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.

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.

Power Rangers Dino Fury, “Stitched Up” Review

Power Rangers Dino Fury, Stiched UpSERIES: Power Rangers Dino Fury
EPISODE:
S29:E5. “Stitched Up”
STARRING:
Russell Curry, Hunter Deno, Kai Moya, Tessa Rao, Chance Perez, Jordan Fite
WRITERS:
Becca Barnes, Alwyn Dale, Maiya Thompson, Guy Langford
DIRECTOR: Robyn Grace
PREMIERE DATE:
March 3, 2022
SYNOPSIS:
Izzy deals with drama over prom, while Void Knight develops a zord jammer.

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

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

The humanization of Void Knight continues. Early in the episode, we learn his true name is Tarrick.

There’s also a Beast Morphers reference early on. Izzy references a show called “Kung-Fugitive,” and says Steel Silva is good in it. Steel Silva, of course, being the Silver Ranger in Beast Morphers.

The monster’s name is Junkalo. Is that supposed to be like juggalo? Naw, it couldn’t be. But it sounds like it, doesn’t it?

I like the quasi-rebellious dynamic Izzy has with her mom, and then the drama then ensues over the prom dress. I’m not sure if Izzy is the most developed character on this show, but she’s definitely in the top two. The other being Amelia. Dino Fury is doing right by its female Rangers.

Santaura, Power Rangers Dino Fury, Stitched Up

Santaura is played by Siobhan Marshall. It’s looking like the character may turn out to be the real big bad on Dino Fury. I’m game for that. Marshall isn’t chewing the scenery, and the white contacts really give Santaura a distinct look. So far, so good.

The prom stuff at the end of the episode had a genuinely good feeling to it. These characters feel like friends, and they seemed believably happy for Izzy and Fern. It made for the best ending to a Dino Fury episode yet.

By the way…Ollie, Amelia, and Javi all go to the same school as Izzy and Fern, right? So you’re telling me none of them had prom dates? Is that a plothole? Not necessarily. It’s more of an irritating trivia note.

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

Power Rangers Dino Fury, “Tiny Trouble” Review

Baby Pacha, Power Rangers Dino Fury, Tiny TroubleSERIES: Power Rangers Dino Fury
EPISODE:
S29:E4. “Tiny Trouble”
STARRING:
Russell Curry, Hunter Deno, Kai Moya, Tessa Rao, Chance Perez, Jordan Fite
WRITERS:
Becca Barnes, Alwyn Dale, Maiya Thompson
DIRECTOR: Charlie Haskell
PREMIERE DATE:
March 3, 2022
SYNOPSIS:
The Rangers feud with Void Knight’s forces over a miniturized zord.

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

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

The balloon exercise Zayto had the team doing at the beginning of the episode was another nice look at the Rangers in training. It was creative and a good visual.

The Pacha zord wanders into the scene, and the Rangers learn it’s shrunk over millions of years. I don’t love the idea of a zord, even a tiny one, just wandering around the city waiting to be found. Isn’t that what Pokemon do? I’ve never been a Pokemon guy, so I don’t even have a clue.

Still, I almost wouldn’t mind Pacha staying small and acting like a pet for the Rangers. Why the heck not, right?

Hold on a minute, zords can reproduce? Like, that’s literally the line Ollie said. “Zords can reproduce.” Can we define “reproduce” for our purposes? How does that work exactly? I’m not even sure I buy it…

Blue Ranger Smash Battle Armor, Power Rangers Dino Fury, Tiny Trouble

I dig the Smash Battle Armor. It looks tailor-made to make toys out of. Almost like the Power Rangers equivalent to Hulk Hands. Doesn’t look like they make ’em, though. Seems like a missed opportunity.

I will say though, that once they got into the zord fight, they went a little too heavy on the boxing bit. I’m mainly talking about these two giants fighting in a boxing ring made up with power lines in the middle of the city. A little too much for my taste.

Santaura, our mysterious woman who’s been in stasis, finally wakes up at the end of the episode. Great closing shot with the eyes popping open, the contact lenses, etc. I was originally hoping they’d close the first season with a shot like that. But it’s every bit as effective here.

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

Power Rangers Dino Fury, “The Festival” Review

Dino Fury Cycle, Power Rangers Dino Fury, The FestivalSERIES: Power Rangers Dino Fury
EPISODE:
S29:E2. “The Festival”
STARRING:
Russell Curry, Hunter Deno, Kai Moya, Tessa Rao, Chance Perez, Jordan Fite
WRITERS:
Becca Barnes, Alwyn Dale, Johnny Hartmann
DIRECTOR: Robyn Grace
PREMIERE DATE:
March 3, 2022
SYNOPSIS: 
The Rangers need a new weapon to take on the returning Wreckmate.

