Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7 Episode 12: “Victory And Blood”

The Clone Wars is over. It’s end is bleak and terrible and sad, unbelievably poignant and conclusive. Of course having watched Rebels, we know how this ends for these characters and because of Star Wars we know how this ends generally.

But, I’ve never really bought into “The Prequel Problem,” a tale well told is worth it regardless of if you can guess the ending, and The Clone Wars is, if nothing else, a tale well told. And this final chapter, where Rex and Ahsoka save one another, after everything they’ve been through and more importantly those final images.

Despite the betrayal of Order 66, Ahsoka and Rex bury each of the clones that died on their ship, marking their graves with their helmets, and leaving her light sabers behind. When Vader finds the scene he picks up the saber and looks to the sky walking away.

It’s over, and as far as anyone knows, Ahsoka Tano is dead, the only Jedi who truly understood Anakin Skywalker, (Not a Jedi) and Anakin himself is about as gone as possible right now.

This show has come to mean so much to me over these past few years. It’s deepened my love for this world and these stories that have always been with me, that will always be with me.

And so much of that comes from Ahsoka. From this girl who learned her own code and morality, who will help people when they need it, no matter what. I’m so grateful for her, thank you to Dave Filoni and Ashley Eckstein for her. Seriously, watching her story unfold has been the greatest pleasure, and seeing this chapter close properly was wonderful.

Star Wars will always be my favorite fandom. It is home, even when it’s at it’s worst I love it so much. These past eleven weeks have been such a gift, and I’m tremendously happy to have had them.

Next week we talk about the Darth Vader comics. Which I very much enjoyed.

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7, Episode 11 “Shattered”

“Execute Order 66,” I actually cannot hear those words without taking a big ass inhale of breath. It begins a long slide into weepiness that last for the next half hour of movie in Revenge Of The Sith, rivaled only by Return of The King and Avengers: Endgame for absurd blockbuster blubbering for me.

So I held my breath as Ahsoka sensed what happened between Mace Windu, Anakin and Palpatine, leading to the execution of Order 66. It’s devastation and also important to note that Ahsoka might be the most powerful force user in the series, before Rey? She’s not fully in her powers yet, that doesn’t come until she passes through time with Ezra but she’s still strong here. Strong enough to connect while looking for Anakin, something we’ve only ever seen Yoda do with such specificity.

Anyway, after this moment of darkness, she turns to Rex, who is shaking, talking to himself, refusing to follow his programming and kill Ahsoka. Unfortunately the rest of the Troopers don’t have will and try to fight her. Of course she wins and gets away, taking Rex’s warning, “Find Fives” to heart and searching for a file on Fives, learning that his malfunctioning inhibitor chip caused his death. Rex sent himself a message in this file, which is why he was able to resist.

Ahsoka practices some “cogninative recalibration” on Rex, and also, to get the two of them away, releases Darth Maul, to spectacular effect. She reminds him that she doesn’t trust him and also that she kind of hopes the clones kill him which is great. I know I talked about it last week but it bears reiterating, Ashley Eckstein and Sam Witwer are doing unbelievable work here.

OK, we’ll finish up tomorrow. I’m not sure I’m ready. How far will we go into Episode III, where will we end?

I don’t know, but I bet I’ll be crying, and crying a whole lot.

Magical Movies Tour: 101 Dalmatians

A few months ago on their podcast, “We Got This With Mark & Hal” Mark Gagliardi and Hal Lublin chose “The Best Disney Movie While Walt Disney Was Alive” and Mark described 101 Dalmatians as super hip.

I didn’t remember it that way, but I hadn’t watched it since some time in the mid 90s, so I really couldn’t say and after watching it again, I agree with Mark. This is a cool movie, and so very contemporary to the time it was made. Everything about the movie is terrifically 60s in the Mad Men sense. The drawing style, the music, the way the characters interact, all of it. It’s a complete delight.

The characters are amazing too. I think I could write an entire book on Cruella DeVille and on Pongo, everyone else is a bit of a thin sketch but they’re strong enough to make up for it. And the system of the Twilight Bark and the network of animals that help Pongo and Perdita find their puppies (and the 86 others) is a pure delight.

