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Star Wars: The Clone Wars Review

Ben Hodgkiss finds the force

Written by . Published on August 11th 2011.


Star Wars: The Clone Wars Review

TO celebrate the DVD release of season three of Star Wars’ continuing odyssey,  The Clone Wars, I was invited to an intimate screening of three episodes from the unfolding saga. With a keen interest in the Star Wars franchise, but no real expansive knowledge (I have watched all of the films countless times, have owned or inherited dozens of action figures and space crafts and on numerous occasions filmed myself holding solo lightsaber duels, providing my own swooshing buzz sounds prancing around my parents garage, yet chose to draw the line at uploading the results to Youtube). This being said, the drama here does not rely on a detailed or prior understanding of the story’s rich and woven intricacy, assuming nothing of the audience, yet filled with enough reference, returning characters, recognizable language for existing fans to smugly pat themselves on the back over and for new fans to fall in love with. That is what is so great about this series; with such a universal appeal, the show can be watched equally by the most devoted and well-versed, to those who can’t tell the difference between a Wookie and a Nerf Herder, whilst still remaining vital – such is the testament of the Star Wars world… or should I say galaxy? 

Themes of mystery, double-crossing, revenge, emerging darkness and wickedness, always teasing the viewers with just never enough only to cut and change pace before you know what’s happening.

Beginning in the darkest badlands of outer space, in the middle of the havoc of familiar intergalactic battles that I have come to cherish as one and the same, with childhood hours spent before the television screen meditating on this entity, piercing lasers, bursting howls, total war. The ever-growing Star Wars language and lexicon is further filled to the brim with flashy mouth-watering action sequences in and out of space, clever robotic feats of man and alien alike, the industriousness of foreign creatures of all shapes and sizes, paired with interesting well thought out storylines, far-fetched enough to tickle ones fancy with a leap of faith or two along the way for good measure whilst remaining believable enough to entice the most cynical of audience members to come along for the ride. Themes of mystery, double-crossing, revenge, emerging darkness and wickedness, always teasing the viewers with just never enough only to cut and change pace before you know what’s happening.

The story ark I was afforded the opportunity to witness dwelled deep in the dark side of the force, a tale of treachery and the inevitable revenge sought as a result.  Showing Count Dooku’s most promising student, Temptress, ordered to death by Sith Lord, Count Sidious, for his fears she poses a threat to him. Surviving her near execution, she returns to her home planet of Dathomir to be revived by her coven of witches. It is here she devises her plan to transform with aid of magic the most promising Zabrak (the same race as Darth Maul) into an ultra assassin that will be presented to Dooku as her replacement to double-cross him at a later stage (deep breath). As well as the story, we’re shown brief glimpses into the progression of Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi’s plight amongst the fractioned empire to help restore order, with ever so subtle hints made regarding Anakin’s looming prophecy and future.

To the choir I need not preach of the treasure trove at hand here but for the uninitiated I must gush, casting aside any dispersions and concepts of the child inside, the show is undoubtedly legitimate prime time entertainment. The attention to detail is phenomenal with nuances so subtle you hardly notice them which is truly a testament to how believable they are in ones mind, colours, music, mise en scène, sound, atmosphere, all evocative of a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. Such was the absolute and unprecedented quality of the episodes at hand that I had to constantly remind myself that I was, indeed, watching a programme made for TV rather than a feature coming to theatres this summer. The thought process differing from one planet or race to the next, carved out to either’s own logical conclusion, each world feeling and looking different to the next, whether it dress, clothing, fighting style, geography, architecture, vehicles, customs, traditions, religions, evolution of species, and so on. The sound quality pricking my ears, devastatingly advanced, rivaling that of any Hollywood Blockbuster I can call to mind. Legitimately holding its own against or alongside any prime time competitors that may be laid before it, raising the proverbial bar and pushing the envelope for what is considered the status quo in story telling for computer generated animations or television programming for the matter.

So rich is Lucas’s galaxy, so full of detail and intricacy that all possibilities can’t help but be exploited – on tenterhooks, forwards backwards sideways, I’m sure some people would go anywhere he took them, such is the expansive and everlasting draw of this story, a great way for new and old fans alike to immerse themselves in the time between the possibilities of the next big thing from George Lucas and the Star Wars franchise (whether enhancing the existing movies into 3D counts is open to debate though).

As end credits roll and I’m returned to this planet unceremoniously, released from stories grip, dumbfounded, awe inspired, I can’t stop thinking about what I‘ve just seen and how I want to further submerge myself in the absolute wealth that is The Clone Wars, the sooner I start revising the better.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars The Complete Season Three, coming to DVD and high-definition Blu-ray Disc on October 17th from Lucasfilm Ltd. and Warner Home Video

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