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

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

“Triple Sun Festival”

I see that in the opening title sequence, Dino Fury is now labeled “A Netflix Series.” It’s even got the little “N” signature before the sequence even begins. I guess that technically means Power Rangers can now be categorized with shows like  Stranger Things, Ozark, etc. That’s…weird. But I’ll take it!

For the planet Rafkon’s Triple Sun Festival, Zayto’s teammates give him a set of nunchucks (shown below). Is it just me, or do we rarely see nunchucks on Power Rangers? I wonder why that is. Maybe it’s too hard for the stunt performers to swing them around while their visibility is a little more limited in the helmets? I’unno. I’m just spit ballin’.

After their respective fights with Wreckmate and Slyther, the Rangers are holding ice packs (Or are they heat packs?) over their civilian clothes. Lame. I get that they can’t show too much skin on a kids show. But still, lame.

Nunchucks, Power Rangers Dino Fury, The Festival

Solon and the Rangers looking at past teams for inspiration was a pleasant surprise. We saw footage from a variety of seasons, from Mighty Morphin to Wild Force to Ninja Storm to Samurai.

Question: Was Tommy’s voice dubbed over? That wouldn’t necessarily be unusual on its own, but everybody else sounded like themselves. Strange…

They did Jordan Fite no favors with that “I’m gonna kick your booty!” line. That was one of the more cringe-inducing lines all season.

For whatever reason, when a Ranger kicks a monster or something, Power Rangers likes to put in laser blast sound effects. As opposed to an impact or a kick sound effect. It happened a couple of times during the Gold Ranger’s fight with Wreckmate. I imagine it’s done to undercut the violence aspect, and make it seem more fantastical and sci-fi. But a kick is a kick, isn’t it? Kids understand that, don’t they? Even as a parent it doesn’t make sense to me.

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

Power Rangers Dino Fury, “Numero Uno” Review

Void Knight return, Power Rangers Dino Fury, Numero UnoSERIES: Power Rangers Dino Fury
EPISODE:
S29:E1. “Numero Uno”
STARRING:
Russell Curry, Hunter Deno, Kai Moya, Tessa Rao, Chance Perez, Jordan Fite
WRITERS:
Becca Barnes, Alwyn Dale, Maiya Thompson, Johnny Hartmann
DIRECTOR: Charlie Haskell
PREMIERE DATE:
March 3, 2022
SYNOPSIS: 
As Amelia struggles to balance Buzzblast with Ranger duty, Void Knight prepares for a return.

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

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Really cool opening sequence with the Red Ranger running across the rooftops. Way to jump start things. The follow-up with Green and Gold leaping out from the building was fun too.

Wait, Amelia is in charge at Buzzblast (which is apparenetly one word, not two) while Jane is away? Isn’t Amelia supposed to be a high school kid? And isn’t Buzzblast supposed to be the Power Rangers equivalent to BuzzFeed, a globally renowned web site? Now there’s a gig that’ll look good on a college application…

So was this whole opening fight just a training exercise? Did they let a Sporix Beast loose and then time themselves as they went after it? Seems a little dangerous to me.

Void Knight, Power Rangers Dino Fury, Numero Uno

Amelia says her new show at Buzzblast is about “unsolved mystery.” Apparently she’s never seen Unsolved Mysteries. Another Netflix show, fittingly enough.

Aiyon’s line about whether they can trust “this lie brary person” had just the right about of cheesiness in it to be funny. Well done, writers.

Mucus swinging on a wrecking ball is likely as close as we’ll ever get to a Miley Cyrus reference on Power Rangers. And I’m okay with that.

The flamboyant flower cart owner, as we’ll call him, is played by Luke Bird. Delightfully over the top and cartoony.

Void Knight is back, which officially debunks the rumor I read about Lord Zedd returning as the main villain for season two. Zedd has to be back at some point though, doesn’t he? Otherwise, why go to the trouble of bringing him back?

A Megazord fight in cyberspace, huh? That’s a cool twist on things. We haven’t see that often…if ever!

