Star Wars: The Clone Wars is probably Cartoon Network’s most hyped series in quite some time. Toon Zone reviewed the feature film this past August, but while Maxie Zeus was largely iffy on the movie, I see no reason to be lightsaber blue over this Friday’s one-hour premiere.
In ‘Rising Malevolence’ the Separatists have developed a powerful new Ion Cannon and begun to test it on the Republic fleets. When Anakin and Ahsoka learn that General Jedi Master Plo Koon’s fleet has been obliterated, the two set off to find any survivors. In ‘Ambush’ Count Dooku’s apprentice Asaji Ventress is ordered to kill Jedi Master Yoda and make an alliance with a currently neutral world. With only three clone troopers by his side against an entire battalion of droids, Yoda must make it to his meeting or the Republic will lose a potential ally. Hilarity ensues.
Considering the previous word on the feature film, I honestly did not know what to expect from these two episodes. Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised. Anakin as we know him has always been angst-filled, and while I highly dislike using the phrase, I found his character—and most others—to be quite ‘fun’. In time of war it makes sense that the academy would need to start chucking out more padawans at a quicker pace, but by this point both Skywalker and Ahsoka complement each other. Anakin forces her to up her critical thinking, while she brings out in her master a sense of maturity, something Anakin never managed to show much of beside Master Kenobi. It makes me dread Ahsoka’s future, as it is fairly obvious she will be or feel betrayed by Anakin.
Or is Lucas showing us an alternate future, possibly one in which Anakin never becomes Vader? Certainly that would allow for interesting new story possibilities for Clone Wars to explore, especially if the Jedi were ever forced to abandon their clone armies for droid or rebel armies. Food for thought.
General Grievous does not do much in ‘Rising Malevolence,’ and pretty much acts like the behind-the-scenes strategist Lucas had originally conceived him to be (in contrast to the version of the character from the previous Clone Wars micro-series). The General does not wear his cape and he also lacks his trademark cough, which may imply the series plays off of how Mace Windu initially damaged Grievous just prior to the beginning of Revenge of the Sith.
In ‘Ambush’ Master Yoda mentors his clone troopers in ways similar to how he initially trained Luke. The three troopers are cynical and have lost their nerve in the face of such a powerful enemy, but Yoda is a strong leader and throughout the episode gives his troopers hope and opens their eyes to thinking beyond size and physical numbers. While it’s an expected lesson to be taught, the fools Yoda makes of the droid battalion is frosting on the cake. Normally the humor of the droids being made boobs of would seem a little childish, but here it manages to work quite well.
Overall, Cartoon Network has made a fine choice in picking up Clone Wars. While the series is obviously going to bring in big numbers, it’s nice to know that it will also be a warranted viewership gain. Getting to know Jedi Master Plo Koon and others will be fun and really expand on the universe in a medium that will reach a few more fans of all ages. Today the galaxy that’s far, far away feels a little closer.
(Read a second opinion on Star Wars: The Clone Wars by Hellcat: “The Clone Wars” Gets a Strong Start in Premiere.)