Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Clone Wars: Episode 1 - "Ambush"


Smart move to start the series with a Yoda episode after the failure that was The Clone Wars movie. For adult fans, both casual and hardcore, who grew up with the original trilogy, Yoda has the same undisputed, universal appeal as beer, sex, and pizza. Friends of mine that hated Attack of the Clones still talk about Yoda's fight with Dooku as if it was a religious experience.

Ambush nails the character, blending the impish side of the character from Empire with his unparalleled displays of badass found in the prequels. He sells the episode, despite its flaws.

The biggest problem with Ambush is the battle droids. They almost ruin the episode, carrying on the Lucas standard of wasting valuable screen time on a parade of lame jokes from characters that are completely unessential to the story. Only one joke even made me smile ("Oh, well. It's my programming..."), and most made me cringe. With only twenty minutes and some change to tell a story, these scenes take time away from Yoda and his relationship with the clones, the emotional core of this story.

The biggest surprise of both episodes that premiered last Friday was how effectively the show conveyed the regard the Jedi have for the clones, something missing from the prequels. It's the one element of the show that has truly enriched the time period between Clones and Revenge, making the clones involuntary betrayal in Revenge actually kinda tragic.

Gotta run, so let me sum this up:

The first two episodes of The Clone Wars are a huge improvement over the movie. The most offensive elements of the movie have either been removed (the butt rock guitar solos in the score, jokes that involve bodily functions) or toned down (the battle droids, Ashoka). The good outweighs the bad in Ambush, and I would recommend giving the show a chance when it shows up later this week on the Star Wars website.

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