Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Clone Wars: Episode 14 - "Defenders of Peace"

George Takei, baby. George Takei.

Initially, I was a bit uncomfortable with him voicing a Neimoidian. I don't believe that George Lucas is in anyway racist. I think he gave the almost Charlie Chan accents to the Neimoidians in The Phantom Menace to evoke the 30's serials and pulps that he grew up with, one of Star Wars's biggest influences, but those stories were full of horrendous stereotypes and/or overt bigotry towards Asians. I'm not sure what Lucas was thinking with that one - but, man, I wouldn't have done it.

Luckily, there's no broken "engrish" of any kind - all Takei does is amp that awesome voice of his up to eleven. He clearly enjoyed the hell out of being the bad guy, which helps alleviate one of the sore spots I have with the prequels.

And this is one of the best episodes of the show to date. Unlike last week's episode, the story fits the runtime of the show comfortably. There's enough time for both the action scenes and the smaller character moments. Neither feel rushed and there are a lot of fun moments throughout the episode.

My only big complaint with this episode is its ethical argument. The story was never designed for the audience to see the validity of the Lurmens' pacifist beliefs, or for the audience to see that the Jedi actually are defenders of the peace, since they seem to have quite a hoot with their ass-kicking duties. I wouldn't go as far as to say the message of this episode was "sometimes you just gotta kick some ass," but I wonder what kind of message this sent to kids - especially in these times, while our country is at war. It helps that even when the Lurmens do fight back, they do so in a non-lethal way. Of course, the only thing they fight is droids, so who really cares?

Leave the ethical dilemmas to Star Trek, guys - even if you do have George Takei on the payroll.

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