Tag Archives: TCW

Will Star Wars: The Clone Wars Ever Receive Critical Acclaim?

The International Animated Film Society, ASIFA-Hollywood recently held it’s 39th Annual Annie Awards.  The  award show honors achievements in feature and television animation.  Once again Star Wars: The Clone Wars walked away from the awards show with zero awards.  This left me wondering, why has the show received so little critical acclaim and recognition through awards?

Star Wars: The Clone Wars debuted with a feature film on August 15th, 2008; the series proper launched on  October 3rd, 2008 and it’s distinct animation style and sound design won a mixture of praise and criticism.  Now in it’s 4th season, with more seasons on the way, The Clone Wars has refined its animation style and is producing ground making feature level animation in a 22 minute television program.  I challenge anyone to sit down with a Blu-ray player and a 1080pi television and find and animated television show that matches The Clone Wars in animation quality, story, acting and musical design.  The animation of the series is on par with anything being produced for animated features and much better, in my opinion, than just about anything out there except for Pixar’s feature work.

In the 36th Annual Annie Awards(2008), TCW received one nomination for “Music in an Animated Television Production or Short Form” for Kevin Kiner’s work in the episode “Rising Malevolence”. Kiner lost to the work of Henry Jackman, Hans Zimmer and John Powell in DreamWorks’ “Secrets of the Furious Five.”

Kevin Kiner

In the 37th Annual Annie Awards (2009), Kevin Kiner once again received TCW’s only nomination for “Music in a Television Production,” but yet again the show failed to walk away with an award. Kiner was nominated for his work on the episode “Weapons Factory,” but the award went to Guy Moon for his work on Nickelodeon’s The Fairly OddParents episode  “Wishology-The Big Beginning”.

In the 38th Annual Annie Awards (2010), The Clone Wars finally starts to receive some nominations.   In the category of “Best Animated Television Production,” TCW episode “ARC Troopers” lost to DreamWorks’ Kung Fu Panda Holiday.  In the category of best “Voice Acting in a Television Production,” TCW recieved two nominations, Corey Burton for his performance as Baron Papanoida, and Nika Futterman for her work as Asajj Ventress, but these two actors lost to James Hon for his work as Mr. Ping in DreamWorks’ Kung Fu Panda Holiday.

In the category of best “Writing in a Television Production” TCW writer Daniel Arkin was nominated for the episode, “Heroes on Both Sides.”  Arkin, however, lost to the collective team that worked on “Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode III, Geoff Johns, Matthew Beans, Zeb Wells, Hugh Sterbakov, Matthew Senreich, Breckin Meyer, Seth Green, Mike Fasolo, Douglas Goldstein, Tom Root, Dan Milano, Kevin Shinick and Hugh Davidson.

In the 39th Annual Annie Awards (2011), once again TCW team recieved nominations, garnering a total of five nominations, but once again went home empty handed. For “Best General Audience Animated TV Production”, The Clone Wars lost to The Simpsons.
For best “Animated Effects in an Animated Production”, Joel Aron was nominated for TCW and lost to Kevin Romond who was nominated for the feature film The Adventures of Tintin.

For best “Voice Acting in a Television Production”, TCW received once again two nominations, Nika Futterman for her work as Asajj

Nika Futterman

Ventress, and Dee Bradley Baker as Clone Troopers.  Unfortunately both lost to Jeff Bennett for his role as Kowalski from the Penguins of Madagascar.

The Clone Wars also received a nomination for Jason W.A. Tucker’s work in “Editing in Television Production,” but once again TCW lost to the Penguins of Madagascar and its editing team of Ted Machold, Jeff Adams, Doug Tiano, and Bob Tomlin.

While it is clear that as TCW has raised it’s game and it’s number of nominations have also increased, why hasn’t the show been able to garner the critical acclaim that it deserves?  Even the biggest fans of the series will note that the animated feature and the first season had some severe limitations in animation quality, as well as other kinks that existed as the team worked to find the shows voice and evolving style.

The stark contrast can be seen by comparing these two shots, the fist from Season One Episode One, “Ambush and the second from Season Four Episode Seventeen, “The Box”.

 

Art by Jesse Hildreth

The Clone Wars crew both in San Francisco and Singapore deserves much more critical attention then they currently receive, and I predict that next year TCW will take home a handful of Annies.

~ Pete

The Clone Wars Season 4 Episode 13 Review

Hello and welcome back to another The Clone Wars review here at the Star Wars Report! After a six week break for the holidays, The Clone Wars has returned with the conclusion of the Slaves of the Republic arc! Anakin sets out to escape from his Zygerrian captors and free his friends from certain doom! This is episode thirteen titled Escape from Kadavo, which leaves us with only nine episodes left in the season. If you haven’t already, check out Pete’s awesome Clone Wars roundup which shares some information on what we’ll see coming up!

