Monday, December 20, 2010

The Clone Wars Review: Pursuit of Peace

Su cuy'gar, everyone! I bet you're wondering why I haven't gotten to Pursuit of Peace until weeks after its debut. Well, I have a very good reason. Aliens from a galaxy known as Southern Maine Community College took out my brains and replaced it with DOS code and algebraic formulas and made me take some tests. I was too smart for 'em, though!

However, the real, non-copout excuse reason is that I've been watching Megas XLR. ALRIGHT?! YOU CAUGHT ME, I'VE BEEN WATCHING BETTER SHOWS THAN THE CLONE WARS. And why shouldn't I? It's one of the best original shows to come out of Cartoon Network, especially compared to today's nonsense like Chowder and those stupid non-cartoon shows on CN these days like Tower Prep or whatever the hell it's called. Dude, if your show's on Cartoon Network and it's not a cartoon, WE HAVE A PROBLEM. Ah, I miss the days when Cartoon Network was awesome, and we had Ed, Edd & Eddy, Megas XLR, and Dexter's Lab running rampant with our brains...

But enough ranting like some retroderp. Back to the subject at hand.

I don't even know about continuity with this show anymore, what with Farr being alive in the season after he was murdered, or why the show is allowed to be this boring. There should be a law that has a specific limit on how many episodes centered around Padme and/or diplomacy per season, that limit being three or four at max. Granted, placed well in a season, these shows can be a good change of pace to show the other side of the war, the diplomatic side, showing the fall of the Republic from the outside and from within. But when we have an ENTIRE HALF SEASON dedicated to it, WE DON'T CARE ANYMORE. I DON'T CARE HOW MUCH THIS WAR IS COSTING, OR HOW IT'S TAKING A TOLL ON THE CITIZENS OF THE REPUBLIC. I just wanna see Rex kick some clanker shebs, ALRIGHT?! IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK?!

Sorry, this show's wearing on my patience, and this episode really makes me not give an osik about Padme or any of the Senators. I just wanna punch them and go watch clone troopers fight. Which I doubt the creators wanted, but hey. Whatever. This is what I have to review, and I AM GOING TO FINISH THIS REVIEW IF IT KILLS ME.

Now allow me to continue SHOUTING AT RANDOM. Which I will probably do a lot throughout this review.

If he could be turned... he would make a powerful SPOILERS!

So, once again, Tom Kane recaps the previous episode, telling us how the banks have now been deregulated, and the Republic will be getting more troops, escalating the fighting which we have yet to actually see any of. We cut to the Senate where everything is pretty much out of control, as the members of the Senate are all high-strung about the attack on Coruscant (Which appears to have done absolutely nothing since power's back everywhere) and about the clone bill and the costs and the *THUNK* Zzzzzzz.

Seriously? I'm as angry as anyone in the Senate, but because I don't care about what's going on. We've heard this a thousand times before, why is it suddenly supposed to be interesting? I don't want to see the Senate paying for clone troopers, I WANNA SEE THE SHABLA CLONE TROOPERS.

I do find it amusing, however, when some of the Senators call Padme a traitor. Pay close attention in that scene. Some of the Senators yelling at Padme will later be seen speaking with her about ending the war in the deleted (but still canon) scene from Revenge of the Sith, concerning the Delegation of the Two Thousand, a movement to open peace talks with the Separatists. HA HA HA man these guys writing this show aren't even paying attention.

So we learn that Mina Bonteri is now dead, and Republic intel notes involvement by Dooku's thugs. Bail Organa and Padme talk about defeating the bill, and Bail talks about how, to do it, he'll need "Ammunition".
"We can't afford ammunition, remember?"

*cue collective groan*

Padme and Farr head to the Banking Clan to discuss interest rates. Turns out they'll be asking for a 25 percent rate, but the real problem with all of this is I don't care. At all. How is this supposed to be entertaining for kids? Interest rates? Banking deregulation? WHO CARES?! JUST GET TO THE FRIGGIN' ACTION ALREADY!

Blah blah blah, Banking Clan is evil, Dooku is powerful, skip this scene. Bail and Padme talk about the bill, and- Y'know what? Whenever the topic is politics, I'm just gonna do this- LOLMONEYLOLSENATELOLPOLITICS

So the two talk about LOLMONEYLOLSENATELOLPOLITICSLOLMONEYLOLSENATELOLPOLITICSLOLMONEYLOLSENATELOLPOLITICS, and we cut to the next scene where Farr is going... somewhere, and is jumped by a Selkath and that weirdo Duck Tales reject from Season 2. Okay yeah, that Selkath being there is pretty awesome. So we cut to Padme talking to some Senators, talking about LOLMONEYLOLSENATELOLPOLITICSLOLMONEYLOLSENATELOLPOLITICSLOLMONEYLOLSENATELOLPOLITICS,
and Farr tells Padme about the thugs. Cut to a Coruscanti cantina where WHOABOY, is that Twi'lek poledancing? Sans clothes?

Y'know, for kids!

and Padme convinces Bail to speak out against the bill.

Y'know, I can't remember exactly when, but when my friend Screech and I were watching this, we ended up getting into a discussion about how if  Padme and Bail weren't married to other people (thus making Padme a gratuitous plot point for Episode III), the two would have made a perfect couple, then we got into how an affair between the two would have made for a really amusing plot point for this show. We weren't even paying attention to the show at this point.

So Padme and Farr are dropped off at a Quarren's residence, where said Quarren appears to keep the Wisps from Sonic Colors as pets in a fishtank. (Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?) They talk about how the clones are/aren't people, and more about LOLMONEYLOLSENATELOLPOLITICSLOLMONEYLOLSENATELOLPOLITICSLOLMONEYLOLSENATELOLPOLITICSLOLMONEYLOLSENATELOLPOLITICS
Farr and Padme part and Padme leaves to roam the streets alone like a FREAKING IDIOT, considering she's being TARGETED BY DOOKU'S THUGS. The Selkath and the duck fish dude get the jump on Padme, natch. Two droids attempt to apprehend the pair, but they get shot down.

See, if the Coruscant Guard were here doing their jobs, this wouldn't be happening. Padme's an idiot.

So when Padme doesn't see her driver she hijacks a speeder bike and we get a somewhat creative but mostly boring speeder chase through Coruscant. In lieu of trying to explain this scene, I'm going to stop paying attention to the episode and watch this instead.

So Padme is caught by the CSF. Later, Padme is being attended to by one of her aides, and Padme eventually asks about how the war is getting worse for her family. The next morning in the hangar, the two thugs try to off Bail, but end up failing again. Bail is taken out temporarily, and it falls on Padme's shoulders to give the speech. But OHNOES, PADME SUDDENLY DOES NOT HAVE CONFIDENCE ANYMORE. Padme's aide then gives her a boost of confidence in the form of her headdress that looks like her hair (WAIT A SECOND, I thought that WAS her hair in the headdress, now it's a hat wig thing?!) Anyway, we cut to the Senate where Padme gives a rousing speech, but all I hear is LOLMONEYLOLSENATELOLPOLITICSLOLMONEYLOLSENATELOLPOLITICSLOLMONEYLOLSENATELOLPOLITICSLOLMONEYLOLSENATELOLPOLITICSLOLMONEYLOLSENATELOLPOLITICSLOLMONEYLOLSENATELOLPOLITICSLOLMONEYLOLSENATELOLPOLITICSLOLMONEYLOLSENATELOLPOLITICSLOLMONEYLOLSENATELOLPOLITICS
 I don't care.

I don't care.


Nobody cares. Does anybody care? Probably not, because this is NOT INTERESTING. Yes, your Senate set is very pretty, Filoni. We're sick of looking at it, can we PLEASE go to new worlds and see war now? Thank you.

Anyway, after the speech, we get the only real payoff this craptastic half-season has led up to. We cut to Chancellor Palpatine's office, where Palpatine is actually acting evil. This is actually somewhat remarkable, since we really haven't seen a whole lot of this in this show- Sure, we've seen little shades of Sidious and we've seen him in his robes on hologram, but have we ever seen him really acting evil in office? Not so much. Him and Mas talk about how they need to let the wheels of democracy turn, and then, on that note, we end the episode HOLD ON A SECOND THERE. NO, DON'T ROLL THE CREDITS, DON'T SLAP ME WITH THE THEME SONG, I WANTED TO SEE MORE OF THAT! I WANTED TO SEE MORE EVIL PALPATINE!! WHAT THE HELL?!

*sigh* I am SO sick of this drudgery. You, sitting there in your comfy computer chairs, probably think I have a blast watching Star Wars and making fun of it, and... you're probably right. Making fun of it is amusing. But this kind of episode, this kind of boring drudgery, seeing the magic and the fun just sapped out of something I've held dear since my childhood... It pains me, dear reader, it hurts to watch Star Wars fall so far that it's turned into such a terrible show. However, the next half of Season 3 holds promise, with Savage Opress, the Nightsisters, Republic Commandos, and Ahsoka turning to the Dark Side. The Clone Wars won't be returning until next year, let's hope the break does some good in getting the show some better writers. However, I won't bid farewell, as I have plans- I'll either probably end up doing another MSOSW segment or review the first story arc of Transformers: Prime- a show which genuinely surprised me with how good it is, as opposed to this, which surprised me with how boring it's gotten. How sad.

