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Star Wars in HD

Posted by Nathan Strum, 17 September 2011 · 1,116 views

Animation
So yesterday finally brought the long-awaited return of Star Wars... in HD!



Yep, that's right! Season 4 of The Clone Wars debuted on Cartoon Network!


What?


You were expecting a write-up on some other "Star Wars in HD" event that took place Friday?

I can't imagine what that would be... :ponder:

Anyway, season 4 started off with a two-parter, Water War and Gungan Attack. In the first episode, there was a war under water, and in the second one... well, I don't want to spoil it, but something attacked. :roll:

The episode takes place on the homeworld of the Mon Calamari. You know, the fish-like aliens of which Admiral "It's a Trap!" Ackbar is one of? He's there, but he's a Captain in this episode. So it takes him what... 25 years to make Admiral? Maybe it would have been better to be a big fish in a small pond, than a small fish in a big pond.

Anyway, they're fighting against their squid-faced neighbors, who are supported by the Separatists, and are being led by a guy with a shark for a head. So after 35 years, Jaws finally goes head-to-head with Star Wars! And the fish are a-flyin'! Not flying fish, that is, but rather sushi. There's seafood everywhere. The shark guy is on a seafood diet - he sees food, and eats it. (Don't worry, I'm bound to run out of fish references sooner or later. :roll: ) The usual Jedi are here - Anakin, Ahsoka, Squid-head (I forget his name at the moment), and Padme is along to get into trouble. The king of the Mon Calamari gets knifed (probably with one of these), and so his young son has to take up the mantle of leadership. Now this is a common theme in The Clone Wars, and I'm guessing the reason is to appeal to their target demographic. Letting the young viewers at home wonder what it would be like to enter the excitement of battle, fight alongside Jedi, and have your parents killed right in front of your eyes. Now that's television. (As an interesting aside, some Mon Calamari are floaters when they die, and some are sinkers. All of my goldfish were floaters when I was a little kid. But then they all became flushers. I wonder if that's how the Mon Calamari bury their dead?)

So, after the attack of the giant cyborg jellyfish (now if that doesn't get you watching the series, nothing will), the battle turns against the Mon Calamari (Ackbar never even gets to say his "it's a trap" line, which was disappointing), and so the Jedi call for some help.

Now then... whosa can they think of that has an army of beings that live under the water?

Yep. Gungans.

That's right baby, Jar-Jar's back. So, another battle ensues, and I've gotta tell ya', they are impressive battles. First, they're underwater, so I'm sure that brings some challenges with it, since you have the added dimension of height, rather than armies just fighting on the ground, plus there's all that swimming animation they have to deal with. Then, there's the sheer number of characters involved in the battle. The scope is pretty massive, especially when you consider this is a made-for-TV cartoon show. The animation, production, effects, modeling, rendering, staging, acting... all of it continues to improve. There are some pretty cool shots in these episodes: the shark-guy attacking the prince by trying to break through a plexiglass tunnel, shark-guy attacking Mon Calamari warriors with his teeth, the Gungans deploying by jumping off of moving ships into the water (yes... for a brief instant, Gungans were cool), Anakin knocking over an entire building using The Force, Squid-head swimming around like a Jedi Mark Spitz, the Jedi's ship getting nuked and sinking to the bottom of the ocean... there's just a lot of cool stuff there, and it's a really good start to the season.

The battle wasn't resolved, and at the end our heroes were on the ropes, so this story line will continue into at least next week. They've also shown a trailer previewing this season, and it looks like Anakin is going to be taking some more steps towards the Dark Side™. If only they'd been able to do some more of this stuff with his character in the movies, then maybe the prequels wouldn't have been so completely awful. Maybe we would've cared about the characters more, and seen Anakin as a tragic, fallen hero, rather than some whiny punk.

All I know about that, is that if they ever put out the whole saga on Blu-ray, I'll probably just skip the prequels.





They did what? :ponder:




Last night's episode was Prisoners, and it was excellent. Surprisingly, the story of a boy-prince rallying his people wasn't nearly as precocious as it could have been. They did a good job keeping the plot moving and had plenty of action. Our heroes - except the prince, whose name is Lee-Char (I'm guessing they got that name from here), and Ahsoka - had all been captured, so it was up to the prince to convince his former enemies (the squid-faces) to put their differences aside and fight a common enemy, since now the both of them were under the rule of shark-heads working for Count Dooku and the droid army.

