Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Season 7 Episode 2 “A Distant Echo”

The forking show man.

After returning to base, with no proof of Echo’s actually being alive, Rex is more determined than ever to figure out what’s going on here. He pleads with Anakin to continue the mission, and Anakin is like, “OK bud, sure, but first, I gotta call me wife…I mean Senator Amidala, for REASONS, that have nothing to do with us being in love or married. This is definitely a secret and no one knows about it at all.”

Of course everyone knows, including Obi-Wan who is basically catches Anakin in the Holo-call act, and calls him out on it.

This strengthens my very strong belief that LITERALLY EVERYONE KNEW about Anakin and Padme it’s just with all the war and fascist regime rising and Anakin being the chosen one, decided it wasn’t worth the confrontation.

Moving on from the not a secret love of Anakin and Padme, we get to Rex and The Bad Batch hunting for Echo. They track the signal they found, beat the crap out of some droids. (I am not doing the action of these episodes justice because I am bad about writing and talking about action sequences, but they are very very good.)

Eventually, Rex does indeed find Echo, who is alive, but barely. His brain has been hacked and it’s really bad and he dies in Rex’s arms. It is rough, but Ooh, boy, it’s good stuff.

I think the Bad Batch might be the most interesting invention of these shows for a while. They’re incredibly designed a fun concept and great for complicated the Clone narrative. Remember, when we first meet them, Yoda is the one tells the clones themselves that they are individuals, not a collective, that this is a good a true thing. This takes that even further, and it rules, it’s so good.

I’m so happy this show is back.

Still no Ahsoka, but Ashley’s been instagramming some interesting shit.

I’m hoping this week.

We’ll see.

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith

It was kind of a relief to fall into one of the Star Wars movies even if it was one that’s kind of garbage but that I also love a lot.

Unlike when I watched Episode II nearly a month ago, where I had to really zero in on the elements of the movie that I liked because I love so many things about Episode III, it’s a mess of a film but it’s a damn fun mess, and it’s my mess, and I love it very much and will defend it until I die.

It’s overwrought, poorly plotted and for the most part indifferently acted. Though Ian McDirmind and Ewan McGregor excepted, they are both CHEWING SCENERY UP RIGHT AND LEFT and that makes the whole thing a worthy endeavor to me. But especially McGregor who has to sell the breaking of a man as his world comes crashing around him.

Coming to this so soon after finishing Clone Wars also adds a lot of Pathos to Yoda’s stuff too. I mentioned how what’s interesting about the last arc there is it lends a sadness and resignation to his plot. He knows the Jedi have to fall, but he’s also not ready to let the Sith take over. There’s a lot more weight to his decisions when you know that he knows they’re inevitable.

What strikes me everytime I watch this movie though is how quickly it moves. It’s not short. It’s not like MCU long either, but it’s not short. It does move though, and I really love all of the action sequences. If the acting were better and someone fixed the horrible, horrible George Lucas dialog, it would be a really really good movie. Instead it’s kind of a trash fire but I love it so, so so much.

Next week we talk about Solo: A Star Wars Story, which is an actually good movie that people think is a bad one and I want to fight those people.

In Other Star Wars News: 

There wasn’t a lot of Star Wars stuff out of San Deigo at least not that tracked with me. But Natalie Portman’s back in Thor: Love And Thunder, and Jane’s picking up the hammer like she did in the comics, so that’ll be fun.

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 3

If Season 2 is about complicity and begining to fill in shades of grey, Season 3 is about living in that grey.

It’s also about how Anakin categorically rejects his chances at turning away from the dark side, over and over again. It’s about Ahsoka beginning to see she doesn’t quite fit with the way the Jedi do things. It’s about Obi-Wan seeing the world he knows collapsing around him. It’s about Padme realizing that she might be on the wrong side.

And it’s just so good. The weird wrinkles that form because of those themes make for some of the most compelling episode arcs. Ventress’s origins, as a Night Sister, and their relationship to Darth Maul, (And Savage Oppress, which, like Star Wars names are always a little on the nose but that’s a real doozy) which leads into an exploration of the Dark Side and The Force outside of the Jedi/Sith binary. (Something that I think will probably be vitally important moving forward in the series after The Rise Of Skywalker.) 

This also leads into The Father/Daughter/Son trilogy, and Anakin’s confirmation as the chosen one and his rejection of the responsibility of maintaining balance.

It’s just so good you guys. The physical embodiments of the Force are shouting at him to get it together, and he just. can’t. let. go.

