THE CLONE WARS wasn’t a great show when it started, nor was it’s movie very well done. It’s first season was all over the place with very few moments that stuck with people, but it’s second season really picked up the slack, wove a tight knit story and in a way improved on the live action films it spawned from. Gone were the annoying characters, episodes exclusively about Jar Jar and the quips between Skywalker and his padawan Ahsoka.
Now season three is upon us and it promises to be the biggest and best so far. So far so good. The first episode of the hour long premiere focused on a set of clones still in training on the planet of Kamino. It turns out that Master Windu probably shouldn’t have cut off Jango Fett’s head if he wanted to keep making good clones. The genetic sample is now being stretched thin and clones aren’t living up to the Fett name. One example is a hunch backed reject called 99 who’s job it is to clean up after training sessions.
CLONE WARS continues to impress me with it’s ability to take the exact same model and animate it five different ways giving characters unique personalities and distinct facial features despite all having the same face. The entire episode excels at this. Actor Dee Bradley baker does all the voice acting for these characters and makes them all unique, yet sound like they came from the same template. His talents are impressive.
The real story revolves around Domino Squad, a group of clones that can’t bring it together and work as a team. The formula here is the same as a good sports film. Learning team work, getting past each other’s differences and coming together as a solid unit. It’s real fluffy stuff, but it works and fleshes out why clones stopped by used by the empire in the future. What makes this episode so good to fans is that it’s actually a flash back to one of the first episodes titled ROOKIES. These are characters that fans have been wanting to see again for over a year, and seeing them start out as a bumbling group is really great.
The second part of the night was a story about General Grevious and Asajj Ventress attacking the planet of Kamino in order to stop the cloning operations and put a big dent in the republics military forces. Obi Wan and Anakin are tasked to stop them along with their armies. Now Domino Squad is back on Kamino ready to defend their home. The entire episode is incredibly well animated action from start to finish with a rather cool attack plan that had me wondering once again why nothing this cool was in Episode II.
This episode really does have it all. There’s amazing space combat, clones being unique and likable characters, jedi combat, general Grevious and Asajj Ventress acting like bad asses. It’s everything to make a Star Wars nerd stand up applaud. But not only is it just action packed and well animated, but it also will seriously have you questioning what characters will live or die. That’s one of the great things about CLONE WARS. Despite taking place before Episode III, it will make you question what’s going to happen. It’s situations are so good, so well executed, and it’s new characters are so interesting that it’ll make you wonder what the next big event is going to be.
These two episodes work side by side beautifully. One fills in some story telling about Kamino, the clones and how Domino Squad got started, and the other is the potential fall of this important Star Wars location. It also keep continuity and presses the rivalry between Anakin and Asajj as well as the rivalry between Obi-Wan and Grevious. If you haven’t been keeping up on CLONE WARS this is a pretty good place to start. The episodes in pair get 5 out of 5 stars.