Posted in 1UP, Blog Posts, Star Wars

LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy, based off of Star Wars Episodes 4-6, created by George Lucas: a Video Game Review

What are we playing:

The original trilogy is BACK but now in LEGO form!  Relive Episodes 4-6 as you play through the films all the while destroying everything in sight!  Become a part of the film.

This set of LEGO games walks through the world of Star Wars Episodes 4-6, in playable levels which you can go back after completing in Story Mode and play again to collect everything. 

General Information:

-Genre: Collectathon

-Creator: Traveller’s Tales in partnership with LEGO and Lucasfilm

-Number of Levels:

-Collectables: 68 characters, 2 customizable characters,

-Rating: E10+ (mild cartoon nudity, moderate violence but cartoony and in LEGO, several scenes in a bar)

-How to Play: local game stores (explore your area and support local!), used game stores, online or in box stores, or look for it at your local library (many libraries now have video games and even tabletop games for checkout)

-Page of Reference in RP1: 62-64

Review (contains spoilers):

Just like all other LEGO games these are your fairly standard collectathon style game and it is achievable to get a 100% completion, you just have to return after Story Mode to get everything.

LEGO games are some of my favorite games to play.  Since the majority of the game is just beating everything in sight to actually figure out what has stuff in it and what doesn’t it makes for awesome stress relief and I absolutely love that you can’t really die.  You just burst into bits…aka LEGO currency.

This version is a really fun way to play through the next three movies.  The story lines are comprehensive and follow the original trilogy in a way that is still true to the feel of the films.  You just get to explore some more.  This series allowed for the designers to do some interesting things and not just focus on the same play style in each and every level.  You get a really nice combination of platforming, vehicle based levels, exploration and scripted play through.  Plus coming back and replaying levels makes for some really entertaining challenges.

These are super fun and are great to play with kids but challenging enough for adult players to really enjoy.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Star Wars

Star Wars Episode 6: Return of the Jedi, created by George Lucas: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Han Solo has been encased in carbonite for over a year when C-3PO and R2-D2 are sent to negotiate with the notorious crime lord Jabba the Hutt.  They are the bargaining chip to get Han back.  When this fails Princess Leia infiltrates the palace as a bounty hunter, attempting to turn in Chewbacca for the bounty on his head.  While in the palace she manages to unfreeze Han but is in turn captured.  With Leia enslaved, Chewbacca and Han Solo captured, and his droids taken as hostages Luke has no choice but to come to the surface himself to negotiate their return.  Unfortunately things don’t go as planned and the group must fight their way out.

As they rendezvous with the Rebel Alliance, Luke takes a detour back to Dagobah to complete his Jedi training with Yoda, who is sadly dying.  In his final moments Yoda does confirm for Luke what he already knows… that Darth Vader was once the Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker.  His father.  And that there is another Skywalker.  He is not alone.

The Rebels discover that a new Death Star is being built, this time under the direct supervision of the Emperor himself.  They uncover the information to defeat the Empire once and for all.  In order to do this they will need all hands available and the Force on their side…

General Information:

-Genre: Space Opera

-Creator: George Lucas

-Length: 132 minutes

-Rating: PG (mild sex and nudity, mild violence and gore, mild smoking and alcohol use, mild frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, Frank Oz

-Page of Reference in RP1: 22

Review (contains spoilers):

This is probably my favorite of the Original Trilogy.  There is enough going on that it is entertaining but not overly complicated.  All the little loose ends get tied up.  We get some romance with Han and Leia.  Luke comes into his own, albeit a bit on the arrogant side. The resolution to the Skywalker family mysteries is solved.  Anakin comes back to the side of the Light.  Palpatine is dead.  Leia and Luke reunite as siblings.  The Ewoks get cuter the older I get…though they are still a silly addition in my opinion. The Empire is destroyed.  The Rebels win.  Everything is back in balance…mostly.

It’s a nice ending to the Original Trilogy.  We get to see our heroes win against the fascist Empire.  They all survive the war though not without some wounds.  Wounds that will affect them for the rest of their lives.  Han and Leia have found each other.  Everyone dances.  You can’t really ask for much more when it comes to the end of an epic trilogy.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Star Wars, Uncategorized

Star Wars Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back, created by George Lucas: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Three years have passed since the Rebel Alliance destroyed the Death Star.  The Imperial Fleet, led by the notorious Darth Vader, is in pursuit of the new Rebel base.  As they send out probe droids across the galaxy to try and locate the group and their leader, Princess Leia.

One of the probes locates the base on the ice planet Hoth, a cold and deserted chunk of rock ignored by most of the galaxy.  Groups of the Rebel forces take turns to monitor the outer plains for the safety of the base.  Luke Skywalker is captured during one of his shifts, having gone further to investigate the mysterious asteroid that hit the surface…discovering that it was an Imperial Probe Droid.

