The Essential Clone Wars: “The Mandalore Plot”

***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.”

Star Wars The Clone Wars The Mandalore Plot, Duchess SatineSERIES: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
EPISODE:
S2:E12 – “The Mandalore Plot”
WITH THE VOICE TALENTS OF:
James Arnold Taylor, Anna Graves, Jon Favreau, Corey Burton, Greg Proops
WRITER:
Melinda Hsu
DIRECTOR:
Kyle Dunlevy
PREMIERE DATE:
January 29, 2010
SYNOPSIS:
Obi-Wan reunites with an old friend to solve a mystery on Mandalore.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Episodes like “The Mandalore Plot” expose a problem with the show: Obi-Wan’s costume. For whatever reason, characters like Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Ahsoka appear in the same singular outfit episode after episode. That’s not a drastic problem, as they’re Jedi and virtually always wear similar outfits. But for Obi-Wan it’s a problem, as they opted to put him in battle armor for his singular outfit. That works fine for battle sequences. But this episode starts with a diplomatic mission to Mandalore. As such, the armor is inappropriate. Obi-Wan really should have been in Jedi robes, akin to what he wears in all three prequel films.

Making the Mandalorians their own society of super commandos presents a problem: It devalues Boba Fett and Jango Fett, as we now virtually have a planet full of characters that all have similar costumes and gadgets. Considering what pivotal roles Boba and Jango have in the saga at large, I would have deemed that unacceptable, regardless of whether that’s how the Mandalorians were originally conceived.

Star Wars The Clone Wars, The Mandalore Plot, Pre Vizsla

What’s more, it’s a problem that Star Wars wasn’t able to even try and solve until more than a decade later, when we got to The Mandalorian. When we get to “The Tragedy” in season two, we’re able to see how Boba Fett’s fighting style is much more brutal than Din Djarin’s, and presumably the rest of the Mandalorians. I’d still prefer Boba and Jango had the whole helmet and jetpack M.O. to themselves. But that helped.

On the subject of The Mandalorian, the man who would become its showrunner, Jon Favreau, plays Pre Vizsla. I’m not enamored with that casting choice, though. Maybe it’s the stark contrast of his nasally American accent against the ones James Arnold Taylor and Anna Graves give to Obi-Wan and Satine. (I say that as a guy with a nasally American accent. It’s not an insult, I promise.)

The Clone Wars is a kids show, right? At least in theory? I say that because it’s not often you see a suicide on a kids show. We hear the sound of his body hitting the ground and everything. I ain’t mad at it. I’m just saying you don’t see it often. If ever…

Before strapping Obi-Wan into that Adam West Batman style death trap, the Death Watch soldiers thought enough to take Obi-Wan’s lightsaber. However they apparently didn’t think to check him for communication devices. Bad form, gentlemen.

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

A Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi, “Part V” Review

SERIES: Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi
EPISODE:
“Part V”
STARRING:
Ewan McGregor, Vivien Lyra Blair, Hayden Christensen, Moses Ingram, Indira Varma
WRITERS:
Joby Harold, Andrew Stanton
DIRECTOR:
Deborah Chow
PREMIERE DATE:
June 15, 2011
SYNOPSIS:
Obi-Wan, Tala, and the Path must escape an Imperial attack.

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

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I’m a little confused as to why people are questioning how “canon-friendly” Obi-Wan Kenobi is, because of this new connection we’re seeing between Obi-Wan and Leia. Granted, there’s nothing in A New Hope that suggests they knew each other. But there’s nothing that says they didn’t, either. The two character don’t even have any shared screen time in the movie. The closest they come to contact is when Leia presumably catches a glance of the fight between Obi-Wan and Darth Vader.

And yes, Leia is a little formal with Obi-Wan in the transmission that Artoo delivers. But it’s presumably been almost a decade since they’ve seen each other. A little decorum isn’t uncalled for. Thus far, Obi-Wan Kenobi fits into canon just fine. At least as far as I know.

