krpalmer: (mimas)
I've been conscious for a while now of continuing to hold back from watching The Force Awakens on Netflix, but the latest time I thought about that I also thought it's been a while since I've watched Clone Wars. I had made a point of returning to the late plot arc I'd heard had included a character who would appear "decades later" in Rogue One (only to wind up thinking it was hard to suppose Saw's character in the movie showed any particular influences of that previous story), but other than that the same "I'd rather use my time watching other things" feeling seems to apply in both cases.

However, the "Clone Wars era" itself doesn't quite seem to have left my contemplations. In starting to wonder if the Jedi wound up so focused on "Count Dooku leading the enemy" as to neglect the other Sith Lord he'd even named to Obi-Wan, all of a sudden I happened to wonder if the assorted "Dark Side acolytes" in the Clone Wars series were meant to get the Jedi thinking he had become the master. While I had grown to find characters like Asajj Ventress and Savage Oppress interesting, I suppose the discussions of other fans about how there can only be two Sith had intrigued me, influencing the way I thought about the old movies; to start multiplying acolytes for the sake of more action had led to a few unfortunate thoughts of the old Star Wars novels I wasn't reading any more. Having mulled over this new idea for a little while now (until, of course, the day people start tossing an amusing greeting back and forth) does seem to suggest it's not pushing me back towards watching Clone Wars again, but it's at least nice to keep thinking about the subject.
krpalmer: (europa)
I may have watched all the sixth series Clone Wars episodes on Netflix, but I do still have two-thirds of the fourth season on Blu-Ray and an unopened fifth season set to watch once more. Pushing myself back to it, I got around to "Darkness on Umbara," the curtain-raiser to the significant "Umbara arc." Just it alone, though, seemed to impress me; it took a little while before I could sort out why. I'd first seen the episode not that long after I'd got my new TV (ahead of the end-of-year sales, and more or less so I could watch the Star Wars movies on Blu-Ray and "get around to it" before the thought that "holding off" was in some strange fashion falling in among those who cling to past impressions), but I was still watching via "basic cable" (as I am to this date). Everything had looked sort of dark and mucky then; now, it looked dark and interesting, lights flashing amid the gloom.

Spotting Tup, the unfortunate clonetrooper who got the "Order 66 arc" under way, was a bit of a surprise for me, but in another way I could detach myself from what I knew was to come by thinking the end of the episode was almost like a "you've earned my respect and I've learned a lesson" conclusion. Then, though, Krell had disappeared (again), and the clones were caught in a firefight. The series didn't often seem to have genuine cliffhangers between the episodes of its story arcs, instead usually managing to get the characters to safe places as the episodes wrapped up.
krpalmer: (europa)
When the last episodes of the fifth season of Clone Wars gave an answer to the question "so what happens to Ahsoka?" that had been lurking built into the series since its theatrical premiere, I still wasn't quite dwelling on the first rumours it might be reduced to one more untidy problem springing from the sale of Lucasfilm. The news the show was being brought to a sudden end battered me too, even if I had the obvious cautionary example of what happens to Star Wars "fans" who spend all their time dwelling on self-identified slights. Aware even so of how some promised episodes had been pushed back and back through the fifth season until all of a sudden they were more collateral damage, though, I still reacted to the talk of production continuing for some more "bonus content" first with happy surprise, then with the creeping worry nobody in my own market would actually get to see it, and at last with the resolve to sign up for Netflix. I wasn't as fast as some people watching through them, aware that when they were done that would be it, but at last I was finished, a little sad there were no more but still heartened by the experience.
Those still behind me may find things given away )
krpalmer: (europa)
With a little documentary attached to every episode in the Clone Wars first season set, I got to thinking I "had" to say something about every episode (usually about how the creators seemed to be trying to make a big deal of references to the old movies), and that might have slowed down my progress through those episodes. With the documentaries scaled back to occasional ones for "plot arcs" in the season sets that followed, I felt oddly liberated. I was, though, looking forward to the documentary for the unusual and intriguing "Mortis arc" of the third season (which I'm now watching on Blu-Ray), episodes I went to not unexceptional lengths to watch almost as they were first airing so as to not miss out on certain discussions of them. When I first called up its little documentary from the extras menu, though, I saw just how "little" it was, and for a moment I was annoyed that so much more time had been allotted to the documentary about "the return of Chewbacca"...

