The Essential Clone Wars: “Landing at Point Rain”

***I must confess that, despite being a huge Star Wars geek, I have yet to see the landmark Clone Wars animated show in its entirety. I’m aiming to rectify that to a large extent here, as we look at pivotal episodes of the series in, “The Essential Clone Wars.”

SERIES: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
EPISODE:
S2:E5 – “Landing at Point Rain”
WITH THE VOICE TALENTS OF:
Matt Lanter, Brian George, Dee Bradley Baker, Ashley Eckstein, James Arnold Taylor
WRITER:
Brian Larsen
DIRECTOR:
Brian Kalin O’Connell
PREMIERE DATE:
November 4, 2009
SYNOPSIS:
The Jedi lead an attack on the Separatist droid factory on Geonosis.

***New around here? Check out our Star Wars review archive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I initially wrinkled my nose at Anakin and Ahsoka gloating about their respective kill counts. But then it occurred to me: The Separatists use robots. So they weren’t actually “killing” anyone.

Our big bad guy at the droid factory is named Poggle the Lesser. We also saw him in both Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. But question: Does his name mean anything? I mean…lesser what? What does that word mean in this context? That one’s a head-scratcher for me.

Here’s an odd complaint to have about a war show: This episode felt really loud to me. Lots of explosions and spaceship sounds and pew pew pews. I guess that’s how you know I’m not a young fanboy anymore…

There’s a moment in this episode where a Clone Trooper gets blasted into the air and takes a hard landing on the ground. Another clone then shouts, “Man down!” That was funny to me. When you go down like that, “Man down!” is pretty much adding insult to injury, isn’t it?

This episode really didn’t do much for me. This, despite it being on various “Best of” lists as it relates to The Clone Wars. It’s a great example of how well the show can do the big Star Wars battle sequences. And it’s got a cute little moment between Anakin, Ahsoka, Obi-Wan, and Ki-Adi Mundi at the end. But other than that…

My guess? Because it’s part of a multi-part story arc, “Landing at Point Rain” simply isn’t intended to stand on its own as much as a typical episode. I can only assume it’s meant to set the table for better things to come.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Rob Watches The Mandalorian: An Icon Returns

SERIES: The Mandalorian
EPISODE:
S2:E6. “Chapter 14: The Tragedy”
STARRING:
Pedro Pascal, Temuera Morrison, Ming-Na Wen, Giancarlo Esposito
WRITER:
Jon Favreau
DIRECTOR:
Robert Rodriguez
PREMIERE DATE:
December 4, 2019
SYNOPSIS:
Mando takes Grogu to the planet Tython, where he’s intercepted by Boba Fett and Fennec Shand.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I wonder who came up with the name Grogu, and how long they’ve had it. You think they had that in mind from the get-go?

Slave I gets an awesome entrance in this episode. Not overstated. Just a simple fly-by. The ship is so iconic to Star Wars fans that a simple appearance, even from a distance, does all the work.

So what is that energy field that comes up around Grogu? Are we to believe it’s Force energy? That seems like the most likely explanation. Especially since Grogu passes out afterward.

“I’m a simple man making his way through the galaxy. Like my father before me.” Nice little callback to two different lines there. The first from Jango in Attack of the Clones. The second from Luke at the end of Return of the Jedi.

This stormtrooper ineptitude is becoming a problem for me. The fact that Mando, Boba Fett and Fennec Shand were able to fend off more than a dozen of them is pathetic.

Also, when a giant boulder is rolling toward you…MOVE OUT OF THE WAY, IDIOTS!

The sequences with Boba Fett and the gaffi stick were a sight to behold. Aside from the few swings we saw in the original Star Wars, I believe this is the first time we’ve seen one in action. Certainly to this degree.

The fight between the newly re-armored Fett and the stormtroopers is obviously some great fan-service. It did bring to mind memories of the Darth Vader slaughter from the end of Rogue One. The difference? In Rogue One, that sequence was there to bolster up the end of the film because it had so little in the way of character and story. In contrast, this Boba Fett stuff has been set up since the beginning of the season. And to say the least, The Mandalorian isn’t lacking in depth.

Moff Gideon wants to be Darth Vader. Bad. Real bad. To the point that he carries around a lightsaber. It’s kinda cute, actually.

They blew up the Razor Crest! I didn’t see that coming…

I’ve never liked Temuera Morrison as the voice for the helmeted Boba Fett, especially the way they swapped out Jason Wingreen’s voice for his in The Empire Strikes Back. I have no issue with Morrison playing the role at large. But when he’s got the helmet on? Give him a voice like Wingreen’s. If Darth Vader can have a voice modulator, so can Boba Fett.

Some questions that still haven’t been answered: How did Fett survive the Sarlaac Pit? I think the general consensus is that he climbed out. But did somebody rescue him? When was he rescued?

