Archive for April, 2010

PT All Day On May Day

April 30, 2010

For once I find out in advance!

Spike is running Eps I-III all day beginning at 12:30 p.m., with an encore of ROTS on Sunday at 2:30 p.m..

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Clone Wars Night @ L.A. Dodgers May 21

April 30, 2010

James Arnold Taylor posted on his Facebook page last night that he will be singing the National Anthem (not in his Obi-Wan voice though) at Dodgers Stadium during Clone Wars night on May 21. Get your tickets now if you’re in the Los Angeles area!

Clone Wars Debriefing: “Death Trap”

April 30, 2010

Baby Boba is back and he’s out for revenge against the Jedi, especially against a particular “Mace Windu,” for the death of his father.

To accomplish his mission, the teenage Boba slips aboard the Republic cruiser that happens to be have Mace and Anakin along for the ride. Posing as a member of the Clone Youth Corps, our young scowling friend gets aboard the ship with a group of other young clones (calling himself “Lucky”) and quickly sets about committing mischief. First he tries to booby trap Mace’s quarters, but a redshirt clone ends up buying it instead. Mace and Anakin set about to find the saboteur, while Boba slips back in with the Youth Corps.

As it turns out, Boba is working with none other than Aurra Sing. After he informs her that his first attempt to whack Mace didn’t work, she tells him to sabotage the ship’s core so that it will blow up. Boba sneaks into the engine room and after dispatching another clone, wreaks havoc and destroys the ship. The Jedi survive but it costs the Republic yet another 171 trillion credits. Boba gets into an escape pod with some other Youth Corps kids, which he disables so that it will conk out in space. Aurra Sing and, surprise!, Bossk show up on Slave I to pick up Boba. The young Fett is torn at leaving his fellow genetic copies out there in deep space to die but after Aurra reminds him they have no place for softies, Boba leaves the stranded clone boys behind and hops aboard his future ship.

Just when you think, “OMG, are they seriously going to kill off a bunch of kids on this show?”, Anakin shows up to save the day after the kids send out a rescue signal. Now they know Boba Fett is no good and is still on the loose. To be continued…

You know, this could have been nothing but kewl fanservice but it’s actually a lot better than that. Boba isn’t quite the heartless bounty hunter seen in TESB and ROTJ. Sure, he’s angry and vengeful but not yet irredeemable. He still has something of a conscience left. His only real targets are the Jedi, to whom he owes nothing but death for what happened to Jango Fett. But on some level he appreciated his fellow youth clones’ attempt at friendship and camaraderie, something he has never really experienced. That’s why he hesistated leaving them. In another scene when he’s trying to destroy the ship’s core, he struggles with a clonetrooper, whose helmet comes off. You can see Boba actually struggling with the idea of fighting a man with his father’s face, especially when the clone tells him, “But we’re brothers.” Boba replies, “We’re not brothers,” almost as though he has to keep reminding himself of that. And he doesn’t kill the trooper outright, but stuns him.

We know that won’t last. I had a theory that Boba ends up under Cad Bane’s wing, and he may yet do so, but it looks like for now he gets his career training from someone about as ruthless, Aurra Sing, and I guess from Bossk as well.

It’s interesting to see Mace and Anakin act almost as though they are peers, not so much the second in command of the Jedi Order with a Knight. Again, there doesn’t seem to be the mistrust or antagonism seen in the movies. There’s a funny bit where Anakin loses his chance to show off for the young clones and Mace kids him about it.

It was great to see Daniel Logan reprise his role from AOTC, though obviously Boba’s voice had changed since then. Is it me, or does it seem like Logan is losing his Kiwi accent?

The only thing that strained credibility for me a bit was how easily Boba was able to slip away from the Youth Corps group without arousing too much suspicion. It wasn’t as though he was part of a group of 100 or there were scores of Youth Corps groups all over the ship. You’d notice if someone was missing if there were only like eight people in a group.

The mayhem continues tomorrow with the last two episodes of Season Two!

Caught ‘Em Again: Official Fandom Promotes Jar Jar Bashing

April 29, 2010

The trouble with the internet is that everybody can see you business and not everyone, i.e. me, is on board with beating up on Ewoks, Jar Jar, and anything else pants-on-the-ground balding fanboys find offensive about Star Wars.

