The Clone Wars review: ‘Darkness on Umbara’

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 readingThe Clone Wars review: ‘Darkness on Umbara’”

The Clone Wars review: ‘Prisoners’

First, a bit of housekeeping: in the past, I’ve tried to keep these reviews mostly spoiler-free, so that a positive review might encourage new viewers to hop aboard.  But let’s face it… we’re in the fourth season already.  Either you’re watching the show or you’re not.  And certain episodes – like, say, this one – are such mixed bags that the only way to properly discuss them is by tackling the major plot points.  So, here we go.  Spoilers abound. Continue readingThe Clone Wars review: ‘Prisoners’”

The Clone Wars review: ‘Citadel Rescue’

If nothing else, Season 3 certainly has lived up to its tagline. Secrets were revealed all over the place – secrets about the Sith, secrets about the Separatists, secrets about the Hutts, the Clones, and of course, the Force. There’s also been some cool action, some very impressive animation, and a whole bunch of memorable new characters. (Are you there, Hasbro? It’s me, Stoogey. My request is the same: an Arok the Hutt figure.) The one thing that’s been missing has been emotion, and if it takes a death or two for me to feel something like I felt in Season 2… well, bring on the carnage. And spoiler alerts – bring those on, too. ‘Cause they’re needed. Continue readingThe Clone Wars review: ‘Citadel Rescue’”

The Clone Wars review: ‘The Citadel’

The problem with the whole “Secrets Revealed” idea is that the marketing campaign feels compelled to reveals all the secrets before the show gets a chance.  This episode is a good example – the late introduction of Captain Tarkin was clearly supposed to be a surprise, a sudden twist that makes the story seem much more important… at least for us old-school fans.  (Despite everything I hear about The Clone Wars being the only Star Wars kids know – and it’s true, if my daughter and nephews are any indication – this season proves that the writing staff also cares about the older demographic.  The past seven episodes, for example, only make sense if you’ve seen the movies and read some EU.)  But because the Cartoon Network promos decided to spotlight Tarkin, and the news broke online even before that, it wasn’t so much of a Big Reveal as a Big Wait For The Reveal. Continue readingThe Clone Wars review: ‘The Citadel’”

The Clone Wars review: ‘Altar of Mortis’

One of the common criticisms of the prequel trilogy was that the movies were a bit too drunk on their own mythology.  The originals films, the argument goes, used Joseph Campbell to tell a story, while the prequels used a story to talk about Joseph Campbell.  It’s not a criticism that’s unique to the prequels (it was also leveled at Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, the Matrix sequels, and more recently, Tron: Legacy), and I don’t think it’s completely fair… but it’s hard to deny that Uncle George laid on the symbolism pretty thick.  That being said, the mythological overtones of the prequels were apparently just a warm-up for this Mortis storyline.  The result is an episode that’s beautiful to look at, fascinating to analyze, and otherwise pretty dull.

Continue readingThe Clone Wars review: ‘Altar of Mortis’”

The Clone Wars review: ‘Witches of the Mist’

Okay, let’s tackle the bantha in the room.  ‘Witches of the Mist’?  Really?  Were the gorillas busy?  What kind of silly title is this?  And more importantly, why focus on the witches?  They were pretty prominent in the past two episodes, but here, the Sith take center stage.  And to stretch this metaphor to its limit, those Sith sure know how to put on a show. Continue readingThe Clone Wars review: ‘Witches of the Mist’”

The Clone Wars review: ‘Nightsisters’

Let’s face it – Jedi are sort of boring.  When people think of iconic Star Wars figures, they think of Chewbacca, Darth Vader, Han Solo, R2-D2… almost anyone other than those stuffed-shirt lightsider types.  Yes, folks love Yoda, but that’s mostly because he (a) is green, (b) talks funny, and (c) isn’t tall enough to ride on Star Tours.  Yoda is popular specifically because he’s so un-Jedi-like.  The Sith, however, have never been boring.  They wear cool clothes, have a passion for their work, and carry a license to kill.  What, I ask you, is the downside to being a Sith?  Is there any? Continue readingThe Clone Wars review: ‘Nightsisters’”

The Clone Wars review: ‘Evil Plans’

As a main character, C-3PO doesn’t exactly scream excitement.  Sure, he’ll sometimes scream, and yes, exciting things do happen to him, but it’s hard to imagine ol’ Goldenrod jumping into action. Or even just jumping, for that matter.  What we do expect from Threepio is humor.  After all, a prim and proper butler plopped into galactic warfare should be endlessly amusing — and it is, up to a point.  But is it enough to sustain a whole episode? Continue readingThe Clone Wars review: ‘Evil Plans’”