Before our recap, we get a warning: “There are certain scenes in this fictional series that some viewers may find upsetting.” Given the temperament of a lot of the fans, it seems like that’s the kind of warning that should come before every Star Wars show…

These are the flashbacks I’ve been looking for! Granted, Hayden Christensen doesn’t look much like the teenager that Anakin is supposed to be. But it almost doesn’t matter. Even as someone who’s willing to be critical of the prequels and their shortcomings, it’s thrilling to see him in the role again.

Wait, I’m confused. In his transmission to Obi-Wan, Bail says: “If he’s found you, if he’s learned of the children…”

He’s talking about Darth Vader, right? That seems to imply that Obi-Wan tipped Bail off that Anakin had survived as Vader. But when did he do that? Why did he do that? That “If he’s found you…” line is frustrating in that it unintentionally raises nagging questions.

We learn here that Reva was a youngling that Anakin stabbed during Order 66, but survived. Her fixation on finding Obi-Wan was wrapped up in her hatred for Anakin, and that he couldn’t prevent Anakin’s fall and subsequent slaughter of those close to her.

This works fairly well as Reva’s motivation. I like that she’s after Vader more than she is Obi-Wan. It speaks to the idea that all these Sith secretly hate each other, and when the chips are down will turn on one another.

And so Tala dies a heroic death via thermal detonator. Yeah, that feels about right. You knew she wasn’t going to make it through the series. You just knew it…

Someone who evidently will make it through the series? The Grand Inquisitor, who returns at the end of the episode. Many speculated this might be the case. And his big line, Revenge does wonders for the will to live, don’t you think?” is awesome.

By the way, does the Grand Inquisitor have a name? We briefly see the rank of Grand Inquisitor bestowed upon Reva in this episode. So we know it’s a title, not a name. So what is Rupert Friend’s character’s actual name? Did Rebels ever cover that?

At the end of the episode, Reva discovers Bail’s recorded message to Obi-Wan, which reveals Luke’s location. I had a feeling things would come back around to Tatooine at the end. And I’ve got a theory about how things may go…

Years ago, in conjunction with the release of Revenge of the Sith, Dark Horse Comics put out an anthology miniseries called Star Wars Visionaries. In one of the stories, “Old Wounds,” a revived Darth Maul arrives at the Lars Homestead looking for Luke. (This was obviously published years before Maul was canonically revived on the Clone Wars animated show.) Obi-Wan arrives and a battle ensues. But ultimately, it’s Owen Lars who surprises Maul with a head shot, killing him instantly…

Could we be looking at a similar scenario with Reva in the Obi-Wan Kenobi finale? It would be consistent with the Owen Lars we saw in the first episode

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

A Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi, “Part IV” Review

Darth Vader poster, Star Wars Obi-Wan KenobiSERIES: Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi
EPISODE:
“Part IV”
STARRING:
Ewan McGregor, Vivien Lyra Blair, Moses Ingram, Indira Varma, O’Shea Jackson Jr. 
WRITERS:
Joby Harold, Hannah Friedman
DIRECTOR:
Deborah Chow
PREMIERE DATE:
June 8, 2011
SYNOPSIS:
Obi-Wan and Tala infiltrate enemy territory to find Leia.

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

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Let’s talk about this straight away: There was some buzz last week about a second season of Obi-Wan Kenobi. As much as I’ve mostly enjoyed the show so far, as far as a second season is concerned, I’m lukewarm at best. From a story perspective, Obi-Wan is supposed to be in seclusion for the 19 years between A New Hope and Revenge of the Sith. As a fan, I can buy that he briefly leaves Tatooine for a desperate situation. But if you go back to that well again, you might be pushing it too far.

Now, if they want to come back for something involving one of the other characters, perhaps even the Darth Vader miniseries that some have been buzzing about, I might be game for that. But more Obi-Wan? Nah, I think I’m good.

Then again, they can always change my mind with the right story…

In the opening minutes of the episode, we see Darth Vader in his…rejuvenation tank? Is that what it is? Is there bacta in there?