I've mentioned before how surprising the content of The Clone Wars is, especially for a "kids' show". Again, they had our heroes being tortured, and other people (mostly fish-people) being killed in battle, but they took it to another level here with exploding fish people. You see, the shark-head leader carries with him (get this...) serrated switchblades that explode. Swim by a Mon Calamari, stab him in the back, swim away, and a few seconds later... BOOM! Big cloud of fish guts. I kid you not. Mon Calamari blow up real good.

Moreover, in the climactic final battle between the prince and sharky, they re-enact the finale from Jaws. It's practically a shot-for-shot (pun not intended) tribute to what I like to call, "fishy-go-boom". And the kicker? The dead shark's disembodied head floating by afterwards... not once, but twice. Complete with a close-up where you can see his dead eye rolled back in his head. You know, like a doll's eye. Now of course, they'd never do that with a human on the show, but because it's a fish-alien-shark-guy, well... let the good times roll! Shark fin soup for everyone!

Oh, and Jar-Jar spat a giant gob of snot into Padme's face. So win-win all around!
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This week, Shadow Warrior brought with it more Jar-Jar. So that's 3 for 4 episodes with Jar-Jar. If the episodes weren't so good, that would not bode well for this season.

Fortunately, the episodes are good. And something completely, totally unexpected happened in this one...

...brace yourselves...

Jar-Jar... was funny.

Yeah, I know. Hard to believe, right?

Now, that's not to say that 99% of the time he wasn't still annoying. But they managed to make him funny, by making him annoying to someone else for a change - General Grievous.

The episode revolved around the Gungans being manipulated into siding with the Separatist droid army against the Naboo. (And frankly, the Naboo are kind of annoying in their own right, so can you blame them?) Anyway, this results in the Gungan leader getting stabbed (again - not something you'd see in typical kids' cartoons of my era), and replaced temporarily by Jar-Jar who coincidentally looks exactly like him. Not exactly new material, but hey, it works.

The funny bit comes when Jar-Jar calls off the attacks, and has to meet with Grievous to explain why the Gungans are suddenly backing out of their deal. His body language, stall tactics (playing with his chair) are all pretty funny visual bits. And he actually ends up getting the better of Grievous, too.

We also get to see an actual competent Gungan warrior take on Grievous head-to-head, and he and his floppy-eared cohorts manage to do something the Jedi couldn't - capture him! And while this is a pretty impressive feat, it's all for naught, since Anakin gets himself captured, and the two end up in a prisoner swap by the end of the episode. Frankly, I thought that was a pretty cheap resolution to what could've made for a really good plot point for another episode or two. But still, a surprisingly good episode, considering the overabundance of Gungans in it.

Next week, C-3PO and R2-D2 get into mischief, which if nothing else keeps Anthony Daniels off the streets for another week. ;)
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This week's episode - Mercy Mission - was the first misstep of the season. C-3PO and R2-D2 accompany some clones on a (guess what!) mercy mission. Apparently, some planet full of cute, little dinosaur people (think Ewoks mixed with geckos) have been suffering from massive earthquakes (although technically, they should be planet quakes if they're not on Earth), and the clones are there to drop off food and shoot holes in things, and the droids are along to help repair computers and translate with the dino-peoples' leaders.

Anyway, Artoo and Threepio (interesting how when their names are abbreviated, they're spelled out phonetically instead of just being R2 and 3PO), get pulled deep underground, where it turns out the quakes are actually being caused by some tree-people who live there, and they're upset because someone on the surface forgot to close a manhole cover, and all of the surface air pollution is seeping down there, causing them grief. So the droids find the cause of the ruckus, meet some flower lady, solve a riddle (which I though was a nice interactive touch - it's always good when TV makes you think, even if it's only for five seconds or so), and manage to close the manhole cover. Problem solved, everyone's happy, and we all learn a little bit about how our planet will kill us if we don't stop polluting. Or something.

Next week, the droids are back for more mischief. Hopefully, it's less cute, and has more action.