He can’t let go of his grief and guilt about Shimi. He can’t let go of Padme. He can’t let go of Ahsoka and Obi-Wan. He can’t let go of his own identity as a Jedi. He can’t do it. The inevitability of the whole thing is part of what makes these episodes great, but it’s just such good character work.

Anyway, there’s a lot to think about with that. And there’s also just the deepening of the mythology around Force paving the way for Ahsoka finding her “other path” later in her life. And how stunning and amazing that is.

Next week is Season 4, Darth Maul’s actual return, and just more and more escalation. Plus! Admiral Ackbar! Yay!

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 1

Star Wars: The Clone Wars is really, really wonderful. And what’s amazing about it, beyond it just being pretty darn great on it’s own, is that it’s in service to three movies that range from awful to just the worst. I’m more forgiving of Revenge Of The Sith than many. (It has one my all time favorite scenes in the movie, but we’ve got a few months before we get into that.) Part of that is because Clone Wars provides a lot more background and framework for the tragedy of Anakin Skywalker.

And Anakin, as portrayed in Clone Wars is as close to perfect as we can expect for a character with such a faulty foundation. He’s impulsive, heroic, brave and wonderful. His temper flares, but he’s also a dedicated teacher and warrior. There’s good good stuff.

My deep and abiding love of Obi-Wan Kenobi is indulged in a bunch of ways in this show. He’s the great teacher we all wished for. Patient with Anakin but indulgent and fun loving when he can be. He rallies his troops.

Padme and Jar-Jar are also around. The less said about them in the early goings the better. (If I recall their stories get better as we move along.)

But the real stories that matter, at least to me, in this particular series, are the Clone Troopers themselves, and of course, the wonderful perfect, Ahsoka Tano.

Ahsoka means a lot to me. On her own, her story is wonderful, the point of view character in this series being a young girl learning to be a Jedi felt so revolutionary at that moment, and of course, my friendly “when we see each other at cons and Walt Disney World events we cry,” realtionship with Ashley Eckstein has only made me love the character more.

And the clones, the ones we follow throughout the series, Cody and Rex and Fives. (And a few others, but they’re our big ones.) They get strong intros here and they all develop well from what I remember.

I don’t think I’ll ever really love the blocky jerky animation style for all of the Star Wars cartoons. But the writing and voice work are both good enough to make up for it. (The animation takes huge jumps in quality between seasons, but I’ve always found it quite ugly.)

Next week we’ll talk about season 2. More Ahsoka. More Clones. All the good stuff.

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: Episode II: Attack Of The Clones

The night before I watched this I was hanging out with Tommy (cousin) and Mike (brother) and I was discussing this project. I got a “Ugh, prequels,” out of both of them, and when I said that I was at this point we all sighed and discussed how we, like most Star Wars fans just want our damn Obi-Wan movie starring Ewan McGregor, thank you!

Because, as I’ve said, over and over again, there is 1/2 of a good movie in Attack Of The Clones, and that is a movie I like to call, “Obi-Wan solves a mystery.” Obi-Wan figuring out the Clone army, Dooku’s allegiance to the Sith and the battle that results because of that is awesome. All of it. McGregor gives a great performance, and Samuel L. Jackson and Frank Oz back him up well. The Jedi dropping into the arena before Yoda comes with the clones is wonderful. I even like the corny dopey confrontation between Yoda and Dooku. (Christopher Lee was a perfect angel of Satan that we didn’t deserve playing all the funnest bad guys.)

I love that movie.

It’s just the other movie. The one where two hotties stare at each other awkwardly and we’re supposed to think they’re falling in love is soooo terrible that it drags the whole enterprise down. (Natalie Portman is at least trying here, unlike in her next outing, but it’s frustrating to watch her get nothing for her efforts,) But we’re not focusing on the things that we hate in this series right?

Of the three prequels this is probably the one I’ve seen most, because it’s very easy to watch when it’s on cable. It’s easy to click in and out of, it’s not too long, and it’s pretty to look at. And the performances (give or take a Hayden Christiansen) are pretty fun.

Next week we start into The Clone Wars with Season 1. Once again, with the help of my local library. Watching the DVDs is going to be nice to keep from over binging too. Something about actually getting up to change the disk is different than just clicking through to another episode.

Also, library materials need to be returned, so I can’t put off watching either. Win Win! Anyway, we’ll have six weeks of shouting about Ahsoka coming up!