Anyway, if I don't post this week, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Hannukah, Happy Life Day, and, to all my Mando'a vode, K'oyaci! God bless us, every one.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Clone Wars Review: Heroes on Both Sides

Su cuy'gar, everyone, and welcome to another Star Wars: The Clone Wars review!

Honestly, I can only talk about how awful this season is so many times before it gets stale, so I'm just gonna talk about the episode. For an episode entitled "Heroes on Both Sides", I was expecting a heck of a lot more action. Nobody does anything particularly heroic, we don't really see that there are any "heroes" on the Separatist side, and we know of the heroes of the Republic only because they've been previously established as heroes. Kinda false advertising, if you ask me.

And kudos to the writers for asking the questions we've been wanting since Season 2 (Are we doing the right thing? Are we doing it for the right reasons? Who is it, exactly, that we're fighting?), but better late than never, I guess. (Personally, I've been asking questions of this show like "Where are the Coruscant Guard" and "Why did Lucas and Filoni let such ineffectual writers work with this show", but haven't gotten any answers.) Although considering this episode apparently takes place in the middle/towards the end of the war, I guess now is as good a time as any. The jist of the Clone Wars is essentially the Jedi enter a war, and as it drags on, they begin to question the how and who and why, but when they finally discover the answer, it's too late. I suppose the first two seasons are essentially supposed to be that beginning period where the war has just begun, and most of the Jedi haven't begun to question the motives or consider alternatives, as Palpatine so deftly pulls the strings of his galactic puppet show, leading the Republic to its downfall. And, considering that Lucas and Filoni talk of more seasons (As in, plural, so we're at least getting a season 4 and a season 5, and perhaps a 6.), I guess now is a good time to establish changes in the war, from facing a clear-cut evil to a mysterious enemy among the Jedi, as the Dark Side continues to take its hold on the galaxy.

But... it's just NOT VERY INTERESTING. I am truly sick of all these diplomatic missions, just get to the friggin' action already! With the way I just described it, you'd think this "turning point", the fulcrum of the lever that is the Clone War, where lines blur and black and white become hues of grey, would be a little more epic! On a grander scale, with more war! It's not! It's boring! There are huge plot points happening here, and nobody's paying attention because it's JUST NOT INTERESTING!

Here's how I think this episode SHOULD have played out:
(Note: It's been established that not all Seppie fighters are droids. The books and comics and even the 2003 cartoon detail more warriors than just droids, a good example being the Quarren Isolation League who fought in the Battle of Mon Calamari.)
During a battle on a Separatist planet, Ahsoka, a Separatist commander, a few Seppie foot soldiers and a small group of clone troopers get trapped in a network of caves miles beneath either of their bases. When they all come to, the clones and soldiers start fighting, but Ahsoka realizes that the only way they will get out of this situation alive is if they work together. While they try and find a way out, Ahsoka and the commander talk about their factions' different points of view, and the clones talk to the soldiers about similar topics. At first, the two groups hate each other, but they soon agree to disagree and eventually become friendly with each other, at one point the Commander saving Ahsoka's neck (Somehow.) Eventually, they find a way out. Ahsoka is able to convince the commander to surrender because the Republic has greater numbers and firepower, and the two part. Here, this could go one of two ways: Either the commander could say that he'd fight to the bitter end for his planet's freedom, but he admits that he does not want to fight against his newfound friend. Or, the commander returns to his base and orders a cease-fire. This can either end with the planet deciding to remain neutral, or the commander being killed by Dooku for his failure. Or both. This idea can be tweaked and messed with how you like, but whatever way you slice it, it'd be a heck of a lot more interesting than THIS.

Alternately, you could have a situation where a clone trooper/officer (Rex would be a really good candidate for this) and a member of Death Watch are stranded on a planet/moon during a space battle. Same situation, they have to work together to survive, but they talk about Mandalorian heritage and virtues, exchange a few Mando'a swearwords, and realize that they're fighting for very similar ideals, and their only real difference is the faction they swear loyalty to. Again, they eventually get off the planet/moon, go home, but remain friends of an enemy. (Alternately, if it ends up not being Rex, the trooper could defect and join Death Watch, setting up some REALLY interesting episodes later when Death Watch fights the trooper's old squad.)

Man, I should write for the Clone Wars show. Who writes this garbage? I should replace them.

Anyway, for the time being, all I can write is reviews of ridicule, and that's exactly what I am going to do for the time being. So let's dive right in to Heroes on Both Sides!

Search your feelings, you know it to be SPOILERS!

So Tom Kane sets up the episode by showing us how the war seems to have no end in sight, and that clones are suffering casualties in the war, but instead of watching cool things like THAT, we are taken to an emergency session of the Senate to "determine the true cost of the war". Again, I'm getting a distinct feeling of cocktease from this, because with this opening narration, the show is basically saying to us, the viewers "There's a huge war going on with action and violence and death and plot, but we're not going to show you that. Instead, have the same exact session of the Senate we've rehashed a hundred times in this show about how the war is costly and/or wrong!"

The Senate session this time is, again, about a bill to create more clone troopers for the GAR. Normally, I would hate this kind of rehashing of plot points, but then I sit back and think- Bills and proposals in our government many times take weeks, months, sometimes years to get through. In these years, the bill/proposal in question is brought before our own Congress and President (Or local government, depending on what the bill/proposal is designed to affect) a number of times if it does not succeed the first time. So far, the bill to create more clone troopers has yet to succeed, so it only makes sense that supporters of it are trying to get it to pass.

So the villains in the Senate (Such as the Trade Federation reps and the Kaminoan rep) are trying to push the bill, when Padme steps in and says it's not a good idea. Since apparently the Seppies can't be negotiated with, we get another chant of "vote now, vote now" before Bail steps in and suggests tabling the bill. Which is exactly what happens. After the session, a Muun (Banking Clan) rep and a Nemoidian (Trade Fed) rep convene with a representative of an unnamed planet (He's a minor character, so it doesn't matter where he's from), determining that Padme Amidala is the problem, being one of the few voices of reason in the Senate. Unnamed rep offers to hire someone to deal with her, but the Nemoidian turns him down, saying that doing so is more difficult than he might realize. (Haha, Episode II reference.) Then the Muun and Nemoidian have an interesting bit of dialogue I'd like to share with you.

Muun: "Gentlemen, the Banking Clan and the Trade Federation are about business, not violence."
Nemoidian: "In this case, our business IS violence."
Muun: "Precisely."

I just find it interesting that the Muun says one thing, the Nemoidian more or less contradicts him, and the Muun agrees with him.

The two then determine that perhaps it is time for some "unexpected bloodshed" on Coruscant, citing the planet's false sense of security and that, were the planet attacked, the Republic would fall to pieces. When we cut back to the Senate, Padme is talking to Anakin, who is sporting a new look. Personally, I dig Anakin's new style, it's got more conventional Jedi robes (Which we don't see Jedi in anymore), and Anakin's grown his hair out a bit, which harkens closer to his style in Episode III. Following them is Ahsoka TanWHOABOY, did SHE grow up fast. Ahsoka's sporting a new look as well, with slightly taller montrals and longer head-tails, showing that she is, in fact, growing up a bit. But then this sort of brings up the issue of timeline; when does this all take place, and how is it, in such a short period of time, that Ahsoka grows three inches and a bra size or two?

Now, before you all jump on me, rabidly yelling "AAARGH TIMELINE SCREWUP FILONI SUCKS", let's think about this rationally for a few minutes, 'cuz hey, maybe there's an answer to this mess.

However! To understand anything relating to the passage of time in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, you must first understand the timeline in which this series takes place, and how events fit into this three-year period. So if you haven't already, I highly recommend you read my Making Sense of Star Wars: Timeline of The Clone Wars segment, as I will be using terminology (I.E, Early War, Year 3, etc) from that post and essentially be assuming that you read that segment, so don't come crying to me if THIS explanation makes no sense if you didn't read the Timeline segment first.

If you were too stupid to figure out that the underlined title above was a hyperlink, click here to go to Making Sense of Star Wars: Timeline of The Clone Wars.

Now, concerning Ahsoka's age...
It's been established by a number of canon sources that Ahsoka is fourteen years old by the time Anakin takes her as his padawan learner. (George Lucas said once that she was eleven when the series begins, but we all know he's slowly growing senile from all the Star Wars he's been involved with over the years.) Now, the Clone Wars span three years, as discussed in MSoSW:TotCW. Assuming she's fourteen in the film, she very well could have turned fifteen in Season 1, as early as the first or second episode (Who knows, maybe she became a Padawan right before her birthday) during the beginning/middle of the Early War year, then turned sixteen in the beginning/middle of the Mid Year war. This does raise the question of why nobody has noted that she's grown older, but to be fair, I don't think anyone has ever had a formal "birthday", per se, in Star Wars. So, by that logic, Ahsoka, with her new outfit, montrals, bust and all, is now sixteen in this episode. This does leave us with a small time gap placed before the events of this episode, given that nobody grows that much overnight, but that's fairly negligible for the purposes of this writing.

Anyway! Getting back to the episode!

The three talk about how peace is the right way, Jedi need to look for peaceful solutions, Anakin argues that politics isn't his role. When Ahsoka brings up advising the Chancellor, Anakin hastily suggests that Padme teach Ahsoka about politics. In a previous review, I had mentioned that political allegory really doesn't have much place in Star Wars, but Ahsoka said something that I honestly think rings true in our own world, and our own wars.