But the tree people were kind of cool.
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Last night brought Nomad Droids, specifically, R2-D2 and C-3PO. This was a mix of Gulliver's Travels, The Wizard of Oz, and featured C-3PO assassinating a leader on one world, and R2-D2 staging a coup on another. And it was funny.

On their return from last week's mission, the two droids' ship gets attacked by General Grievous and is destroyed. So to escape, they steal a Y-Wing fighter (probably leaving some hapless clone pilot and at least one other droid behind to die horribly), only to crash on a planet where they are given the Lilliputian treatment by the Patitites ("petite-ites" - get it?). You know - knocked out and tied-up by Barbie-doll sized aliens. After C-3PO accidentally kills their tyrant king by knocking R2-D2 over onto him (and getting king guts all over Artoo), C-3PO teaches the people how to hold elections. Once the voting ends, he says, "Congratulations! You're now a democracy!" At which point infighting immediately breaks out. Very funny moment! (As was the king getting squished.)

From there, they move to another planet, where they get captured (again), this time by what I can only assume are the Star Wars equivalents of rednecks, who are dominated by a giant holographic leader. Artoo "pulls back the curtain" and reveals that really it was just a creation of some long-marooned repair droids, who were just getting their kicks by ruling over these primitive humanoids. The rednecks take none-too-kindly to it, and end up destroying the droids' crashed ship in a massive fireball that probably killed every living thing in a twelve mile radius.

Artoo and Threepio escape, but then run out of power, and are captured again, this time by pirates looking to scavenge stuff. Then that ship gets attacked by Grievous, who captures the droids yet again, and then Grievous' ship gets attacked by the Republic, who finally rescue the two droids.

Man... that was a lot for a half-hour. But it was a good, fun, weird episode.

No new episode next week, but after that they start up a four-parter.
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This week brought Darkness On Umbrella. Or Umbara. Something. Anyway... darkness.

This was one of the more visually impressive episodes of The Clone Wars to date. The whole planet was shrouded in darkness and fog, which is really hard to make look good with CG. But they pulled it off, and the whole episode had an odd beauty about it.

Unless, of course, if you were one of the ones on the planet dying a horrible death. 'Cuz yeah... it'd be a little harder to appreciate the atmospheric aesthetics then. Clones and um... Umbrarumbums? Well, whoever... they died a lot. There was some pretty intense fighting, and some of the clones fought dirty. Apparently the atmosphere is poisonous to the Oopaloompas, so to kill them in close-quarter fighting, clones just smashed their helmets' faceplates in with the butt of a gun, then while they're writhing on the ground gasping for air, shot 'em in the head. Bam.

The interesting twist to this episode, was that we got to meet a new Jedi, who's kind of a jerk. Remember M*A*S*H episodes where there was some war-mongering general who would sacrifice his troops to win a battle, and then Hawkeye would exact some sort of justice on him? Well, that's this guy. (Not Hawkeye, the general.) He's got a cool name though: Pong Krell.

Yeah. Pong.

Let's see Atari send a C&D letter to Lucasfilm! Take that.

So Pong basically has no use for clones, other than exactly what they were designed for: to be a genetically-engineered army. Period. However, The Clone Wars has gone to considerable lengths to show the clones developing into individuals. So that's the conflict here - we've started to get to know these Clones as characters, and here comes this Jedi who comes across as completely indifferent to their personalities (or well-being) and basically tells them to shut up, follow orders, and die like the good little cannon fodder they were grown in test tubes to be.

What's interesting to me about all of this, is that I actually started thinking two completely different lines of thought about this. First, "Pong's a jerk, and is really treating these guys like complete dirt, with no regard for their experience, safety, or lives." But then I also remembered, "Oh right. They're all pre-programmed to be back-stabbing little traitors, and will end up killing all the Jedi anyway when Revenge Of The Sith rolls around." So it's weird... having empathy for what ultimately will turn out to be a bunch of mindless automatons. The whole thing with Pong also smacks a bit of racism, but of course near the end of the episode he begins to recognize (grudgingly) that some of the clones have merit.

This is just the first part of four episodes though, so it will be interesting to see where they go with it.