I had a thought about Darth Vader earlier this week: I’m not sure I’m a fan of Obi-Wan Kenobi showing us Anakin’s face. The unmasking of Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi is such a pivotal moment. Arguably the moment the entire original trilogy built to. Showing us Anakin’s face here waters that down a little bit, doesn’t it?

That was one of the few things I liked about Rogue One. They gave us Darth Vader in the tank, but didn’t show us his face.

Then again, Mrs. Primary Ignition had a good counterpoint to that argument: Who’s watching Obi-Wan Kenobi before they finish the original trilogy? In the modern era, that number is about as minuscule as it’ll ever be. Future generations might be another story, I suppose…

Bacta tank, Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi

Obi-Wan came out of his bacta tank before his wounds could fully heal. Does that mean he has burn scars on his body? That feels appropriate. And of course, we never saw Alec Guinness with his shirt off in the original trilogy. So there’s nothing to contradict it. Nice touch.

The planet name Jabiim rang a bell for me. In the Legends continuity, i.e. the old Star Wars publishing canon, is was the site of one of the most brutal and bloody battles of the Clone Wars. So brutal and bloody, in fact, that if I’m not mistaken there was only one survivor: Anakin Skywalker.

Indira Varma plays Tala. Mrs. Primary Ignition tells me she and The Mandalorian‘s Pedro Pascal played husband and wife on Game of Thrones. I must confess, I’m not a big enough Game of Thrones fan to remember that. I do, however, remember Pascal’s character having a pretty gruesome death scene, with his eyes being pushed back into his skull. Because that’s just how they rolled on Game of Thrones.

So that big fortress we see the Inquisitors is actually called Fortress Inquisitorius? That’s kinda lame. Then again, when you’re that sadistic and evil, I guess you can call your base whatever you want, and dare anybody to laugh at you…

I was taken aback, mostly in a good way, by how scary certain parts of this episode were. Leia being strapped into a torture contraption. The Jedi tomb with all those dead faces staring out, one of which being a child. I actually had to pause the episode at one point because my two-year-old daughter walked into the room. Powerful stuff, man.

Reva, sky, Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi

I can’t believe that Vivien Lyra Blair wasn’t even 10 years old when they shot this. Imagine being that age and performing intense scenes like this, while also feeling the pressure of playing a character like Princess Leia. She’s young, but she’s got my respect.

It bears repeating James Earl Jones really has mounted a comeback with his performance here as the voice of Darth Vader. After Rogue One and Rebels I had my doubts. But even at over 90 years old, the man has still got it.

Leia reaching out and holding Obi-Wan’s hand was a nice way to close out the episode. A great little display of humanity.

Question: Is Obi-Wan Kenobi wasting Hayden Christensen? We’re four episodes in, and his work has been mostly confined to the Darth Vader costume, with some shots of him the rejuvenation tank thrown in there. There’s nothing wrong with that, strictly speaking. But when they announced him for this show, I naturally assumed we were going to be getting flashback sequences. Something perhaps set during the events of The Clone Wars cartoon show, with Obi-Wan and Anakin in corresponding costumes. Maybe even a Rosario Dawson cameo as Ahsoka.

Is that asking too much? Maybe. Maybe not. And granted, we still have two episodes left. But all these years after his performances in the prequels were ridiculed, I think Christensen deserves to flex his acting chops a little bit. I can’t help but want that for him.

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

A Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi, “Part III” Review

Leia poster, Star Wars Obi-Wan KenobiSERIES: Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi
EPISODE:
“Part III”
STARRING:
Ewan McGregor, Vivien Lyra Blair, Moses Ingram, Hayden Christensen, James Earl Jones (Voice)
WRITERS:
Joby Harold, Hannah Friedman, Hossein Amini, Stuart Beattie
DIRECTOR:
Deborah Chow
PREMIERE DATE:
June 1, 2022
SYNOPSIS:
Obi-Wan and Leia are hunted on the mining world of Mapuzo.