"Truthfully, I don't understand any of it. I know the Separatists are evil, but all anyone argued about was banking deregulation, interest rates and, well... Almost NOTHING about why we're fighting in the first place."

Anakin's response is, in my opinion, rather fitting, and fits with his character, which keeps the political undertones firmly grounded in Star Wars fiction instead of the episode becoming a watered-down attack on our own government. However, I can't help but wonder how many people on our side of the wars we fight actually share his view.

"War's complicated, Ahsoka. Let me simplify it. The Separatists believe the Republic is corrupt... but they're wrong... and we have to restore order."

I'll let you draw your own conclusions from that, but honestly, it makes sense that that's what he believes. Padme thanks Anakin for his help and leaves, taking Ahsoka with her, saying she's going to teach her about politics.

Oh good, so we're going to focus on Anakin and the 501st again? HAH.  HIGHLY unlikely.

We cut to Dooku talking to Grievous on his flagship, about the Senate. Y'know, 'cuz Grievous is such a political being. They talk mysteriously about some mission Grievous is going to enact, before we cut back to Padme's apartment, where the two are talking about how talking with the Seppies is illegal, and how it's a shame the Jedi can hold "aggressive negotiations", but peaceful ones can't prevail. The two devise a plan to visit Padme's Seppie friend via smuggling Padme behind enemy lines. Ahsoka then has an interesting line of dialogue, saying that Padme and Anakin have more in common than they think, and it's no wonder they get along so well. Padme just shrugs it off. I find it amusing that Ahsoka hasn't read any more into their relationship, at the very least coming to the conclusion that they at least like each other. For such an intuitive (sometimes) padawan, Ahsoka can be pretty dense sometimes.

Cut back to Grievous, where he plans to deploy the "Infiltrators", droids designed to infiltrate (natch) the most secure places on Coruscant. But what will these villainous creations do?

We won't find out at the moment, because Ahsoka and Padme are on their way to Raxus! Their ship lands, with the idiot droids not noticing the Togruta and Senator among the passengers. The two meet up with Padme's friend, Mina Bonteri, a Separatist senator. (Huh. Didn't know THOSE existed.)

Actually, for all the bashing I do on this season, this episode does bring up a few interesting plot points and answers some questions; specifically, how Dooku and Palpatine keep the Seppies under their thumb, and why the Republic doesn't attempt peace talks with the individual planets. Reason being, they have a setup that isn't so different from the Republic, with a Senate and whatnot, but the man in charge still calls the shots. Doesn't make up for the complete lack of any kind of action, but it's nice to have some clarification.

Mina warmly greets the pair, and takes them to her home. I actually kind of like Mina, as she kind of strikes me as the kindly grandmotherly type, which does show a different side of the Separatists. The side that is still human, not necessarily evil, the side that really does believe that the Republic is corrupt, but aren't all bad guys. We're introduced to her well-dressed son Lux, who doesn't appear to be much older than Ahsoka. Amusingly, Ahsoka isn't fond of Lux, giving him a strong glower when he tries to take her bag.

When they go inside, Ahsoka makes a blunt comment about the Seppies being responsible for the war, but Mina brings up a good point- The Separatists feel the same way about the Republic, that it's corrupt, and not doing the right thing. Mina mentions how clones killed her husband, and Ahsoka sees herself out.

Way to make everyone feel awkward, Ahsoka.

Back on Corsucant, the "cleaning droids" arrive, much to the pleasure of the Coruscant GuaWAAAAIT A MINUTE.

I refer you to my review of the episode "Assassin"  for my full reaction. However, Filoni, I'm still VERY sour that you insist on relegating these awesome characters to mere cameo appearances. I DO NOT APPROVE.

Back on Raxus, Lux strikes up a conversation with Ahsoka. He mentions that Ahsoka is a Jedi, and that he used to be told that Jedi were good, but now that the war has begun, he doesn't know if that's the case. Ahsoka responds by asking if she's the first Jedi he's met, saying "Look at me. Not so bad, am I?" To which Lux gives her elevator eyes (And giving the audience a good look at her new outfit), responding "No, not bad at all." Ahsoka rolls her eyes, annoyed, saying that, whether they're Republic or Seppie, boys will be boys.

Hun, you just came back from your last episode significantly sexed-up. You basically stood there, posed, and ASKED him to get a good look at you. What were you expecting, a friendly handshake?

Lux turns around and asks her how many Seppies she's met. She admits that, aside from military officers, she hasn't met any. Lux amusingly asks her if he's "so bad", to which she respondsOHWAIT jump cut to Padme and Mina.

Padme "senses Dooku's dirty hand in all of this", to which Mina responds that he only leads the Senate, not the entire universe.

OH lady if only you knew who DID lead the entire universe.

The two talk about how they agree how the war needs to stop, and Padme tells Mina of her plight. Interestingly, the Separatists are in a similar situation. Padme advises that Mina suggest peace talks with the Republic, and Mina agrees. Padme sees Lux and Ahsoka outside, talking, and Mina and her old friend toast to peace, and to hope.

Lux/Ahsoka. I can just sense the horrible, horrible fanfiction being written at this very moment.

Actually, bad fanfic aside, this would be a very interesting plot point, if Ahsoka and Lux fell in love. Screw Romeo and Juliet, we've got a GALACTIC CIVIL WAR going on, that oughta step things up a bit for a romantic subplot.

Later, at the Separatist Senate, Mina is suggesting peace negotiations, but is met with strong resistance. Dooku mentions that they need to vote for anything to happen, and when the votes are counted, it seems the ayes have it- Time to open peace negotiations with the Republic and end this war!

Wait, what?

Back on Coruscant, The Banking Clan and Trade Federation are planning their attack, and on Raxus, Ahsoka and Padme finally depart for home. Ahsoka and Lux say goodbye, hinting that Lux has a thing for Ahsoka.

Back on Coruscant, the Infiltrators are doing their job. Grievous orders them to initiate Phase II of the plan, and the droids converge to a single point after a commercial break. The droids drive up to get past the security check, headed by Commander FoxHEEEEY WAIT A MINUTE.


The droids, with fake work orders authentic enough to fool the Commander, get past the security check. Fox doesn't even catch that the droids, programmed for "generator maintenance", are going the wrong way.

Why, Fox...? Why didn't you catch that..?


*muffled crying*

Anyway, in Palpatine's office, Palpatine is sporting a new robe. They talk about the peace vote, and Palpatine mentally puts Bonteri on his hit list, saying that he'll put the vote on the floor. Down in the generators, the Infiltrator droids kick some serious ass and kill the entire maintenance crew and, while the vote begins to go through, the Infiltrators set themselves up on the generators and detonate, which cuts power across all Coruscant. DUN DUN DUUUUNNNN, CUE THE OMINOUS RED LIGHTS ON BACKUP POWER.

Without power, Coruscant is thrown into chaos. Palpatine ends up deregulating the banks, and Padme returns Ahsoka to Anakin like a borrowed Pokemon. Anakin chastises her for going to Raxus to meet with Bonteri, saying that the Republic has eyes and ears everywhere and that her trip was dangerous and illegal, saying she'd gone too far. Ahsoka says that Anakin would do the same, but Anakin says she's gone too far. We end with Ahsoka mentioning that the politics of the war aren't as black and white as she once thought, and on that, we roll the credits!

Okay, so, admittedly, this wasn't a bad episode. In truth, I would go so far as to say it was GOOD, but... It's ill timed. If the Lucasfilm team honestly wanted to sell this episode, they would have put it in the middle of episodes centering on the goddamn CLONE WARS. Heck, we don't even know what's HAPPENING in these galaxy-ravaging conflicts anymore, other than what the Senate has to say, and they're all idiots! Can we PLEASE be done with the filler and get back to the actual war? PLEASE? Yes, this episode brought up some interesting plot points/plot devices, but it just wasn't that interesting. And it's on the tail end of uninteresting filler. The only clones that showed up were just STANDING AROUND. For it to be a "Clone War", you need both clones AND war. Take either one of them away and it's not the CLONE WARS anymore.

All we're asking for is Star Wars. That's all we want, Lucasfilm.

Until next time, k'oyaci!

Making Sense of Star Wars: Timeline of The Clone Wars

Su cuy'gar, everyone! With this post I bring you not a review, but something different! Something new and exciting! Welcome to the first segment of Making Sense of Star Wars!

Like most fans of the Star Wars saga, I would really like to make sense of the series. However, there are times when that seems impossible, even with Leland Chee and his Holocron continuity database. Sometimes things need more explanation, sometimes books, shows or movies don't fit in a conclusive timeline, and sometimes things just defy explanation. George Lucas certainly has made a mess of his saga, especially when it comes down to the Clone Wars. A lot of the timeline of the saga is relatively solid (with some canon issues here and there), but this three-year period between EpII and EpIII seem to be the messiest part of George Lucas' grand vision. And that's where I come in! With this blog entry, I aim to create a sub-division of the posts I make here at Clone Army Reviews, called Making Sense of Star Wars. When I come across something I would like to explain, speculate about or make sense of, I'm going to post it as a MSoSW post, and try my best to shed some light on the issue. In these segments, I'll try and explain the subject matter as best I can in a way that can be easily understood by someone actively reading and absorbing the information, but if I really go off the deep end and start babbling on and making no sense, leave a comment, directly quoting (That means copy/pasted, in quotation marks "") the part that didn't make sense to you and I'll try and explain it better.
So, that said, let's jump into the first segment of Making Sense of Star Wars!