Meanwhile, Anakin has been called back to talk to the Chancellor... Ooooo. Intrigue.
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In The General, the conflict on Umbara continued. Not just the Clone War, but the conflict between General Pong and his clones. Lots of clones bite the dust in this episode and some in some really unpleasant ways - getting stepped on by giant robots, fried by ball-lighting, etc. Plus there was more emphasis on wounded clones than they've done before, where injured, screaming clones are dragged off the battlefield, or are attacked by scavengers. Again - putting the "War" in Clone Wars. It makes you think - "Man, I bet it'd be really painful to have all of your bones broken, rattling around in a suit of armor like that". There were some really cool enemy weapons in this episode, never seen in the Star Wars universe, including something that looked like a giant centipede. It helps to give the Star Wars universe a much larger feel, and also gives the clones something unknown to fight, rather than the same stupid, predictable droids. And again, there was some more pretty brutal violence, where Clone Troopers walked by injured enemies and just shot them in the heads. Yeah, in a cartoon. But again, "War" is in the title, and they're taking that pretty seriously at times.

The majority of this episode revolved again about the clones being told to do the impossible by an uncaring Jedi General Pong, and the conflict between not just the General and the clones, but even among the clones themselves, some of whom are more genetically predisposed to follow orders, and some who are more individualistic. There was some amazing action in the episode, including the centerpiece where a couple of clones break into an airfield and somewhat comically have to try to figure out how to fly alien ships they've never piloted before. In the end, the General seemed to respect them more for it, but the final twist makes you wonder if he really did or not, and just how much more the clones are going to put up with.

We'll have two more episodes in this story arc to find out.
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[dramatic music]Dun-dun-DUNNNN![/dramatic music] This week - Plan of Dissent. Where the clones formed (wait for it... waaaait for it...) a plan of dissent!

Even though I poke fun at the obviousness of some of the Clone Wars titles, I actually do like them. For one thing, it's pretty easy to remember which episode was which. Second, it makes little kids ask their parents fun questions like, "What is 'dissent'?", which of course, is exactly what any parent wants to hear from their child. ;)

Right. So there's Major Havoc in the Battlezone on planet Umbara. They have to attack the enemy Ramparts which are being heavily re-supplied from orbit. Several clones, still under General Pong, decide to Breakout, and steal a Starship. In Pursuit of the enemy, dodging Anti-Aircraft fire, they Sprint to a massive Space Duel where, thanks to some innovative Missile Command, they blow up the enemy supply ship. But this is all against orders, so an APB is put out on them, and when they return they're considered Outlaws, and the General comes down on them like an Avalanche. Now they face court martial and execution - even though their Off The Wall actions helped to defeat the enemy Warlords.

Sounds like they're in the midst of a real Tempest, now. Will they Rebound and be able to Escape From the Planet of the Robot Monsters? Or will this result in their eventual Elimination? Next week we find out, as these Liberators get put through the Gauntlet.
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This week's episode was Carnage of Krell. Which is too bad, since "Carnage of Pong" would have been a much more awesome title. It'd make a great videogame, too.

Anyway, this wrapped up the four-part Jedi Pong Krell saga, and I really didn't have any idea what to expect. Clone Wars has actually become unpredictable.

TV.

Unpredictable.

Kids' TV, no less. Go figure.

This may have been one of the best episodes of Clone Wars yet, and oddly enough - none of the principal characters were in it. In fact, they haven't been in these last few episodes at all, except for a few brief cursory appearances. That speaks to how well the writers are doing with establishing the world of The Clone Wars, and making it interesting beyond just the story lines of the movies.

And just in case you're interested in any of this stuff - spoilers ahead. Usually, most of the Clone Wars doesn't merit spoiler alerts, but this is one of those episodes worth watching and discovering it as it unfolds. So you've been warned.

The episode started up with Jedi Pong Krell planning to court martial the two clones from last week's episode, who violated his orders. But then, he decided that he really didn't want to bother with that, and decided to just have them executed instead.

What followed next was played absolutely dead-serious, as the two Clones were marched out in front of their comrades, gave an impassioned, last-minute plea, and then their fellow clones lined up, and fired.

Again, kids' TV show.

Here's where the spoilers begin.

The clones intentionally missed. They couldn't bring themselves, despite their conditioning, to carry out the execution. Although one of them couldn't understand how his fellow clones could disobey any order - even carrying out an unjust execution (more on him later). So now he was on the outs with his fellow clones, even though he was the one that was closest to what the clones were originally intended to be - absolute loyal, unquestioning soldiers. He got tossed in the brig, while the rest of the clones decided to go and arrest Pong.