As Han Solo goes out to rescue his friend, the rest of the Rebels begin to pack up and evacuate before the Empire shows up to launch a full-scale attack on the base.  Luke is saved but is convinced that he must seek out Jedi Master Yoda when the Empire arrives on Hoth.  The Rebels set out to meet the Imperial Army.

The Empire manages to push the Rebels to evacuate, cutting off the route that Princess Leia needs to get off the base.  Luckily, Han Solo is able to draw her away to the Millennium Falcon and their small contingency escapes the planet.  Luke makes it off world as well, heading to the Dagobah system.  As the group is spread across the galaxy in an attempt to escape and then reconvene to attack the Empire once again they learn hard lessons on who to trust and who to cast aside.

General Information:

-Genre: Space Opera

-Creator: George Lucas

-Length: 124 minutes

-Rating: PG (mild violence and gore, moderate frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billie Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, Frank Oz

-Page of Reference in RP1: 22

Review (contains spoilers):

This is probably my least favorite of the Original Trilogy.  It is necessary story wise, and I get that…but honestly I don’t like a lot of the characters and the situations that they are put in.

Between Cloud City and Dagobah, Hoth and the issues with the Falcon…and of course, Han Solo in carbonite…its just not as satisfying to watch.  I know that all of this is needed.  The betrayals, the secrets revealed.  The beginnings of the balance of the Force in Luke.  Leia realizing her feelings for Solo so she can make the rash decisions that she does in the third film.

While it isn’t as unbalanced as the issues in Episodes 1-3, this one is quite hard for me to watch.  It’s a lot of hurry up and wait.  Which is needed.  The next movie needs the groundwork built here. 

Luke needs to grow.  He needs Yoda to learn what he is missing with the Force.  We need the reveal of Vader as his father.  We need the tidbits of Leia being his sister.  The balance that he begins to bring to himself in the movie.

Leia and Han need to find their grounding together.  And need to have an adventure away from Luke.  They need to learn that they can rely on each other (and Chewie of course).  Lando needs his redeeming moments.

We need to learn more about the reach of the Empire.  And how the people outside of the scope we see are being treated.  How difficult the world is around the Rebels and why they are fighting so hard to end the tyranny.

This is all necessary.  But its just a long movie to get through.  And not in the same way as the first parts of the Skywalker Saga.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Star Wars

Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope, created by George Lucas: a Film Review

Synopsis:

The galactic civil war has raged for many years with losses on both sides.  The Rebel Alliance has stolen plans for the Galactic Empire’s Death Star, a moon sized space station with capabilities to destroy entire worlds.  Imperial Senator Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan is secretly one of the Rebel Spies and has the schematics in her possession when she passes them onto a droid amidst an attack on her vessel.  She sends the droid to the nearest planet as the ruthless Darth Vader makes way onto her ship.

The small droid, R2-D2, accompanied by a protocol droid, C-3PO, are captured on the planet by Jawa traders and eventually make their way into the hands of Owen Lars, a moisture farmer.  Lars sends his rebellious teenaged nephew, Luke, to clean the droids and while doing so he stumbles across the message that Princess Leia has left behind.  Luke connects the “Obi-wan Kenobi” in the message to Old Ben Kenobi, the elderly hermit that lives in the hills.

When Luke takes the droids to Ben, he uncovers the truth behind Ben’s past.  That he was a Jedi Knight, a galactic peacekeeper, studied in the ways of the Force…a metaphysical energy that runs through all things.  They had been nearly hunted to extinction during the course of the civil war by the Imperial Army and the notorious Darth Vader.

As R2-D2 plays the Princesses full message a course of action becomes clear.  They must go and help her no matter the danger.  For they are her “only hope”.

General Information:

-Genre: Space Opera

-Creator: George Lucas

-Length: 121 minutes

-Rating: PG (moderate violence without blood and gore, mild use of alcohol, moderate intense science fiction scenes)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), iTunes (Buy/Rent), Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blue-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, David Prowse

-Page of Reference in RP1: 22

Review (contains spoilers):

I do really love this film.  The original film is wonderful.  It’s a beautiful world that Lucas built with a perfect balance between action and exposition. This film has what is truly lacking in the prequel films.

The story is told at times that make sense from Obi-wan Kenobi explaining the Force to Luke when they are dealing with R2-D2, to the bits and pieces that you get from Han Solo and from the council sessions of the Imperial Army.  Nothing feels forced like in Episode 1 yet we get enough information to feel included in the world and its goings on unlike Episode 3.