When I started watching it, though, Dave Filoni explained the decision had been made not to clamp down on speculation by presenting "official explanations," and I found myself thinking I could accept that. While I do wonder if some complaints that "when everything's explained, we can't use our imagination any more" may in fact be a little bit more about not agreeing with the explanation given, there's indeed some invigoration in being free to find your own ideas. At the same time, I did wonder about one small bit of information provided, that George Lucas had brought a binder of some of his oldest notes about the Force to the writers' table. I suppose I found myself thinking of the old tales of the two sides of the Force once being named "the Ashla" and "the Bogan," and even a bit of "the Kiber crystal," even if that doesn't seem to have as much bearing. I was also able to wonder a bit about "the Daughter" holding with the light side of the Force but being somewhat curt and unfriendly, not quite what you'd think a "good" character would be like. However, the thought of having to go back to the episodes at some point, not just to prepare for an official explanation but to try and think of my own ideas, also came to mind.
krpalmer: (europa)
Today, of course, is the day a great many Star Wars fans say "May the Fourth be with you" in a winking sort of way, or at least they assume it's being said. I do have to admit it can still seem a little too clever for me, but did find myself wondering if I could put a post on a Star Wars-related topic together. Then, when I looked in my mailbox just yesterday, I saw an envelope with the Lucasfilm logo on it. The letter I had mailed a while ago on hearing Clone Wars had been brought to an end had produced at least a tiny result.

It was a little discouraging to get the same careful non-explanation for the show's all-but-abrupt ending, and I decided to write another letter today at least mentioning the rumoured "unreleased episodes" again. However, it was at least interesting to hear that Dave Filoni and "many members" of the Clone Wars team were working on a new project instead of being let go. I did, though, start wondering about the setting "a time period previously untouched in Star Wars films or television programming." The simplest explanation would seem to be that, just as the first Marvel comics were set immediately after Star Wars itself, we'd be getting "further adventures" in the new galaxy upcoming. Without a definite comment that way, though, I am wondering just a little about all the conflicts worked into the thousands of years previous to any of the movies, even if that does risk beginning to play into the hands of those who can't contemplate "a story with a conclusion" when there's so much alluded to lead into it.
krpalmer: (europa)
At the end of the fourth season of Clone Wars, I had the feeling the show had focused down on "action" after an eclectic but sometimes a little controversial mix of ideas in its third season. At the same time, there were still controversies of a different sort bubbling, as if the show was making efforts to target fans for who the Star Wars in their own minds diverged from the Star Wars that is long years ago. As the fifth season got under way, I might have been wondering a bit about that... but as it turned out, a focus on "four-episode plot arcs" didn't mean the end of "whimsy" by any means, and I just might have been making an amused effort to keep up with that. "Four-episode plot arcs" sometimes seemed to mean fewer storylines, but there was still some variety within some of them, even if this could sometimes feel as if things were being artificially extended.
With the final episodes, though... )
krpalmer: (europa)
Some time has passed since the announcement of the sale of Lucasfilm, and it does seem that people have been digesting the news and putting on their hopeful faces. Much of what's been said is better than I could seem to think of, but one odd thought did come to me in contemplation of the speculation about "Episode VII," and the whole deal with lining up at theatres, a sort of "hasn't this already happened..." Then, I remembered the Clone Wars theatrical premiere, a mere three years and change after the last live-action movie, with the simple realisation the seventh Star Wars movie already exists.