But back to Cruella, who is a brilliant villain and my favorite so far that we’ve encountered, and that includes Maleficent who I also like a lot. But Cruella is so much fun and a complete sociopath. The woman genuinely doesn’t understand why people aren’t cool with her making a puppy skin coat. She gets that they are, but the emotion of this eludes her. It’s fascinating and great.

Pongo, our hero, is also incredible, placing the psychology of a London Bachelor from 1962 in a dalmatian is such a wonderful conceit, that he finds Anita for Roger it’s mostly about himself finding Perdita, and the opening scene where he watches the women and dogs of London walk past their apartment is very fun, and the perfect window into who this dog is.

I didn’t love this as much as Lady And The Tramp, which I also watched a few extra times during COVID-19 panic because I loved it so much, but I did like it a whole lot.

Next week we get into some magical mischief with The Sword And The Stone

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Season 7 Episodes 7 & 8 “Dangerous Debt” and “Together Again”

Sorry I missed last week y’all, I went down a Downton Abbey and The Crown Hole so there was no way I was going to be able to analyze the end of Ahsoka’s return to the world.

So after taking the week off, let’s talk about “Dangerous Debt” and “Together Again.” Raffa and Trace and Ahsoka are trying to break away from the gangsters that they don’t have Spice to deliver to. Also, Raffa still does not trust Ahsoka, and Trace reveals that they lost their parents during a Jedi mission a few years ago and Luminara was, uh, let’s go with less than compassionate about the situation.

So they hate the Jedi, and Ahsoka decides, not just for her safety from the gangs chasing them but for the sake of her relationship with Raffa and Trace she can’t tell them the truth. But they do need to get out of this. After being captured Ahsoka bluffs through a confrontation with the leader to get Trace and Raffa off world, which finally wins Raffa’s trust and they go back for her.

Of course, this episode is called “Together Again,” which lead me to believe almost from jump that we were going to see Maul again. And AH HA! Turns out the gangsters our girls are entangled with are under the command of Crimson Dawn. So he’s there, all hologrammy and sneering and I was so happy.

After Raffa and Trace get Ahsoka out, she tells them the truth about who she is, was, and while they didn’t know that you could stop being a Jedi, and that they think she still acts like what they thought the Jedi were before they lost their parents.

Just as the three new friends are about to head home, Ahsoka is confronted by Pri Vyszla, who asks for her help, and as she said in “Dangerous Debt,” “In my world, when people need your help, you help them. No matter what.”

So Ahsoka is off to Mandalore, to help. The siege begins next week and I for one am very excited.

Also, while I’ve enjoyed our four weeks of Ahsoka, I miss the Jedi.

Magical Movies Tour: Peter Pan

BIG HONKING NOTE: The middle portion of Peter Pan is really, really, SUPER DUPER racist. I will not be talking about “What Makes The Red Man Red” in this review, because it is ICK. Also, it could be completely excised from the film and you’d lose almost nothing. Just putting it upfront here. So racist. Is bad. Do not like. 

OK, so with that unpleasantness disposed of, I’m going to talk about how much I really love Peter Pan. It’s at least a little bit because of some nostalgia with my own lost boys. My cousins Jake, Tom, and Bobby, the little brothers of my heart, loved Peter Pan when they were little. Being a whole 6, 8 and 12 years older than them, I’ve always considered myself their Wendy. (This is perhaps a bit presumptuous of me, but I think that’s a very Wendy like trait.) So I can’t help but look at the heightened imagination of Neverland with the affection of watching my boys play pirates.

I also love this music, especially the first half, “The Second Star To The Right” and “You Can Fly” are both Disney Standards worthy of the name, and “The Life Of A Pirate,” also fits in beautifully. I love this animation, which fits in well with Cinderella and Alice In Wonderland. Captain Hook fits in with The Queen Of Hearts as menacing but not scary, making him the perfect play pretend bad guy. With the exception of that scene (and it is really, really bad) Peter Pan is nearly perfectly pitched for fun and adventure.

I like Wendy a lot too. She’s a bit stuck up, but she’s earned it. She just wants to stay a child for another night, have one last adventure before she has to grow up. Not to mention she stole Peter Pan’s shadow, which is no small feat. Tinkerbell is fun too, with her flittering and angry looks. In general I was excited to get to this one, if only because of how homey it feels.