The characters are real and fleshed out with all their faults and strengths and weaknesses. The practical effects still hold up today.  Extraordinarily little looks bad to a modern audience (a little in the sabers and the laser blasts…a bit in the space scenes) and I credit this to the fact that more modern CGI techniques were not really a thing.

It’s a great film and quite family friendly.  There is violence but it is mostly gore free with the exception of one minor dispute on Tatooine. Great story and great film.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Star Wars

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, based on the universe created by George Lucas: a Film Review

Synopsis:

The Empire is nearly in full control of the Republic. 

They are trying to develop a new weapon that will bring uncooperative planets to their knees but in order to do so Imperial weapons developer Orson Krennic needs the help of Galen Erso, a research scientist who has defected from the Empire in hopes to protect his family.  When their location is discovered, Galen is captured, his wife is killed and their daughter, Jyn, manages to escape with the help of Saw Gerrera, a rebel extremist.

Fifteen years later, the Rebel Alliance gets word that the weapon the Empire has been developing is nearly operational.  They track down Jyn Erso, hoping her connection to her father and his work as well as her knowledge of Saw Gerrera will aid them in their mission to steal the plans for the weapon in order to destroy it before the Empire has the chance to use it on a single world.

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fantasy Spy and Espionage

-Creator: based on the universe created by George Lucas

-Length: 133 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (moderate violence and gore, moderate frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker, Riz Ahmed

-Page of Reference in RP1: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

 So, watching this a second time I had a different reaction than seeing it in theatres.  I know that you shouldn’t get attached to characters in situations like this, and that we knew it was a suicide mission to begin with due to where it takes place in the storyline of the Skywalker Saga.  This is war and not everyone survives war…but still.

When I came out of the theatre I was really upset.  I didn’t like that they created such a diverse and varied cast of incredibly well-written characters to just kill all of them.  It seems a waste to me.

That being said this is an incredible Espionage and Spy film set in the universe of Star Wars.  Jyn is one of my favorite strong female characters.  She is bold and willing to risk her life for the chance to defeat the enemy that took her family from her.

This story added so much depth to what happens right before we meet Princess Leia the first time in A New Hope. Its so nice to see that we are able to fill in gaps in this series that weren’t able to be filled or didn’t necessarily need to be filled when dealing with the main Saga storyline.  These films give glimpses into the universe that we otherwise don’t see.  We get to discover things like religions associated with the Force that aren’t the Jedi/Sith.  We get more worlds and the abilities of droids, smugglers, other species.  Even smaller glances into these help to flesh out the world of the Skywalker Saga.

Honestly, save for the end this is one of favorite films in the Star Wars universe.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Star Wars

SOLO: a Star Wars Story, based on characters from George Lucas: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Set a decade before Star Wars: A New Hope we discover the beginnings of Han Solo’s story.

Han and his love, Qi’ra, are orphans on the planet of Corellia trying to escape from the local gang…a place that is run by them and often the only way to stay alive is to be part of the mob.  Having stolen a vial of pure hyperdrive fuel, called coaxium, the pair attempt to flee by bribing an Imperial Officer.

Han manages to escape but Qi’ra was recaptured by the gang.  He vows to come back for her and as he continues to flee, Han is nearly caught.  So he joins the Imperial Navy and is given the last name “Solo” since he had no last name.

Three years later, Han is determined to get back to save his girl when he encounters a group of criminals posing as Imperial soldiers.  Having been discharged from the Imperial Academy for insubordination, he attempts to blackmail the head of the crew and when that doesn’t fly he ends up arrested and tossed into jail to be fed to another prisoner, a Wookie named Chewbacca.  Han is able to persuade him to join forces and escape to, thankfully, be picked up by the criminals who had him arrested in the first place.

The crew reveals that they have been hired to do a train heist, and the payout would be enormous.  The pair can assist but are told to follow orders and their payout would be enough to buy their own ship…

General Information:

-Genre: Space Western. Science-fantasy Heist

-Creator: based on characters from George Lucas

-Length: 135 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (mild science fiction violence, mild profanity, some use of alcohol and drug innuendos, some intense scenes, moderate amounts of crime)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), iTunes (Buy/Rent), Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blue-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Joonas Suotamo, Paul Bettany

-Page of Reference in RP1: 62 (see the article about why we chose to include this here )

Review (contains spoilers):

I LOVED THIS MOVIE.  I don’t know why I had waited so long to watch this one!  I’ve found lately that I tend to enjoy the stories set in the universe more than the Skywalker Saga films.

They are some of the greatest things that Disney has done with the franchise in my opinion.  Because they are (insert film genre) first and “Star Wars” second.