If they do end up doing a Boba Fett series, this is some of the ground the first season should cover.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Rob Watches The Mandalorian – The Genius of Baby Yoda

SERIES: The Mandalorian
EPISODE: S1:E2. “Chapter Two: The Child.”
STARRING: Pedro Pascal, Misty Rosas, Nick Nolte (voice)
WRITER: Jon Favreau
DIRECTOR: Rick Famuyiwa
PREMIERE DATE: November 15, 2019
SYNOPSIS: After the Razor Crest is stripped for parts by Jawas, Mando must retrieve a bargaining chip in the form of a beast’s egg.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

The child, a.k.a. Baby Yoda, is a stroke of genius. Walk into a Target, Walmart, or Costco these days and you’ll see why. His diminutive size and not-so-diminutive cuteness appeal make him a marketing gold mine. In the grand tradition of Star Wars merchandising, his visage begs to be put on clothes, posters, and of course toys. Frankly, I’m shocked we didn’t see more Baby Yoda merchandise as the first season was in progress. That’s a giant missed opportunity you’d never associate with a titan like Disney.

But at the same time, Baby Yoda teases at answers to questions Star Wars fans have had for decades: What species is Yoda? Why are there so few of them? Did something happen to them? Did they get wiped out? Are they somehow tied into the Jedi and the Force? When you add it all together, Baby Yoda has that rare combination of geek appeal and corporate appeal.

Indeed, the Jawas are back. I remember seeing an “Offworld Jawa” action figure in stores, and wondering what the deal was. The irony is if you came into this episode as a relative newbie, you wouldn’t think they were offworld, i.e. not on Tatooine. Sadly, Arvala-7 is yet another indistinguishable desert planet.

The sequence with Mando chasing the sandcrawler reminded me of a level from Super Star Wars, the old Super Nintendo game. You play as Luke, climbing all over the thing and slashing at Jawas with a lightsaber. That’s basically what Mando is doing here, sans lightsaber.

In terms of the Kuiil character, voiced by Nick Nolte, it’s funny to me how once you know what a voice actor in question looks like, you sometimes start to read their face into the character. For instance, Kuiil looks like Nick Nolte to me, even though they objectively don’t share many features.

“I’m a Mandalorian. Weapons are part of my religion.” I love that line. It’s my favorite in the series thus far.

The hero fighting a big monster is a recurring theme in the George Lucas Star Wars movies. You’ve got the snow monster in The Empire Strikes Back, the rancor in Return of the Jedi, the arena monsters in Attack of the Clones. Depending on how liberal you want to be with the concept, you can extend it to various other moments in the Star Wars saga.

Odd as it sounds, I appreciated how muddy Mando got during the fight with the… *checks Wookiepedia*…mudhorn? That’s the name they came up with?

Anyway, the mud added a bit of a grittier texture to the whole thing. I can’t imagine it was fun to film. But it was appreciated.

So Baby Yoda uses the force to lift the mudhorn into the air so Mando can make the kill. Obviously, this only lends credence to the theory that Yoda’s species is somehow linked with the Jedi and the Force.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

George Lucas on Star Wars: Yoda and Qui-Gon Jinn

***Think what you will about George Lucas, but in terms of Star Wars, it can all be traced back to him. That’s why I always find it so interesting to listen to him talk about it. His creative process, the reason certain decisions were made, and how these movies became pop cultural staples. This space is dedicated to just that. This is “George Lucas on Star Wars.”***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

The Scene: As Anakin Skywalker slaughters Tusken Raiders over the death of his mother, a meditating Yoda feels his pain and suffering. He also briefly hears Qui-Gon Jinn calling to the young padawan.

George Lucas Says (Via the Attack of the Clones Commentary Track): “… we cut to Yoda, who is meditating, who hears this off-screen, and we do hear a voice in there. That voice is the voice of Qui-Gon Jinn. So we very subtly establish … Yoda is feeling the pain and suffering of Anakin and the Tusken Raiders, [and] he’s also making a connection, unwittingly with Qui-Gon Jinn. Up to this point we haven’t really established that you can make a connection with the departed in this world. That will become a factor in [Episode III].”

I Say: If by factor he means “afterthought,” then  yes, it became a factor in Episode III.

This has always been one of the more frustrating aspects of Revenge of the Sith for me, as it would have done so much to justify Qui-Gon’s entire presence in The Phantom Menace. Plus, they just would have been cool scenes.

The novelizations of Episode II and III both touched on Yoda communicating with Qui-Gon. The latter even had a brief dialogue between the two. But somehow they didn’t make it into the films. So the whole “training I have for you” thing at the end of Sith seemed comically tacked on.

Even The Rise of Skywalker got this one right, with Rey hearing the voices of all the Jedi at the end. It’s not like it was an entirely separate plot thread or anything. It would have taken maybe five to 10 seconds in Clones, and maybe a minute in Sith. All you need is a few lines of audio from Liam Neeson.

All to establish that Yoda has not gone bonkers when he tells Obi-Wan to talk to his dead master.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.