Next week we’ll talk about Lady And The Tramp, which, given my reaction to watching Bambi again, I think I’m going to like a lot.

Magical Movies Tour: Alice In Wonderland

I was ready to dismiss Alice In Wonderland, it’s never been one of my favorites but I think the thing I’ve enjoyed the most with this project is finding so much enjoyment in movies I’d overlooked in the past.

Alice In Wonderland is beautiful. The animation and designs are so creative and lovely, Alice herself is a sweet POV character and the songs are jolly and fun. You’d think after 30 years I’d get tired of saying that my sister Mary was right about something. (Alice has always been her favorite.) But I’m happy to give her this one. I was delighted watching it.

I’ve always been a fan of the poetry in Lewis Carroll’s books, and this movie does a wonderful job of capturing that, as well as the sheer confusion of trying to navigate a world that operates on it’s own logic, rather than the kind you’ve learned your whole life.

And the characters are truly wonderful. The White Rabbit in his hectic neurosis, The March Hair and Mad Hatter’s hyper madness, The Queen Of Heart’s overwrought menace, much sillier than it ever was scary. Not to mention the Caterpillar, Flowers and Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. A gang to be remembered, each and every one of them.

Also, I’m going to have, “We’re Painting The Roses Red,” stuck in my head for quite some time, I think. It’s so much fun.

Next week, I indulge my own motherly nostalgia for a group of little boys, by watching Peter Pan again. (All my love to Jake, Tom and Bobby.)

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Season 7: Episode 4: “Unfinished Business”

Hi everyone! Sorry this is a day late, like everyone pretty much, I spent the weekend spiraling a little bit about COVID-19, so I completely forgot to write this post. I hope everyone is doing OK, practicing social distancing, and taking lots of deep breaths. If you want to talk about what you’re reading, watching and eating in these super weird times, please reach out to me on any social media. (I’m hanging out on Instagram a lot these days! @thefangirlsdilemma)

Moving on! “Unfinished Business,” is the end of The Bad Batch arc, which as I noted, I’m not crazy about, but I liked this episode a little bit more. There’s a really great Mace Windu moment that really seals the deal, but overall I enjoyed it.

Echo has to prove to the others that he can get back in the game, and that The Separatists aren’t in control of him. He does so, through a series of very cool action sequences. Also Anakin has a BIG Dark Side moment in his reactions to Spider-Monster Admiral Trench, Obi-Wan does some in command stuff and I mentioned Mace right?

The moment that made me fall in love with this episode is when he steps in front a batallion of battle droids and recites his stats, reminding them, and us all that HE IS A BADASS.

Next week apparently we’re going to be finally getting some Ahsoka stuff, which means I will probably have a lot more to write about. But here’s the thing, theses episodes have been very action heavy, which is GREAT for watching, and not so much for writing, which is why these recaps have been so short.

Anyway, I hope everyone is healthy and safe, I love you all as much as I love Star Wars, maybe even more! I’ll be doing a bunch of reading, watching of Disney movies and other stuff as I’m stuck home, I’m hoping to get back to a regular 5 post a week schedule. So something good can come out of all of this.

 

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Season 7 Episode 3: “On The Wings Of Keeradaks”

First, a correction, I thought Echo died last week, he didn’t! He was liberated, A LA Jean-Luc Picard from the Borg! (We’ll get to ol’Jean-Luc soon! I’ve been selectively binging Picard.) Now, Anakin, Rex, The Bad Batch and Echo have to escape from the Techno Syndicate, with some help from the natives of the planet that they’re on.

The Tecno Syndicate are furious, obviously that their “experiment” has been stolen. That experiment is of course, Poor Echo, who is in really bad shape.

Not going to lie, I’m not overly enamored of this arc. It’s visually interesting but it isn’t doing much for me story wise and not really deepening any of the characters. We already know Rex would do anything for his brothers, that Anakin recklessly dives into danger heedless of the consequences and that the council is basically useless. There’s nothing new here. Except the bad batch, who really are pretty great, just not super compelling to write about.

It’s emotionally satisfying to do more with the clones. Clone episodes have always been among my favorites, but this arc, until I see how it plays out just has not delivered so far. It may also just be my impatience to get to the SIEGE OF MANDALORE FOR GOD’S SAKE.