I don’t feel like I have to know every single last thing about the Star Wars universe to love the films.  I don’t have to understand and watch all of the Clone Wars to understand why General Grievous coughs (I looked it up because it was just weird for a droid to do that…) or feel like a fool for missing some small nuance in the background of some scene.

Just like the Marvel films, for the most part are another genre then a superhero film, the stories set in the Star Wars world are just wonderful films.  This was a GREAT heist film, it was an incredible space WESTERN.  And it was also a Star Wars movie.

It had MAJOR Firefly vibes.  It had action and daring and crime and romance. And deceit.  And everything a good heist/crime film should have in it.  THAT is what I love.  I love being able to change out the characters for fully original characters and the movie still makes sense.  I love even more that they’ve created something new with characters that we all know and love in the first place.

It gives a level of dimension that we are lacking…or fleshes out the characters in a way that we never thought of before.

Truly a great film.  But if you want a “Star Wars” film…you’ll probably be disappointed.  But I wasn’t.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Posted in 1UP, Blog Posts, Star Wars

LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game, based off Star Wars Episodes 1-3, created by George Lucas: a Video Game Review

What are we playing:

The prequel trilogy is BACK but now in LEGO form! Relive Episodes 1-3 as you play through the films all the while destroying everything in sight! Become a part of the film.

This set of LEGO games walks through the world of Star Wars Episodes 1-3, in playable levels which you can go back after completing in Story Mode and play again to collect everything.

General Information:

-Genre: Collectathon

-Creator: Traveller’s Tales in partnership with LEGO and Lucasfilm

-Number of Levels: 17

-Collectables: 56-59 characters (depending on the console), 13 hints to the game (these are both free and cost studs), 10 extras (that do both silly things and assist you), 170 canisters/minikits, 17 Jedi Level Stud Counts

-Rating: E10+ (Mild cartoony nudity and sexual innuendo, Mild violence but cartoony and LEGO, some “alcohol” use and scenes in bars, some intense scenes…but it’s a cartoon game so…)

-How to Play: local game stores (explore your area and support local!), used game stores, online or in box stores, or look for it at your local library (many libraries now have video games and even tabletop games for checkout)

-Page of Reference in RP1: 62-64

Review (contains spoilers):

These are considered Collectathon games and it is achievable to complete these to a 100% rating.  You do need to replay levels, sometimes several times with various characters you collect later in the game to achieve a full 100% of the games achievements.

I absolutely love playing the LEGO games.  They are wonderful stress relief since the whole point is to just beat up everything in sight.  You can die an infinite number of times so there is no real stress to dying like in many other “life based” games. And they take a fun approach to how the levels are set up.

You aren’t just playing the same standard levels over and over.  There are differences in the levels and level set ups, there is a free play version of nearly all the levels and there is the world in the diner to explore (though it is small and really just a portal to the levels).

Excellent game.  Very fun.  Playable with kids of all ages.  Love the collectathon aspect of the whole thing.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Star Wars

Star Wars, Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith, created by George Lucas: a Film Review

Synopsis:

The Clone Wars have been going on for the last three years.  The Jedi Order is scattered far across the galaxy, fighting against the Separatists.  Master Obi-wan Kenobi and Padawan Anakin Skywalker have been sent on a mission to destroy General Grievous and rescue Senator Palpatine from capture.

While their attempt at a rescue mission could be called a narrow success, the General escapes.  Upon their return Padme and Anakin are reunited and she tells him she is pregnant.  Anakin once again begins to have his premonition dreams, this time pointing to the death of his beloved wife.

As the war continues to rage about the Galaxy pulling both Master Kenobi and Master Yoda into parts unknown to search for Grievous and hopefully end the war.  Anakin continues to get closer to Senator Palpatine and begins his final descent into the Dark Side fueled by his inability to have a logical head when it comes to his attachments….

General Information:

-Genre: Space Opera

-Creator: George Lucas

-Length: 140 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (moderate science fiction violence and epic battle scenes, moderate intense and frightening scenes including someone catching on fire)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), iTunes (Buy/Rent), Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blue-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Ian McDiarmid, Samuel L Jackson, Christopher Lee, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Frank Oz

-Page of Reference in RP1: 22

Review (contains spoilers):

Oof…this one is really tough for me to review because there is just so much that is bad in the film and so much that I love (mainly the romance that continues between Anakin and Padme…and the fact that the are so blatantly obvious about the whole thing…).

This is probably the one film that I wish there was more exposition in…more explanation (could we not have taken some of the tedious and horribly forced moments in Episode 1 and just…nudged them carefully into here?)  I know from my research there is a lot of what I always had questions about available online and through other television shows but come on. We couldn’t have gotten a little bit in the movie for those of us who didn’t have access to the shows or who didn’t want to watch more than the films.