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace

So I’m using the summer and the shortened to Game Of Thrones year plus the end of The Skywalker Saga in December to Rewatch Star Wars, (Or in the case of parts of Rebels and all of Resistance, watch for the first time!)

Since the New Triology, (referred to as NT from now on,) I’ve had the distinct pleasure of really diving into this world. I’ve loved Star Wars for as long as I can remember and it’s probably my favorite topic of conversation.

So, you’re going to be treated to weekly updates, sometimes a movie, sometimes a season of one of the shows. (Or, an episode of one of the shows, when The Mandolorian hits our streaming plans.)

This week we’ll start at the begining, mostly because release order is messy and frankly, I’d rather knock out The Phantom Menace and Attack Of The Clones, you know?

So, last night I watched The Phantom Menace, and…I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I swing so wildly on this movie. I don’t think it’s good. Not even in a fun so bad it’s good way. It’s a deeply misguided movie, with story choices that seem to come out of left field, many of which could be better with slight tweaks. (Aging Anakin a few years and removing the slavery subplots, for example would do wonders for the movie’s clunkier stuff.)

The performances are stilted, something that gets marginally better as the Prequel Trilogy (PT) goes on. Liam Neeson is great from jump, and it’s a shame they never found a way to work Qui-Gon back into things. Obviously Ewan McGregor shows promise, and he’s definitely the most lively here, though Natalie Portman comes to life when she’s allowed to. The raid on the throne room in Naboo is probably her best moment in the whole PT.

There’s just not a lot to engage with here, which is a real shame. I want to engage as positively as I can in these reviews, even with the movies I don’t care for. I’ve had a enough of toxic whining and nit picking in fandom for a lifetime in the past two weeks. (Haven’t we all? How do we feel about Khalessi’s turn to madness? King Bran? Is the show sexist? God I’m tired…)

So, what are the things I like in The Phantom Menace. I actually think it starts and ends strong, it’s the middle that’s wonky. Pretty much any time there’s action, it’s really really good. It’s my favorite of the John William’s scores. (They’re all wonderful, but “Duel Of Fates” is so fricking good, it puts it over the top for me.) Darth Maul is great. The cast is superb and the movie looks much much better than I remembered.

And it is a good starting point for the saga is the thing, just, some odd and clunky choices were made, so we’re stuck with them now. Such a shame, to be truthful.

Anyway, next week we gear up with Attack of The Clones, which is just awful, but again, very pretty and does have my favorite performance for Ewan McGregor. I’m trying to get these done and on the schedule a few weeks ahead so I don’t find myself struggling like I did with some of the Marvel stuff.

 

 

The Dark Side Rises, Anakin makes some weird decisions, and TWINS!

Look, you know how you can really love something but know deep down in your heart of hearts that it’s complete and total garbage?

That’s how I feel about Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of The Sith. It’s objectively an awful awful film, but I love every illogical twist and bit of scenery chewing in it.

However, as I watched it last night, with a fever of at least 100, and barely able to breath through my nose (also why this post is so late tonight…I slept rather than write it last night or this morning.) I didn’t find it as charming as usual. (Check out my twitter for more on that.

Anyway! On to the mythology:

  • Palpatine tells Anakin the story of Darth Plagieous, who was able to create and destroy life through mastery of the force. Sidious was Plagious’s apprentice, who evetnually killed him. It is also believed that Plagieous’s experiments caused Anakin’s conception. He’s an important figure who we’ve never met. (There are several theories that Snoke is Plagieous…I’m less than convinced on that one.)
  • Anakin embraces the darkside again, killing Dooku while the older man is unarmed (And at Palpatine’s behest), and then you know, slaughtering a temple full of children…
  • We learn that the clones have had a secret order in their programming, “Order 66” meant to turn them on their Jedi commanders. As far as we know, only Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda survive the order, and Anakin’s purge of the temple. (If you’re a Clone Wars and Rebels person you know that Ahsoka Tano, having left the Jedi order also gets away and Kanaan Jarris, a padowan, escapes the temple) (If you’re a normal fan, those names mean nothing to you BUT THEY SHOULD! Watch Clone Wars and Rebels they are amazing)
  •  Obi-Wan, Yoda and Bail Organa basically start the rebellion because you wanna know who doesn’t mess around? Bail Organa! You know who raised the greatest badass the galaxy’s ever seen? Bail Organa! You know what? I think we can all be grateful to Rogue One for finally giving Jimmy Smits as Bail Organa a good movie to be in at long last.
  • After dueling on Mustafar, Obi-Wan leaves Anakin for dead, picking up his light saber on the way out. He later gives it to Luke. Luke loses it when Darth Vader cuts off his hand (before revealing that he’s in fact Anakin) Somehow, Maz Kanata got it, and Rey found it. But this is the first time it passes hands.
  • Padme gives birth to Luke and Leia and then promptly dies. This is a HUGE BUMMER and as a character she deserved better. However, it gives us a hint to Leia’s force sensitivity, as she notes to Luke later that she remembers her birth mother.
  • Leia is sent to Alderaan to be raised by Bail Organa and be a princess and a badass. Luke is sent to Tatooine to grow up with Owen and Baru Lars, living a brutal and boring life as a moisture farmer. This feels like it’s a rough deal for Luke.
  • Oh, also Yoda was fighting on Kashyyk, the Wookie planet, during order 66, and Chewbacca was there! HOORAY!
  • Once he’s fully transformed, black helmet and all, Vader begins supervising the construction of the Death Star. Somewhere, tiny little Jyn Erso is crying for her daddy.