Today, I found this on Bonnie Burton’s Twitter:

For you Jar Jar haters, here’s the desktop wallpaper for you! http://is.gd/bM6Bo

Now, she was smart enough not to put it on starwars.com’s Twitter but her posts are ubiquitous enough on #starwars and well, everybody knows who she is. Of course, it took no time at all for others to retweet the original post.

However, it’s not entirely about Ms. Burton but rather a mindset that’s rubbed me the wrong way for a long time. Official fandom has a thing about not taking itself too seriously and jokingly going along with fan complaints about things from time to time. I’ve never liked the anti-Ewok jokes and I especially dislike the Jar Jar bashing jokes. Why? At the end of the day, official fandom has to stand by Lucas’s creative decisions even if the popular culture or the internet echo chamber derides them. Because if they don’t, who the heck else will?

In any case, Jar Jar is a lightning rod for the continued attacks on the prequels. Why encourage it with this sort of thing?

More Clone Wars Season Finale Fun

April 29, 2010

starwars.com has posted a video interview with Daniel Logan that originally appeared on Empire Online, plus it has posted episode guides for the last two episodes that will air this Friday.

Aaand, the lovely Jaime King (“Aurra Sing”) will chat with fans on USTREAM and Twitter Friday night at 9:30 (I’m guessing this is EST).

A Rebuttal Of Sorts To A Rebuttal

April 28, 2010

Oxward321 pointed out this essay on the SWPAS forum by a Bob Clark, which is sort of a rebuttal to the AOTC YouTube bashfest that went up on Easter.

For the record, I don’t agree with all of Clark’s essay. More on that in a jiffy. But I will say that if you have to discuss what you think are a film’s strengths and weaknesses, THIS is the way to do it. You may or may not agree with the author or his reasoning, but it is quantum leaps better than an idiotic fanboy rant designed as red meat for idiotic fanboys. The comments are also worlds apart from the disgusting display on Star Wars Examiner.

Now for my rebuttal to the rebuttal. AOTC is unique film. Have you ever seen such a mishmash of genres in a single movie? I don’t think I ever have. On the one hand, it’s a crowd-pleaser with lots of Easter eggs for the long-time fans. On the other hand, Lucas cheerfully serves up stuff he knows some would find ridiculously old-fashioned and cheesy, damn the torpedoes! It practically says to you from the first frame, “You think you know Star Wars? Guess what, you don’t!” Instead of panning down to an oncoming ship as all SW films do at the beginning, it pans up to a ship flying upside down, then into a fog. I remember being very surprised to see that the clones, the obvious forefathers of the stormtroopers seen in the first set of SW movies, were GOOD GUYS.

And that’s what I love about it. I like being surprised. I like having presumptions thrown up in the air and blown to smithereens. I loved AOTC the first time I saw it and loved it even more the second time I saw it. Of all the SW films, I think that AOTC is the most experimental. On a technical level, it helped make digital filmmaking mainstream. In other ways, it constantly challenges the viewer to think differently about his perceptions of the saga and even how movies should be done as a whole.

It also has a very thankless job. Like TESB, it has to transition the upbeat tone of its predecessor to something darker and more somber. The storm clouds are closer but the sun’s still out. It’s not the happiest, easiest film to like (TPM) nor does it have the fun of presenting the tragedy everyone’s been waiting to see (ROTS). It quietly gets you to care enough about the characters for the sake of the dramatic payoff in the next film. To be honest, I think part of the reason why I think AOTC was the worst-promoted SW film was because a lot of the folks behind the scenes honestly didn’t know what they had. TPM and ROTS were easy to market. AOTC, not so much.

To answer some specific points Clark made in his essay, you can’t single AOTC out for the flaw of assuming the audience has seen every other SW film. That seems to be the assumption with ROTS, TESB, and ROTJ for that matter. I can’t think of too many other series that don’t make that assumption either.

He also thinks that maybe part of the issue with Anakin and Padme is that they are unable to consummate their relationship onscreen. He says there’s a lot of pent-up sexual tension that has nowhere to go, knowing that because the SW universe is basically a PG-rated one, you can’t show anything. I usually joke, “That’s what fan fiction is for.” Half-kidding aside, I understand how “adults” who are used to seeing sex scenes in movies or at least a strong implication of sex would like to see a pretty couple like Anakin and Padme go at it. But on the other hand, it’s so obvious where things are going to go, I don’t think it’s really necessary. That wedding ceremony implied consummation either recently took place or was about to. Padme was pregnant in ROTS. That tells you everything without saying.