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

Rob Watches Boba Fett – A Star-Studded Affair

Book of Boba Fett, Cad Bane posterSERIES: The Book of Boba Fett
EPISODE:
S1:E6. “Chapter 6: From the Desert Comes a Stranger”
STARRING:
Pedro Pascal, Rosario Dawson, Timothy Olyphant
WRITERS:
Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni
DIRECTOR: Dave Filoni
PREMIERE DATE:
February 2, 2022
SYNOPSIS:
The Mandalorian seeks out Grogu and Luke Skywalker.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

We open the episode with a surprise appearance from Cobb Vanth. Having Cobb Vanth in the show makes a little more sense than having Mando here. And it’s good to see Timothy Olyphant back. I like the character, and he comes off pretty bad ass here. But I won’t lie, I did roll my eyes a little bit when he showed up. First Mando, now this.

And in terms of holdovers from The Mandalorian, we weren’t done by a long shot.

Not only do we not know how Mando knows where Grogu is, we don’t even know anything about this planet. We saw it in flashbacks in The Last Jedi. But I think this is the only other time we’ve seen it. Certainly that’s the case in the movies and television. Maybe in the comic books somewhere…

Well, there he is. There’s Luke Skywalker. Inevitably, this CGI Mark Hamill sparked a big debate amongst viewers as to how right or wrong it was to do, whether actors are about to be replaced by lifeless CGI algorithms, how good the effect actually looked, etc.

I can’t say I have answers to any of those questions, accept to say it looked about as real as any other visual effect Star Wars has ever done. Especially since this time they had the character doing more. Running, using a lightsaber without the hood, and just generally having more screen time. As for how appropriate it is, one thing that eases my conscience a little bit is that Mark Hamill himself is involved here. It’s not like what they did with Grand Moff Tarkin in Rogue One, where they’re resurrecting a human being who’s long dead. It’s a little less creepy that way.

The Book of Boba Fett, Luke Skywalker

Incidentally, it’s only a matter of time until we get CGI Han Solo. I mean, is that even debatable at this point?

In an episode filled with surprises, seeing Rosario Dawson return as Ahsoka Tano was, for me at least, the biggest one. As Ahsoka was obviously Anakin Skywalker’s student, having her meet his son opens up a lot of intriguing storytelling doors. I’m hopeful we’ll expand on Luke and Ahsoka’s relationship, whatever it may be, once we get to her show.

It’s worth noting that Boba Fett does, in fact, appear in this episode of The Book of Boba Fett. Fennec Shand does most of the talking in the scene, so he’s almost a background player. But at least he’s there. That’s more than we could say about the last episode.

I must admit: I haven’t seen as much of The Clone Wars, Rebels, and The Bad Batch as others have. But I still knew the blue stranger emerging from the desert at the end of the episode was Cad Bane. He looks damn good, and has a nice foreboding vibe about him.

I have to say, I’m a little disappointed in Luke. He’s still going with this “attachment is forbidden” rule of the Jedi code, when that’s part of what led to Anakin’s fall, and the subsequent destruction of the Jedi Order. Luke has a chance at a fresh start. To create his own vision of the Jedi Order. Instead, he’s just going back to what they did before.

The Book of Boba Fett, Luke Skywalker, Grogu

What’s more, Luke has attachments, doesn’t he? He has his sister. He has friends. Hell, the love between Luke and his father is the key to the whole Darth Vader redemption story. This could be an interesting opportunity to expand on what a Jedi is and can be. They could illustrate how attachments and connections can actually make us stronger beings, and thus stronger Jedi. I hope some of that is addressed as time goes on.

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

Rob Watches Boba Fett – Hijacking the Show

The Book of Boba Fett, Mandalorian posterSERIES: The Book of Boba Fett
EPISODE:
S1:E5. “Chapter 5: Return of the Mandalorian”
STARRING:
Pedro Pascal, Amy Sedaris
WRITER:
Jon Favreau
DIRECTOR: Bryce Dallas Howard
PREMIERE DATE:
January 26, 2022
SYNOPSIS: 
The Mandalorian gets a new ship, and learns more about the power of the Darksaber.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Let’s call out the elephant in the room. The big critique of this episode, as well as the following episode, is that they’re episodes of The Mandalorian shoehorned into The Book of Boba Fett. Whether anyone likes it or not, that’s a fair and just criticism. This is supposed to be a Boba Fett show, and he doesn’t even appear in this episode.

That’s not to say Mando has no place in this story. He could have come to Tatooine to help Fett in his fight against the Pykes. But this? Basically hijacking two episodes of Fett’s show to shift back to his story with Grogu? That’s too much. It’s good stuff, but it doesn’t belong here. It should have been saved for season three of The Mandalorian.

