comic issues and 17 books (digests, trade paperbacks and omnibus collections), there was a lot for everyone, with nearly every era getting some stories. As part of Dark Horse’s 25th anniversary, the Star Wars lineup added some new titles (Jedi – The Dark Side, Darth Vader and the Lost Command, and Agent of the Empire), brought back some old favorites (Crimson Empire III) and finished up the Cade Skywalker storyline with the end of Legacy: War. Darth Vader and the Lost Command was Dark Horse’s bestselling Star Wars title of the year, which earned it a special hard-cover trade edition. While Haden Blackman’s tale of Vader on a mission filled with betrayal is a great story, I think there was another story that topped it to be the year’s best.
It’s that most wonderful time of the year! All those yummy coffee table books about Lucasfilm hit the shelves, hoping for that cool relative to come along who wants to finally get you something awesome. How about considering Industrial Light & Magic – The Art of Innovation by Pamela Glintenkamp? It’s been a while since anyone has updated the fabulousness that is ILM’s extensive record of movie history.
Ms. Glintenkamp had been hired by Lucasfilm to produce the Lucasfilm History Project. (Wouldn’t you like to get your hands on that?) So when the time came to update the history of ILM, she happily took the job.
While she does start out with a brief overview of the years up to 1995, the book’s true purpose is to document their work from 1996 through 2011. Included in the book are movies from each year that represent ILM at its most innovative and creative. (A complete filmography is included in the back.) The major movies feature quotes from the artists who worked on the films about advancements and challenges, as well as a list of any awards received.
But where this book excels is in the photography. Fantastic screen captures of their work make it really colorful and stimulating. Of course, being a Lucasfilm property, there is more extensive coverage of the Star Wars work. But special effects fans won’t be disappointed in any of it.
This is a must for ILM and special effects fans. As for others? It’s definitely a fine book, but if you have to be careful with your gift money, you might wait to see if it goes on sale.
New characters on The Clone Wars are a double-edged… uh, lightsaber, I suppose. On the one hand, they’re usually great additions to the cast. But on the other, more mechanical hand, they’re often gone after one episode. Several examples right off the top of my head: Mar Tuuk, Admiral Trench, and Master Sinube. They came, they ruled, then they left, never to be seen again. And each time, my fragile heart was shattered. Continue reading
Clearly, I need to take a speed reading course. I don’t know how anyone can quickly get through the coffee table books that seem to come out each year for your holiday pleasure. There’s always so much text involved. So why not just do a review on first impressions? For instance, the awesomeness that is The Complete Vader by Ryder Windham and Peter Vilmur.
This book basically takes you through the story and pop culture development of Darth Vader over the years; from his development to The Clone Wars television show.
In between? Awesome things inserted into the book. And I do love me the special books where they have things stuck in them. For instance, towards the beginning is a folder that allows you to take out a copy of the piece-by-piece instructions for putting on the Vader costume that was used for public appearances. (Sorry. Did I just crush some childhood dreams there?) And there’s also an early costume sketch that is all aged and faded looking, as if it was smuggled out of the Archives. And then there’s a look at the early toys associated with Vader.
And this is basically how the book unfolds. You hear about story developments in the years being addressed. Expanded Universe products. And the toys and pop culture happenings.
My only complaint about the book would be its construction. The pages and inserts are so heavy that it exposes the binding; giving it a flimsy air. Although I don’t believe it’s actually flimsy precisely because it’s stitched in, instead of glued. However, this might turn off well-meaning relatives trying to get you that awesome holiday gift.
So is it worth getting and/or putting on your “Star Wars things I haven’t actually purchased” list for the holidays? Absolutely; especially for fans of the pop culture aspects of Vader. It’ll be a fun stroll down memory lane.