Catching Up With The News…

April 28, 2010

Her Universe launches SW line for women and girls

As you might have heard, Ashley “Ahsoka” Eckstein is going to produce a line of SW merch exclusively for chicks. As someone who has had to buy a lot of men’s and unisex stuff over the years and growled with envy at the piles of Twilight merch for women/girls, I’m very excited! It seems like it covers all of the bases of the saga, and of course Clone Wars. Since the initial press release went out, Eckstein mentioned on her Facebook page that sizes will generally run S-XXL and there will be some XS designs for younger fangirls. Look for more pix to come and for the line to officially go on sale in late July.

Clone Wars Stuff

Preview this Friday’s one-hour season closer here and with this video here.

Am Back

April 28, 2010

I’ve been offline for the past 10 days or so because of a trip out of the country. A few things have happened since I was gone, so I’ll note those in a separate post.

Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about SW Prequel Appreciation Day. I will keep going on that front. I watched last Friday’s Clone Wars episode “Death Trap” last night and will have a review up soon.

Clone Wars Debriefing: “The Zillo Beast Strikes Back”

April 17, 2010

The Zillo Beast is brought to Coruscant for “further study.” Mace gets Obi-Wan who gets Padmé who gets Anakin to talk to Palpatine about this obviously poorly-thought-out plan. Anakin is quickly wrapped around Palpie’s finger, which earns a “no cookies and no sex for you” look from Padmé. Palpatine’s scientist tells him it’s painful and difficult to extract a scale from the animal for research, so Palpatine orders its execution. Already the Zillo Beast can tell Palpatine is a lying POS Sith but can’t really say much beyond growls and screams.

The attempt to snuff the Zillo doesn’t work out too well, so it is soon rampaging the streets of Coruscant, killing many innocent beings and destroying stuff. Soon it’s charging right for the Senate Building, his target Palpatine. He attempts to escape with Anakin, Padmé, and the droids in an escape ship, but the Zillo grabs it. Anakin attempts to save everyone while Yoda and Aayla attempt to distract the monster. Anakin saves Padmé from falling off the edge of the Senate Building, Artoo saves Threepio, and unfortunately, some poor redshirt Republic guard buys it so that Palpatine could flee. A big green toxic cloud is unleashed upon Zillo, ending his rampage for good. But Palpatine secretly arranges for it to be cloned. D’oh!

The animation in this episode is fantastic. I love how Coruscant looks on the show. The story is straightforward and we all kind of knew where it was going to end, but Zillo’s death scene is as sad as monster death scenes usually are in the movies. Palpatine’s order to clone the monster was a bit of a surprise. Got to love his appropriately evil sneer at the end.

How can anyone not tell Anakin and Padmé are married, because they sure do go into old married couple mode here. Obi-Wan obviously knew Padmé had sway over Anakin and Padmé gives him the in-the-doghouse look along with the “I thought you were on my side” line while they were in Palpie’s office. I had a thought while Anakin saves Padmé from plummeting to her death. He uses the Force to help save her and in this context, one must wonder if that’s why Anakin was so confident his powers could save Padmé…because they have before.

I’m out of the country all next week and therefore, will be unable to watch next Friday’s Clone Wars until I come back. I doubt they have Cartoon Network where I’m staying. And even if they do, I will also be offline that whole time. I’m recording it on DVR, so I’ll watch when I return and post my review then.

This Month In SW PT History…

April 15, 2010

TPM was released on home video in April 2000. Back then, DVDs were relatively new and brand-new films often took at least a year or more until before it was available on that format. So, all we could get was VHS or, in other countries, laserdisc.

There was the standard pan-n-scan video that some fans called The Obi-Wan-Free Edition because the formatting cut Obi-Wan out of the picture in several scenes. Then there was the deluxe widescreen edition that came with a cool little booklet of concept art and a clipping of an actual frame of the film used in theaters. I’d joked with a friend that with my luck, I’ll get the flatulent eopie.

Originally, Lucasfilm planned to put TPM on DVD sometime in the far-flung future, after the entire prequel trilogy had come out. Naturally, fans were outraged, even the haters ;). Ultimately, we’d have to wait until October 2001 until the first SW film was available in that format. It’s interesting to note that TPM turned out to be the second-to-last SW film to be released on VHS and the last one to be widely sold on VHS. How quickly things change with technology.