The Clone Wars review: ‘The Academy’

Let’s be honest: so far, this hasn’t been the best season of The Clone Wars. So when an episode exceeds my expectations, as this one did, I’m stuck wondering if it’s because the bar had been lowered in the first place.  In retrospect, ‘The Academy’ is the best mystery that this show has ever done, but because the previous episode was so riddled with plot holes and inconsistencies, I wasn’t even sure that I was watching a mystery until the third act.  Still, that third act was a doozy. Continue readingThe Clone Wars review: ‘The Academy’”

The Clone Wars review: ‘Sphere of Influence’

Greedo and George

What’s the Star Wars equivalent of a Mary Sue?  Is it Lama Su?  Max Rebo Sue?  How about Baron Papanoida?  That’d be my answer, based on this most recent episode.  Of course, Mr. Lucas has never been shy about putting himself in his own stories – “Luke” is a pretty clear play on “Lucas” – but it’s never been quite this blatant before.  Not only is The Baron modeled on The Maker, but all of Papanoida’s family is based on the Lucas clan.  And this hammy bit of casting turns ‘Sphere of Influence’ into one of the laziest episodes yet. Continue readingThe Clone Wars review: ‘Sphere of Influence’”

The Clone Wars review: ‘ARC Troopers’

Everyone’s talking about the four-second deleted scene in ‘ARC Troopers,’ but nobody seems to be mentioning the other cut made by Cartoon Network.  I speak, of course, about the fortune cookie, the little blue moral that pops up at the beginning of each episode.  ‘ARC Troopers’ fortune cookie was apparently a casualty of airing two episodes back to back, and to be honest, I didn’t miss it a bit.  In fact, its absence actually helped the episode.  I was suddenly unsure of what lesson I was supposed to learn, which gave the proceedings just a little more mystery, a little more suspense.   And, weird as this sounds, I found myself trying to figure out what the actual fortune cookie might be.  I even wrote down a few guesses, starting with… Continue readingThe Clone Wars review: ‘ARC Troopers’”

The Clone Wars reviews: ‘R2 Come Home’ and ‘Lethal Trackdown’

Throughout this entire second season of The Clone Wars, I’ve only had one constant complaint: the portrayal of R2-D2.  Right from the start, R2 would just pop into stories for no reason, appearing out of nowhere whenever the heroes needed help.  And now we know the reason.  He’s Lassie!  That’s right, everyone’s favorite astromech – the droid with a mission, the original “size matters not,” the guy who repairs hyperdrives while swearing at C-3PO – is pretty much a collie with gadgets.  (Note to self: pitch “Gadget Collie” as a 6-episode limited series for the Disney Channel.) Continue readingThe Clone Wars reviews: ‘R2 Come Home’ and ‘Lethal Trackdown’”

The Clone Wars review: ‘The Zillo Beast Strikes Back’

It's the eye of the Zillo, it's the cream of the crop

When The Clone Wars started, who would have thought that it would become a non-stop homage to classic films?  This season has seen tributes to Notorious, The Longest Day, a couple of Kurosawas, Aliens, Agatha Christie mysteries, and I’m sure some others that I missed.  And of course, last week was all about Godzilla, and I fully expected this week’s installment to be more of the same (in a good way).  But Dave Filoni tipped his fedora to another movie monster instead — and unlike Peter Jackson, the Clone Wars crew did it right. Continue readingThe Clone Wars review: ‘The Zillo Beast Strikes Back’”

The Clone Wars review: ‘The Zillo Beast!’

Did you notice that I added an exclamation point to the title?  That’s because ‘The Zillo Beast,’ while not perfect, is easy to get excited about.  It’s the first Clone Wars episode that I seriously wished I could see in a movie theater – and that’s including the theatrical pilot.  This is impressive, exciting, big-screen material, and if I was looking to get quoted, I’d call it “Monstrously Entertaining,” or “The Beast is Best,” or perhaps “A Smashingly Good Time!”  Thankfully, I’m above some trivialities. Continue readingThe Clone Wars review: ‘The Zillo Beast!’”

The Clone Wars review: ‘Cat and Mouse’

Every now and then, The Clone Wars throws me for a loop.  That happened a few times during this episode, starting with the setting.  We’re back on Christophsis, the abandoned warehouse planet, and apparently there are some civilians in trouble.  High above the planet, in outerrrrrrrrrr spaaaaaaaace, Anakin Skywalker leads a squadron trying to deliver humanitarian (alientarian?) aide.  Naturally, I figured that he was returning to the site of his great victory from the Clone Wars movie.  I figured wrong. Continue readingThe Clone Wars review: ‘Cat and Mouse’”

The Clone Wars review: ‘Voyage of Temptation’

Obi's wants

Love… exciting and new… or in the case of Obi-Wan Kenobi, repressed and a little scary.  The latest Clone Wars may have been pitched as Titanic in space, but it plays out a bit more like an episode of The Love Boat.  Old flames reignite, different plotlines intersect, and romance is simply assumed.  All that, plus a Special Guest Appearance by R2-D2 – right after these messages. Continue readingThe Clone Wars review: ‘Voyage of Temptation’”

The Clone Wars review: ‘Lightsaber Lost’

Gone fishing

Ahsoka has finally come into her own.  Not as a Jedi, mind you – she actually seems to be getting less mature as time goes on, no doubt due to prolonged exposure to a Skywalker.  But in terms of her status as a character, ‘Lightsaber Lost’ marks a definite turning point: it’s the first episode where she’s really on her own, with the action following her the entire time and not cutting away to any of the “classic” movie characters.  Yes, Jocasta Nu puts in a cameo, but she’s hardly one of our regular heroes.  Anakin also makes an appeareance for the first minute or so, but after that, he ducks out for good.  But is it for good?  Ahsoka, without Anakin for support and/or moral confusion, turns out to be a mixed bag. Continue readingThe Clone Wars review: ‘Lightsaber Lost’”

The Clone Wars review: ‘Brain Invaders’

Drink the worm!

‘Brain Invaders.’  Just say it to yourself a few times.  Brain Invaders, Brain Invaders, Brain Invaders.  Those two words remind me of so much… arcade games, Star Trek II, dewy summer morns relaxing at Grandma’s farm.  Alas, the title is never seen on-screen, nor spoken within the episode.  Still, we have it here, on the internet, and in the future, on DVD menus.  It is enough. Continue readingThe Clone Wars review: ‘Brain Invaders’”