Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Catching Up - Capsule Reviews of Season 5 Episodes

Well, why not? Following is a rundown of quick and dirty capsule reviews for the Season 5 episodes of the Clone Wars...up to the 100th Episode.

Revival (** 1/2) Felt like running in place. The last episode of Season 4 features lightsaber fights with the SithBrothers, and so does this. Plus, they're run off by pirates.

A War on Two Fronts (** 1/2) The Onderon campaign begins with some so-so characters learning about guerilla warfare.

Front Runners (**) More Onderon. Ahsoka trains them to fight. I shrug.

The Soft War (**) More of the same of a story that doesn't do much for me. Feels like quoting better stories with lesser characters.

Tipping Points (***) - The conclusion of the battle is well staged and tense, with a notable loss for our heroes. Still, I just never got all that invested.

The Gathering (****) - Usually, the focus on the younglings (yes, I know it's a kid's show but still) bores me. This time, I have to admit, I loved it. Gorgeous visuals, great use of Yoda, lovely story.

A Test of Strength (****) - More plucky young characters that are more likeable than usual. Wooden lightsaber handle? David Tennant-bot? Come on! That's awesome.

Bound for Rescue (***) - The story gets a lot more conventional with this installment.

A Necessary Bond (** 1/2) - Well staged action, and I still like the kids, but conventional and forgettable.

Secret Weapons (**) - Something about this failed to grab me. Band of misfits scenario has been done better, I guess.

A Sunny Day in the Void (**) - These characters just didn't enthrall me for some reason.

Missing in Action (*** 1/2) - The 100th Episode of the Clone Wars. Even though I haven't been in love with this particular cast of characters - the Clone recovered from amnesia pretty darn fast - I like the remote location and the final segment was exciting.

As you can see, I've got a little fatigue with Season 5. More minor characters have taken center stage and not necessarily to great effect.

And with that, I'm caught up! I hope to be back to regular reviews!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Complete Season 4 Capsule Reviews

Okay, Okay. It's been over a year since I posted on this blog. I'm ashamed, embarrassed, etc. Life got in the way of regular blogging and reviewing. It happens to the best of us. Well, to the best of me anyway.

I guess all it took for me to come back to the blog was NEWS THAT THERE WILL BE MORE STAR WARS MOVIES!

Holy. (Cough) Crap.

I'm going to make it up to you. Below are capsule reviews with star ratings for every episode of Season 4.

Water War (***) - The opening of the season shows more technical verve than an engaging story. The story of Prince Lee Char continues the Clone Wars tradition of trying to prove that any kid with spunk can lead hardened soldiers if he or she just believes in him or herself. Still, cool visuals.

Gungan Attack (*** 1/2) - More of this, but still...Gungans to the rescue. I cheered when that happened, yo.

Prisoners (*** 1/2) - More amazing animation but still... the Prince? Loved Tamson though.

Shadow Warrior (****) - Better than it had any right to be. Most Jar Jar episodes are. Extra star for the heroic Tarfuls scene. Why did I care? Why?!

Mercy Mission (** 1/2) - Droids meet floating environmentalist fairy. Forgettable episode if it wasn't so weird. Basically, it's the Riddles in the Dark scene from the Hobbit, with more jokes and colors. And beeps.

Nomad Droids (** 1/2 ) - Just some weird stuff that happened to the Droids. Willow reference earns it an extra half-star.

Darkness on Umbara (****) - Establishes a new totally creepy planet, an ambiguous new leader, and some fantastic action.

The General (**** 1/2) - Walter. Murch. Directed. This. Some of the best action of the series.

Plan of Dissent (*****) - Stellar. Dee Bradly Baker's best ever work and truly challenging episode of the series. One of my favorites.

Carnage of Krell (***) - Good, but a bit of a cop-out. Krell turning to the Dark Side is a bit too morally easy. Wouldn't it have been better if he truly believed that this was the meaning of lacking attachment? Not all villains are the Sith.

Kidnapped (***) - The beginning of a story arc based on the popular comic book. Good, but didn't blow me away. Obi-Wan was fun here.

Slaves of the Republic (****) - Anakin's relationship with slavery is explored here in a way that I enjoyed. Solid, intriguing episode.

Escape from Kadavo (*** 1/2) - Trying to convince the Queen that she's a slave too? Shrug. Another decent episode with good action - but never feels like more than just one more adventure.

A Friend In Need (* 1/2) - Eh. Ahsoka and Lux. I will never watch it again, I'm sure.

Deception (****) - Fun and creative. Obi-Wan shaved! Plus - they're totally assholes to Anakin.

Friends and Enemies (***) - More of this story. Sort of a reverse buddy cop scenario. Thumbs up, but nothing spectacular.

The Box (***) - Best of times and worst of times. Tons of cool characters and creative action - but if you really think about the "test," it doesn't make a lot of sense.

Crisis on Naboo (**** 1/2) - A great ending to this story arc, fun action. I love how Naboo looks in this series.

Massacre (*****) - Totally. Awesome. Episode. Ventress's story earns its place in the Star Wars canon here. Brutal.

Bounty (**** 1/2) - Pure fun. Ventress - freed from the limits of Sith-dom, on a solo caper with the bounty hunters we know and love.

Brothers (*** 1/2) - This season's episode with the biggest build-up. One-half Star Wars pure myth-making...one-half bullshit. Bringing Maul back always seemed like a stunt to me. Plus, Morley? What's that about? Still, looks terrific and Maul is creepy.

Revenge (***) - Obi-Wan and Ventress versus the Brothers Grimm. Awesome action, fan-candy, but felt extremely convenient and conventional to me.

So there you have it. My favorite stuff was Umbara and what they did with Ventress... all complicated and beautifully animated and sad.  I know Darth Maul was the big return, but I'm not convinced they needed him back from a story perspective.