Friday, November 21, 2008

TCW - "Bombad Jedi"

So this was interesting.
Jar Jar works better here in The Clone Wars than he ever did in the films, but not by a lot. It seems that the Clone Wars crew is in with the audience on the fact that Jar Jar is a joke, and they properly treat him as such.

Jar Jar's antics aren't the problem with this episode; it's the fact that his antics are the only notable thing about the episode. Some interesting stuff happens here—we go to a new planet for the first time, Padmé is captured but escapes, and Nute Gunray is captured by the Republic. But all of those things are secondary to Jar Jar pretending to be a Jedi and stumbling his way into saving the day.

Thus far, we've had stories in The Clone Wars that reach epic heights of storytelling, filled with war drama, action, and all the things we expect from Star Wars. A comedy-centric episode like this one breaks that pattern, but would actually be a nice change of pace, if not for the fact that Jar Jar is hardly the best example of good comedy, even by Star Wars standards.

The best that can really be said about this episode is that it makes Jar Jar seem "not so bad" instead of awful. That's not good enough, I think, to justify the episode's existence. I would rather have had this story as a web-exclusive short rather than an entire 22-minute TCW episode.

Friday, November 14, 2008

TCW - "Duel of the Droids"

This is a bit better than last week's episode, but not by much. At the very least, was cool to see the Jedi-leading-small-team-of-soldiers-into-enemy-territory style of action scene, one of my favorites (and not seen since The Phantom Menace).

General Grievous is a threat again, for the first time since the Tartakovsky Clone Wars animated series. His cat-and-mouse chase with Ahsoka was nicely tense.

The "bumper-battle" between the astro droids was pretty funny. Somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I always wanted to see R2 droids try to fight each other by bumping into one another. Now my dreams have been realized. Thank you, Lucasfilm.

All in all, I actually feel like this entire 2-part story arc would have been better-served by combining both episodes into one. Instead of the whole subplot with the droid smuggler, R2 could have been stolen by Grievous immediately after the first battle, leading straight to the rescue mission. As it is, this episode is somewhat decent, but barely on the side of "pretty good" instead of boring.

Friday, November 7, 2008

TCW - "Downfall of a Droid"

This feels less on par with the previous episodes we've seen and more like the Clone Wars movie, which is very bad. Given that it was one of the first episodes produced (apparently at the same time as the movie), it's understandable, but still not enjoyable. Everything here feels like a bad first attempt: stiff animations, so-so voice acting, sub-par writing, and electronic rock music that feels horribly out of place.

If there's anything interesting about this episode, it's the fact that it implies R2 is special because his memory has never been wiped and he's been allowed to build up a personality. R2's always been This has been theorized about by fans, but it's nice to hear it confirmed directly.

There's really not a whole lot to say about the episode. It has a decent concept, but the execution is so far off the mark that it's hard to care.