Yeah, good luck with that.

Did I mention Pong Krell was a huge, powerful guy, who wielded two double-bladed lightsabers?

Now, based on previous episodes, I figured Pong was either a "win at all costs" power-hungry General, who didn't care whether his troops lived or died as long as the objective was attained, or someone who held the clones in such contempt as an "inferior race" that he intentionally put them in harm's way (which in itself made for an interesting side story). And while the final answer was certainly some combination of the two, the real truth of it was that he had decided that since the Dark Side was coming to power, he'd switch sides and join what he perceived would be the winners. So he was power-hungry, a racist, and a traitor. His military actions weren't just inept or irresponsible, but actually intended to overthrow the Republic.

And he did not make it easy to capture him. Lots of chopped-up clones.

Finally though, they did capture him. But the Umbarans (remember them?) were approaching the base, and they'd end up setting Pong free if they re-captured it. So the clones decided to execute Pong, since he would be far too dangerous if he managed to escape to the other side. This wasn't a military tribunal, or court-martial. It was them making Pong kneel in his cell, facing the wall, and shooting him in the back. Very intense stuff. And a pretty brave thing for the writers to do. Here was a potentially great character for the series, and they killed him off. Oh, and the clone who shot him? Well, it wasn't any of the ones rebelling, it was the one who had been ultra loyal to him, because in the end, he realized his loyalty was to the Republic, which Pong had betrayed.

They're tackling some really interesting and powerful stories. As I've mentioned before - they're putting "War" in "The Clone Wars". This isn't just good Star Wars, this is good storytelling, period. Too bad the prequels didn't have this kind of depth.
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Last night's episode was Kidnapped. Guess what happened!

Take a moment. I'll wait.

Give up?

Okay, I'll give you a clue.

It has something to do with the title.

That's right! There was a kidnapping!

Although it wasn't Senator Amidala, or Ahsoka, or Jar-Jar, or R2 and Threepio, or Chancellor Palpatine, or anyone else you'd expect to get kidnapped.

Nope, this time, the bad guys kidnapped an entire planet.

Nice trick. Must not have had a lot of people on it.

And this time, it was Ahsoka's home planet. They're a peace-loving people, who didn't have any warriors among them. So that made it pretty easy.

Kind of weird... since there are at least two Jedi who are from that planet. Go figure.

Actually, I guess it was an artists' colony, and not the entire planet. Which doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. Why would the Separatists want to kidnap artists, other than the fact that as far as putting up a fight goes, artists are generally pretty useless?

(I should point out, that I'm an artist, so I'm speaking from first-hand experience here.)

Oddly enough, Ahsoka didn't seem all that upset, but boy Anakin was sure honked off. Y'see, the kidnappers who were working for the Separatists were slave traders, and since Anakin was a slave growing up, this didn't sit well with him. That, and the slavers all get their hair done at the same place as Wolverine, so maybe he's got a thing against how overexposed Wolverine is, and he's just tired of seeing him everywhere. Really... is there a comic book he isn't in?

Right, so the slavers have planted bombs all over the city, which Ahsoka and Anakin have to disarm, while Obi-Wan engages in fisticuffs with the slaver leader guy. Since I don't recall his name, we'll just assume it's Logan.

The slavers have a grudge against the Jedi, since they ruined their rather lucrative slave trade business. So Obi-Wan offers to let Logan beat him up, if they'll let the kidnapped colonists go. Or something like that. Anyway, it buys the time needed to disarm the bombs, but then Logan escapes, and it's up to Anakin and Ahsoka to stop him. Which they do, although Anakin really wants to chop the guy up into kibble, but Ahsoka stops him. So we see a little more of the Dark Side™ creeping in there. I think they could have pushed it further though.

That's where the episode ended, so I guess they'll have to find and rescue the colonists some other day. A pretty good episode overall, but the whole bomb-diffusing thing didn't have the suspense it should have. Instead of tension-filled moments as they try to figure out how to diffuse it, they just chop it up with their lightsabers.

Seems like cheating to me.
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This week brought the episode Slaves of the Republic. A follow-up to last week's, where Obi-Wan, Anakin and Ahsoka try to find 50,000 kidnapped art colonists.