Clone Wars is chugging along, but its theatrical release didn't make a lot of money from everything I can remember. Is this, then, just a note of warning (especially given that this time the simple distinction between "live action" and "animation" can't be tossed off), or does it somehow demonstrate resiliency after all? Perhaps "frenetic action" or "a peculiar premise" will spring to mind for the critical. Still, just as the Clone Wars movie let Ahsoka win me over and also provided the pleasant surprise Padme wasn't going to be let out, there may be positive points for those who actually try and look for them.
krpalmer: (europa)
With the thought that I ought to try and finish my DVD set of the second season of Clone Wars before the fifth season starts on TV, I took the rare step of watching three episodes of one program in one sitting and managed to polish off the season. That also meant I had watched the entire "Boba Fett arc" that finished it off at once, and while there was no little documentary to go with those episodes (the one on the disc was for the previous "Zillo beast arc"), I did find myself remembering certain impressions I'd had the first time around.

One notable feature of the arc seems Boba Fett's constant reluctance to claim the lives of additional people in his drive for a specific vengeance against Mace Windu, even as Aurra Sing pushes him on in exasperation. I kept facing the thought that this represented "the 'woobification' of Boba Fett," even as I wondered if I really know what other people ascribe to "woobie"... In any case, while I can see we're meant to contrast this to the impression of utter money-grubbing amorality imposed on the near-absolute blank slate (in a neat suit of armour, of course) of The Empire Strikes Back, I did find myself thinking of Attack of the Clones and how the young Fett seemed quite willing to help his father fight Obi-Wan, even as I have to acknowledge Obi-Wan could be seen as the clearly defined aggressor. I suppose my best way out was to in the end wonder if anyone would get upset just at the thought of the first contrast mentioned, and then wonder if I wasn't so much wondering if I wanted to see this particular conception of Boba Fett as if I wanted to see him show up at all. I might have also been just a little intrigued by the show blowing up a helmet identified as Jango Fett's (even with the little touch of a dent being put in it during Attack of the Clones apparently identical with one in Boba's) and sending Slave I hurtling off to an uncertain over-the-horizon sort of landing even as its inheritor is sent off to prison.
krpalmer: (europa)
The fourth season of Clone Wars seems to be concentrating on "action" pure and simple, and for the most part this seems to have agreed with the fans whose opinions I do follow. On what seemed very short notice, though, a sudden hand grenade was thrown into things with what itself appeared not so much "stunt casting" as "crashing straight into something for real."Rubbernecking )
krpalmer: (europa)
It took me a long time to watch all the episodes in the first season DVD set of Clone Wars, in large part because after the first episode I felt compelled to say something about a sense the little documentary attached to it was playing up connections to the old Star Wars movies at the possible expense of acknowledging the new movies, and I sort of went from there. I got through that first season set just in time to start watching the fourth season, and wondered more than a little bit how long it would take to watch the second season I'd had sitting in its shrink wrap for quite a while already. When the fourth season left off for a holiday break, though, I opened up the second season set, and discovered there isn't a little documentary in it. In some ways, that might even be for the best, but still found myself with thoughts about the "opening arc."

When I had seen them for the first time, something about the "Holocron episodes," some combination of "Holocrons," "Dark Side spies," and a "previous visit to Mustafar," left me with the nagging feeling they were somehow "EU-flavoured." It might be completely unfair, of course, especially given how I haven't read for a decade the Star Wars novels that seemed to define the "Expanded Universe." There might be some irony there, too, in how certain people would soon be complaining about Clone Wars playing hard and fast with things set down in previous novels. In any case, the middle episode "Cargo of Doom" seemed to have the fewest nods back and might have appealed to me the most (although all the things packed into "Children of the Jedi" left me with a strange sense of amusement, as certain other episodes have done), and the little documentary that was attached to the three episodes didn't leave me with mixed feelings. While I can see myself wishing for creator comments on some of the episodes to come in the set, keeping my reactions my own and getting through the set faster also has its own appeal.
krpalmer: (europa)
While the latest season of Clone Wars has continued to deliver "changes of pace" as it gets under way, it does seem to me to be packing more action up front than the previous one did. Whether this only prefigures the complaints about "message" episodes coming later, I don't know, but at least for the moment things are getting my attention.

