Saturday, May 17, 2014
TV Review: Star Wars Clone Wars
'Star Wars The Clone Wars' ran from Oct 2008 to March 2013, and last week I finished re-watching it from the beginning so I could enjoy the "Netflix Exclusive" Season 6 "The Lost Missions" in context. Should I start a review with a spoiler? It's awesome. You may now fall over dead from Not Surprised!
The animation is absolutely beautiful, and to the extent that I understand such things, the editing and direction are splendid. Within the constraints of the programme, the writing is usually very good. Specifically, the stories are vignettes sandwiched between the known events of Star Wars Episode II and Episode III (and possibly also between the wipes in the 15th MINUTE of Genndy Tartakovsky's 2003-2005 Star Wars: Clone Wars Volume 2). (ALL of which I loved and will brook no complaints about, no matter how reasonable those complaints may be.) Very few things in life transport me back to childhood quite like Star Wars, and that's a special pleasure.
The regular voice cast are appealing (special mention: Matt Lanter since he's the best prequel Anakin actor yet) but the guest performer highlights included luminaries such as Clancy Brown, Jim Cummings, Greg Cipes, Phil LaMarr, Jon Favreau, Seth Green, Michael York, Katee Sackhoff, Tim Curry, Simon Pegg, and David Tennant. Also, for authenticity: Peter Mayhew, Ahmed Best, Anthony Daniels, Daniel Logan, Mark Hamill, and Liam Neeson. (They were not hurting in the vocal department.)
One complaint I've heard is that it's kid stuff. (This is completely true. Kid stuff tends to be awesome!) I feel like it manages to offer plenty of shades of meaning, but then again the villains have names like Cad Bane. Or, for colour, Dooku and Durd. (Something smells stinkowiff...)
Lok Durd is a voluminous slimy alien voiced by the effervescent George Takei. "You are now under the protection of the Separatist Alliance," Durd intones at a cuddly old monkey-man. "I congratulate you on your good fortune." Followed, inevitably by "Ransack this dung heap!"
I can't give much credence to the idea that "utterly disposable" armies of clones on one side and droids on the other means there's no-one to care about! Ridiculous! To the programme's credit I not only felt sorry for many of the "heroic" clones- but even now and then for the "evil" droids. Still, apart from the cannon fodder, there's a galaxy of other characters to adore and despise. Only YOU will know how to feel about Sy Snootles after this...
I'm probably the wrong gender to comment, but I will say that the series had better roles for females (i.e. Ventress, Tano, and Offee- seen above) than any previous Star Wars, and that Katie Lucas is a much better writer than the nepotism would first suggest.
Picking a favourite episode has proven impossible. In general, seasons 2 and 4 were strongest and season 6 perhaps the most uneven, but Yoda fans will be richly rewarded in the final arc ("Voices/Destiny/Sacrifice") for slogging through a couple of episodes about banking deregulation. (Seriously? For kids!)
So, at last, some highly arbitrary special mentions: Favourite Ship Battle: "Shadow of Malevolence". Favourite Jar Jar Story: "Bombad Jedi". Favourite Hot Mess: Ziro the Hutt's Mama. Favourite cameo from '80's Nelvanna cartoon "Droids": R2-KT. Favourite Monster of Mass Destruction: the Zillo Beast. Story Arc With The Least Pay-Off: Darth Maul's Resurrection. (I know he's cool- but to what END? Most adorable youngling in "The Gathering": Gungi. Most Futile Death: three-way tie: Gregor/Tarpals/Fives.
Disney will get their chance, and no doubt their efforts in "Rebels" and Episode VII will be the best that ever was! We'll soon see. Always in motion is the future...