Anakin is still insufferable in these movies. And while I love the romance between Anakin and Padme it is hard to get through because Padme was the mature one…but in this film she seems more childish.  I can understand that love can make us do stupid things, yet this is a bit much.  The giddy schoolgirl routine is kind of worn out at this point.

Obi-wan continues to be a wonderful character.  He has only grown well into his role.  The moments he as within the story line showing all of the dangerous of war and the deceit of fighting it are beautifully done.  There is so much going on behind the scenes of war that they do go into in little bits and pieces.  It probably one of the better things that they do in this movie.

But I do think it a bit unbelievable that Anakin is constantly able to sneak off to be with Padme.  Does no one ask where he is staying at night?  It’s just fascinating.  And it leaves him so open to Palpatine’s influence in many other ways as well.

Overall, the push and pull in this film are ok.  And the acting and writing feel better than the previous two as if the writers have finally settled in.  but the issue with that is that you don’t have time to settle in doing a film franchise like this.  You have to be good right off the start.  And these films just seem to fall a little flat in that regards.

Rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Star Wars

Star Wars: The Clone Wars (animated), based on characters created by George Lucas: a Film Review

Synopsis:

The Clone War is in full swing.  General Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi and General Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker are leading a small battalion of Republican Clone Army against the Separatist Droid Army on Christophsis.  As they await reinforcements, a single shuttle lands on the planet carrying Jedi Apprentice Ahsoka Tano with a message from Jedi Grandmaster Yoda.  She has been assigned to General Skywalker as his apprentice, and not to Master Kenobi as was thought.

Meanwhile, Grandmaster Yoda has been told that Jabba the Hutt’s son has been taken hostage.  Skywalker and Ahsoka have been assigned to get him back as Master Kenobi visits the Hutts to reassure them that they will get his son back.

Of course, they are walking into a trap…

General Information:

-Genre: Computer-Animated Space Opera

-Creator: based on characters created by George Lucas

-Length: 98 minutes

-Rating: PG (Mild violence and gore, mild profanity, mild use of hooka and drinks that could be alcohol, mild intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Matt Lanter, Ashley Eckstein, James Arnold Taylor, Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Ian Abercrombie, Catherine Taber, Christopher Lee, Samuel L. Jackson, Anthony Daniels

-Page of Reference in RP1: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

I’m not sure about this animation style but I am absolutely loving Ahsoka.  She will probably end up as one of my favorite characters in all of the Star Wars Universe.

The story is really interesting.  And I do think it falls quite in line with the parts of the world that I love.  I can tell we are going to get a lot of the larger world that we get with the “side” stories.  The characters seem more compelling and complex than what we get from the Skywalker Saga.

Ahsoka is so wonderful. Just as snarky as Anakin was with Kenobi but seems to have a better head on her shoulders.  She is more levelheaded, but can be just as reckless as her master. 

Ventress is new and different.  Its interesting to me that she is an “apprentice” to Dooku.  Especially since we have been led to believe there are only two Sith at any given time.  Perhaps it is just another matter of the Sith employing another force sensitive beings as their lackies.

The animation style kind of grew on me as the movie went on.

Ooh…. The play of both sides.  The Hutts are a powerful family in the Outer Rim.  It makes sense that whoever wins their favor will win the war.

I do appreciate that the director and the animators treated the film as an action film and not just as an “animated movie”.  There are dynamic angles, epic battles and great music.  They seem to have mastered the use of cinematic techniques and applied them to the world of animation.  It is impressive and greatly appreciated.

Padme being in things is always a plus.  She is a great character that really seemed underutilized in the films… going from a strong confident Queen and Senator to a lovesick girl over the course of the films.  I hope she remains strong during the course of the show…

And apparently, I have watched this a tad out of order…now to go back to the correct order according to the official Star Wars website for the show.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Star Wars

Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Series, created by George Lucas: a Television Review

Note: I am currently watching this series. Story Arc updates will be forthcoming.

Synopsis:

The Clone Wars have officially begun.  As the Jedi Order lead scores of troopers against the Droid armies of the Separatists, the Galactic Republic is falling apart at the seams.

Anakin Skywalker has moved from Padawan to Jedi Knight and General, even being granted his own Padawan, the snarky Ahsoka Tano.  General Obi-Wan Kenobi is on missions of his own.  And General Yoda is fighting right alongside the troops.  As the Jedi are spread across the galaxy

Yet not everything is as it seems.