When the forces of the Republic landed on the darkened world of Umbara, I found it striking both in terms of sound and visuals (even aggressively panned and scanned as it was on the channel I was watching it on), but did wonder a bit what the larger point of it was. That showed up soon enough, though, when Anakin was ordered away and replaced by the Jedi Master Krell.
The descent into nightmare )
krpalmer: (europa)
Just in advance of the start of the fourth Clone Wars season, I've at last managed to finish rewatching the first season on DVD. That slow progress was due to an initial uneasiness about how the little documentaries for each episode seemed at first to play up connections to the old Star Wars movies and leave connections to the new ones unspoken, and in trying to deal with those feelings by putting them into words I wound up rewatching episodes only when I also knew I would have time afterwards to write journal posts. As the season progressed, I didn't feel quite so worried about the documentaries, but I suppose I didn't want to "give up halfway." Perhaps things will be different with the second season DVD set.

In any case, the creators did dwell on the bounty hunters introduced in "Hostage Crisis," which I suppose may be a little predictable but is fair enough. For some reason, I did wonder if a comment comparing Cad Bane with the envisioned competency of Boba Fett was mean to imply Fett was also supposed to work in a team, which left me wondering if I thought of him as more of a "lone operator," but that could just be a byproduct of working with a blank slate.

Along with the bounty hunters, though, I was rewatching the episode interested in the part of its story where, through a small comedy of errors (the creators do actually mention "romance" with Anakin and Padme together), Anakin has to face them without a lightsabre... although I seem to have managed to forget he was actually knocked out by the smallest bounty hunter. I can suppose in that case, though, that "triumphing over adversity" wouldn't have set Cad Bane and company up as genuine threats, and Anakin did manage to keep them from killing their hostages departing.
krpalmer: (europa)
In finishing the "Ryloth trilogy," I've just about finished the first season DVD set of Clone Wars. In managing that much, though, I did find myself thinking back to the original "drawn animation" series and the comments of some that it could tend towards exaggerated Jedi powers; Mace Windu was doing quite a lot in this episode, from shoving a wrecked six-legged walker off a precipitous cliff to leaping out of an abyss using tumbling transports as stepping stones. I suppose I began to reflect on how he had been played by Samuel L. Jackson, and wondered if that might have provided a shorthand for everyone to understand how he was powerful.

This still doesn't seem to be a very serious thought, of course, but by now I seem to be rolling with things. I hardly batted an eye when the creators mentioned in the little documentary on the DVD how the rebel leader's handgun was based on Han Solo's blaster and the droid bombers were based on TIE bombers, but I suppose I was able to realise the second resemblance by myself.
krpalmer: (europa)
When I started rewatching the first episode of the "Ryloth trilogy" towards the end of the first season set of Clone Wars, I was contemplating I might even be able to sum all three episodes up in one single post, easing myself out of commenting on every one of them. That thought sort of fell by the wayside, though, when I got to the little documentary about "Storm Over Ryloth" and Dave Filoni (his stubble not quite so heavy as in some of the documentaries just before) explained that one particular tactical trick (rolling the Republic ship so the launching Y-wings and bridge have cover) came straight from Timothy Zahn's "Heir to the Empire." After having worked my way through ambiguous feelings about lengths seeming to be taken to draw links between Clone Wars and the old movies, seeing a connection made with the piece of the "Expanded Universe" I remember most of all as the piece everyone online wanted everything else to live up, and have an impression that it at last became the piece everything else was being modelled on, was somehow ambiguous all over again.

