Friday, October 2, 2009

Season 2, Episode 1 - Holocron Heist

We're back! Holocron Heist signals a strong second season, without a doubt.

As promised, the animation is stronger, with a larger range of models, sets and more confident uses of perspective and light. It looks terrific, even as it maintains the tone of the previous season. The scale that's dealt with in the season premiere is impressive. We flow from Felucia to various locales in Coruscant with the smooth confidence of the films. The uses of wipes and the speed of the storytelling felt very, for lack of a better description, Star Wars. The opening battle isn't long, but it's beautiful and thrilling all the same.

As wonderful as the animation is, the first episode, written by the always impressive Paul Dini (who also penned last season's Cloak of Darkness), offers up some fantastic story choices. We see a bit of the downside of being Anakin Skywalker's apprentice in Ahsoka's behavior in the early battle, which is a welcome change from the mixed up character arc of Ahsoka last season. We also get a Cad Bane that's just as dangerous as promised. As stock as his character is, he is also written as having some impressive proficiency. Certainly his first appearance at the end of last season was fun, but it didn't hold a candle to Bane in this episode (and the next, especially.) He's starting to feel like they're fighting Batman.

You also have to love the fan-friendly moment of watching Ahsoka battle "Jocasta Nu." I mean, c'mon. No one even knew they wanted to see that.

The other good omen is that the story arc that's set up here is not only compelling, but felt original. The MacGuffins (the Holocron, the Kyber Crystal) work very well, and haven't been overused. Sure, the episode doesn't have closure, but really can't do set up better than this.

Extra half star for finally saying Kyber Crystal, by the way.

Rating (out of five): **** 1/2


Dave said...

Finally started showing in the UK so I can get back to posting here!

Good strong start to the season, you're quite right that the animation is stronger, more fluid.

I liked the piece at the start, you could easily imagine Anakin and Ahsoka's roles being replaced by Obi-Wan and Anakin.

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