General Information:

-Genre: Computer-Animated Military Action/Adventure

-Creator: George Lucas

-Length: 7 Seasons, 133 Total Episodes (19-26 minutes per episode)

-Rating: TV-PG (mild sexual innuendos, kissing, and risqué clothing choices, mild to moderate cartoon violence and gore depending on the season, use of the word “hell” throughout the first 6 seasons, mild use of alcohol, smoking and mentions of a drug called “spice” though it is never used on screen, moderate frightening and intense scenes with many later episodes being very dark)

-Where to Watch: Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ahsoka Tano, Yoda, General Grievous, Chancellor Palpatine, Padme Amidala, C-3P0, R2-D2

-Page of Reference in RP1: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

Ok so I am going to try and do this review in the most comprehensive way for my brain.  First things first is a general review.  I love the narration of the film.  It feels like old 1940s News Reels that would play before movies in the theatre.  The whole “see the front lines as they advance against the enemy!” and “buy bonds! Help our troops” stuff.  The paint on their uniforms reminds me of how WW2 pilots used to paint their planes before going on a mission.  The pinups and the souvenirs that some of the troops have taken from the battlefield all scream this as well. It’s a really nice little nod to the fact that this is all about a war.

The animation style is a little odd, but it should be ok after a while.  And I do love the fact that they are treating the animation as an action movie with dynamic animation, film angles and action.

I am going to try to review this in “story arcs” since the officially released (and highly suggested) viewing order is not in the order they aired.

S2:E16 “Cat and Mouse”, S1:E16 “The Hidden Enemy”, Star Wars: The Clone Wars (animated film)

This is a really a great start to the series.  Everything is being explained in a way that is important and essential to the story.  There are internal conflicts that will come up.  And so many little things that I think will become subtle nuances and nods to World War II and The Cold War.

There was some use of obviously derogatory words in the series which don’t exist in our world, but you can tell were based off the inherent bias that comes when you are fighting an enemy.  It isn’t ok but I defiantly got the feeling from some of the terms that they are meant to be acceptable. 

Ventress is an interesting new character.  I’m digging the little flirty thing that she and Kenobi have going on. It s really funny and obviously ties back to unseen moments between them before we start watching what is going on during the war.

I’m really interested to see where all of this goes, and I hope that we get a lot of the other characters that I’ve heard so much about.

S3:E1 “Clone Cadets”

So, we get to see the behind the scenes of the Clone Soldiers training.  Its something that is really important to see.  Obviously, we know that the soldiers need training as any other military outfit will need to do.  Yet in the main films all we see is them working and fighting.  I like seeing these little details.

Its also kind of fascinating that they Jedi aren’t training them…though that does make sense because there aren’t enough of them to go around.  But I find it intriguing that bounty hunters are being used to train the troops.  It is a group of people that can train others and have the fighting abilities.

The show also brings up the question of morality of clones.  Are the clones their own persons? Or do you treat them the same as a non-sentient droid?  Is numbering them a way to dehumanize them?  What do you do when they malfunction due to the issues with the cloned DNA?  We also get to see the attitudes that different characters and even races have towards the clones from irritated to compassionate to indifferent.

S3:E3 “Supply Lines”, S1:E1 “Ambush”

At first, I thought “Supply Lines” was a continuation of “Clone Cadets” but that isn’t the case.

We got to see some of Senator Organa’s negotiation tactics.  We are getting the stories of how the Republic is getting around recruiting…or even is recruiting…the assistance of neutral planets.

Ventress is back.  We get to see how she is going to act and negotiate in the war.  And of course, seeing Yoda work in awesome because he’s so very small compared to the droid army, the clones…basically everyone around them.

The are doing a great job showing how fluid war is between the current fights on the ground, trying to protect the people of the planets they are on… the war and the battles are constantly in flux and you have to think on your feet.

The Separatists don’t mind being evil and sneaky when it comes to any of their missions.  Which I’m not surprised about.

S1:E2 “Rising Malevolence”, S1:E3 “Shadow of Malevolence”, S1:E4 “Destroy Malevolence”

Yay! Anakin and Ahsoka are back.  I can’t wait to see more of them in action. 

Of course, they go off course and seek out a rescue mission. And of course, it ends up being for the greater good.  They have saved a great Jedi General (and learned some more about Ahsoka’s past).

We get to figure out the weapon and hopefully they can get back to report on it.

This is the first time that we get to see General Grievous.  He’s an interesting specimen.

Now that we know who the enemy is, we are good to go to follow the rest of the story line with an attack on the ship and the new ion cannon.  Attempt number one to take out General Grievous.  We know how this will work if you’ve seen Episode 3.  This is all super interesting to see in the long run.

Anakin is off on another dangerous mission as per usual.  And he pulls it off.  We get to finally get a little bit of Padme.  She is one of my favorite characters in the universe but her storyline in the movies is quite unsatisfying.  I hope we get more of who she really is and what she is capable of.