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

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I mentioned previously that, going forward, Star Wars needs to take a break from setting shows in the desert. Going forward, the franchise also needs to work on avoiding what I’ll call “the Baby Yoda effect.” That is, sticking the hero or heroes with a child over the course of their journey. Specifically one that’s strong in the Force. The Mandalorian obviously did that with Grogu. The Bad Batch did it with Omega. Now this show is doing it with Leia.

To be clear, I’m not saying children shouldn’t be used in Star Wars stories. I just want to avoid Star Wars telling the same kinds of stories over and over again.

James Earl Jones is the voice of Darth Vader. He’s always been the voice of Darth Vader, and as long as he’s alive and wants to do it, he should be the voice of Darth Vader.

That being said, I had some slight issues with his performances in Rogue One and what I’ve seen of Rebels. My contention has been that he doesn’t sound as mean or as evil as Darth Vader should. Not like Darth Vader, but rather, Mufasa saying Darth Vader’s lines. Am I imagining it? Am I expecting too much? Maybe and maybe. But that’s my argument and I’m sticking to it.

However, I’m pleased to say that thus far, that problem hasn’t been present in Obi-Wan Kenobi. This is the best James Earl Jones has sounded as Vader since Disney purchased the franchise. I’m not sure whether to attribute that to good direction, Mr. Jones simply having a good day in the recording booth, or something else. Either way, I’m grateful for it.

Obi-Wan’s hallucination of Anakin from a distance, dark cloak and all, was a brilliant touch. Great shot too.

When Hayden Christensen was announced for this series, I figured they’d use him for flashback sequences. I’m sure those are still coming. But that’s another, clever way to use him without the Darth Vader suit.

Fifth Brother, played by Sung Kang, doesn’t have a conventional name the way Reva, the Third Sister, has one. But might I suggest…Hat Guy. Because that’s a variation on what most people, especially those of us who haven’t seen him in Rebels, are calling him.

Zach Braff provides the voice for Freck the transport pilot. Is that how they got him to star in that Cheaper By the Dozen remake for Disney+?

“Hey man, do this and we’ll throw in a part in Star Wars.”

“I am what you made me.” That line, delivered by Vader to Obi-Wan, is great. The entire presentation of Darth Vader in this episode is fantastic. The sense of terror and dread in his scenes is palpable. He truly comes off like the monster he is.

That’s especially true when he drags Obi-Wan through the flames. He wants to torture, maim, and disfigure his old master. But he also wants to savor the moment. Those shots of the Darth Vader suit in the light from the flames looked great too.

Leia offering to go forward on your own so Tala can go back for Obi-Wan is a nice little character moment for her. One of numerous character moments the show has given her thus far.

Well, so much for Obi-Wan’s first use of a lightsaber in a decade being a memorable moment. Still, I appreciate that he was largely helpless against Vader, and that we didn’t jump right into a super-choreographed sword fight. The man hasn’t been a Jedi in 10 years. To say his skills would be rusty is an understatement…

So…why did Vader let Obi-Wan go? The camera stayed on him for awhile, which seems to imply that he was pondering his next move. My only guess is that he figures he can follow Obi-Wan’s trail, and perhaps sniff out dissenters. That would seem to be the only thing that makes sense.

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

The Essential Clone Wars: “Weapons Factory”

***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:E6 – “Weapons Factory”
WITH THE VOICE TALENTS OF:
Ashley Eckstein, Matt Lanter, Meredith Salenger, Olivia d’Abo, Dee Bradley Baker
WRITER:
Brian Larsen
DIRECTOR:
Giancarlo Volpe
PREMIERE DATE:
November 13, 2009
SYNOPSIS:
Anakin’s trust in Ahsoka is tested in battle.

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

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

“Weapons Factory” isn’t much of an inspiring or intriguing name. “Assault on Point Rain” seems much more dramatic, and much more Star Wars.

