Wednesday, January 27, 2010


STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS: SEASON 2 is in full swing (or has it already ended?). So in honor of that, I thought I'd do a post for those readers who have been avoiding this series like the plague. I say give it (season 1) a shot because I think there's enough fun stuff in it to enjoy. If anything, its better than the live-action prequels and in a few aspects it has what you wanted to see in those prequels but were denied. But to watch it, you must first learn HOW to watch it....

WARNING: This post is only for those willing to hike up their uber-nerd pants and embrace the dork side.... for this guide to work, you must WANT to like the show. And if you haven't seen the 2d animated series, go watch that first (season 1 & 2)!

First off, keep in mind that this is a "saturday morning" cartoon intended for kids. So think "Droids"... think Tartakovsky's 2D "Clone Wars" a few years back, and remember curling up in front of the television early saturday morning with your pillow and cereal.

Next, forget the Prequels... except for a vague outline of the overall story. Do this for the Originals, as well. Just keep in mind the overall MYTH of the story. And remember, this is a 3D animated series based on a 2D animated series based on a Prequel series which was based on the Original - so its 4x-removed and stands alone on its own.

Now, here are a several things to focus on while watching. By focusing primarily (or only) on these aspects of the show (and ignoring the others), your viewing experience will be all the better. Real-Time self-editing is the key, as is using some imagination (just like when you were a kid).

1) COOL ACTION SCENES: Lightsaber fights, Clone shootouts and Space battles! Whether its a quick moment or an all out sequence, each episode has something to geekily glee about.
2) ANAKIN. He's more likeable in this series (ie not creepy & whiny). He's matured a bit through war and has a commanding presence of a leader and hero. His outfit is dark with black shoulder armor that constantly reminds you that he is on the path to becoming Darth Vader. While still the young hero (likeable!), you can see the darkness within (not creepy!) and you truly want the series to show him be seduced by the Dark Side through battle fatigue as he tries to do too much to help his fellow brothers-in-arms. But alas, they won't because this is a kids cartoon, after all. But he IS on the path, and you can see it.

Also, its awesome to see him in charge of a fleet of Clone Troopers on the deck of a Republic Cruiser with Republic Officers obeying his orders. You really get a sense of the twisted tragedy that is the Empire - they WERE the good guys during the Clone Wars!
Man, seeing the Republic Army in action is badass; Republic Cruisers, V-19 Torrent Starfighters, Admirals and Clone Trooper all kicking ass being led by Jedi in dark clothes (Anakin).... er, wait that sounds like The Empire, Star Destroyers, TIE Fighters, Stormtroopers and Darth Vader! Yep, you really see not only how the good army guys become twisted and evil, but you see them in real action - showing how awesome the Empire's Fleet really is when they get into the thick of it.

You get to know the Elite Squad of Clones working closely with Anakin & Obi-Wan. They are the same uber-Troopers seen in Tartakovsky's series. Little-known-fact: The reason why they stand out from the others is because they are the first batch of Clones, had the most training and are the closest to being Mandalorians. Later clones, and each generation after, have less independent thought & training. These elite clones also have nicknames, given to them by the Jedi. This is due to the bond formed in countless battles with the Jedi as they both died and bled on the battle fields. The Jedi found them to be more than simple canon fodder, and thus they were assigned individual names. These handful of Clones (designated with color markings) are also stars of the show and heroes themselves. You get to know and like them. This adds to the betrayal in the Star Wars STORY, as they are also the ones seen in 'Revenge of the Sith' killing the Jedi Masters:

COMMANDER 1004, aka 'GREE'
He later tries to kill Yoda, but gets his head sliced off instead!
In 'RotS', he's the Shocktrooper cmdr that searches for Yoda's body in the senate.
He may also be one of the dudes that saves Anakin on the lava shores.
He's the commander on that kills Aayla Secura on Felucia.
Trusted buddy to Obi-Wan, who then tries to kill him.

But in this series, they are heroes.
You get to know them and you like them.
In addition to the tragic betrayal of the Clones, one of the Admirals who works closely with Anakin & Obi-Wan is ADMIRAL YULAREN. He's also one of the head Admirals seen in 'A New Hope', sitting at the table with Grand Moff Tarkin, Admiral Motti and others. Again, in this series he's one of "the good guys", but you know his fate is to become part of the ruling elite of Evil.
* More Sith! I really dug the character ASAJJ VENTRISS in Tartakovsky's series, and she's back in this. She's a good villain, scary with some disturbingly-creepy sex appeal (or so others say!). She's also pathetically tragic, as she's a walking tool of the Sith and she doesn't even realize it. More importantly, tho, often she's portrayed as one to be feared.