And what have I got in store for our first segment?
The timeline of the Clone Wars, of course! Nothing is quite as in pieces as the Clone Wars' timeline.

I was in the middle of writing my review for Heroes on Both Sides, in which I try to explain why Ahsoka suddenly looks like she's at least a year or two older. I realized that, to explain anything relating to the passage of time in The Clone Wars, I first needed to make sense of the Clone Wars as a whole. I went off on a mad rant explaining how everything fit together, before I realized that it broke the flow of the review, and I would probably be best off writing a separate blog post explaining the timeline, as I might have ended up writing more about the timeline than the actual episode I was reviewing. This post consists of that explanation, and concludes it, providing a timeline with both Genndy Tartakovsky's and Dave Filoni's cartoons. It does not deal with the specifics of Ahsoka's physical maturity, that is detailed in the Heroes on Both Sides review.

As I have not read the comics or plowed through all the books (Note: There is a small aside at the end about where the books/comics fit in the whole timeline), today I'll mostly be dealing with the two main media outlets for The Clone Wars; the television shows. Genndy Tartakovsky had a go at telling a grand tale of Star Wars once, and by the Force was it grand indeed. Then Filoni came along, and with Lucas' help, made a mess of the timeline. Well, we have all the pieces in front of us, let's try and figure out what's what!

NOTE: This explanation does not take into account direct clashes in canon, like the Battle of Coruscant, which was depicted in both Genndy's 2003 Clone Wars cartoon and the novel Labrynth of Evil. Karen Traviss' novels are another matter entirely, and I will attempt to mesh them with the Mandalore story arcs of Filoni's Clone Wars cartoon in another Making Sense of Star Wars segment.

It's an established fact that the Clone Wars lasted three years (22 BBY to 19 BBY). For ease of explanation, let's divvy up the war into three sections, each represented by a year- Year 1, Early War (22-21 BBY, when the conflict began in its early stages) Year 2, Mid War (21-20 BBY, when the war reached a turning point and everything started to become muddled and unclear) and Year 3, Late War (20-19 BBY, when pretty much everything went to hell). If we try to mesh Genndy Tartakovsky's cartoon with Dave Filoni's, we more or less come up with something like this- Genndy's story from the beginning of Season 1 to mid-Season 2 (when Anakin is knighted) details the very beginning of the Clone Wars, probably taking up a good part of Year One, the Early War year. From Anakin's knighting to the scene that takes place directly after the ceremony, there is actually a huge time gap (Even though the show's pacing and editing would lead us to believe it is a much smaller time frame). The time period between before and after Anakin's knighting in Genndy's show is where the entirety of Dave Filoni's (so far) takes place. Much like Episode II and III, which jumped from the very beginning of the war to the very end, Genndy too leaves us with a large, unfilled gap, which is slowly but surely being filled by this new show. This actually works well because, while Genndy's cartoon was very grand and very busy, it detailed only a handful of key events in chronological order; specifically the Battle of Muunilist, the Battle of Mon Calamari, the Battle of Dantooine, the Battle of Illum and the Battle of Hypori, which takes place off-screen. Other key events that happen in Seasons 1 and 2 are Asajj Ventress' introduction and presumed death, along with the introduction of Grievous at the end. The battles on Muunilist, Mon Calamari, Dantooine and Illum are all concurrent; happening at the same time. Anakin's battle with Ventress on Yavin 4 didn't last any more than a day (As the Battle of Muunilist, which Anakin was fighting in when he left, was drawing to a close when Anakin left, and the clones and Obi-Wan were cleaning up when he returned. Also, on Yavin 4, late day became night during the fight, and had not become day again while Anakin was there.) The beginning of Season 3 of Genndy's cartoon (when the show had become fifteen-minute mini-episodes instead of the five-minute microepisodes the first two seasons had done) wraps up the Battle of Hypori and then proceeds right into Anakin's knighting in Year 1, then jumps to the third year of the war, the Late War year of 20 BBY to 19 BBY, leaving out a large part of Year 1 and completely skipping Year 2. The period before the time jump, because it detailed only a few key battles and events that were all happening at about the same time, could have been told over the course of somewhere between a month to half a year, give or take. (The same idea of things happening at the same time could be applied to the new cartoon as well, if we begin to have continuity issues later on top of the ones we already have.) Dave Filoni's The Clone Wars picks up more or less right after Anakin's knighting. (SPECULATION: Given that Anakin has grown out his hair a bit and he has matured slightly, I estimate that the period between the knighting and the Clone Wars film spans somewhere between a few weeks and two months.) It picks up in the middle of Early War (22-21 BBY), and if we approximate a rough timeline, Season 1 and somewhere between the first three quarters to almost all of of Season 2 cap off the Early War year, and mid- to end-Season 2 is when the Mid War year begins, which then leads into Season 3, somewhere in the early to the middle of the Mid War year, which takes place between 21 and 20 BBY. This puts this episode, the "current" episode, which constitutes where in the war we are now (since the next episode, Pursuit of Peace, is an out-of-order episode from before Onaconda Farr is murdered, as Farr is still alive in that episode), placing us somewhere in the Mid War year, probably either at the end of 21 BBY or the very beginning of 20 BBY, assuming the years change in the middle of the year-long periods. To make a rough timeline of it all...

Genndy Tartakovsky's Show

Genndy's Season I, Season II, Season III Pre-Knighting (Battles of Muunilist, Mon Calamari, Dantooine and Illum)= GTS1, GTS2
Undisclosed Period of Time = UPT
Genndy's Season III Post-Knighting (Concluding battles of the Clone Wars) = GTS3
Episode III, Rise of the Empire, end of the Clone War = EpIII
YOU ARE HERE = Where in the timeline we are now as of the most recent episode, as of this writing, with Heroes on Both Sides being the latest episode. This will not be updated, so essentially this means where Heroes on Both Sides is.

Timeline graphic: (Notes: Timeline reads from top to bottom, events are bolded for ease of reading. V indicates forward direction of time passage, and order in which events take place.)

EpIII, End of Clone War

Filoni's Show (Out-of-order episodes not taken into account)

Dave Filoni's Show

Dave's Clone Wars Film = DFCWF
Dave's Season I, Season II, Season III = DFS1, DFS2, DFS3
Dave's future seasons, unproduced episodes = DFFS

Timeline Graphic:

Other events
EpIII, end of Clone War

Now, if we mesh these two timelines together, what we get looks something like this...

Timeline graphic:

EpIII, End of Clone War

Now, when we take all this into account we need to remember that, even between episodes, there are gaps that can be filled, and events that can take place in between the episodes of these shows. The period between two battles can span anywhere between a day and a month, if not longer, so a number of events can occur either concurrently or between episodes. These events are detailed in the comics and books, among other media. While the comics and books do not enjoy as high a canon status as the films and shows, they are still a vital piece of the Star Wars saga that can fit in between these stories. One example is Jedi Trial, which tells a tale of Anakin before his knighting, where he befriends a particular Jedi Knight and leads a battle on the Outer Rim world of Praesitlyin. Because individual battles in either show are never set in stone as to exactly WHEN they take place (I.E. the Battle of Muunilist could have taken place mere days before Anakin is knighted, but by the same token, it could also be a period months, enough time to wage more battles on more planets), Jedi Trial could take place anywhere in the war before Anakin's knighting. Many, if not all of, the books' and comics' stories, many of which center around characters other than Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi (unlike the shows, which focus most of their energy on the pair) could be melded into the timeline in the same manner, being explained as concurrent events, battles occurring between episodes, and so forth.

And there you have it, Clone Wars' timeline explained. Whoo, what a rush! I hope that made sense to you, 'cuz I swear it made sense in my head as I was writing it.

Be sure to catch the next segment of Making Sense of Star Wars, where I try to mesh Karen Traviss' Republic Commando novels with Dave Filoni's Death Watch story arc, which takes place on Mandalore. Said segment might end up being a good bit of speculation, but I will cite only canon information relating to the books and episodes and try to come up with a solution, provided Filoni doesn't bring us back to Mandalore. (If he does, Vizsla needs to shoot Satine in the face.)

Well, until next time, k'oyaci!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Clone Wars Review: Hunt for Ziro.

Su cuy'gar, everyone! I hate Ziro the Hutt!

A lot.

And really, who actually LIKES this character? He's a sexually ambiguous hutt with an annoying voice, serves no purpose, and wastes a REALLY cool name. What if I wanted to name a fancharacter Ziro? I couldn't, 'cuz the fanbase would be all "Oh, like that annoying purple people eater hutt?" Ziro needs to die.

Aaaand that's where this episode comes in! Again, a mediocre work. Granted, it's better than the other garbage this show's been throwing at is (IGN has given each of them at least a "passable", for video game reviewers they are WAY too nice to this show.), but it takes all the boring and replaces it with bizzare, weird and disgusting.

Y'know, for kids!

And while I do appreciate the fact that this show is willing to go to "darker" areas, that only works if the episode is any good. Is it? Well, I'll let you judge for yourself.

As if millions of voices cried out in terror... and were suddenly SPOILERS!

So, in case you didn't see the onslaught of advertising for this episode, Quinlan Vos finally makes his debut in this show!

Now before we go any further I need to say I know nothing about Quinlan Vos except that he was kind of a jerk in the comics, turned to the dark side at one point and survived Order 66 on Kashyyyk. So my assessment of his character is going to be fairly unbiased going in to this episode, seeing as how I don't know if he's faithful to his source material or not. So if you hate him, go ahead, you probably have your reasons that I am not aware of, since I barely read the comics anyway.