Name notwithstanding, “Weapons Factory” gave me what I was looking for in “Landing at Point Rain.” More of a personal story told against the backdrop of a big battle on Geonosis. Anakin’s relationship with Ahsoka is put through a test, as the story places it next to Luminara Unduli’s relationship with her apprentice, Barriss Offee. More specifically, we see Anakin’s refusal of the prospect of letting Ahsoka die compared to Luminara’s more passive attitude about losing Barriss. The latter, of course, is the outlook Jedi are theoretically supposed to have.

The tactical droid that assists Poggle the Lesser is voiced by Tom Kane. Kane, of course, also voices both Yoda and the series narrator.  This droid sounds like a more monotone version of the narrator. It’s fun to listen to in that sense.

Luminara Unduli (shown above) made her debut as a background character during Attack of the Clones. She might be the best designed of the Jedi created for that movie. The black and green make for a nice contrast. But the headdress is what really makes her look. Without that headdress she wouldn’t have nearly as much going for her from a visual standpoint.

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

A Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi, “Part I” Review

SERIES: Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi
EPISODE:
“Part I”
STARRING:
Ewan McGregor, Rupert Friend, Moses Ingram, Joel Edgerton, Jimmy Smits
WRITERS:
Stuart Beattie, Hossein Amini, Joby Harold 
DIRECTOR:
Deborah Chow
PREMIERE DATE:
May 26, 2022
SYNOPSIS: 
Inquisitors arrive on Tatooine looking for Jedi. Meanwhile, Princess Leia is kidnapped.

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

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Let’s kick this off on the right note: With gratitude. Ewan McGregor didn’t have to come back to play Obi-Wan Kenobi again. I’m sure his experience making the prequels was a mixed bag. And that’s to say nothing of how audiences reacted to the movies. (Much of the criticism was justified. But much wasn’t.) I actually spotted an recent interview he did with Rotten Tomatoes where he references the difficulties of making the prequels. So to have him come back nearly two decades after the fact is a major blessing for Star Wars fans.

And of course, that also goes for Hayden Christensen, Jimmy Smits, Joel Edgerton, and Bonnie Piesse returning as Darth Vader, Bail Organa, Owen Lars, and Beru Lars respectively. This may all be more than we deserve, quite frankly.

Age/timeline check: Obi-Wan Kenobi takes place 10 years after Revenge of the Sith. Which is to say, nine years before the events of A New Hope. So naturally, the young Luke and Leia we see in this episode are about 10. And, as I’ve always read Obi-Wan was 25 in The Phantom Menace, that would make him about 47 here.

Our director for this episode, and the series at large, is Deborah Chow. She’s widely known for The High Cost of Living and The Possibilities of Fireflies. But Star Wars fans will know her as the director of two episodes of The Mandalorian: “Chapter 3: The Sin” and “Chapter 7: The Reckoning.” This is the first time one of these live action Star Wars shows has had one universal director. It’s a tall task. But Chow also has a lot to work with here in terms of story, the talent involved (not to mention her own talent), and the experience she now has working in the Star Wars universe. I’ve got high hopes.

One of the downsides of having Obi-Wan Kenobi and The Book of Boba Fett come out back to back? That’s a lot of desert stuff. I can’t say I’m looking forward to Andor as much as some people are (mostly because I hated Rogue One). But one of the upsides, at least judging by the trailer that just came out, is that we don’t see any desert scenes.

The episode, and the series at large, kick off with a quick five-minute recap of the prequels. To some, that’s probably the best way to watch the prequels. They might be right, actually. The contrast between the all the CGI backgrounds in the prequels and the actual places and sets in Kenobi is a stark one.

I must confess, having not seen all of Star Wars: Rebels, my familiarity with the Inquisitors is limited. But as I understand it, most or all of them are former Jedi Knights who’ve turned to the dark side and joined the Empire to hunt for Jedi in hiding.

At face value I don’t like that. Never have.