I do have to be honest and admit it might have been just a matter of thinking there wasn't such a gulf between the "Zahn trilogy" and the books that began to multiply afterwards as people online seemed to be insisting. Over the years, my thoughts may even have become a little more clear on the subject; I've wondered if that first trilogy had such a good handle on the characters from the movies as everyone seemed to believe, if its own characters appealed to me quite as much as they seemed to everyone else. That leaves me wishing again I'd managed to see the critique I heard [livejournal.com profile] fernwithy had written after the message board she had posted it on had broken down. Still, in the context of the episode itself, the tactical trick seemed to have value in itself; it wasn't a springboard to showing how species seemed to have set reactions to particular situations, possibly downplaying the possibility of individualism in them even as it built Grand Admiral Thrawn up. (So far as that goes, I was interested in this particular episode's enemy commander.)
krpalmer: (europa)
When rewatching "Blue Shadow Virus" from the first season set of Clone Wars DVDs, I noticed how self-contained the episode seemed even though I knew it had a direct sequel. On getting to "Mystery of a Thousand Moons," though, the little documentary managed to explain things when the creators said George Lucas can look at an episode and decide its story can be further developed (although I did notice they said "prequel" before "sequel").

So far as "race for a cure" stories go, this one manages to identify a specific remedy quite early on (if not before Anakin can get dangerous and threatening at the threat to two people he's attached to; however, this isn't allowed to overpower everything else); the problem is just getting to it and bringing it back. Without the whole galaxy to be searched, Iego and its moons (the quote from The Phantom Menace where that world's first mentioned is included at length in the documentary) can be presented at greater length. One thing I might not have remembered about this episode before I returned to it was the "boy genius" Anakin and Obi-Wan meet on Iego; it's pointed out both in the episode and the documentary that his skill with droids is a reflection of the young Anakin's, and I found myself reminded of a production drawing in "The Art of The Phantom Menace," although it wasn't mentioned in the documentary. I suppose it's nice to not have a specific inspiration pointed out for me for once.
krpalmer: (europa)
Getting a bit closer to finishing off the DVD set for the first season of Clone Wars, I've rewatched "Blue Shadow Virus." Returning to Naboo, in what might even be called a wholesale embrace of the "Phantom Menace aesthetic" (even if Jar Jar Binks is still stuck with his ersatz voice, although this episode does demonstrate he's not a typical member of his species) caught my attention about this episode, but did make me start wondering about what the little documentary might say. However, the creators seemed enthusiastic enough about their work, perhaps even just as interested about returning to the Naboo palace hangar (even if they connect it first of all with the "duel of the fates") as they are about drawing on the "old movies."

I suppose I did wonder a bit if the "mad scientist" villain was somehow connected to a feeling that this episode could be "more comedic" than others, but he did happen to make an interesting comment about bringing a deadly virus back to a galaxy indulging in its own virus of war. Aware from the set's packaging that this episode had a follow-up, I was actually sort of surprised to be reminded that it had a very self-contained quality to it, with all of the virus rounded up by the end credits; I knew the series didn't have much in the way of "cliffhangers," but it was perhaps even a little odd. Perhaps, too, going to lengths to wrap everything up left me focusing on that and not on the character development. Of course, there is the followup still to be watched.
krpalmer: (europa)
For a change (perhaps even for a "wonder"), it hasn't been that long since I last rewatched an episode of Clone Wars to comment on it. I suppose I might have had a particular interest in getting back to "The Hidden Enemy" knowing what we know now, that Clone Wars has a penchant for throwing in episodes previous to what we've already seen and letting us sort that out on the way. The creators did touch on that in the little documentary, but started off addressing the idea of a "traitor clone," suggesting that George Lucas was involved in suggesting the story. That did get my attention; I suppose it's a little too easy to take note of the particular interests of specific people and fall into thinking "it's other people who really delve into things." As well, the references to the movies were to Attack of the Clones when suggesting that "rogue clones" are a little too much like Jango Fett and Revenge of the Sith in an allusion to how developing clone characters might have some bearing on "Order 66." That also got my attention, although I did still ponder how it could all turn out. If Rex and Ahsoka are touched on then, that could be very interesting for me, but if it's a matter of "every Jedi we don't actually see shot down on screen escapes," a perhaps completely unfair suspicion of my own about the novels and comics, that could be different. In any case, I was perhaps a bit happer than I need to be to think I've only got one DVD left of first season episodes.
krpalmer: (europa)
Again, it seems to have been entirely too long since I last watched one of the episodes from the Clone Wars first season DVD set; I suppose thinking in terms not just of finding time to rewatch episodes but also to write up comments on them has something to do with it. Maybe by the time I get to the second season set I won't feel so compelled to do both; I am, after all, not dwelling quite so much on the creators making a big deal of connections to the old movies in the little documentaries attached to each episode.