So that’s Episode III, it’s a trash fire, but it’s my beloved trash fire.

 

Here Come The Clones, Detective Kenobi Is On The Case, and A Wedding!

Two years ago in my full review, I talked about the squandered potential of Star Wars: Episode II: Attack Of The ClonesSo I won’t dwell on that here.

This will be longer than yesterday’s post, because OMG so much mythology is introduced here.

  • Anakin and Padme have the major hots for eachother. This is less weird for him. (10 year old crushes on 14 year old), although hers is more of the “whoa, you grew up nice,” situation, they explore this in a few way, mostly by sighing dramatically at one another and staring off into the distance. (I should note, I have sort of stolen this technique in my wonderful fantasy romance story The Marina Chronicle! Shameless Plug!) Eventually they admit their feelings and are secretly married. HOORAYYYY!
  • Obi-Wan performs the “Jedi Mind Trick” on a drug dealer in a bar. This is his signature move. It is also the Jedi trick that Rey does reflexively with a storm trooper in The Force Awakens. (REY IS A KENOBI)
  • Palpatine has befriended Anakin and knows about his feelings for Padme, so he pushes them together, by taking a hit out on her and suggesting he be her body guard. This is the first time I realized, that Palpatine must be a really big Witney Houston fan.
  • We learn that it is possible to quit being a Jedi. Count Dooku did it, and is now also a Sith Lord known as Darth Tyrannus.
  • Tyrannus/Dooku recruits a bounty hunter named Jengo Fett to be the basis of a clone army ordered in the name of the republic by Darth Sidious/Palpatine. The clone army itself is important (it’s part of Palpatine’s plan to further divide the galaxy/radicalize the senate) as is Fett, as he requests one clone to raise as a son. This is Boba Fett. You’re welcome Star Wars fandom.
  • Yoda kicks ass. So does Mace Windu. That’s not really mythology, just shit I like.
  • Anakin gives in to the power of the dark side for the first time, when he destroys a tribe of Sand People who kidnapped and tortured his mother. He’s also begun having visions of the people he cares for in agony. It is unclear whether these come from Sidieous or from the Force itself.
  • Anakin regards Obi-Wan as his father. They later refer to their relationship as more brotherly. Either way, they’re family. There’s attachment that shouldn’t exist between them.
  • The Geonoxians (bug aliens allied with Dooku) are working on “the ultimate weapon” (Death Star!)
  • We meet Bail Organa for like half a scene!

Tomorrow we’ll talk about Episode III, which I love with the kind of absurd affection you have for a first love. I know it’s garbage, but I think it’s a delight!

Midichlorians, The Duel of Fates and ZZZZZ

Hi everyone! YES! There ARE two posts today! WHAAAATTT???? It’s about that time of year, next week Star Wars: The Last Jedi is coming out which means it’s time to rewatch the Star Wars Saga (and one Story!) and get myself all ready to take in the next chapter.

After some back and forth on how to watch, I landed on my favorite way to rewatch, the beloved Story Order (So, Prequels, Rogue One, OT, TFA) And if I want to get them all in with a wrap up post (which I do) I’m gonna have to double up a few days.

So, here’s what I’m doing…rather than write up full reviews (I did that 2 years ago…you can go back and read them.) I’m going to talk about the things that each movie contributed to the larger universe that I think may become important in The Last Jedi. Cool? Cool.