Much like having a planet full of Mandalorians devalues Boba and Jango Fett, having a big group of Sith inquisitors decreases the novelty of Darth Vader and his turn to the dark side. It also devalues Order 66. How effective could the big Jedi purge have been if enough survived that they needed to bring in Inquisitors to hunt them down?

Of course, that’s to take nothing away from the performances of Rupert Friend as the Grand Inquisitors or Moses Ingram as Reva.

Having Leia play such a pivotal role in the series is a big surprise. Coming in, I think we knew Jimmy Smits was going to be involved as Bail Organa. So a Leia cameo wouldn’t have been out of the blue. But this? This is beyond what I think anyone would have expected.

Vivien Lyra Blair, who plays Leia, does a fine job by child actor standards. The character is, thus far, written fairly well. I like that she’s characterized as, no pun intended, rebellious. Blair and Smits were able to create a father/daughter chemistry that felt very natural.

I appreciate that Obi-Wan has a job while in seclusion on Tatooine. That might be an odd thing to appreciate. But it’s one of those things that you (or at least I) never thought about when it came to the original movie. The guy had to make ends meet somehow, right? It makes me wonder if he had a job at the beginning of A New Hope.

I liked cynical Obi-Wan, i.e. the guy who refused to help his fellow Jedi in need. It speaks to him having spent a decade being beaten down by the desert. It’s a different character than we’re used to seeing.

Owen Lars refusing to give up Obi-Wan’s location was a wonderful character moment for him. For so long he’s been seen strictly as an antagonist for Luke. And maybe he is. But it’s always been in the spirit of wanting to do what’s best for his nephew and surrogate son.

It must be said that the chase scene between Leia and the bounty hunters did not come off very well. I’m not sure whether it was the actors, or the direction, or the editing, something else, or a combination of all of it. I understand and accept the notion that Leia knew the terrain better than they did, and was also smaller and harder to catch. But the impression I got was that Leia was moving very slowly, and that the hunters could have caught her quite easily if they’d simply picked up their pace a little bit.

We see that Obi-Wan buried he and Anakin’s lightsabers in the desert, presumably years ago when he first arrived. This is a nitpick, but how is he able to find that box again so quickly? Especially after 10 years. Did he pick that specific a spot? It just looked like a bunch of sand to me…

Overall, a good first episode. I can’t say I was blown away, but I definitely enjoyed it. Judging by premiere episodes alone, I’d say Obi-Wan Kenobi isn’t quite as strong as The Mandalorian, but better than The Book of Boba Fett.

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

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.

The Essential Clone Wars: “Rookies”

***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.”

Star Wars The Clone Wars, Rookies, image 1SERIES: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
EPISODE:
S1:E5 – “Rookies”
WITH THE VOICE TALENTS OF:
Dee Bradley Baker, James Arnold Taylor, Matthew Wood, Tom Kane, Matt Lanter
WRITER:
Steven Melching
DIRECTOR:
Justin Ridge
PREMIERE DATE:
October 24, 2008
SYNOPSIS: 
A group of rookie clones unite prevent a Separatist droid invasion.

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

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

We start the episode off with what looks like a hologram version of a radio broadcast. That’s a cool little world-building (or in this case, universe-building) element to throw in.

Almost all the characters on The Clone Wars, especially this early in the show, always wear the same outfits. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. But in Obi-Wan Kenobi’s case, it can be distracting as he’s wearing battle armor. It looks out of place in scenes like the one on the bridge of the starship. In hindsight, I might have put him in something that looked a little less battle-ready.

Star Wars The Clone Wars, Rookies, Image 2

When I looked at “Ambush,” I noted how I’m not a fan of the battle droids being overly goofy. These stealth droid commandos, on the other hand, are right up my alley. They give off just the vibe you’d expect an evil robot army to have. They’re cold, efficient, merciless, and scary.

It took me a minute to realize that Echo, one of the clones we see in this episode, is also one of the main characters in The Bad Batch. I can only assume we’ll be seeing more of him and his evolution as we move through The Clone Wars and into The Bad Batch. That’s always a cool thing to see.