Hint: follow the smell.

Just sayin', is all.

I work at an art college. It has its own unique... bouquet.

Anyway, they end up going to the slave-traders' homeworld, and promptly get captured. It's a really good episode though - quite a lot of intense drama. Obi-Wan gets strung up and whipped, slaves are executed by being dropped through trap doors to fall to their death, Ahsoka is tortured, Anakin Force-chokes someone, and the episode ends with them still captured, and Anakin being forced to work for the slave-traders' Queen, or all of the colonists and Obi-Wan and Ahsoka will be killed.

Heavy stuff for a cartoon. The acting is getting quite good, too.

Still have troubles making them walk sometimes though. ;)
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Took 'em a few weeks to air a new episode, but Escape from Kadavo nicely wrapped up the slaver storyline a couple weeks ago. Good writing, good action, good animation. Best moment - the slaver holding Obi-Wan captive has been defeated, but knows Obi-Wan won't kill him - "Jedi won't kill an unarmed man". Then Obi-Wan nods to one of his Clone Troopers, who promptly runs the bad-guy through with a spear while saying, "I'm not a Jedi". Sanctioned murder from a Jedi? Could be. The Clone Wars does a nice job of bringing up the question of just how "pure" the Jedi really are at times. There are some shades of gray in there, which makes the Jedi all that more fallible, and human.

Last night brought A Friend in Need where Ahsoka reunited with the Separatist friend she'd made in a previous season. Also back are the Mandalorian "Death Watch" gang, which are a bunch of guys (and one woman) clad in Boba Fett (and Babe-a Fett) armor, who fly around killing people. They especially don't like Jedi. There's some particularly brutal violence where Death Watch wipes out an entire village of innocents, and where Ahsoka beheads four Boba Fett-wannabes simultaneously. Nasty. There's also a brief fight between Ahsoka and Babe-a Fett, which seems to suggest a more lengthy confrontation coming later. Cool. Ahsoka could use some more enemies of her own. I really like how her character is growing and maturing. It will be interesting (and potentially very tragic) to see how she ends up some day.

Next week starts up a four-parter, involving bounty hunters, Obi-Wan getting shot, and Anaking getting really, really upset. Check it out. (You can also watch full episodes online by following the links I've been posting.)
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Two weeks ago, they started up a new four-parter with Deception, in which they slightly broke from the established Star Wars canon by killing off Obi-Wan Kenobi.

You know, before Darth Vader eventually kills him later on. (Oh sorry... spoiler alert if you've never seen Star Wars. :ponder: )

Of course, given the title of the episode, you can probably figure out the whole thing was a set-up, to make people think Obi-Wan was killed, so he could then go undercover to uncover a plot to kidnap the Chancellor.

Unfortunately, they didn't clue Anakin in on any of this, so he's a little put-off right now.

Friday brought Friends and Enemies which continues the story. Obi-Wan is mixed up with some bounty hunters (including Cad Bane, who is the bounty hunter Boba Fett should have been), and Anakin has taken off at the behest of the Chancellor to find Obi-Wan's assassin, who is in fact actually Obi-Wan in disguise. Confrontation ensues, spaceships crash, and Anakin gets pretty upset (although not nearly as upset as I expected, but he still showed some leanings towards the Dark Side™).

They delve a little more into how the Chancellor is influencing Anakin, and also you could see how his resentment of the Jedi (and even Obi-Wan) could begin since they've kept this whole thing a secret from him. At the moment, he still doesn't know what's going on, but he's deduced that Obi-Wan is alive, and so now he's got to get to the bottom of things.

Anyway, lots of good action in this episode, and while a fairly straightforward (and well-worn) story idea, it's still fun to watch. Two more episodes to go in this story arc, so we'll see if they can keep up the momentum. So far though, this fits in nicely with what has been a really good season of the Clone Wars.
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Part three of the four-parter was The Box. The bounty hunters who were recruited to try and kidnap the Chancellor were pitted against each other inside... a box. Sort of like a giant puzzle game, where you die if you get it wrong. Seemed very inspired by videogames to me. Anyway, Obi-Wan survived, and lived on to become part of the kidnapping plot. Yay, Obi.