The relationship between Anakin and Padme is going to be fun to see as it unfolds. 

S1:E5 “Rookies”

I don’t know if I can say it enough but the theming for this whole show is incredibly well done.  Between the old war reel feel of the intros to the war radio to how they get their armor painted.  It just has such a satisfying feel to it.

Ooh…I guess I’ve not really paid attention to the armor that Obi-wan and Anakin are wearing.  It’s a really nice combination of their Jedi robes and the armor the clones wear.  It’s a nice touch of solidarity with their armies.

And there is a Hoth-style situation with the droids infiltrating the quiet base in the midst of an asteroid shower.  I guess Domino team is getting the action they were hoping for.  The fact that the show gives us stories from all different levels of the military.  It isn’t just focused on Kenobi, Anakin and Ahsoka…  obviously Grievous and Dooku play major rolls but the fact that we see all the levels from training to the Generals makes for a very dynamic show.

S1:E6 “Downfall of a Droid”, S1:E7 “Duel of the Droids”

Yay a storyline where we will hopefully get more about Grievous and Anakin and Ahsoka.  I love seeing the two of them work together even though Ahsoka is so tiny.  She’s so young.

The way Grievous moves is so cool.  The animators have done and incredible job of giving him that balance between his old human self and the movements that humans would kind of stick to (things like a limp, his cough, the slouch) but then he does things that are so distinctively droid from his flips and the way he handles his weapons.  Its really an interesting feat of animation.

Poor R2-D2.  Though it is interesting to find out bits and bobs about droids as well.  I don’t know much about the extended Star Wars universe so its really interesting to me to get to find out things like the types of droids, what they look like, and their series numbers.  I like the little details that are super subtle.

Ahsoka verses Grievous.  That is a great battle.  The fights in this are so much fun to watch.  They really treat it like an action movie not a traditional animated show. 

S1:E8 “Bombad Jedi”, S1:E9 “Cloak of Darkness”

Padme Going to do this diplomatic mission alone will henceforth be known as mistake number one.

Cool we get to see Greedo’s people.  Grodians.  They haven’t’ really been in anything to date.  This was defiantly a trap.

I have no idea how no one figured out that Anakin and Padme were together.  Like there is a Jedi robe literally hanging in her private ship.  There are so many moments like this in the films that its insane to think that nobody figured out their more intimate and personal connection.

Its always great to get to see Padme working to get herself out of bad situations.  This is the Padme I love.  Not the lovesick girl that is in Episode 3.  The headstrong and courageous person she shows off in Episode 2.  I’m sol glad they decided to keep that in this show.

Seeing other Jedi is always a treat.  Since the focus of the main movies is the Skywalker story we just get to see so many of them in passing.  Shows like this are giving a chance to actually see not only the greater universe but to experience so many of the different worlds and the people on them.

More Ventress.  I’m all for that.  She’s an incredibly interesting character.  I still can’t figure out exactly what she wants out of everything.

Ahsoka is very brash.  She needs to get under control.  I understand that her Master isn’t always the most levelheaded…particularly when it comes to his attachments but still.  Though I guess being able to read the Viceroy well enough that she knew he would only respond to fear is a big deal.

Ooh.  Are we getting Ventress and Ahsoka?  The last fight se was in was great.  I love the way she holds her lightsaber. Its so different than many of the other force sensitive fighters.  Man.  Ventress is a beast.  And Ahsoka has so much raw and untapped power.  Geeze.  Where did she come from?

S1:E10 “Lair of Grievous”, S1:E11 “Dooku Captured”, S1:E12 “The Gungan General”

The lair of Grievous is fascinating.  We finally get an answer to how he has so many lightsabers.  This is the first time we see Grievous kill a Jedi and take the saber.  Its kind of horrible that these are his spoils from war.

Seeing more Jedi, how they fight, their personalities is going to make Order 66 even worse when it finally happens in Episode 3.  I’m glad to get more stories and more of the backgrounds of the world but it will make their deaths even worse in the long run.  It was bad enough that you know the majority of them die before or during this order.

Hmmm.  A set of bounty hunters actually captured Dooku and took his lightsabers.  That’s fascinating.  And the payment that they want to return him is a LOT of money.  This is one of the episodes that mentions “spice” which is implied to be a drug of sorts worth quite a bit of money.  It is mentioned at other times throughout the universe, but this is the first real mention of it in this series.

I’m sure Padme does not feel great about sending Anakin and Obi-wan into the fray without weapons.  It would be quite unsettling to send your partner into that situation in order to get ahold of a war criminal.

Anakin and Obi-wan always getting in trouble.  Let’s see how they get out of all of this.  That name sounds familiar.  Hando.  Where do I know that from?