And of course, we have Rex and Cody in this episode. We know they’ll both play notable roles as time goes on.

“Big gun doesn’t make a big man.” That’s a good line. The kind that should be repeated often in certain parts of America…

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

The Essential Clone Wars: “Ambush”

***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:
S1:E1 – “Ambush”
WITH THE VOICE TALENTS OF:
Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Brian George, Corey Burton, Nika Futterman
WRITER:
Steven Melching
DIRECTOR:
Dave Bullock
PREMIERE DATE:
October 3, 2008
SYNOPSIS:
Yoda is lured into a trap by Count Dooku and Asajj Ventress.

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

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

My research for this episode was my first exposure to how wonky the Clone Wars episode chronology can be. I invite you to check out Lucasfilm’s chronological episode order to see what I mean. But apparently, if one were to watch all the episodes in chronological order, “Ambush” would be the show’s fifth episode, rather than the first.

If nothing else, I guess it’s consistent with the Star Wars brand. This is, after all, the movie franchise that started with Episode IV.

Chronological issues notwithstanding, this was a good episode to start with. Everybody knows Yoda, so that was a nice hook for viewers who weren’t as familiar with Star Wars. It also establishes some of the main villains, who the good guy and bad guy troops are, the nature of the war itself, etc.

I’ve never like when the battle droids are overly jokey. That started in Revenge of the Sith, and continued here. It was the only thing in the episode that grated on me.

For whatever reason the Toydarians, King Katuunko in particular, don’t look as richly detailed as the other characters. First episode stumbles, maybe?

Obviously, the highlight of this episode is Yoda having the clones take their helmets off and then addressing them as individuals. The best line in his little speech? “Deceive you, eyes can. In the Force, very different each one of you are.” That’s a great Yoda line. 

On the subject of Yoda, I can’t imagine what it must have been like for Tom Kane to voice that character. At this point, he’d already played the character for the Star Wars: Clone Wars shorts that aired between 2003 and 2005. But this was obviously of a much larger scale. The character was, and still is, so closely identified with Frank Oz. But to his credit, Kane managed to make the character his own. He’s not as vocally flamboyant with Yoda as Oz was. But I might argue Kane gives the character a little more grit, which isn’t uncalled for in a show like The Clone Wars.

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

Power Rangers Dino Fury, “New Leaf” Review

Ollie, Amelia, Power Rangers Dino Fury, New LeafSERIES: Power Rangers Dino Fury
EPISODE:
S29:E7. “New Leaf”
STARRING:
Russell Curry, Hunter Deno, Kai Moya, Tessa Rao, Chance Perez, Jordan Fite
WRITERS:
Becca Barnes, Alwyn Dale, Maiya Thompson
DIRECTOR: Robyn Grace
PREMIERE DATE:
March 3, 2022
SYNOPSIS:
Ollie’s ego gets put in check, as Void Queen’s forces threaten the city’s water supply.

New around here? Check out the Power Rangers review archive!

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

It became pretty clear early in this episode that we were going to get some development here in the potential Ollie/Amelia romance. “New Leaf” doesn’t disappoint. It also delivers on some easily predicted, yet no less satisfying character development for Ollie.

I’m always on the look-out for former PR cast members when it comes to one-off characters like this Dr. Drake Flloyd. No such luck here. Though the actor, Jamie Irvine, has been on Shortland Street before. It feels like if you’re going to be in the New Zealand acting pool, you have to pass through Shortland Street at some point.

You don’t come to Power Rangers looking for quality CGI. That’s rarely been more evident than at the sight of that CGI octopus tentacle. Woof.

So now that Santaura and Tarrick have officially turned on each other, does that mean Void Knight is about to become a good guy? Or perhaps a sort of antihero, like Ecliptor was way back in Power Rangers in Space?

As Squashblight creates a storm cloud filled with his venom, Izzy says: “He’s gonna make it rain!” You just know that Maiya Thompson, who did the teleplay for this episode, smirked when she wrote that.

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