Tag Archives: tv

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Review

Let me start out by clarifying my stance towards the Star Wars franchise.  It’s fun.  Diehard, I am not.  Avid enthusiast , I am not.  But I enjoy the movies, (the original trilogy more than the prequels) and some of the video games such as Knights of the old Republic.

That being said, I was reasonably clear-headed when I heard that a new Star Wars movie was coming out nearly six years ago.  And it was going to be a cartoon?!  The idiots.

Years passed, during which my family somehow acquired Netflix, allowing us to watch movies and TV shows online.  (Seriously though, if you don’t know what Netflix is, what are you doing reading online blogs?)  And just this last March, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, movie, TV show and all, became available for instant streaming via Netflix.

Once again, it may have passed unnoticed by myself if I hadn’t have had my wisdom teeth removed last week.  However, because of the surgery I had ample time to writhe in pain, gnash my remaining teeth and watch TV.  For some odd reason, I ended up watching The Clone Wars.

Clone_Troopers_kaminoAt first, I was kind of entertained, but unimpressed.  It was fun at times, with episodes such as “Rookies” or “Lair of Grievous” being very enjoyable, but it also had too many moments of “Ugh!”.  The animation was good looking, as long as it kept to droids and action sequences (these always being small, pitting an army of ten battle droids versus a “huge” battalion of five clones).  However, facial animation was rotten, the dialogue was worse, and the voice acting was noticeably less than par, albeit with a few exceptions.

Then I moved on to season two.  And it got better.  Then I moved on to season three.  And it started to get good.  Then in season four, it was good.  By season five, I pretty impressed by what the creators of this show were able to accomplish onscreen.

Sparkling animation that would look beautiful on any big screen, story lines that involved, surprised and delighted anyone with a hint of Star Wars geek in them, and direction that made 20 minute episodes fly by in a few seconds.  Battles became larger, lightsaber duels cooler, and small steps that added up to overwhelming detail abounded in most environments.  This season also includes the coolest looking explosion in Star Wars history, bar none.

Any of the major lightsaber battles of the last two seasons are much, much more entertaining than the ones in the original Star Wars movies.

Perhaps that is why I liked this show, even more than any other reason.  With each season, the creators attempted to do better in every respect, and they succeeded.   By the time I reached the end of the series, it was hard to believe that I was not watching animated cinema, but a TV show created for kids.

But then again, it never tried to be a kids TV show, except maybe some in the first season.  And while that decision brought about overwhelming excellence, it came at a price.

Clone Trooper Season 4

There is a dark side to everything Star Wars, (except maybe Jar Jar Binks) and it does not hesitate to show itself here.  Stomach clenching moments in the later seasons abound, not lessened by the fact it’s animated, but the opposite.  Face it, (pun) you don’t expect to see disembodied heads rolling around on a cartoon show.

Season 4 is especially noteworthy.  People are blown into blood clouds underwater, heads are ripped off, men are squashed, shot, decapitated, dismembered, electrocuted, blasted apart, eaten, incinerated, and killed in ways innumerable.  More than a few battle sequences would be easily rated PG-13 if in a live action movie, and at least one even if it was in an animated film.  Season 5 and 6 do attempt to down the darkness, but it is still present.

Overall, it is immensely enjoyable for any age that doesn’t dislike Star Wars or cartoons, or feel that the combination is faulty in and of itself.  And if you choose to watch it, do so in order.  Not only do most episodes run in story arcs, but I do not doubt at all that the later season seem so excellent largely because of how low it started.

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Films Based on TV Shows: 4 That Worked, 4 That Didn’t

Seriously, would someone…hey you, yes you! Would you please tell those Hollywood idiots to stop trying to cash in on franchises. Let those old, worn out sleeping dogs lie (and lie, and lie, and occasionally tell the truth.) Besides actual films and books, probably the majority of movies that are not original fare are based off of television shows. Most of these adaptions are decidedly B-films, but of the others, check out which ones work, and which ones don’t!

Those that WORKED:

1: Mission Impossible-Smart, action packed and one of the world’s highest grossing franchises, turning this television success into a blockbuster franchise was a wise decision, benefitting both the viewers of film producers. Ghost Protocol is easily the best.

2: Get Smart!-I wouldn’t have thought that the crass jokes and outrageous gags that Get martcharacterize Steve Carell would fit into Maxwell’s character, this film kept me laughing from practically start to finish. Parents with small children might be wise to avoid it, (as we all know, that type of parents can be extremely sensitive), but for everyone else, it’s a blast! (Small children, don’t tell you’re over-sensitive parents I said that.)

3: The Muppets(2011)- The world, nay the universe, constantly dances on the line between ridiculous and brilliant, something these fun filled misfits seem to do with ease. For anyone  ready to lay down their troubles (which they constantly seem to be complaining to me about) for a while, this film is the one to do it with.

untitled4: Star Trek(2009)-Wow! For being based off easily one of the cheesiest TV shows of all time, this one turned out pretty well. Except for one unnecessary and gratuitous scene involving Kirk’s lady-killer side, this one is not to miss. Full of some the most exciting action I’ve ever seen, it is one of the few films that as soon as it was over, I wanted to go back to the beginning and watch it again. Post-post thought; I love a good CGI creature, and although this film didn’t need it, it seemed to throw two of them in there just for fun. That’s a good movie!

Those that DIDN’T:

1: The A-team-This film disappointed me to no end. the characters were off, the acting was lazy, the script was poor, the action ridiculous…I could go on, but who wants me to. Let me conclude that I loved the original series and hated this.

2: Transformers 2&3-UGH! Probably the biggest budgeted bilgewater to hit the big transformersscreen. some shots may be cool, but the characters are hair thin, the acting stinks, Megan Fox literally just irritates, and the plots are some of the worst ever commissioned. ‘Nuf said.

3: Alvin and the Chipmunks-While perhaps not as awful as its peers in this post, the semi-original idea of having cheesy animated figures alongside live action actors seemed in retrospect doomed from the start. Not that it failed (in my book) for those reasons. A word to the wise; mousy voices are only fun for about three minutes.imagesS3KB57PI

4: The Last Airbender-Awful, simply awful. Let me say that the trailers and tv spots looked pretty cool, having practically no story elements in them, choosing to focus on some cool visual effect shots (the only cool ones, as I found out later). Don’t watch it. It’s a waste of your time.