So, here we go, important bits of mythology from Star Wars: Episode 1: The Phantom Menace

  • We are introduced to Obi-Wan Kenobi, who as Rey’s grandfather is a super important person. (Shut up, I hold this as truth until contradicted.)
  • Obviously, we meet Padme Amidala and Anakin Skywalker, watch these two kids, they may be important down the line.
  • We learn that the source of the Force is a bunch of microbes, everyone is largely bummed out by this.
  • Also the concept of the Sith being the power of the darkside is introduced.
  • The idea of a chosen one, meant to bring “balance” to the force, fulfilling an ancient prophecy is introduced. Qui-Gon Jin believes that Anakin is this chosen one. Later, Obi-Wan believes it is his son Luke. The Last Jedi trailers lead us to believe that balance has yet to be acheived and Luke thinks the way to do it is to end the Jedi order.
  • Palpatine is senator from Naboo here, and working in the shadows as Darth Sidious. He also becomes Supreme Chancellor of The Galactic Senate, a position he will eventually transition to Emperor. All of this is part of what makes this movie so frickin boring.
  • Running against Palpatine for chancellor is Bail Antilles Of Alderaan. Bail must be a common name on Alderaan as it’s also the name of Bail Organa, Leia’s adoptive father. Regardless Bail Antilles is the father of Wedge Antilles, future awesome Rebel pilot, friend of Skywalker twins and precursor to Poe Dameron, sexiest man in the galaxy. So, that’s a thing.
  • The greatest, technically speaking, light saber fight, “The Duel Of Fates” takes place. (It’s not the most emotionally impactful, in my opinion, that comes later. Also, it’s between three people, so, not technically a duel…) It’s an exceptional bit of filmmaking though, with excellent fight choreography, a killer score and some awesome character moments.

Overall, I’m shocked, everytime I rewatch Episode I, at how dull and slow the movie is. Seriously, I have trouble paying attention to it. (I made dinner and cleaned my apartment while it was on this time.)

I know this post is quick, but that’s also why I’m doing these posts this way, I can get them out without overthinking, just reacting. And we’re tracking a mythology here, you guys, the details are there! (Also, except for Rogue One, I’ve seen all of these movies a ZILLION times.)

Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of The Sith

OH, Episode III, you beautiful, bloated delightful mess of a melodrama, you.

I have a completely unfounded and ridiculous love of Revenge of The Sith. I know that by any objective scale it is not good, a solid fourth (or fifth depending on your Phantom Menace opinions) in the series, but I still love it all.

I love the final light saber battles between Obi-Wan and Anakin and Yoda and Sidius. I love Anakin’s ridiculously contrived turn to the dark side. I love Padme’s absurd hairstyles. (This is in all three movies, but it’s even more obvious here. Also, I miss Natalie Portman’s curly hair.) I love, “I saw him, killing younglings!” and “From my point of view the Jedi are Evil.” and every inch of terrible, clunky dialog.

But mostly what I love about Revenge of The Sith is the way that it moves everything into place, and completes a circle. The movie literally ends with Owen and Buru holding baby Luke as Tatooine’s twin suns set.

I’m still a little annoyed that the desert planet that we’re going to be seeing in The Force Awakens isn’t Tatooine, but some new planet. Tatooine is where this all began, it’s an important place.

But that’s another topic, I really can’t stress enough how amazing Ewan McGregor is. I’m a big fan and have been for years, but rewatching these movies has really reminded me how exceptional he is. And how much I hope he gets a part in the upcoming anthology films.

The Order 66 sequence and the purging of the Jedi temple have, pretty much since the movie’s release been considered the high water marks of the Prequels and it’s for good reason. It’s a heart wrenching sequence, (made only more emotional from having watched a bit of The Clone Wars, and knowing more about those Jedi and the troops that turned on them.) Christensen is better here than in Clones, but only marginally, and it really does seem like at this point, Natalie Portman was phoning it in. She is really bad in this one, and at this point, it’s hard to call it simply awkward. (Although she does get one great moment, “So this is how liberty dies, to thunderous applause” is a good line, and she delivers it with deep conviction and horror.)

Anyway, as it stands we’re moving into the good stuff. You have to eat your vegetables before you can have desert right? Or like, sit though shitty bread service before eating the main course? I don’t know, this metaphor got away from me…ONTO THE ORIGINAL TRILOGY!