With "Trespass," though, I suppose I was expecting lots of connections established to The Empire Strikes Back, given the episode takes place on an ice planet... but almost to my surprise, what the creators made a big deal of was Ralph McQuarrie's production paintings, specifically how the blues of the ice and the clonetrooper snow armour was drawn from them. In an extended digression wondering just what the primitive natives ate and used for fuel (happening to point out "we can be obsessed with this sort of thing too"), they also managed to mention another painting that had plants of some sort growing in an ice cavern. I suppose that in rewatching the episode, I realised how both Anakin and Obi-Wan's snow coats had hoods with furry trim, which reduced my feeling they were wearing different callbacks to the cold-weather gear of the movie, even if both of them were now admitted by the creators to be based on Han Solo's distinctive parka.

After all of that, commenting on the episode almost amounts to an afterthought (one of the reasons, perhaps, why I might even be looking forward to not feeling compelled to make up these posts any more.) I seem to recall some dismissive opinions of this episode, but at the time I was able to convince myself "arrogant colonizers get their comeuppance" is a theme in science fiction. As well, when the creators pointed out how Anakin and Obi-Wan wound up in a more "diplomatic" role, calling back to pre-Clone Wars days, I was able to think the episode wasn't just referencing the old movies.
krpalmer: (europa)
Even with the third season over, I'm still "back to the Clone Wars" as I try to work my way through the DVD set of the third season. Picking up after a "to be continued" situation, I watched "Defenders of Peace." The episode had a different writer than "Jedi Crash," but still seemed to catch up some with the continued pacifism of the lemur people. In some ways, though, I suppose I was thinking again it was just an example of how a work of fiction can define its own terms and it's not that rewarding in the end to worry about how this compares against the "real world." While the lemur leader still gets the last dig in, his immovable object is juxtaposed against an irresistible force in the form of some Separatists very obviously not the moral equivalent of the protagonists.

Beyond the episode, though, I did sort of find myself struck by how the little documentary attached to it, the reason I started posting about the rewatching process and protracting it out in the first place, didn't say anything at all about homages to the old movies. That, though, might have had something to do with most of the designs in this episode carrying over from the previous one; the one new character was the Nemoidian general Lok Durd, created to give our heroes someone other than General Grievous and Asajj Ventress to defeat. Conscious of the intersection between Star Wars and Star Trek in George Takei voicing the character, I was amused to see the documentary did talk about that, and more so when Takei commented that he had been cast to do a "fat voice." That was at least sort of a comment on all the shouting once upon a time about how it was somehow "obvious" the Nemoidians were yet another offensive stereotype. Too, I had the distinct impression Lok Durd did sound "different" from the other Nemoidians.
krpalmer: (europa)
After managing to put some thoughts together at the close of the second season of Clone Wars, the thought of doing that again has been something I've been thinking about for a while. I suppose that if I was to try and sum up the third season in just a few words, they would be "changes of pace." Along with the different kinds of stories that each new "plot arc" seemed to bring, the series kept up its experiments in "non-linear" episode order, but in such a way that it seemed more interesting than "too clever" to me. Partway through the season, though, in addition to the new looks for Padme turned out on what seemed a regular basis, the designs for Anakin, Ahsoka, and Obi-Wan were updated to give a sense of moving closer to Revenge of the Sith; that does make me wonder a bit about whether we'll see as many flashbacks for a while so long as they're going to be "obvious" that way.
A few more closing thoughts )

August 2017

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