Saturday, 22 August 2015

Journal of Whills: Part 12 - Best of 'The Clone Wars'

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If I’m going to analyse as many aspects of ‘Star Wars’ as I can then I think I would be remised if I didn’t mention ‘The Clone Wars’, the animated TV series that ran for six seasons. Some fans of Star Wars may only recall the movie that acted as an introduction to the series, and it was terrible. The film version was an ill-advised attempt to cobble together the opening episodes of the series that ended up being merely one poorly defined set piece to another. But don’t let that throw you off, the series itself was for the most part excellently constructed, with pleasing action and some great additional characters to add to the ‘Star Wars’ canon. Instead of trying to review the series as a whole I thought I’d choose the ten best (in my opinion) story arcs of the series that will hopefully sum up some of ‘The Clone Wars’ best aspects.
Just to be clear, a story arc means (by my vague and probably incorrect definition) a story that continues for more than one episode. So here are 10-6.
10: Holocron Heist, Cargo of Doom, Children of the Force
Cad Bane’s introduction at the end of season one in which he took the entire senate building hostage was impressive, but as far as story arcs go this dark conspiracy in which he broke into the Jedi Temple and deliver his loot to his Sith employer may be his finest hour. Bane is the centre piece of the plot as his ruthless nature fits in with this somewhat dark scheme that culminates in a plot to kidnap younger children to prevent the Jedi teaching them the ways of the force. It reinforces the coldness of villainy within this universe and the end result is an ominous and impressive story.
9: The Mandalore Plot, Voyage of Temptation
There is in fact a third part to this arc, but it was fairly boring and unnecessary so I took it upon myself to leave it out. This one starts out as a fairly basic conspiracy episode involving political revolutions and terrorist groups. But it quickly spans into a study of Obi Wan’s history and does a great deal to humanise him, as we discover why he was once considering leaving the Jedi order, and why the inevitable turn of Anakin to the dark side (that is foreshadowed in a small way) is all the more tragic as we learn that the master and apprentice had more in common than we thought.
8: Nightsisters, Monster, Witches of the Mist
You may have heard about ‘The Clone Wars’ reintroducing Darth maul to the ‘Star Wars’ universe and this is where that saga began. As his brother his initiated into the Sith Order we witness an insight into the true workings of the dark side of the force. Count Dooku uses fear intimidation and pain to indoctrinate his new apprentice, in stark contrast to the kindly ways of the Jedi. Then of course there are the ulterior motives of the apprentice that I won’t give away, but I will say that the result are explosive, and Anakin and Obi Wan are caught right in the middle of it.
7: Padwan Lost, Wookiee Hunt
Ashoka is kidnapped by a group of mercenaries along with a group of other Jedi younglings, and then they are hunted down for sport. A pretty simplistic plot but that is probably this episode’s biggest strength as its uncomplicatedness allows for some Hunger-Games-Like scenarios in which the characters must decide to fight their hunters or merely run and there’s some major brutality as these young Jedi are murdered as well as some serious growth for one of the series’ main characters and some truly cinematic moments of innovative camerawork and visual tones. There’s also a cameo from everyone’s favourite Wookie, and that helps anything.
6: The Citadel, Counter Attack, Citadel Rescue
Once again, simplicity is strength here. The plot revolves around breaking into a prison in order to break someone out. But the execution is superb with a real feeling of impossibility and despair as obstacle after obstacle is thrown at our main characters and escape becomes increasingly unrealistic. The arc also contains a great Easter egg in the form of an early Grand Moff Tarkin, a young officer that dislikes the Jedi’s methods and believes that the Republic should be refined and reshaped in order to achieve victory. He also finds that his views ae shared by one of his Jedi comrades, Anakin Skywalker. In other words, FORESHADOWING.

So the rest of the list will be posted soon and do you agree with my bizarre opinions, probably not. So leave a comment below if that is the case and let me know your thoughts on ‘The Clone Wars’ and which episodes are your favourite.        

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