The first major arc of Clone Wars, my thoughts are bound to piss some people off!
Written By: Bryan Andrews & Darrick Bachman
Directed By: Genndy Tartakovsky
I need to get a few things out of the way before I begin my review. First, I’m not going to label a group of episodes as Chapter X, Y, Z, and so on, instead I will give each arc an unofficial name. For instance all of the episodes in this arc mainly take place on Muunilinst, so it is the Muunilinst arc. Also, the arcs aren’t clearly defined in any way, and I have tried to keep them together as tightly as I can, but by no means are these concrete arcs.
Next, because the episodes are so short and cover a lot of ground I won’t be employing my usual review style, rather for multi-episode arcs I’ll use the bullet point style, it makes the review easier to put together and much simpler for the readers to take in.
Before we go any further, a little warning, I didn’t much like this series the first few times I watched it. Maybe things will change this time, but I want you to be aware that I may be more on the negative side because Clone Wars never appealed to me and constantly frustrates me when I do watch it. I’m not sure if I’m in the minority or majority with my dislike of the series, but then again I could care less which group I fall in line with. Either way, keep in mind that I do like Samurai Jack, quite a lot actually, but that style doesn’t translate to Star Wars and that colors a lot of my views.
With that out of the way, let’s begin,
–I really like the silent effect for the Clone troopers, particularly the ARC’s. By keeping their chatter to a minimum they appear deadlier and like more of a cohesive fighting force. This also applies to the droid forces, they still aren’t handled like they should be, but in Muunilinst they do have moments where they appear to be an actual threat.
–I’m not a big fan of the animation style. It works in Samurai Jack, but it brings an entirely wrong aesthetic to Star Wars. It lacks detail, especially in the background shots and in the characters, all of whom have roughly the same facial features.
–The IG Lancer combat droids are an insanely stupid idea, made even worse by the fact that the Clones just happen to have lances of their own on hand. Star Wars isn’t a medieval tale Mr. Tartakovsky, stop trying to make it into one, it looks ridiculous.
–Everything is so exaggerated, from the numbers on the battlefield to the powers of individual characters. Combined with the visual aesthetic this creates a scenario that is too over the top and far fetched for my liking.
–I love the smartness of Obi-Wan Kenobi donning armor, but I could have done without the ridiculous cape on the outside of said armor.
–If Fordo, the ARC trooper, pumps Durge full of electricity while Obi-Wan is inside of him how is Obi-Wan not fried and, um, dead?
–No one notices the pieces of Durge slithering away? In a room full of clone troopers and a Jedi Master, who have already seen his regenerative abilities in action mind you, they somehow miss Durge slithering away to regenerate again?
–The fight between Anakin Skywalker and Asajj Ventress is really cool and a lot of fun, if over the top, until Anakin’s cheesy scream at the end.
–General Grievous kicking ass is also a lot of fun and really cool.
–The actions of the droids in Chapter 21 are especially bothersome. They are attacked, run over even, but they stand in place and ignore the attack until the troop transport is far away. They also ignore the bombs dropped by the troop transport until much later in the battle. Not only is this bad from an art perspective, far too many background characters standing around doing nothing, but it makes the droid army look pathetic. How am I supposed to buy them as a threat if you make them look this incompetent?
–C-3PO’s unveiling of his gold plating has an oddly pornographic subtext to it.
–The last chapter, Chapter 21, is all over the place. Some of this is the fact that the resolution of the main Muunilinst arc is taken care of halfway through the episode. However, the second part of the episode never takes on any sort of solidity. Tartakovsky randomly tosses out emotions and imagery that are supposed to have some sort of meaning but don’t because he never puts them in any context where they can have meaning. The end of Chapter 21 feels like a college art film, a badly done college art film.
I hope that breaks it down for you well enough, unfortunately this viewing didn’t improve my outlook on Clone Wars any. Muunilinst has some good parts, but the worthwhile parts are sandwiched around some truly idiotic ingredients. I know I didn’t point it out in my bullet points but there is zero story or plot to be found here, this is action porn. Maybe that style does it for you, but I didn’t care for any of the style in Muunilinst, outside of the few moments I highlighted above. Like most of Clone Wars I can’t recommend Muunilinst, at least not if you want to watch good Star Wars television.