So what happened? How did The Book of Boba Fett get hijacked? I’ve got two theories…

The first is that the showrunners realized they didn’t have enough story with Boba Fett to fill an entire season. So they fall back on the Mandalorian stuff, which they knew fans would like. That doesn’t excuse it, but it’s a reasonable explanation.

The second is that the higher-ups at Disney and/or Lucasfilm said, “Mando and Grogu are popular. So put them in the show.” I’m not sure how likely that is, as Jon Favreau seems to have a good amount of control over the “Mandoverse.” But never underestimate the possibility of non-creative people trying to exert control over creative people. There’d be a sad irony there, as George Lucas fought vehemently against that sort of thing while making the original trilogy.

But to reiterate, even though these two episodes don’t belong here, they are pretty damn good. So let’s dive in…

The Book of Boba Fett, Mandalorian

Awesome entrance for Mando, not surprisingly. A sure fire way for a Star Wars project to impress me is to show us new and unique places in the Star Wars universe. “Return of the Mandalorian” manages to do that not once, but twice. We get this slaughterhouse in the opening scene, which is pretty cool. They could have gotten a little more creative with the fight and maybe had Mando and the goons smacking into bloody slabs of meat. But maybe that’s a little too much…

But what I really loved was the city of Glavis, which is situated on a gigantic ring structure in space. They could have just had Mando on another desert planet, or a jungle planet, or an ice planet, or whatever. But instead they got creative. Excellent.

Amy Sedaris is back as Peli Motto. Given her background, I’m curious if she has any input on what she says. That stuff about dating a jawa, for instance. Did she come up with that, or was it in the script?

Mando’s new ship is a modified Naboo starfigher, like the ones we saw in The Phantom Menace. It looks cool, but I miss the Razor Crest. This fighter doesn’t double as a home base the way the Crest did.

Mando has Mandalorian armor made for Grogu, and wants to deliver it to him personally. He apparently knows where Luke took him. But how? Luke didn’t exactly give a forwarding address. And you’d think he’d want to keep its location a secret. So what gives?

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

Rob Watches Boba Fett – He Kept the Ship?!?

The Book of Boba Fett, Fennec Shand posterSERIES: The Book of Boba Fett
EPISODE:
S1:E4. “Chapter 4: The Gathering Storm”
STARRING:
Temuera Morrison, Ming-Na Wen, Jennifer Beals, Carey Jones
WRITER:
Jon Favreau
DIRECTOR: Kevin Tancharoen
PREMIERE DATE:
January 19, 2022
SYNOPSIS: 
Boba Fett gathers his forces far war against the Pyke Syndicate.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Boba Fett, now wandering alone, finds a nearly dead Fennec Shand in the desert. He takes her for cybernetic augmentation, saving her life. He then recruits her to help him take his ship back from Jabba the Hutt’s palace.

Fett saving Shand means, chronologically, these flashbacks are now in the era of The Mandalorian. In other words, five years after Return of the Jedi. Thus, I must pose the question…why is the ship still at the palace five years later? What possible use could Bib Fortuna have had for it? Why not dismantle it for parts? Or auction it off as the last remanant of the great Boba Fett?

The real answer, of course, is that from a storytelling standpoint, Jabba’s palace is the last place we the viewers saw the ship. So it’s easiest to simply have them go back there and get it. But someday, even if it’s just in a novel or something, I hope we get some kind of answer as to why Fortuna kept it.

Incidentally, Boba Fett’s ship is called Slave I. For whatever reason, Disney doesn’t want it referred to by the name anymore. I imagine they don’t want the protagonist for one of their big TV shows riding around in a ship with slave in the name. But I’m old school. It is, and always will be, Slave I.

Some of these sequences are really, really dark. Not tonally. I mean it’s difficult to watch them during the daytime because they look almost pitch black in a sunlit room. The sequence in the previous episode where Black Krrsantan attacks Fett in the bacta tank was like that too. Does that make me sound like an old man? Yes. But is it still true? Yes.

The Book of Boba Fett, Fennec Shand

Why does Shand decide to stay with Fett after her debt to him is paid? What’s her interest in him? Is it professional admiration? Is it romantic? What’s the deal?

The visual of Slave I hovering face down over the sarlaac pit is pretty absurd. I get that it served the purpose of killing the sarlaac. But still, it was awkward.

This episode gives us some insight into why Fett wants to take over Jabba’s operation. He wants to run an organization that’s better than the ones he’s worked for. That’s…not the best answer they could have given. But it’s fair enough, I suppose.

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