So Tom Kane fills us in on the events of Hostage Crisis, putting things back into timeline perspective and showing the Coruscant Guard doing their jobs for once (In recap form, of course. New material with cool characters would be silly!) Obi-Wan and Quinlan Vos are on the case, and we cut to Nal Hutta, where the Five Hutt Families are trying to figure out what to do with Ziro. This is a rather interesting conversation, if only because we don't entirely know what the Hutts are saying, we only know that through what Ziro is saying. But really, I gotta ask- Why not subtitle the Hutts' speech? It'd make Ziro's dialogue in this scene less stilted and forced. He has to repeat everything the Hutts say so the audience knows what's going on. It's determined Ziro needs to be kept alive because he holds highly sensitive information in his memory.

Cut to a landing pad on Coruscant, where Obi-Wan is troubled. Cody picks up on this, with Obi-Wan responding that Quinlan Vos has that effect. His ship arrives after a little dialogue, and Vos leaps off the Larty and sticks the landing, complementing Commander Cody and telling Obi he looks "worse for wear". He asks "how's temple life", only to receive a glower from the Jedi Master.

"Good to see you too."

So Vos and Kenobi discuss the mission and board the shuttle, heading to Nal Hutta... without Cody.

Yeah, sure, leave the coolest character in this episode behind, that'll go over well with the fans.

So, we return to Nal Hutta, where... What the HELL?!

The Hutts are watching Avatar extra rejects in ridiculous headwear dance around, and- WHOA SY SNOOTLES, where did you come from.

Okay... So... after that... BIZZARE bit of Hutt... um, ENTERTAINMENT... Sy Snootles goes to Ziro's cell, and... wait, Sy is Ziro's girlfriend?! WHAT THE HELL?!


My mind, she is broken. Help.

Okay, I need to step back and ask- WHY was this necessary?! I mean, REALLY? This concept has an ungodly amount of disgusting, 'cuz, y'know, it's SY SNOOTLES AND ZIRO THE HUTT, two of the most REPULSIVE CREATURES IN THE GALAXY. Together. I don't even want to KNOW how they- UUUGGGHHHHHHHH.

Hey, new credo- Knowledge sucks.

Okay, that scene's FINALLY over. Kenobi and Vos land on Nal-Hutta and are led in by some Gammorean guards. Obi-Wan addresses Gardulla the Hu- Wait, Gardulla?

As in, the Gardulla Jango Fett killed? By shoving into the mouth of a Krayt Dragon?! And then proceeded to KILL said Krayt Dragon?!







 Okay so Obi-Wan and Vos address the Hutts and try to get some info on Ziro. Vos picks up the cup Ziro was drinking from before, and senses that he was there. As the two leave, Vos tells Kenobi. Soooo Vos can use the Force to sense things... relating... to... objects...?

Ah whatever, it's the Force who cares.

HEY LOOK IT'S CAD BANE, THE COOL DUDE. Welcome back, Bane, we missed you.

So Kenobi and Vos find out that Ziro escaped (Big... flippin'... surprise.) Vos thinks he had help (Y'know, 'cuz a half-ton obese slug can totally escape on his own.), and the two run off to find him. When the Hutts find out that Ziro escaped, they think the Jedi did it (Why they think that I will never know), but Bane tells them that Ziro was probably gone way before the Jedi even got there. Of course, the Hutts hire Bane to find Ziro.

Meanwhile, Quinlan Vos is apparently a bloodhound or something because he's trying to track down Ziro with his "tracking skills".

Um, woof woof?

Kenobi comments how this would go faster had they brought a droid (Or, I dunno, specialized clone troopers trained for tracking situations) when a huge eel jumps out of the water and attacks our heroes!

Which is the eel from Episode I... which is not able to breathe on land.


Anyway, they head off to follow Ziro, who goes to a mysterious house in the swamp. Said house contains... a seven-ton hutt that's Ziro's mama.

So what is it with Ziro's family line, anyway, where the males are all femmy and the females are all butch? That's messed up, even by Hutt standards.

Getting back to the episode, Cad Bane and Todo (I guess Bane had a backup Todo for this kind of thing...) are in hot pursuit of Ziro, along with Kenobi and Vos. After a quick commercial break, the two Jedi decide to investigate Ziro's momma's house. Vos is the single least tactful being in the galaxy, apparently, because instead of just walking in the front door, he CHOPS IT TO PIECES AND SHOVES THE PIECES IN. Then he runs into where Ziro's momma is and makes a rude comment about the smell. Momma tells them that Ziro left for Teth, and the Jedi leave.

Meanwhile, on Teth, the single most horrible couple in Star Wars history go graverobbing to find the records this episode has been solely centered around. Sy Snootles picks it up and WHOA PULLS A GUN ON ZIRO. Ziro pleads for his life, but Sy just shots him dead.

Three... two... one...

Bane arrives on Teth with Todo, finding the dead Hutt, mentioning that he hates it when someone does his job. Hey, I'm just glad someone did it in the first place. 

Bane and the Jedi banter a bit, before engaging in what actually is a pretty cool fight scene. I don't like describing fights as it spoils the action and doesn't do them justice, but at one point, Vos is tied by the legs, Bane uses a bunch of his wrist gauntlet gears, and fights Obi-Wan with Vos' lightsaber. It's actually a cool sequence that really shows that even though Bane isn't Force-sensitive, he can hold his own against a pair of Jedi.

Said fight scene is punctuated by a bad pun. Cue collective groan.

Back on Tatooine, Sy is paid by Jabba for getting the records, and the episode kind of just ends there. Roll the credits!

Well, this certainly wasn't a boring episode. Just... kind of... an offensive one. The Hutts are gross enough as it is, then Sy getting involved, and that mother Hutt.. EW EW EW I NEED TO TAKE A SHOWER NOW. This would have been a nice change of pace if the rest of the season was good, but really, this is just going too far. Can we PLEASE get back to the Clone Wars already, Filoni? This is just getting boring.

Until next time, k'oyaci!

Commander Ben

Sorry Folks

So, what have I stacked up, three reviews now? Man, I'm behind. Sorry, guys. I don't have any real reason for not keeping up with this. I'm a college student, what do you expect. Besides, these episodes haven't really given me much motivation to do any in-depth reviewing on them anyway. But I'm back, and now that Clone Wars won't be back until January, I'm just gonna crank these out like CRAZY.

WHOO! Wish me luck!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Clone Wars Review: Evil Plans

Su cuy'gar, everyone, and welcome to another Star Wars: The Clone Wars review.

Season 3 makes me sad. I was expecting a really action-packed, thrilling, gripping, war-rife season of The Clone Wars that asked tough questions and brought up uncomfortable truths, striking at the heart of the Republic and the Jedi and bringing the galaxy closer to its downfall. Now, what have we gotten so far?

A really awesome season premiere, one good episode, and lots and lots of filler.

And somehow Lucas and Filoni thought this would be entertaining for some reason.

What makes you think I know.

So! Another Friday, another Clone Wars. And, for all our suspenseful two weeks of waiting do we get? More filler. Seriously, this show has more filler than MS Paint Masterpieces.

So, let's not waste any more time, the show has done enough of that for the entire Outer Rim. Let's dive right into Evil Plans!

I sense a disturbance in the SPOILERS!

So the opening narration tells us Cad Bane has been hired by Jabba the Hutt to do something awful that we do not know about, and we begin the episode with Padme preparing for a party.

Isn't there a Clone War going on? Y'know, with Jedi and clone troopers on the front lines, fighting and dying for liberty from the evil Separatists? Isn't that, I dunno... the title of the show?

You'd think that'd serve as a constant reminder to the creative team as to WHAT THE SHOW SHOULD FRELLING BE ABOUT.

Anyway, Padme is fretting and Anakin is all "Stop worrying", but it turns out the garnish for a cake is missing.

The more of this review I write, the more I realize how incredibly stupid this episode is when we could be getting real Clone Wars. I want to cry now.

So Anakin sends Artoo and Threepio to go get some. (As a side note, I do like that this is a droid-centric episode, as A. It could be a lot worse, it could be ruining Mandalore. and B. I love Anthony Daniels.) So while they wander the streets of Coruscant, Cad Bane is spying on the two of them, determining that C-3PO is the target, and sends Todo 360 (Who... got... blown up in Hostage Crisis... GAH CONTINUITY HEADAAACCHHHEEE) to "do his job". So 3PO haggles with this fruit dealer, who says that four fruit will cost four credits... each. 3PO hands over 16 credits, but the guy apparently meant 32. 3PO then proceeds to fill in the educational quota of the episode and teach some math, but the dealer won't have any of it.

Yawn. I'm bored. Wake me when the episode gets interesting.

So Todo 360 tries to convince R2 and 3PO to get some fixin' uppin', and R2 runs off, much to the frustration of 3PO, who Todo shoves in a speeder and takes off.

Seriously! What delusion are Lucas and Filoni under to think that we would find this entertaining?! There is a galaxy-wide WAR going on and the best plot they could think of is "R2 and 3PO go grocery shopping"?! Why?! This isn't entertaining, this is mindless drivel! This is boring! This is stupid!


So 3PO gets kidnapped and R2 goes to this droid sp- Wait, they just called it Droid Spa.

I do so love it when the show makes the jokes for me.

And 3PO meets Cad Bane, who shoves him in another speeder and takes him away, while R2 is sitting in a droid hot tub. Commercial break.

So Cad Bane begins to plug wires into C-3PO. While R2 continues getting his droid massage, we cut to C-3PO getting tortured with electricity, which is continually juxtaposed by R2's getting overly pampered. Seriously, I'm dozing off at this point.

Turns out Cad Bane is looking for plans to the senate building that C-3PO does not have in his memory. 3PO slips out that R2 is generally used for that sort of thing, and Bane dispatches Todo and an IG droid to look for R2. They find him quickly, but R2 evades them and bolts down an alley. IG and Todo look for him, but find nothing. As Cad Bane continues to needlessly torture C-3PO, Todo remarks that R2 is not around. He continues on to say that he'll destroy 3PO until he gets the information, and R2 lets himself be found, 'cuz he loves his gold buddy.

3... 2... 1... Awwwwww.

Anyway, returning from commercials that are infinitely dumber (yet more entertaining) than this episode, Cad Bane hooks up R2-D2 to the same device 3PO was on, and gets the plans for the senate building, planning to dump the two on the streets after wiping their memories of the day's events.

Meanwhile, back at the party, Padme is greeting people and DEAR LORD HER HAIR. Is that her hair or did she take to wearing a dead animal as a hat? She whispers to Anakin (Why is he there? Wouldn't a Jedi in a Senator's apartment arouse some kind of suspicion that they might be... involved?) that she doesn't know where 3PO is.

So Todo and the IG droid remove the restraining bolts from R2 and 3PO, dump them into the streets, where they pick up the fruit (which nobody's picked up off the street, how convenient) and head back home.

Cut to Tatooine where interesting things are happening. Cad Bane hands the plans over to Jabba, who hands him a stereotypical suitcase full of money, and says he needs more assistance. Jabba talks to the Hutt council (From the five Hutt Clans), and confers with them about rescuing Ziro. (So I guess they're trying to pass off that Hostage Crisis takes place after the events of this episode, and before the events of the next.) They decide to bust out Ziro, and Bane says that he'll take the job on.

But wait! We're forgetting the most important part of the episode!


Well, in true stereotypical storytelling fashion, the two appear at the last possible moment, where it turns out Anakin is a complete moron as he's not really worried about the fact that the droids can't remember for the life of him where he's been, nor is Padme. And I will admit, one of the most amusing things about the episode happens here, because when the rabbit droids all finish the cake, they go "Yaaaay!" It's rather amusing.

And the episode ends with the oh-so-important cake being finished, and Padme telling 3PO he did a magnificent job, about which he will not shut up. YAAAY THE CAKE IS A LIE!

Roll the credits! Show us Quinlan Vos and Ziro and Cad Bane! Maybe the next one will be good, eh?

Anyway! Episode's over, and how does it hold up?

Meh. It's all right. I'm just really sick of all the stupid, boring filler that tells parts of the story nobody needs to know and is uninteresting. In addition, there's a few stupid things that are overlooked due to poor storytelling. Namely:

1. Why wouldn't Bane know which droid was holding the plans? I mean, sure, there's a chance they could have hidden it in 3PO for safekeeping, but protocol droids aren't used as glorified walking USB drives, everyone knows that. They're used for "etiquette and protocol", not for storing... well, anything, really. And second, if he DIDN'T know, why didn't he just take both droids?

2. Why does R2 have the plans for the Senate building inside him anyway?

3. Early on, 3PO drops the fruit, which is apparently at least semi-valuable. Why doesn't someone pick it up?

4. Why does Bane need to zap droids to get info out of them?

5. Why isn't Anakin worried that 3PO doesn't know where he's been all day?! For all he knows, the two could have been captured or- OH WAIT THEY WERE.

On a side note, it's nice to know that glasses exist in Star Wars now. I saw an Ithorian with them in this episode.

Anyway, while it was nice to get R2 and 3PO back together for this episode for some great dynamic we haven't seen in a while, this filler was just kinda boring. Here's hoping next week's is better.

Until next time, k'oyaci!

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Clone Wars Review: Assassin

Su cuy'gar, everyone, and welcome to another Star Wars: The Clone Wars review.

So, lemme guess- You think I hate this episode, right? I've bashed on the rest of Season 3 and you bet this isn't gonna be any different. Well... You're right and wrong on that point. This one was just "okay". It was fairly weak, but it was alright. Only problem is it's come in on the tail end of a LOT of not-really-relevant or interesting episodes, so I can't help but yell at the TV to get to the friggin' action already. So, what sort of pointless mediocrity occurs in this one? Well, let's dive right in and find out.

That's no moon... that's a SPOILERS!

So basically this episode is the one we saw in a lot of Season 3 trailers where Ahsoka is having premonitions. Now, I always thought this would have been cool, and whenever I saw those trailers, I thought to myself "Wow, what could she be dreaming about? The death of her master she must prevent? An entire squad of clones being destroyed? The fate of an entire battle, or even a turning point in the Clone War? What?!" And it turns out... she's dreaming about Padme being shot at.


Why. How is that even interesting at all. I mean, we know she LIVES, and we already had this stupid plot device in Revenge of the Sith. There, it worked, 'cuz she was gonna die! Here, it doesn't, because it's just stale and ripped off and disappointing! This had so much potential, but here it's just a wasted filler episode in Season 3. Thanks a lot, Lucas and Filoni.

So she has her first dream with Aurra Sing in it, where she strangles Ahsoka and says "She will die, and there's nothing you can do." So she wakes up and talks to Master Yoda about it. They have a discussion about it, ripping off Anakin's scene in Episode III pretty shamelessly. Cut to the library, where Ahsoka is studying, thumbing through a list of bounty hunters, the starts to doze off, having another dream. This time, Ahsoka is rushing through a hallway, and we see Aurra Sing accept a job to kill Padme, she takes aim, and the dream ends with a blaster shot. Ahsoka determines that Padme is in danger (Gee, what gave you that idea) and heads off the next morning to visit her. She talks about how she's having dreams about Padme dying, and it turns out Padme's going to Alderaan, despite what Ahsoka says. Ahsoka goes off to have another vision, this time a short one of Aurra Sing targeting Padme in a blaster sight. She returns to Yoda again to speak with him, who tells him to choose how to deal with it, telling her "Always in motion is the future, and many possible futures there are."  She ends up going with Padme to Alderaan for "extra security". Commercial break.

Cut to mid-voyage where Ahsoka and Padme are playing that game from A New Hope. It's a nice geek-out moment that this episode has a few of, and it shows the two bonding that the last few episodes with these two has kind of completely forgotten to show us. So at least that had some meaning. Ahsoka talks about how without Anakin, she's a little lacking in confidence. Padme talks about her time as queen in a fairly predictable sequence, that, again, I'm glad is there because really, the whole "Ahsoka and Padme being all chummy" thing makes little sense without. That night, Ahsoka begins to dream AGAIN. This time, her dream is really short, but she wakes up, and Aurra Sing is RIGHT THERE. Gasp. She wakes up again (Dream within a dream thing), and runs to protect Padme, thinking the assassin's inside, but realizes that there's nothing there and walks off.

We FINALLY get to Alderaan and I marvel at how some of the 2D backgrounds behind the buildings are rather elegantly painted. Padme meets up with Bail Organa, who takes her to her quarters. Ahsoka decodes that the plot is moving too slowly and that she needs to have a vision to liven things up. This time the big reveal is the room she's in when she gets shot, and she tells Padme about it. They take her to the conference room, which Ahsoka recognizes that this is the room Padme gets shot at in the dream. Padme asks if in the dream, Aurra Sing succeeds, and Ahsoka replies she's not sure, even though in one dream Padme is clearly dead, and another she clearly gets shot at.


Outside, the two talk more, probably to instill anti-confidence in Ahsoka and pad out the length of the episode. Come time for the conference, Bail is talking, and introduces Padme, who begins to speak. However, trouble is brewing in the air vents (I think, they're tall enough for a Senate Commando to stand comfortably at full height in) as Aurra kills said commando and begins to snap together her sniper rifle. Ahsoka senses something amiss, and tries to stop the assassin by giving her a force shove, but it's too late- Aurra, dressed in Ahnold-style commando makeup, takes the shot, hitting Padme. She fires on Ahsoka, who gives chase, but she gets away, Bail yelling for a medic. Commercial time.

Cut to outside the medical room. The droid comes out.
"It's twins!"
"Wait, what?!"
"Oh, sorry. With all this premonition dreaming crap I thought we were filming Revenge of the Sith in Five Seconds. She's fine. It's just a flesh wound."

Of course, that's not how it REALLY goes down, but how it SHOULD have.

Anyway, I chuckle because of the thinly-veiled Monty Python and the Holy Grail reference ("It was only a flesh wound.") Ahsoka goes in and apologizes, and she and Bail try to convince her to return to Coruscant, Padme decides otherwise, and Ahsoka gets an idea. So the conference starts (again), I pick out an extra that looks like Mario's Princess Daisy from the crowd, and Aurra starts sneaking around. As Padme talks, Aurra sneaks around and it turns out she's wise to Ahsoka's idea, which turns out to be replacing Padme with a droid.

Aurra finds the room Padme is broadcasting her speech from, and tries to take another shot (no pun intended) at killing her, but Ahsoka shows up at the last possible second and deflects the blast, pulling Aurra down from the air vent embarrasingly. Aurra blasts the controls to the door, Aurra tries to kill Padme and blasts Ahsoka in the arm. When she falls, Padme is waiting, blaster on stun, and... well, stuns her. Typho and some Senate Commandos make it into the room, and we cut back to Coruscant where Padme's ship finally docks, surrounded by the Coruscant Guard, and- Wait, what?

The Coruscant Guard is there?!







*takes some chill pills and drinks some water* Okay... Continuing the episode, Ahsoka tries to have a vision on the landing platform, about a large, devouring purple shape with bizzare laughter.

So the person who hired Aurra was a one-eyed, one-horned giant purple people-eater. And y'know, it sure looks strange to me.

Heck, maybe THIS is the vision she had.

Anakin says how there's a lot of people that want revenge on Padme, but Padme adds that not a lot of them are huge, hungry and purple.


Anyway. Anakin and Ahsoka and a Coruscant Guard trooper head to the jail to visit Ziro the Hutt, where Ziro, who I'm not sure is a he or a she (I think this hutt is genderless anyway) where he/she is tricked into admitting that it hired Aurra Sing.

This gives me a continuity headache, because we know at the end of Season 1 that Ziro was busted out of jail, so that means that this episode took place before then, as did the Mandalore episodes, plus the Mandalore story arc from Season 2 and a lot of others, not to mention the film. This places Hostage Crisis (end of Season 1) at the very end of this whole timeline... Errrrggghhhhh. This also means that because Aurra assisted in the plot to free Ziro, she'll have to be freed eventually, too. Or Ziro was locked up again and we just didn't see that, but that's just stupid. I think the writers just forgot that Ziro was freed in Season 1 and brought it back for convenience. Leland Chee is going to have a field day just trying to figure THIS out, much less the entirety of this frelling cartoon.

Thanks, writers. Bang-up job screwing with continuity.

So, that's Assassin! And in the end, how does it fare?


By no means is this a strictly "bad" episode, like, say, the recent Mandalore ones were. It really is just that- okay. It's not excellent, nor is it poor. It's filler is what it is. There are a few cool geek-out moments and the fact that Ahsoka is dreaming up premonitions at all is kind of neat. But it's really a huge waste. It's a waste of time, a waste of an episode, and a waste of potential. What really gets on my nerves about this episode are two things, one of which is said wasted potential. These dreams could have been really, REALLY cool, about something really awesome. But instead we get a poor EpIII ripoff nobody wanted. But hey, at least Aurra's still alive, right? (I know she was a shabuir to Boba, but I'm actually starting to like "Babe Fett".) The other thing is that the Coruscant Guard is just there to cocktease us at this point by just being there, like the writers are saying "Hey, want these cool characters with lots of potential for a cool story? Huh? Do ya? Well TOO BAD WE'RE NOT USING THEM."

The more this season drags on the more I get the feeling that the whole season is just filler for the three seconds Delta Squad is in their respective episode.

Filoni, I am disappoint.

Until next time, k'oyaci!

Random Rants: Originality, Dreamworks, and Blue Brainy Dudes

It's really hard to be original these days. Everything's already been done. Aliens, robots, swords, knights, sci-fi, superheroes, zombies, zombie superheroes, etc.

Okay, I made up that last one, but Marvel or DC probably shoehorned zombie Superman into a comic at least once. (I don't know, I don't read comics.)

Anyways, it's impossible to be totally original. If you want to create something with originality, you have to take an existing idea and make it fresh and new, pump it with new ideas, and/or present it in a new way we haven't seen before. By no means is this easy. But by the same token, unoriginality is really easy. Take an existing idea, change the names and faces and maybe a few elements, slap your name on it and call it good.

And no unfairly successful film company has the unoriginality gig down pat quite like Dreamworks Animation. Very few, if any, of their more popular films, are original concepts, mostly drawing off of existing materials. Now, that wouldn't be so bad if they tried to do it in an original manner, and succeeded in doing so. However, I'd like to say that the company does not have a very good track record. Some examples: Antz was a ripoff of a Disney/Pixar film (A Bug's Life) that ended up being released BEFORE the movie it was ripping off. That takes talent. Story behind that incident as follows:
Jeffery Katzenberg left Disney in 1994 to form Dreamworks. According to Katzenberg, the idea for Antz came from a 1994 story pitch by Tim Johnson that was related to Katzenberg in October 1994. However, Disney had been working on developing an ant movie since 1988. Pixar head John Lasseter pitched came from a 1991 story pitch by Tim Johnson A Bug's Life the day Katzenberg left Disney in August 1994, and said he felt "betrayed" when he learned Antz was scheduled for release before A Bug's Life. According to Lasseter and Steve Jobs, Katzenberg offered to stop development of Antz if Disney moved the release date of A Bug's Life, which was coming out opposite Dreamworks' The Prince of Egypt. Pixar refused. The release date of Antz was moved up from March 1999 to October 1998 in response to Disney's refusal. Even though A Bug's Life was the first to be pitched, Antz was finished and released first. A Bug's Life, however, was more profitable.

But enough copy/pasting from Wikipedia. Continuing on about Dreamworks. Their next film was Shrek, which, in my opinion, was merely "okay". It didn't win me over and I didn't find it hilarious, but fantasy satire was entertaining enough for a while. However, it turned out that fantasy setting + fart jokes = comedy gold, because their next film was Shrek 2: We're Gonna Have More Sequels. After that came a Finding Nemo ripoff known as Shark Tale, which wasn't quitesure what it was supposed to be marketed towards. Madagascar was an interesting film, because it wasn't directly based on anything being released at the time, but despite the creative freedom, the film turned out to be an enjoyable mediocre. It was entertaining and marketable in its own right, to be sure, but not a lot of it stood out as exceptional. After that, Dreamworks decided that the "Comic strip movie" was the new cool they had to get in on, so they nabbed license for and churned out a movie very, VERY vaguely based on the somewhat-popular comic Over the Hedge. Now, said comic was about three forest animals commentating on human life. How does that translate into an hour and a half film? Short answer: It doesn't. It trod all over the comic's established story and characters and made it into a generic (and therefore marketable and uncharming) film. Then came Shrek the Third: The Sequel Nobody Asked For. Bee Movie came next, which, like Madagascar, failed to make a real splash with the general public. (Actually, it was sort of released then forgotten about. The fate of Madagascar will be described shortly.) Kung Fu Panda was released afterward, and was a bit of a shock for me. I really thought this movie was going to be a stupid Dreamworks cash-in, but it was legitimately entertaining, well-animated, and funny. Dreamworks at its best. Then came Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, which I have not seen, so no comment, and Monsters vs. Aliens, which is as stupid as it sounds. How to Train Your Dragon came next, which I also need to see, because I've heard good things about it. After that, we got Shrek The Final Chapter: Because We Finally Decided This Cash Cow Was Milked Enough. (save spinoffs, of course.)

So as you can see, Dreamworks' stuff can be kind of hit and miss, and very little of it is really original. As a result, every time they announce a film, I'm pretty skeptical of it just being a cheap cash-in or an attempt to start what would basically be another Shrek. So upon us now is Megamind- A superhero comedy film slated for a close release date. From seeing the first trailer, I thought it was going to be stupid- a quick ripoff of more successful superhero films watered down for kids and making the bad guy good because evil is always bad. However, I recently got the chance to watch a short clip from the film- a clip that has given me hope for this movie.

This clip actually gave me a good chuckle. It's been a while since Dreamworks did that to me. Being someone who likes good villains, I think I can get behind this one if it's good.

Dreamworks, do us proud.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Clone Wars Review: The Academy

Su cuy'gar, everyone. Instead of my normal greeting, I have a question.

When did Star Wars: The Clone Wars go from the coolest show on television to the most boring?

The answer? When Season 3 hit Mandalore.

I don't want to do this, hence the review coming RIGHT before the new Clone Wars episode is set to debut. But, "weekly" means "any time before the new episode premeres" so I gotta do this.
Man, this is gonna suck.

No, Luke. I am your SPOILERS!

So, we're back on Mandalore. Ahsoka and Anakin are flying there via Imperial Shuttle Prototype #3 (Which, despite not being the Twilight (the most unfortunately-named ship in the galaxy), manages to have its interior) Also, I notice they play a few bars of Ahsoka's Theme (Heard in the original Clone Wars film) as the ship flies in to the city. Nice touch.

Anyhoo, Anakin, charmer that he is, kisses Satine's hand (Oh you masher.) and presents her padawan. However, Anakin will not be staying, 'cuz he's got more interesting things to do than this stupid episode. Ahsoka meets up with a few of her students and takes her lightsaber (Because Mandalore is wimpy), Rex wisely tells Anakin to bow out before the episode drags on to total drivel, and Ahsoka heads to start teaching.

And apparently nobody on Mandalore knows the definition of the word "corruption" (Despite the fact that you could play a drinking game this trilogy of episodes every time someone utters the word, although said game has been known to kill people) because Ahsoka teaches them what it means.

New Mandalorians are idiots, who knew.

After class, the small group of students met earlier are hanging out in... the student lounge, I guess, I dunno, and are complaining about a food shortage. After some padding conversation they go to investigate. (Hehe, Arsoka)

To the warehouse district!

One of the students hacks the warehouse door really easily with a laptop, they all hop in, sneak around, quote Han Solo, and find some guys, and listen to them talking seedily. They record it using holocam, drop their laptop, and, of course, like idiots, reveal themselves. They try to escape, guards chase them, overly melodramatic chase scene, one of the kids gets caught but gets away when another one closes the door. The seedy-looking leader of the shady individuals picks up the laptop in question and we cut to commercial.

I order you all to take a pee break.

Anyway, the kids head back to the lounge, and determine that this is "bigger than we thought". OH REALLY. Seedy policemen dealing with blackmarket offworlders isn't IN YOUR LEAGUE?

Little shabla morons.

So it turns out one of the little brats is related to Satine, and they go to tell her about it. So ignoring all the padding, they tell her, and she Satine says that she'll take care of it. Hilariously, when she says "There'll be time to save the world when you're a bit older." I am reminded of a Dexter's Lab episode "Old Man Dexter", which I would much rather be watching than this crap.

Anyhoo. Padding padding padding, they talk to the Prime Minister with purple eyes. He says to meet them late at night with nobody around and to bring everybody aware of it along with the recording.

Do I even have to say it?

Anyway, it turns out these kids are COMPLETE idiots as when Ahsoka asks what's going on, they blatantly state they broke into the warehouse to do some snooping around. Ahsoka talks with them to pad out the length of the episode, and the super annoying bell rings and class is over. That night, they head to the plaza and are trapped. 'Cuz, y'know, it's a trap. The Secret Service goes to arrest them for "treason, conspiracy and corruption", and Ahsoka saves their wimpy non-Mando hides. They deduce that Satine's in danger and head down to her reidence... turns out she's been kidnapped.

Big... flippin'... surprise.

So they go down to the Prime Minister, and Ahsoka gets the kids arrested. And I laugh. So they go to prison and the Minister (no surprise) won't tell Ahsoka where Satine is, and he goes off to make a public statement while Ahsoka makes a funny face. She goes to "interrogate" the prisoners, talk privately in the cell, and continue with the plan. Ahsoka uses a mind trick on a guard to take her to Satine, where she is being held in a high-security vault. Mind trick again, she gets Satine down, yadda yadda yadda. Satine quotes Ackbar (I'd use the image again, but I risk being stale in overusing jokes) and it turns out she wasn't actually tricking the man, he was just acting. (To great effect, I loved that part.) 

Ahsoka (Hehe, Arsoka) is stunned, the kids sit in the cell. The minister tries to get Satine to sign a confession, some stuff is said, and a shock collar is put on Satine.

Aaand cue the part of the episode I've been waiting for since Satine's debut.

"I would rather die than sign your confession!"
"That can be arranged."

Anyway, the Prime Minister has his contractually-obligated evil speech, and it turns out HE established the black market due to lack of viable trade routes to get commerce from, even though BEFORE this they were doing fine.

I... I gotta agree with Ahsoka on this, that's... pretty stupid.
They bring the kids to where all this is going down, one of the kids almost gets the shock collar, and Ahsoka picks a good time to conveniently break free. I love what the cadets do here when they're freed, they just kind of flop on the guards like fish. Fight scene happens, blah blah blah (I swear, these just keep getting more and more boring, these fights) and a shock collar gets on the Prime Minister, and he calls off the whole fight. Satine mentions how she didn't bring Ahsoka there to teach as they put away the Prime Minister.

The next morning, it's time for Ahsoka to leave, Anakin picks her up from school (Haha) and they talk about how it was risky but Anakin would have done the same, yadda yadda, roll the credits. 

Wait, did something happen? No, we just wasted a good 22 minutes, not counting commercials. Why? BECAUSE THE WRITERS OF THIS SHOW FORGOT WHAT MADE THE CLONE WARS COOL IN THE FIRST PLACE, WHICH WAS THE ACTUAL CLONE WARS.

So how does this one stack up?

So enter another episode in a long and ever-growing list of boring, pointless episodes that go nowhere and do little more than make me question my fandom. Oh well, it's really too bad, I was expecting a HECK of a lot more from Season 3, SECRETS REVEALED. Y'know, now that I think about it, I don't think anything WAS revealed so far. Like, at all. I'd foreshadow the next episode, but I'm watching it right now! Sorry if I sound rushed at the end here, but I'm watching the boringness right now! K'oyaci!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Clone Wars: Corruption Review

Su cuy'gar, everyone! And welcome to- OW.

Ow! Sorry, I- OW.

Star Wars, you are HURTING ME. This episode was so awful that it is physically hurting me.

Okay, okay, sorry. But cut me some slack, this episode was BAD. I mean... REALLY REALLY... BAD.

I really don't want to review this one because it means I have to watch it again, but... I gotta take the good with the bad. So, let's nosedive right into this starcruiser-wreck of an episode.

You are free to use any means necessary, but I want them alive. No desintiSPOILERS!

So we begin the episode learning that Mandalore is in trouble because there is little in the way of supplies other than the black market. Padme Amidala is making a diplomatic trip to Mandalore for her new BFF, Satine (Hi, when did that happen). So Satine and Padme talk about politics, Satine greets Padme in a "traditional Mandalorian welcome" (And no, it is NOT a swift kick in the teeth like it WOULD have been if Vizsla were in charge). Okay, so I can accept that this is dumb, but Satine then goes on to say "We are a people of tradition".



Your government was established less than a MONTH ago you have NO TRADITION GOING ON.

(On a side note, when Satine and Padme are riding through the tunnel, on the walls you can see the six-sided shape found on the chest of the four-part Mandalorian chest armor. Nice touch.)

So, we cut to the loading docks where some rejected Egyptian god lizards are unloading what I can only assume is the Mandalorian equivalent of Mountain Dew, when the customs official (or something) says that his schedule doesn't call for any Mountain Dew, but one of the lizards bribes him into overlooking it.


Seriously, if the Death Watch was in charge we wouldn't have to deal with osik like this.
Anyway, back in Satine's council chamber, where Satine's right-hand man is having trouble keeping the... I dunno, I guess she has a ruling council now, under control. Padme steps in and says some words, but gets shut down because the Republic is more corrupt with Mandalore. (Pfft.) They argue some more, Satine shuts them up, meeting's over.
Back to the lizards at the warehouse! Here, they're making... bottled tea, and the lizard leader mixes some toxic dilluding agent with tea ingredients to make twice the tea at twice the profit (Or something like that.), but it's only toxic if the mixture is wrong. 


Cut to Satine and Padme at dinner and- PFFT Bahahahahaaaahh what the hell are they wearing hahahahahaaaahhh
(This shot wasn't taken of them actually at dinner, but it has both of them in one shot and oh my god her hat, that is so DUMB LOOKING bahahaaah)

Anyway, the next day they go to a hospital where there's, like, a million sick, poisoned children (More like less than a hundred, since they all came from the same school) and Satine and Padme decide to investigate.

 So it turns out that they deduce that the tea is tainted, so they go to test it in... the school has a poison test lab, I guess. Anyway, Satine monologues about corruption but all I can think about is how her hair is bouncier than it was in Season 2. Anyway, they deduce that it IS the tea that's poisoned, so they head to the docks to check the logs- and GASP AND SHOCK the tea isn't there. So the totally-not-suspicious superintendant tries to flee, but is captured. Satine threatens him to talk (Man, for a pacafist she sure can condone violence when it's convenient.) He makes the excuse that the school's budget was too low (And I chuckle because of the Wiscasset budget issue, anyone who lives where I do will understand why I find this funny) So he says he dealt with a middle man who they meet up with and get more information. So they head to the dock where a shipment is coming in of poison Mountain Dew. The customs official shows up again for his "inspection" but turns a blind eye for a few credit chips.


Again, Death Watch should have been in charge 'cuz it's pretty obvious Satine does not know what she's doing.

So the captain of the police or something heads down to the docks with them where some guards are guarding the warehouse (Very badly, I might add), they get in, undramatic gunfight happens, blah blah blah. Everyone is arrested, and Satine orders the warehouse burned down for no good reason other than she's pissed off, despite the fact that there might be evidence in there that could tell them how far the corruption is spread. (Boy, for a pacafist she sure can condone wanton destruction when she's annoyed.) So they head to the prime minister who decides to investigate, and Satine goes to see Padme off, suggesting an undercover Jedi could perhaps be of some use, in, and I quote, "more ways than one".

If it's Obi-Wan, I can guess what "more ways than one" would be.

And by more ways than one I mean in BED.

Too subtle? Well, whatever.
Padme says she'll talk to Master yoda, she leaves, Satine smiles and walks off, roll the credits. Whoo, what a rush!
So, how does it hold up?

IT DOESN'T. This episode really fell flat. It was stupid, unnecessary, pointless, not gripping at all, and devoid of any action or anything interesting while trodding all over established canon all over again. Satine pisses me off to the nth degree, and I hope Vizsla shows up sometime this season to shoot her in the face, and soon. Aside from the political allegory (Which you should keep out of Star Wars anyway), this story had NO significance AT ALL to ANYTHING. I mean, really, all I can think about while watching this episode is that, across the galaxy, clones and Jedi are fighting and dying and THIS is the crap we get to slog through while that's going on? Really? Last time I checked, this show was called, oh, I don't know... The CLONE WARS?! Dave Filoni, you have failed me for the last time.

I really was expecting more from Season 3. And the next episode doesn't look like it'll be any better, where Ahsoka shows up to whip some pansy New Mando kids into shape or something, but I'm not looking forward to this one either.


*sigh* Until next time, k'oyaci.