* Obi-Wan looks sweet in his Jedi/Trooper gear! And you really see the good relationship between him and Anakin. At this point in the story, they are almost equals. No longer are they just "Master & Apprentice", now they are good friends and brothers.

* Often times you'll see designs that were unused in the movies. Or like, say, you get to see Y-WINGS in battle with their original covered engines.........or say, the markings on Clonetrooper REX's helmet: It's taken from Ralph McQuarrie's early designs for Boba Fett. Neat!
* Introduction of the STEALTH BATTLE DROIDS. I hate the regular battle droids and wish THESE were them throughout the prequel trilogy. So far they only appeared in a single episode, "Rookies", but I'm hoping to see them again.

* The overall feel... I like the colors and textures of the 3D models. The animation isn't the best, so think of it as an ANIMATIC for a live action series.

* AHSOKA. She's annoying, but your hatred of her will diminish a bit quickly. Just ignore her. For the most part, her role SHOULD be Obi-Wan (meaning the dynamic duo element). I mentioned 'self editing' and 'use your imagination' - this is a perfect example.

* JAR JAR. Don't worry, you barely see him. But if you do, just skip ahead.

* THE [3d animated] MOVIE. Well, not entirely. There's a lot of awesome stuff in it, so its worth a view... just look past Ahsoka, Jabba, Ziro and (sigh) Stinky. Concentrate on all the good stuff above. Use the knowledge I have given you.

* Some of the voices, like the Clones, can be a bit odd. ("Yoo Claynkas!")

With all that said.... well, granted the show is not GREAT, but there's enough fun stuff in it that I set my DVR to record it and yes, I will be picking up the dvd seasonal sets ..... and editing the hell out of it for my own future viewing pleasures!

02: "Rising Malevolence"
03: "Shadow of Malevolence"
04: "Destroy Malevolence"
05: "Rookies"

08: "Bombad Jedi"
12: "The Gungan General"
14: "Defenders of Peace"
22: "Hostage Crisis"


Johnny said...

Great post!

I look forward to reading negative comments from a-holes.

Andrew Glazebrook said...

I still hate the fact that all Clone's simly turn on the Jedi after order 66, there's nothing at all to say they're automatonsand under some sort of mind control, the ones with free will should have questioned the ridiculous order and helped fight along side the jedi to the death, they have mind of their own as some episodes prove, yes this is way better than the dreadful prequels, but it is still the prequels. I'd have rather have seen this style of animation used to make the Timothy Zhan books Heir to the Empire,Dark Force Risingand The Last Command into animated films.I mean Mark Hamill spends his time doing cartoon voices as it is, and Chewbacca, Han,Leia etc... are far more interesting than any of the bland characters and boring Jedi knights of the prequels !

Jim said...

I agree, Andrew.

Except I would hate to see Lucan further destroy the era of Star Wars I love the most - that of the Original Trilogy. Can you imagine what he would do to Luke, Han, Leia, etc in an animated series?

I say keep the expansion contained within this Prequel Universe that I mentally keep separate from the other - its an entirely diff't beast as far as I'm concerned. Otherwise, it just makes me sad and rageful.

Skeletor Guy said...

Great post, Jim!!!
I think I can now watch and navigate thru the show!
I like the idea if approaching it as animatics.

otter said...

it may be 4X removed, but it still knows Kevin Bacon.

and i like it. it's fun.

Dorkasarus said...

Stealth Battle Droids popped up in a recent episode that had a strange,but cool, "Night of the Living Dead"theme. It involves Rex and a AWOL clone trooper who doesn't want to fight anymore. I can't remember what the title was but it was pretty sweet.

pacimage said...

Thanks for the post, Jim!

I'm a fan of the series, both classical animated and CG animation versions. With all the killings and torture I'd say it's directed at adults... then you get a battle droid saying something, umm... immature. I am reminded I'm watching a show that really is finding their audience (or trying to appease(?) everyone)... I guess you can think of it as a show for the fan, young and old... and that is where you can praise and fault it - something Lucas knows all too well!

Noah B. said...

Whoa! I did not realize those were the same clones! Neat! And that's the same Admiral on the Death Star?? Wicked!!!!

Great, fun post Jim! I've seen a few episodes but will go check out more (those you recommended)

Anonymous said...

Wow! Stellar post, Jim!
This is one of the many reasons why I love this effin blog! You bring a fun, unique, smart & insightful view to geeking! When does the JimSmash book come out, man?! I'd buy it!

viagra online said...

men I watched the two version of clone wars, and the true is both are good, well maybe I liked a little bit the CG version, but the first one have a classic touch than the CG version.