So that brought the conclusion - Crisis on Naboo. The Chancellor was there to kick off a fireworks display (like he doesn't have better things to be doing), and the Jedi had to protect him. Obi-Wan (still in disguise) was part of the kidnapping plan, but didn't know the whole thing, so despite interrupting the plan, couldn't outright stop it. The plan was rather convoluted, involving holographic disguises and lots of subterfuge and misdirection. Kind of clever, if not a little bit hard to follow.

In the end, Count Dooku (who was behind the whole thing), ended up bailing out on the plot, leaving all of the bounty hunters to be arrested. (Still waiting for someone to say, "And I would've gotten away with it too, if it weren't for those meddling Jedi!") So... what was up with that? Well, turns out he was listening into the Jedi the whole time, knew what they were up too, and used the false sense of security of the "plot" being "over" to enact his real plot, and kidnapped the Chancellor for real. Ah ha! But Anakin and Obi-Wan stopped him, although of course, Dooku got away. Because otherwise, there wouldn't be much of a war or TV series.

They delved a bit more into Anakin's growing distrust of the Jedi and of Obi-Wan, and more of how the Chancellor is starting to manipulate Anakin's point-of-view. It's actually a little sad to see him starting down that path now. Of course, that's the whole point - he's a tragic, fallen character. Something the prequels never managed to get across. How they're going to continue to develop that, and when and how they wrap up the Clone Wars is one of the reasons this series is well-worth following if you're a Star Wars fan.

I should point out, that although I do consider myself a Star Wars fan, there ain't no way I'm shelling out money to see Phantom Menace in 3D. :razz:
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I should point out, that although I do consider myself a Star Wars fan, there ain't no way I'm shelling out money to see Phantom Menace in 3D. :razz:

I agree. IIRC Phantom Menace had three good parts:
1. The pod race (the sound of those pods)
2. The second battle with Darth Maul (mostly for the abilities of Ray Park)
3. A few moments of CGI landscapes like the towers of Naboo or the Gungans emerging from the myst

But I have no interest in watching a film converted to 3D. Although it may provide more control over the level of 3D, there's no way of creating that missing data or flawlessly separating the different depths.
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I have yet to see a 3D conversion that works. I find it more distracting than anything. Even something natively shot in 3D isn't all that impressive once my eyes have adapted to looking at it. Everything mostly seems to flatten back out, and it's all so dim.

As for Phantom Menace...
1. Only if you remove all of the shots of Anakin, Jar-Jar and the announcers. And his mother. And the close-ups of other pilots. And Jabba.
2. I'll give you that one. But it unfortunately it was interrupted too much by the stupid space battle "Now this is pod racing!" and assault on the throne room (or whatever it was). Plus, I've always felt it just looked too choreographed, and not very spontaneous.
3. The Gungans would have looked better going back into the mist. ;)
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Last week brought the episode Massacre. Guess what happened?

Wrong! It had nothing to do with acreage. Try again...

Right! There was a massacre!

Asajj Ventress (who, when we last left her, was on the run after having been betrayed by Count Dooku), found her way back to her home planet populated by space witches. Dooku, who apparently has nothing better to do with his time, sent General Grievous and pretty-much the entire droid army to "Wipe them out... all of them."

So they did. That was pretty-much the whole episode.

Except for the zombies, of course. But that goes without saying. Y'see the space witches needed more people to help them fight the droids, so they made a whole bunch of space witch zombies. They were also massacred, but since they were already dead, it didn't really count. Parents' councils - rest easy.

So, lots of shooting, chopping, stabbing, statues-falling-on-and-crushing-non-zombie-people, and other massacre-y stuff. And in the end, Asajj escapes, but now she's all by herself, which sets up the next several episodes, which reportedly includes the return of yet-another-zombie: Darth Maul.

Edit: Here's the preview.

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Seen Star Wars Uncut? I've watched the first 30 minutes so far and was quite impressed with how well it turned out.

http://www.starwarsuncut.com/
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I've seen bits and pieces of it. It looks like it would have been a lot of fun to contribute to!
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Speaking of fun Star Wars stuff... check out Rejected Star Wars Product Concepts.

I want a Darth Vader Lava Lamp and Talking Chip Clip!
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That Lava Lamp is awesome!
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