Wednesday 26 August 2015

Journal of Whills: Part 13 - Best of 'The Clone Wars', Again

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So now for part 2 of the best of ‘The Clone Wars’ and frankly there isn’t really any point in dragging this out. Actually there is because I do have a few honourable mentions to give in the form of a few individual episodes that shone through. ‘Hostage Crisis’ saw Cad Bane hold the entire senate building hostage and the only person capable of stopping him happens to be a disarmed Anakin (as in with no weapons not as in missing an arm, I mean I know Anakin is missing an arm anyway but… moving on). There’s also ‘Trespass’ that deals with greedy and territorial governors going to war with native tribes, and the Jedi caught in the middle, ‘Cat and Mouse’ involves one cloaked spaceship and a giant cruiser in a tense… what’s another term for cat and mouse, standoff. Then of course there’s ‘Rookies’ perhaps the strongest single episode that excellently humanises the clone troopers, a difficult task in the face of the whole Jedi massacre that concludes the Clone Wars. So with that out of the way, here are numbers 5 - 1.
5: ‘To Catch a Jedi’, ‘The Wrong Jedi’
Once again I’ve tampered with the exact nature of this story arc, there were two preceding episodes, but it’s these final two that really push the emotional boundaries of the series. Having been accused of planting a bomb in the Jedi Temple, Ahsoka goes on the run. These episodes are gritty, claustrophobic and paranoid, taking you into the underworld of Coruscant, the coldness of the Jedi and emphases one clear message for the central character, there’s nowhere to run and nowhere to hide and ultimately arrives at a gut-wrenching conclusion.
4: ‘Landing at Point Rain’, ‘Weapons Factory, ‘Legacy of Terror, ‘Brain Invaders’
Chronicling the Republic invasion of Geonosis  and its aftermath, there are so many various scenarios and situations throughout this episode that I can’t sum them all up as quickly as I need to. ‘Landing at Point Rain’ is warfare on the biggest scale of the series and is utter carnage in terms of the levels of destruction and the damage done to the forces of good. From then on in their lives are put in danger time and time again even after the ships have left the enemy follows them in a hideous undead form.
3: ‘The Lost One’, ‘Voices’, ‘Destiny’, Scarifice’
The end, the story arc that rounded out the ‘Clone Wars’ series and it manages to put the whole war into perspective against the ultimate fat against the galaxy, the balance of the force and the conscious state after death. This is the story of how Yoda learnt to sustain his consciousness through the force after death, answering a few of the unanswered questions from the prequels along the way (like why the Jedi use a Clone army that’s origins are questionable). The stakes are high from start to finish and the drama is captivating as well as some stunning visuals and a stunning appearance from Sith legend Darth Bane, voiced magnificently by, get this, MARK HAMILL. The arc is scary and dark, but ultimately hopeful, the exact state you should feel leaving this series, knowing the Jedi’s days are numbered, but they will ultimately live on.
2: ‘Darkness of Umbara’, ‘The General’, ‘Plan of Dissent’, ‘Carnage of Krell’
A four part arc that was featured Clones at its centre illustrated the tension, confusion and danger of war. The opening battle sequence may be the finest piece of animation from the entire series, its masterful use of colour, lighting and pace create an unnerving atmosphere, and the anxious mood continues to grow as Anakin is recalled from battle, leaving his Clones in the hands of General Krell, a brash and egotistical Jedi with utter disregard for their lives. Through the differing personalities of Clones and under this sadistic commander we witness differing views of strategy, warfare and discipline.
1: ‘Revenge’, ‘Revival’, ‘Eminence’, ‘Shades of Reason’, ‘The Lawless’
This arc marked Darth Maul’s return and his plans to seek revenge on Obi Wan Kenobi and it is a masterpiece. It’s an end game piece for Obi Wan, as Maul teams up with the Mandalorian extremists and (remember ‘Voyage of Temptation’) uses this to bring every aspect of the Jedi’s past back to haunt him. It’s a masterful perception of villainy, forcing you to admit that the evil of Star Wars is truly ugly when fully unleashed and the arc is unflinching in its way of demonstrating the consequences of murder, and the way those who follow good seek to stand against evil.  Ultimately the arc is tragic in so many ways, for our heroes and villains as ultimately it is not Obi Wan that defeats Maul, but his old master Darth Sidious (that is not a spoiler because this was made after the original films so you knew he wasn’t there to the end), so ultimately it highlights the nature and place of ‘The Clone Wars’ as no one really stands victorious.
So which ‘Clone Wars’ episodes do you like the most, leave a comment below to let me know, return to this page for more movie reviews and ramblings.  

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