I wish I was more engaged and had more to say here, but I really just don’t. The show is as ever visually stunning with compelling action and decent character work, this arc just seems a little repetitive from a story and development standpoint.

Anyway, another week without any Ahsoka. This is getting tiresome and I do not care for it at all.

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7 Episode 1 “The Bad Batch”

Hello There!

We’re back brothers, it’s time for us to dive back into weekly bulletins from a Galaxy Far Far Away, in what, during my months long deep dive, became my favorite part. (All apologies to Poe Dameron and Baby Yoda.) We’re back into The Clone Wars. When last we left our marionette computer animated heroes, Yoda had talked to a bunch of ghosts, learned that the Jedi were most likely doomed and learned the secret of immortality. Anakin and Padme’s marriage was pretty strained but they decided to stick it out. The Clones started suffering from rage black outs and Tup and Fives had “brain tumors” that lead to their deaths. Also there was a thing with a bird lady and Jar-Jar Binks.

Oh right, and Ahsoka left the Jedi Order, and no one has heard from her for a bit.

We pick up mid battle, Anakin and Mace Windu are losing, bad to the Separatist forces. Rex and Cody come to them with a plan, they’re going to infiltrate and figure out how the Separatists are one step ahead of them. They don’t share Rex’s theory, that clone trooper Echo is still alive and helping the enemy.

They get permission to go on the mission and call in “The Bad Batch,” a group of genetically “off” Clones who use their differences to be an elite, A-Team style squad.

Y’all.

Y’ALL.

The Bad Batch RULES. They are the coolest. Rex doesn’t like them much, but then they save Cody a few times and everyone comes around. They get some battle plans that seem to reveal things and then they hear a Droid Commander over the com, calling out a CT number. It’s Echo’s number.

Echo is alive, and he’s working with the Separatists.

I AM FLOORED y’all. I am so excited to be back here, to be hanging with the Clones again, and I knew coming right out the gate we weren’t getting Ahsoka back right away, but at this point it’s just a countdown for me. I think starting Clone centric was smart. Clone Wars was about a lot of things, but mainly it was about these characters, faceless mass in the movies, made individual victims and heroes here. So it’s cool to start with them. Also, I love Rex. A lot. (I’m also watching Rebels again right now, and I just got to his return, and he totally rules.) It’s a strong start to a new seasons.

It’s going to be weird to watch this show week by week. I’m used to binging it. Every time (4?) I’ve watched it, I’ve binged it. So we’re watching. We’ll check back in next Tuesday! Are y’all excited? I’m so excited.

Magical Movies Tour: The Three Caballeros

What a weird, trippy, again kinda racist, delight of a film! I’ve always been a fan of the Cabelloros, from Disney World and from those Disney Sing-a-Long videos, but had never watched the full film.

Again, we have a series of shorts, this time much more connected than Saludos Amigos. Donald receives a gift and it turns out to be a magical film meant to introduce him to his cousins from South America. He learns about some different birds, before making his way to Brasil, where hey look! Jose Carrioca is waiting for him! The two friends happily dance and sing in Brasil, and then wind up in Mexico, where they meet Panchito Pistoles. They hop on their magical sarape (I said, kinda racist) and fly about Mexico, singing, dancing, Donald hits on lots of pretty girls, and then finds his way home.

It’s just delightful, neon colored, displaying early attempts at integrating live footage and animation and seriously, the songs in this one are so much fun. Also, I just adore Jose and Panchito, and I’ve already explained that Donald is my favorite of the Fab Five. So I was just thrilled to watch the movie.

And as it descended into trippy madness, I was even happier. Singers become flowers, with singers faces, Donald skips around a technocolor wonderland while Jose and Panchito look on fondly. All three fly off on a magical serape.

Again, sometimes things just need to be what they are, and this is a silly cartoon about singing birds with some fun songs sung by Mexican singers. And this executes that conceit perfectly. It’s less “educational” than it’s brother production, and all the better for it.

Next week we discuss Fun And Fancy Free, we’re skipping Make Mine Music because it isn’t on Disney+ (bizarrely) and I don’t feel like chasing it down.