Honestly, this is one of the less riveting storylines, but it is essential to the overall plot of the Clone Wars.

S1:E13 “Jedi Crash”, S1:E14 “Defenders of Peace”

Getting to see all of the different Jedi in this series is just a treat.  In my mind I knew that there were many of them from different races across the galaxy but since the main films focus on the Skywalker line this is the first time, we get to see other Jedi in more than just passing…or that one big battle scene in Episode 2 where a bunch of them come to the aid of Padme, Anakin, and Obi-wan.

Anakin and Ahsoka always getting into trouble.

Ooh that was a rough landing.  Such a crazy situation to be in with Anakin possibly dying, almost ending up in a star…. That was a lot.  I’m sure this will not be the first nor the last time these two will be in this kind of situation.

Sometimes I forget that this was meant to be for older kid and teens.  There are so many deep lessons in it.  This one makes an excellent point. 

While liberty is worth fighting for, is it worth killing for?

What is courage?  Is it fighting for a cause or sticking to your beliefs?

Are your beliefs worth dying for?  Does mounting a defense the same as fighting in a war?

When you don’t agree with the Creed you were raised under do you still defend it?

So many important questions that people often don’t think about.

S1:E15 “Trespass”

A new frozen planet that we haven’t seen before.  Just like we know that there are more desert planets like Tatooine its nice to see that there are other snowy and frozen planets, swamp planets…etc.  It shows so much diversity in the people that evolved from these kinds of worlds.

This episode is interesting because it’s the first time we are dealing with something that isn’t the Separatists.  There is obviously an internal conflict between the elected Senator and her people.  Everything points to something besides the Droid Army doing the damage here.  Maybe the planet/moon isn’t as uninhabited as everyone believed.

Oh, I don’t like the Chairman.  He’s really horrible.  He has the mentality of the Imperial Army and later the First Order.  This idea that there are people who are less than…who are not worthy or advanced enough to be protected.  That there are savages in the world.  It’s a horrible viewpoint.  All races and species are worth protecting.  He’s a hideous leader.

Diplomacy should always be tried first.  Finding peaceful resolutions and negotiations should be the first choice.

S1:E19 “Storm Over Ryloth”, S1:E20 “Innocents of Ryloth”, S1:E21 “Liberty on Ryloth”

So Ahsoka gets her first squad.  Let’s see how she handles losing men for the first time.  Such a teachable moment for Anakin.  This side is one that we don’t get to see from him in the Saga films.

There are so many heavy things that they deal with in this show.  Not just the morality of decisions that need to be made in war but how to deal with grief, survivor’s guilt, PTSD…the fear and pain that comes with it.  

Its time to come up with a better plan.  The reactions they have created are so incredible.  They not only fit the characters but also align with typical reactions seen in different situations of war and trauma.

Another of Anakin’s crazy plans.  Ahsoka gets the chance to be in charge.

For once we get to see them use a ship in a different kind of situation. I know that we often turn ships in space in a way that makes the most sense to our brains, but the fact is they don’t have to come from the same “up” direction.  Ahsoka using the bottom of the ship to protect the most important parts of the ship like there it is a blockade on the ground is absolutely genius.  There is no reason that these kinds of maneuvers shouldn’t be used more often.

Seeing so much diversity in the different species that are presented in the show is wonderful.  We don’t get much of the stories and interactions like this in the Saga films because it isn’t totally relevant to the story.  But in the extended universe like this we actually get to see what is happening on many of these planets.

Those are fun little mini AT-ST walkers.  It’s a great way to get around some of the battle fields.

Always more to the story than what is seen on the surface.  The Separatists are absolutely horrible.  You can see where the ideals of the later Empire come from.  We are seeing it through both the Separatists army as well as in some of the different worlds we have come across.  This idea that some people are meant to be possessed. That they are lesser.  Its only an ideology that leads to what happens later.

S2:E1 “Holocron Heist”, S2:E2 “Cargo of Doom”, S2:E3 “Children of the Force”

Ahsoka is grounded.  Its nice to see that even Jedi Padawan get grounded.

Cad Bane, a changling, and a droid walk into a bar…. Ok sorry but seriously.  It’s a good thing that Ahsoka had to answer for her indiscretion and that means that Anakin and Obi-wan were at the temple temporarily.

Interesting.  Kyber crystals with all of the information about every force sensitive child in the galaxy.  That is fascinating but makes sense that you would have to have some sort of list.

I like that we are getting to see what happens when Jedi work in tandem.  They can see greater futures, manipulate the Force in greater ways, and even break into strong minds if they work together to a particular goal.

Cad Bane is going to be another one of those fascinating characters.  I’m sure that we will see more of him in the long run.

Rating: