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SPOILER Stardust's Viewing Extravaganza

Discussion in 'General Movie Discussion' started by StardustSoldier, Jan 28, 2021.

  1. StardustSoldier

    StardustSoldier Force Sensitive

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    First off, I'd like to thank @Angelman for inspiring this. I had already been gearing up for my own Star Wars rewatch starting this year, although I wasn't necessarily planning to post about it. But then I saw that he has a thread to share his thoughts as he watches through the PT and Clone Wars, and I thought that was a great idea. So here we are.

    I will be making my way through the Star Wars saga in chronological order; every film, and every season of The Clone Wars, Rebels, and Resistance. While I have seen them all before, most of it hasn't been for a good few or several years now, and some of them I only ever saw once. And since we have a bit of a wait now before our next release, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to revisit the rest of the series. I don't think I'm going to rate/rank the films and episodes, as I enjoy the vast majority of the series, but I would still like to share my general thoughts on each. This'll be a collection thread for all my SW reviews, although anyone else who wants to chime in is more than welcome to. :)

    (The Mandalorian and the other upcoming shows I'd like to get to eventually, hopefully once this is all done, but for now this'll just be everything prior to the Disney+ era)


    Review #0:

    My Star Wars Story

    It was my father who introduced me to Star Wars. Way back when I was seven years old, he took me to see the 1997 re-releases of the original trilogy. A lifelong fan was born that day.

    My family then owned the Special Edition trilogy on VHS at our old house, which I happily watched over and over again. Alas, I've long since lost that set, but I remember it clearly all the same. In later years, and still to this day, I own DVDs of Episodes I-VI, and DVDs of every season of The Clone Wars and Rebels. Prior to the launch of Disney+, I also purchased seasons 1 & 2 of Resistance on iTunes.

    The funny thing is that I'm still a fan long after my father lost interest. A few years ago, we went to go see The Force Awakens when it came to theaters. I really liked it and he didn't, and then we got into a very heated argument about it in the car ride back home. :p

    But oh well. He still did his duty as a parent by introducing me to something wonderful. Thanks Dad.

    While I never stopped liking Star Wars myself, after Revenge of the Sith I did go through a period of time where I wasn't as actively interested in the franchise and just didn't think about it as much. It's probably telling that I didn't see the Clone Wars film in theaters (the only SW film I never did see in theaters), but instead rented it from my local library a year or two later and watched it at home. And then there were no new movies for a long time after that, which was probably a big factor in my semi-disinterest. I was aware of the ongoing Clone Wars series, but it took a long time for me to actually getting around to watching most of it.

    I do remember one time when I was over at a friend's house and we did a Clone Wars marathon; we watched the film and the first ten episodes (up to "Lair of Grievous"). Even though I liked what I saw, it still didn't quite rejuvenate my Star Wars enthusiasm (possibly because I hadn't gotten to most of the truly awesome episodes yet).

    Even when the long-awaited Episode VII was finally coming out, I began to get burnt out with all the hype. But then I saw the film and thought it was great, and then suddenly it was a more exciting time to be a Star Wars fan than it had ever been. It was soon after that when I started watching The Clone Wars on Netflix, this time making my way through the entire series eagerly, up to the end of season 6 (and later 7 on Disney+). Immediately after TCW I launched into Rebels. Since that one wasn't on Netflix, I purchased the DVD sets of the first two seasons, finishing up with season 2 in time for Rogue One to arrive. The fire had been officially rekindled.

    On a more trivia-related note, the number of times I've seen each film/show (prior to my 2021 viewing extravaganza):
    • The original trilogy, too many times to count, as a kid and well into adulthood too.
    • Saw each film of the prequel trilogy when they first came to theaters, and multiple times afterwards. Not sure exactly how many times, although not as much as the OT.
    • The Force Awakens, Rogue One, and The Rise of Skywalker in theaters twice each. The Last Jedi and Solo in theaters once each.
    • The Clone Wars film twice, and every episode from "Ambush" to "Lair of Grievous" twice each. All the other TCW episodes I've seen once. I've also read Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir and Dark Disciple once each.
    • Rebels, Resistance, and the first two seasons of The Mandalorian once each.
    And with that, it is time to begin the extravaganza. I will check in with you all again after my rewatch of The Phantom Menace. :)
     
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  2. StardustSoldier

    StardustSoldier Force Sensitive

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    Review #1:
    Episode I – The Phantom Menace
    Every saga has a beginning...

    Considering how much Star Wars media we have nowadays, with still much more to come, it's strange to me to think that there was a time when it was only the original trilogy. Even stranger to think that the original trilogy explicitly labeled itself as the fourth, fifth, and sixth chapters of a larger saga, long before the first three came into existence. How many film series back then would've been able to get away with something like that? Heck, how many film series today?

    I was young back then and my memory is fuzzy, but it sure must've been weird for older fans to have spent years with the concept of this "phantom trilogy." Thus, I can only imagine how gargantuan the hype must have been once it was announced that we would be getting to see it after all.

    I first found out about the film when I was watching TV one day, and a Star Wars toy commercial came on. It displayed that the figures were for an "Episode I", which was weird for me to see toys based around a film that didn't actually exist. But soon enough I learned that the film was coming out for real. I don't recall much else about when I did go to see it in the theaters, but I remember enjoying it a lot. And this was before I used the internet much or actively socialized in any fandoms, so at the time my nine-year-old self had no idea the film was so contentious within the rest of the Star Wars community.

    But seeing it so many years later, even now as my thirty-one-year-old self, I still think it holds up very nicely. :)

    Watching it again now, one of the things I enjoyed most was seeing everyone for "the first time." Obi-Wan Kenobi, Palpatine, R2-D2, C-3PO, Anakin, pretty much all of the major characters really, all have memorable introductions to the saga.

    Speaking of the latter two, it sure is an odd detail that Anakin was the one who built C-3PO. As far as I can recall, this seldom ever comes up again in the rest of the franchise. It's to the point that I myself often forget about it. Even now, it was only when C-3PO's introduction scene came up that I was like, Oh right, he was originally Anakin's droid.

    Darth Maul, despite his limited screen time and few lines, makes for a distinct and memorable antagonist. They should really find a way to bring him back for a future movie or TV series. ;)

    And then there's Qui-Gon Jinn, who is probably in my top 5 favourite SW characters. A bit hard to explain why. I just found him interesting, and he perfectly fit that 'wise old mentor' archetype while also having a rebellious side and slight moral ambiguity to him. Out of everyone in Star Wars, he's the character I most wish we'd had more time with. On the other hand, it does make his appearance here that much more special.

    If I have one complaint with the film, it's that Anakin is just a bit too nice and sweet-natured. For the most part it works, although I think we should've started to see some glimmers of his dark side even as a child.

    The action scenes are all solid; from the opening act in the Trade Federation battleship, to the iconic pod race, and especially the epic 4-way battle at the end, stepping things up from the epic 3-way battle in Return of the Jedi. Even though I consider that to be the superior film overall, Phantom Menace is certainly not lacking in any excitement or spectacle. The victory celebration and ending is touching and satisfying too. Despite this being only the first chapter of a vast saga, it still tells a nice, complete story all in itself.

    Lastly, don't you love it when you have a piece of media you've been familiar with for many years, and then one day you still discover something new about it? At the end I noticed for the first time ever...
    After the credits are all done, you can briefly hear Darth Vader's iconic breathing.

    Well that was fun. I'm enjoying this extravaganza already. See you guys next time for Attack of the Clones.
     
    #2 StardustSoldier, Feb 2, 2021
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2021
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  3. Messi

    Messi G.O.A.T.

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    Actually the antecipation for TPM was amazing, something unique that I will never feel again. And started some years (four to be more exact) before the release of the movie.

    For me especially started with an interview of Lucas by Leonard Maltin for the release of the Remastered Version of the classic trilogy back in 1995. In every movie Lucas and Maltin talk about how every movie was made and some curiosities about it. At the end of the interview for ROTJ Lucas says something about his interest of directing the first film of a new SW trilogy! And that the new movies would be arrived soon! From that moment on we started to dream!

    During the next years I bought dozens of sci-fi and movie magazines about information concerning TPM (my first computer and internet was in 2000 only).

    Was marvelled when the teaser came out. Bought a vhs tape just to tecord and watch it hundred of times.

    And the rest is history...went to the theater all alone and watched an interesting movie but so different of the trilogy that I used to love. That was something weird. I left out the movie with a strange feeling: "Why so different?"

    Today I can enjoy TPM most of the parts, the soundtrack its one of my favorites of the entire saga, some of the designs, visuals also are one of my favorites.
    Is the only prequel movie that I still rewatch sometimes, probably because of that good feeling of nostalgia.
     
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  4. StardustSoldier

    StardustSoldier Force Sensitive

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    Thanks for sharing, @Messi. There is definitely a part of me that would've loved to have been old enough to remember what it was like in the days leading up to TPM. :)


    Review #2:
    Episode II – Attack of the Clones
    Obi-Wan: "I was beginning to wonder if you'd got my message."
    Anakin: "I re-transmitted it just as you'd requested, Master. Then we decided to come and rescue you."
    *Obi-Wan looks up at his handcuffs, then back at Anakin*

    Obi-Wan: "Good job."

    First off, I love the title. Attack of the Clones. It has such a cheesy "B-movie sci-fi" feel to it, even by Star Wars standards.

    At the time I liked this even better than The Phantom Menace. Although since then my opinion has reversed and I've come to regard that one as the better movie. I still like Attack of the Clones, but the former is more magical for me these days; it has Qui-Gon Jinn in it, it's structurally tighter, and just has more charm and wonder and fun to it all around. Attack of the Clones, meanwhile, is much more of a set-up movie for both The Clone Wars and Revenge of the Sith. Which I don't fault it for; it was a necessary set-up. But it doesn't have the same distinct beginning, middle, and end that Phantom Menace does.

    Still, I am pleased to say that I enjoyed AotC more this time around than the last time I saw it. It's not my favourite Star Wars film, but it does have its share of good moments. One thing I do appreciate is that this film has more of an air of mystery to it than TPM. Anakin and Obi-Wan working to uncover the identity of Padmé's would-be assassins, and Obi-Wan's journey to Kamino to discover the clone factory and its purpose, is all compelling stuff. This eventually leads us to Count Dooku, who's a fun, memorable, and charismatic villain. Although I still think I like Darth Maul a bit better, even before Maul's expanded role in The Clone Wars.

    The film's pacing is sometimes criticized, understandably so. More than most Star Wars films, there are a lot of slow moments here, although I was fine with them personally. All the moreso since we are about to launch into a long, galaxy-wide conflict here. Begin soon, the Clone Wars will.

    On the topic of slower moments, I've always enjoyed the politics in Star Wars. Ironic considering how disinterested I am in politics in real life. :p It's a bit weird and surprising to see Jar Jar Binks, of all people, is now a member of the senate. I guess it just shows how much he's matured and become more civilized in the ten years since we last saw him. (...or then again, maybe not, as we'll see in TCW. :p)

    That said, my favourite part of the movie is actually the asteroid battle between Obi-Wan and Jango Fett; a thrilling cat-and-mouse chase which shows Jango to be a worthy foe, enough of a match for Obi-Wan despite Jango not being Force-sensitive. In fact, Obi-Wan isn't even the one who takes out Jango in the end. You can also see why they brought back those seismic charges in The Mandalorian. ;)

    There's a cute moment during the wedding at the end that I don't know if I ever really noticed before. When C-3PO looks down at R2-D2 and rests his hand on his head. D'aww. An indicator that, despite their occasional bickering, they'll go on to be lifelong friends.

    Lastly, I can't end this without mentioning John Williams's majestic score, which is always a delight in any film he ever scores. Some of the scenes are elevated just from hearing the wonderful music that goes with it. I should listen to more of his music sometime; there's still cues from the films that I've never fully listened to by themselves before.

    Alrighty, I think that's all for now. Until the next time in a galaxy far, far away, my fellow Cantina mates.
     
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  5. StardustSoldier

    StardustSoldier Force Sensitive

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    Review #3:
    The Clone Wars film
    "You're reckless, little one. You never would've made it as Obi-Wan's padawan." *beat* "But you might make it as mine."

    Disclaimer! My episode reviews will contain spoilers! If you have not yet seen this fantastic series, and have any interest in doing so, then I very strongly urge you to press the back button right now and go treat yourself. The less you know about it going into it, the better. :)

    Anyway, one thing I wanted to do different this time around, which I've never done before, is to view the episodes by narrative chronological order. As opposed to last time when I just did it by episode release order. I was already excited to watch the series again as it is, but doing it now by the "true" episode order has gotten me even more excited. Before we launch into the first season, however, we will be taking a look at the pilot film that kicked off said series.

    ...oh wait. Not quite yet. If we're doing the series chronologically, then we have two episodes here which take place just before the film.

    "Cat and Mouse" – A very solid intro to the series. In fact, it works a little better as a pilot episode than the film does. Coming on the heels of Attack of the Clones, immediately we're dropped right into the middle of another battle. Already we can see the growth in Anakin's character; he's still headstrong and reckless, but he is otherwise much more composed, confident, and competent here. Admiral Trench is surprisingly fun and memorable despite being (at the time) a one-shot villain. The two of them go head-to-head in a showdown of wits and cunning, and the situation is tense and engaging from start to end. Good stuff.

    "The Hidden Enemy" – Another solid episode. One nice thing during my rewatch is that I forgot who the traitor was, so in a sense it was like discovering it for the first time all over again. Granted, the clone characters are all introduced fairly quickly of each other and thus it isn't really much of a "surprise" when we find out which of them is guilty, but it still makes for a fun little mystery. Ventress also makes her debut here. She's a character that (initially, at least) didn't stand out to me a lot the first time I saw the series, but she feels a lot more distinct and important to me now that we've seen the rest of her character arc unfold.

    Okay, now onto the film. Which itself is actually comprised of what would have been four episodes of the TV series; "The New Padawan", "Castle of Deception", "Castle of Doom", and "Castle of Salvation".

    I will admit, I can see why the film had a less-than-stellar reception upon release. On paper it sounds like a great idea, to edit the first few episodes together so that fans and general moviegoers can have a brand new Star Wars movie, which would also build up hype and interest for the then-upcoming series. Yet at the same time, it does serve to highlight that this wasn't really a proper movie in itself. Indeed, the premise of Jabba's infant son being kidnapped and needing to be rescued feels more like TV material than movie material.

    It's a bit of a shame, really, as I doubt very many people, even those who did like the film, would have ever imagined what a wonderful journey the rest of the series would end up taking them on.

    Even I was kinda "meh" about the film when I first saw it years ago. This time around, however, I'm happy to say that I enjoyed it quite a bit more. It actually benefitted from my familiarity with the rest of the series now. As with Ventress, Ahsoka and Rex didn't stand out to me much the first time, back when they were brand new characters. This time around I found them much more interesting. It was great to see Anakin and Ahsoka being introduced to each other and immediately forced to work together. Interesting how Anakin balks at being assigned a padawan, but he warms up to her pretty quickly after their first battle together.

    I also love when she calls him "Skyguy" and then Rex starts laughing. :p It's a nice look at the friendship that will eventually blossom between Ahsoka and Rex as well.

    The rest of the plot, with rescuing "Stinky" to return him to Jabba, is pretty silly and light-hearted, but still fun. It's less engrossing for the story in itself, and moreso seeing the dynamics between Anakin, Ahsoka, Rex, and Obi-Wan and how the four of them learn to work together on their mission.

    Until the next time in our galaxy far, far away, my fellow Cantina mates.
     
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  6. StardustSoldier

    StardustSoldier Force Sensitive

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    Review #4:
    The Clone Wars – Season 1
    "So certain of defeat, are you, hmm?" […] "Deceive you, eyes can. In the Force, very different each one of you are. Rys, always focused on the enemy are you. For inspiration, look to yourself and those beside you. Jek, concerned about weapons you are. Weapons do not win battles. Your mind, powerful it is, hmm. Outthink the droids you can. Thire, rush not into fights. Long is the war, only by surviving it will you prevail. Yes, hm. Clones you may be, but the Force resides in all life forms. Use it you can to quiet your mind."

    Now it's time to launch into the first season... even though going chronologically means we have a couple Season 3 episodes up next, haha. But since they otherwise take place in Season 1's timespan, I'll include them as such here.

    "Clone Cadets"
    – We start off with a bit of an unusual episode, in that there isn't any real danger here; just the clones struggling to work together to cooperate and complete their training. More unusual still in that this focuses on Domino Squad, who will turn out to be short-lived anyway. But it's good stuff all the same. If nothing else, I do love Kamino as a setting.

    "Supply Lines"
    – I... barely remember this episode. In contrast to most of the episodes this season that I could recall at least somewhat well, this one had largely slipped from my memory. Even now, admittedly, I don't find it to be a very noteworthy episode. It's entertaining, just ultimately not very memorable. I like Katuunko as a character though; he paints the Toydarians in a much warmer light after seeing the sleazy Watto. :p

    "Ambush" – This is my favourite episode out of the first several, and in fact one of the best of Season 1. :) There's some great action here, and the Trade Federation droids are always a joy; they're just so funny that I can't help but love them. But the most memorable scene is a quiet one when Yoda and the clones find shelter in the cave, and he takes the moment to give them all a much-needed pep talk and explains the Force to them. It's the perfect example of one of those 'magical' moments in Star Wars; it gives you an uplifting feeling when you watch it and you just have a sense of wonder and enchantment.

    "Rising Malevolence" – The Malevolence is a cool and creative superweapon, and makes for a good plot hook right off the bat. Honestly, it's nice just to have a superweapon in Star Wars that amounts to something other than destroying planets for a change. :p This episode also makes me appreciate Plo Koon.

    "Shadow of Malevolence"
    – Now that the heroes know what they're up against, they engage the vile General Grievous head on to take out his dastardly weapon of doom and destruction! We can again see how much Anakin has matured from Attack of the Clones. Losing horribly to Dooku didn't destroy Anakin's confident (and sometimes overconfident) personality, but it does seem to have fed him a slice of humble pie all the same, as he's otherwise much less arrogant here (for now, at least). I also love how he calls Ahsoka "Snips". That's such a cute nickname. Initially it was a derogatory name but it quickly becomes an affectionate one. :)

    "Destroy Malevolence" – Another nice thing about my rewatch is that there are things I genuinely forgot about and was able to rediscover all over again. Here, I remembered the general Malevolence plotline, but I forgot some of the details along the way. Namely, I forgot how they actually destroyed the Malevolence; it was neat to watch the episode again and genuinely wonder how they'd be able to take down the ship. Overall though, the Malevolence arc is one of the more "typical" TCW arcs; it's competent and entertaining, but not that distinct or memorable. This arc largely functions to establish Dooku and Grievous as the major antagonists they'll be for most of the series.

    "Rookies"
    – This is another episode that feels more "typical" to me, compared to many of the later story arcs at least, but it still benefits from the focus on Domino Squad (rest in peace), and the tense and claustrophobic setting of the Rishi moon station.

    "Downfall of a Droid" – Even if the execution was a bit underwhelming, I do like the quirky premise of an evil R2 counterpart showing up to cause mischief and mayhem. Gha Nachkt is funny too.

    "Duel of the Droids"
    – See above. This one is a bit more compelling than the previous since it culminates in the tense mission to destroy Skytop Station while Ahsoka recklessly takes on Grievous. The highlight is the titular duel between R2 and Goldie.

    "Bombad Jedi"
    – Ah, the infamous Jar Jar episode. Although I actually think this one is pretty good; in fact, I laughed out loud a few times. Not an amazing episode or anything, but it's cute, harmless fun. The truly enjoyable part here is C-3PO and Padme's deadpan exasperation at the nonsense they have to put up with. I also love when Jar Jar accidentally smashes the ship in half with the magnet; it's such an absurd thing for him to do even by his standards.

    "Cloak of Darkness" – Now this was definitely a loaded and action-packed episode! Already we're veering into much darker territory after a light-hearted opening to the Nute Gunray arc. It's interesting in that I didn't find this one to be all that memorable when I originally saw it years ago, but it's since grown into probably my favourite episode of Season 1 (behind "Hostage Crisis", but I'll cover that in S3). I also forgot that Argyus was a traitor, and that he himself is betrayed and killed by Ventress at the end of the episode. I always liked Nute Gunray as a villain too, even back in TPM, but this episode especially does a great job of showing just how slimy and scummy he is.

    "Lair of Grievous" – Another surprisingly dark episode for being so early in the series. It's always appreciated when the show focuses on minor/supporting characters who otherwise had little to no focus in the films. We also see some tension between Grievous and Dooku, suggesting that one of them might have eventually turned on the other, which is interesting even if nothing ultimately came of it.

    "Dooku Captured" – Hondo!! I was looking forward to this one for quite a while just for him alone. Albeit I don't have much to say about the episode aside from that. Anakin and Obi-Wan getting stuck in the cave fighting off that creature and then escaping the poison gas is another thing I'd completely forgotten about.

    "The Gungan General" – Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Dooku all captured at the same time and being forced to work together makes for a great scenario; I don't think we ever saw anything like this again in the series. Jar Jar shows up to save the day and, as per usual, annoys everyone around him but still manages to bumble his way to victory. Oh, and did I mention how much I like Hondo? :)

    "Jedi Crash" – As with "Supply Lines", this one I don't recall much at all. The beginning and the middle I'd forgotten entirely; it wasn't until they reached the village with the monkey creatures that I began to remember anything, and even there, the monkeys were probably the only thing I did remember. But it's a great premise; I loved seeing the heroes crash land on an eerie, hostile planet and having to scavenge for survival.

    "Defenders of Peace" – This one I recall a little better than the previous; I remembered that sleazy Neimoidian who shows up to ruin everyone's day. ;P Much of the rest of it was still a blur, but again, I've been enjoying in my rewatch that I don't recall everything. The second half of this arc isn't quite as strong as its first half. I liked it more when it was just the characters getting stranded and exploring a mysterious new world. But here it becomes a slightly more generic "defend the vulnerable villagers" plot. Still an enjoyable episode overall though, and it touches upon the questionable morality of the war that our heroes are fighting.

    "Trespass" – Now this episode I don't remember at all. The only episode of the season that I have no recollection of whatsoever. Which is strange because this was hardly a "forgettable" episode or anything; one of the highlights of this season, in fact. I am also a sucker for snow/winter settings in general.

    "Blue Shadow Virus"
    – Yay, we get to visit Naboo again! ^.^ Aside from that, this one has a great story hook with the titular virus, but the execution is patchy. I love the idea of a strange virus/pandemic needing to be stopped, and the whole quarantine thing is unnerving. But somehow, the situation just didn't feel as tense as it could've been...

    "Mystery of a Thousand Moons"
    – ...that, and it feels like they mashed two completely different storylines together. We have the thing with the virus. And then there's the situation on Iego, how the residents believe the system is haunted by a phantom ruler who won't let anyone leave. It's a fascinating concept. I especially love the surreal atmosphere when Anakin and Obi-Wan first arrive on the planet, with the idle reprogrammed Separatist droids wearing face paint and then they meet Jaybo. It's a really cool scene, and could've been a great setup for a creepy mystery about the malevolent, ghostly ruler of Iego. But alas, there just isn't enough time to fully develop it. Ah well. I still enjoyed this story arc otherwise. It just needed to be better fleshed out; it probably would've worked better as a 3-parter or 4-parter.

    "Storm Over Ryloth" – In itself this was a good story arc to close out the season with. The invasion of Ryloth is suitably epic in scale, and there's more intricacy in the planning and details of the skirmish compared to most of the other battles up to this point. Yet... I find this arc to be more standard and run-of-the-mill. (Relatively speaking, that is. There's no TCW episodes I consider to be bad; they're all decently enjoyable at worst.)

    "Innocents of Ryloth"
    – The best of the Ryloth trilogy. Seeing the Twi'lek villagers up close adds more intimacy to the situation, and Numa's interactions with Waxer and Boil are genuinely endearing. Also, it's a fairly minor moment, but near the end when the droid commander is about to blast Obi-Wan and Numa with the tank, he gives this ridiculous robotic monotone evil laugh; it sounds so cheesy and I love it.

    "Liberty on Ryloth"
    – Mace Windu is the most interesting part of this episode. I'm not the biggest fan of his character overall. Yet here we see how genuinely heroic and selfless he can be, and seeing him like this really makes me want to like him more. I enjoyed him in the Prequel Trilogy after all. But alas, TCW really shows off his darker side, and he does several things throughout the series (starting with the very next episode even) which make him hard to sympathize with. But more on that next time.

    Overall, slightly rough around the edges in places, but still a pretty solid and enjoyable first season. It's not the best the show has to offer; even the stronger episodes here still get eclipsed by many of the episodes in the later seasons. But in a way it's a good thing, as it means the show will just keep getting better and better as it goes.

    See you guys next season. Hopefully my next review will be a bit less wordy. :p
     
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  7. StardustSoldier

    StardustSoldier Force Sensitive

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    Review #5:
    The Clone Wars – Season 2
    Hondo: "But you know what I always say. Speak softly, and drive a big tank!"

    From here on out, I'm tentatively aiming to get three reviews done per month. If all goes according to schedule, I should have the first three seasons covered by the end of March. :) But anyway, let us continue.

    "Holocron Heist"
    – As with "Dooku Captured", this is another episode I was looking forward to ahead of time. This time for Cad Bane, easily one of the coolest villains in the series. Conversely, this is the first episode where I could feel my dislike of Mace Windu starting to creep in. Not to say that I think he's a badly-written character; far from it. But he's hard to root for.

    "Cargo of Doom" – Cad Bane strikes again, as Anakin and Ahsoka lead a daring assault on his ship to recover the Jedi Holocron and save the kidnapped Bolla Ropal! I remembered liking Bane, but I forgot just how much of a methodical mastermind he is. He takes on two Jedi and an army of clones and completely trick the Jedi into getting what he wants...

    "Children of the Force" – ...and not only that, but even after his capture, he ends up outsmarting two more Jedi and makes a clean getaway. As villainous as he is and as much as I wanted his evil scheme to be foiled, at the same time he's such a classy and clever villain, there is a part of me that kinda does root for him. All the same, I do look forward to the next couple of times he and Obi-Wan will cross paths. ;)

    "Bounty Hunters" – As with "Defenders of Peace", this is another "protect the villagers" episode, although this one I thought was better done. It helps that it has the added dynamic of the heroes teaming up with a gang of bounty hunters who were already hired before the heroes even showed up, which is a great setup in itself. Oh, and have I mentioned before how much I like Hondo? :)

    "The Zillo Beast" – Star Wars meets Godzilla! One of my favourite darkly humourous moments is when, after the Zillo Beast blows up several of the clone trooper tanks, it picks up yet another tank. But instead of the two clone troopers inside screaming in terror, one of them angrily yells, "Whose bright idea was this anyway?!" Lol!

    "The Zillo Beast Strikes Back" – One of the highlight episodes of Season 2 for me. We also get what is surprisingly one of the biggest tearjerkers in the series when the Zillo Beast dies. Too bad the cliffhanger at the end was never followed up on. Maybe they'll revisit this in The Bad Batch? Here's hoping.

    "Senate Spy" – I was surprised at how much I liked this one upon seeing it again. Something about Padme having a former love interest, and Anakin getting all jealous and huffy and immature about it, is just funny to me. Aside from that, it's a great and suspenseful espionage episode. After Attack of the Clones, this is the first TCW episode to give us a real good look at Anakin's darker side when he abandons Rush to possible death, even after Rush helped save them. It also ends with a nice lead-in to the next story arc...

    "Landing at Point Rain" – Already Season 2 is showing to be a step up from Season 1. This is similar to the Ryloth arc (or at least it starts off that way), but this one I enjoyed quite a bit more, even if it's hard to put my finger on why. Anakin, Ahsoka, and Rex make for an endearing action trio as well.

    "Weapons Factory" – I forgot Barriss was introduced this early in the series, but she ended up being perhaps the most interesting part of the episode. This is another reason why watching something for a second time can be a benefit, when it makes you look at it from a completely different context than last time. In this case, seeing how kind and noble Barriss is here, yet knowing how things will eventually play out...

    "Legacy of Terror" – And now we go from two war-themed episodes into a horror-laded direction. I forgot all about the bug zombies, haha. I'm not normally the biggest horror fan, but here I enjoyed it. The characters descending into the dark tunnels is truly suspenseful and nerve-wracking.

    "Brain Invaders" – Another uncharacteristically (or not?) freaky episode for Star Wars. This one feels like something out of The X-Files. But again, I dig it. Also a great moment is when Anakin ruthlessly interrogates and tortures Poggle for information. In this case it's understandable and I was rooting for Anakin, while at the same time it does hint at what he will eventually become.

    "Grievous Intrigue" – Yet another episode I could barely recall. The only familiar part was Obi-Wan and the clones holding onto the rope for dear life so they don't get sucked out into space. A fast-paced episode with plenty of good action, although it largely seems to act as a set-up for the next episode, once Grievous escapes to Saleucami and the heroes chase after him...

    "The Deserter" – Now this episode, on the other hand, I could remember very well. I always admired how much effort the show put into characterizing and humanizing the clones, and this is just one episode amongst countless others that does a beautiful job of it. Rex is stunned when he first discovers Cut, but by the end of it, the two men grow to respect their vastly different lifestyles. It's a heartwarming moment when Cut even offers to let Rex stay with the family, and there is an element of sadness in the fact that Rex declines and thus returns to continue fighting in the war.

    "Lightsaber Lost"
    – On paper, the premise of Ahsoka losing her lightsaber and having to get it back sounds silly, but it makes for another great chase/espionage episode. In fact, this one was even better than I remembered it. This is also probably where I realized just how much I love Coruscant as a setting; one of the coolest planets in all of Star Wars. Lastly, I couldn't help but admire Tera's lightsaber. First time we ever saw a white lightsaber in the series, which is pretty cool. :)

    "The Mandalore Plot"
    – And now we get to see a black lightsaber. Cool! :) This episode especially is one which benefits from a rewatch. At the time, the Mandalore situation seemed like just another one of the Clone Wars' many sub-arcs. But we can see now that this kicks off one of the most significant storylines in the franchise.

    "Voyage of Temptation"
    – Not much to say about this one, but it keeps the Mandalore plot moving along nicely. We see that Anakin is not the only one with an awkward romance. :p

    "Duchess of Mandalore" – Now this was exciting! Another one of the best of this season. Again I'm reminded how great Coruscant is. But yeesh, Poor Satine! Betrayed by two people in a row whom she thought were allies, and then she watches two genuine allies die right in front of her as still more assassination attempts are made on her life.

    "Death Trap"
    – I remembered being somewhat more "eh" about this story arc the first time I saw it, but this time around it grew on me. This is a more average set-up episode, but the next two episodes are excellent. We also meet the delightfully loathsome Aurra Sing here. I like the Jedi fortune cookie in this one: Who my father was matters less than my memory of him.

    "R2 Come Home" – This arc also makes me surprisingly sympathetic to Boba. Another case where I kinda find myself rooting for the villain, although it helps that I'm not a big Mace Windu fan. :p R2 is great; providing comedic highlights by dropping debris onto the bounty hunters while being simultaneously a great ally. R2 was one of my favourite Star Wars characters back in the original trilogy, and his Clone Wars appearances only reinforce the sentiment.

    "Lethal Trackdown"
    – Yay, more Hondo! This is the first time we start to see that there's more to him than being a scummy, greedy pirate. Him encouraging Boba to reveal the location of the hostages, saying it's what his father would have wanted, is a touching moment. He also wisely decides to keep his nose out of Jedi affairs after his previous defeats... even though we'll see in Season 5 that he didn't quite learn his lesson after all, haha. This episode has another great Jedi fortune cookie: Revenge is a confession of pain.
     
    #7 StardustSoldier, Mar 18, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2021
  8. Embo and His Pet Anooba

    Embo and His Pet Anooba Force Sensitive

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    Oh and I was in Bounty Hunters which makes it automatically the best episode.
     
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  9. StardustSoldier

    StardustSoldier Force Sensitive

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    Lol!

    I didn't think to mention it in my review, but while watching I was thinking to myself that Embo is indeed another pretty cool character. :)
     
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  10. StardustSoldier

    StardustSoldier Force Sensitive

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    Review #6:
    The Clone Wars – Season 3
    Qui-Gon: "Do you believe you are the chosen one?"
    Anakin: "How... can I know?"
    Qui-Gon: "I can tell you what I believe. I believe you will bring balance to the Force. That you will face your demons and save the universe."

    "Corruption" – The second episode I have zero memory of (following "Trespass"). Which is strange since this forms a 2-parter with the next episode and I remembered that one. Mandalore is another one of those settings that just looks cool. I look forward to its eventual return in The Mandalorian.

    "The Academy" – Again on the topic of things I forgot about from my last viewing, I didn't remember Almec being secretly villainous, albeit the twist reveal that he was evil wasn't too surprising. It's an odd plot point how Ahsoka gets assigned to teach students on a foreign planet, but again, I'm a sucker for Mandalore episodes in general.

    "Assassin" – Another suspenseful espionage episode. Not much to say for this one, but it's pretty good. Between the tense moments, there's some tender moments and good character development for Padme and Ahsoka. And the delightfully hammy Ziro makes his return after a long absence.

    "ARC Troopers" – Ventress finally shows up again. A bit strange how we haven't seen her since early Season 1 (since "Lair of Grievous"); it feels like we should've seen more of her since then. Still, this episode is a rockin' good time. Kamino once again is a beautiful setting, and a fantastic battle all around.

    "Sphere of Influence" – One of the less memorable ones, although I did enjoy Ahsoka and Chuchi sneaking about on the Trade Federation ship and dealing with more sleazy Neimoidians. I completely forgot Greedo was involved in the plot here; his appearance felt pretty random.

    "Evil Plans" – This goes along with "Bombad Jedi" as one of the lower-regarded episodes that I actually think is pretty good. If nothing else, this one has an advantage over some others simply for having Cad Bane in it. I remembered most of this from seeing it years ago, but I totally forgot about the scenes where R2 is getting pampered at that trippy droid spa. What a weird moment! I also like the Jedi fortune cookie in this episode. A failure in planning is a plan for failure. Haha, indeed.

    "Hostage Crisis"
    – Probably my favourite Cad Bane episode. He's so wicked and ruthless, yet I just can't help but love watching him in action. He might well be my favourite villain in TCW. This also ended up being Aurra Sing's last appearance. Even despite her mention in Solo, it still feels like the rest her character arc was gutted due to the series' cancellation. Here's hoping The Bad Batch can give them both a better send-off.

    "Hunt for Ziro" – Haha, now this is a weird episode. This may be an unpopular opinion, but I always really liked Ziro, since all the way back to his debut in the pilot film even. I kinda wish we'd had him for more episodes. The fight with Cad Bane at the end is quality stuff. Some of the dialogue is hilarious:

    Sy: "I don’t care what you've done or why they wanna hurt you. I only care about us being together forever."
    Ziro: "You... you really mean that?"
    Sy: "From the bottom of my fluid sac."

    Mama the Hutt: "I got trouble for you too, Mister Fancypants."

    Obi-Wan: "I never did enjoy hanging out with you."
    *Quinlan grins in response*


    "Heroes on Both Sides" – I like that this paints the Separatists in a new light. Up to now, we've only ever seen them as a robotic, militarist faction with corrupt, war-hungry leaders. This episode does a nice job at humanizing them (or at least a few of them), and suggests they aren't that different from the Republic after all. The scenes with Mina and Lux are charming.

    "Pursuit of Peace" – Speaking of which, I can't help but feel a bit disappointed that Mina only appears once and then dies offscreen; I liked her character. Padme has it rough here, but it ends on an uplifting note as she gives her speech and is met with great applause. Even if the next episode will show that it was all for naught once the clone production bill goes through, but it still delivers a good lesson in having perseverance and hope during difficult times.

    "Senate Murders" – I've always been a fan of murder mysteries, so this was a lot of fun. I'll admit I can see why the political episodes get a bad rap, especially when you have overly sleazy characters like Mee Deechi, Halle Burtoni, and Tan Divo, but I enjoy all the political bickering somehow. It also offers up a nice change of pace from the war-heavy episodes.

    "Nightsisters" & "Monster" – That said, after a politics-heavy first half of the season, now we veer into completely different territory. Definitely one of the trippier and more twisted story arcs. I actually felt bad for Ventress. And despite the fact that she's still pretty evil, I was kinda rooting for her to come out on top, if perhaps only for the fact that Dooku is even more evil. Savage Opress and the Nightsisters are among the best TCW villains. Good stuff all around.

    "Witches of the Mist"
    – What a rush; lots of exciting duels in this one! Also, that ending. What a tease, haha (and even moreso since it won't be followed up on until the end of Season 4). I didn't get into TCW until years after it had aired, so alas, the twist that Maul was back had already been spoiled for me by the time I saw the episode. But it's fun to imagine how much of a shocker that must've been back in the day.

    "Overlords", "Altar of Mortis", "Ghosts of Mortis" – And now we launch into an even more trippy story arc. I've seen some polarized comments for this one, although I think it's fantastic. One of the highlights of the entire series. I'm a big fan of the storylines that go all-in with the surreal, high fantasy elements. Especially since the films themselves tend to stick with a more balanced blend of fantasy and sci-fi; the pure fantasy stories are a unique experience you only get in the TV shows.

    I was delighted to see Qui-Gon again. The scene with Anakin and Shmi is also memorable, both heartwarming and heartbreaking, even if it turns out to simply be the Son in disguise. Shmi is an underrated character; I would've liked to have seen her more often. One of the most epic arcs too; I love the sheer scale of it.

    "The Citadel", "Counterattack", "Citadel Rescue" – Ah, yes, here is where we meet Tarkin. One of the most love-to-hate characters in Star Wars, although he's especially detestable in TCW. In fact, there was a small part of me dreading this arc just for him alone, haha, even though this is a tense and exciting set of episodes otherwise. It's always fun to watch characters break into a secure facility. Another nice rewatch bonus when you know ahead of time what ultimately becomes of Echo. It's kinda baffling how Anakin so easily sides with Tarkin's twisted views, yet it once again hints at Anakin's own slowly emerging dark side.

    "Padawan Lost" & "Wookiee Hunt" – The best season finale up to this point (and they only get better still from here). I only wish it had been longer; the premise of Jedi younglings getting trapped on a primitive island and being hunted down really feels like it could've been a TV series all of its own. This arc, the Mortis arc, and "ARC Troopers" are probably my favourites of this season. Chewbacca's first appearance is another one of those Star Wars moments that just feels magical. In contrast to the Citadel arc, Anakin's genuine grief over Ahsoka's disappearance, and his joy at seeing her return, is one of his most endearing moments.
     
    #10 StardustSoldier, Mar 28, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2021
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  11. StardustSoldier

    StardustSoldier Force Sensitive

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    Oops, that was supposed to say, haven't seen her since "Cloak of Darkness".
     
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