The episode starts with Obi-Wan trapped on Kadavo with Rex. It’s fairly interesting to see the situation that he’s placed in; under the electric whip of the Zygerrian guard, Obi-Wan is not able to stand up and fight, for himself or for the Togrutan slaves surrounding him. I think one reason this episode worked well was using one of the Jedi’s few weak points, selflessness. By the guards not only punishing the Jedi, but also the slaves for Kenobi’s actions, it forces Obi-Wan to turn that Jedi lifestyle of helping others in need into, well, almost a selfishness in order to spare the slaves any more brutality because of his actions! We saw his spirit begin to break over the course of the episode , (though never really snap) fulfilling the Queen’s alleged plan for an army of broken Jedi slaves.

This brings me to a few questions and speculation I have of our villains. There was a fair amount of scheming and secret plans being discussed in this episode, yet not many answers were given. We first see it with Sidious and Dooku, requiring the need of slaves, because ‘many Sith empires have been built on the backs of slaves’. But why, specifically, would Sidious and Dooku need slaves at this point in the game? I wonder if this will come into play later, or if it’s just a device by Sidious to shake things up and send Dooku after the Jedi. But what if it isn’t? Could we see the use of slaves for the creation of another super weapon in a future season? I’m not talking about a tank or an ion cannon, I’m talking about a planet destroyer. Could we possibly see the Force Harvester in the series, or something similar? Sidious mentioned that many empires in the past have been built upon the backs of slaves, it just reminds me so much of how the Star Forge in The Knights of the Old Republic was built by a slave race. Something to ponder, anyway!

I’d like to mention the Queen’s plan to make an army of Jedi slaves. I’m fairly certain that was just a hoax that she made up in order to keep Skywalker with her. Or perhaps she truly was going to betray Skywalker and hand a broken Obi-Wan over to the Separatists. (Which didn’t seem likely considering her attachment to Anakin, and the promise she made to him if Anakin stayed behind.) The Queen’s character, I thought, played out well; I liked that we finally saw her true role beneath that of the queen of a slaver empire, and maybe at heart she wasn’t as much a ruthless villain after all, despite her desires to rebuild her empire. Though I admit I would have liked more discussion between her and Anakin, with whom I wished we’d seen more character development or reflection on his past in this episode, and was disappointed, as for me this was an arc that ties right into the Chosen One’s past.

That wraps up this weeks review! This episode was good, I thought, it was action packed, very well made, and created a decent conclusion to the arc we started in November, even though I would have liked a little more time to successfully wrap up the Queen and Anakin’s story arc. Let us know what you thought by leaving a comment below! Thanks for reading, and may the Force be with you… always!

-Ryan

 

The Clone Wars Weekly Roundup: 1/1/12

Obi-Wan's Cellmate?

After hibernating in a frigid cave on Hoth, we are back from our little winter vacation from Star Wars: The Clone Wars.  The timing is impeccable as TCW is also back from it’s own winter break.  There will be some minor spoilers below as to the subject matter of future TCW episodes in Season Four.

Where have we been in Season Four:

Season Four kicked off with the Mon Cala trilogy in which we are re-introduced to the Mon Calamari-Quarren rivalry, we parallel last season’s introduction of a young Tarkin by meeting his future slave and future leader of the Rebel navy Ackbar, and we met a new potentate in Lee-Char.  From Mon Cala we traveled back to Naboo (again) in an episode that focused on the Gungans and General Grievous, and witnessed the heroic death of General Tarpals. Then we got the slightly odd Droids duology, featuring the misadventures of R2-D2 and C-3PO.  Just when you start to wonder what the heck TCW was doing, they delivered the awesome four-part Umbara arc with the dastardly Jedi General Krell and the kick butt Clones of the 501st Legion.  Before the holiday break began we saw the first two parts of the Slaves of the Republic trilogy, which is adapting the previous Dark Horse Comics story by the same title, written by TCW Season One head writer Henry Gilroy.

Bossk is mad Obi-Wan wouldn't give him his Jell-O

Where are we going in the second half of Season Four?

Much like last years TCW season, things are going to start heating up as the show moves towards the season finale.  It is kind of odd that they choose to take the break in the middle of a trilogy, but that may be a Cartoon Network decision and not a Lucasfilm decision.  Based on what we now know about the remaining episodes for this season, we will be wrapping up the Slavery arc, we will get a stand alone story featuring the return of Lux Bonteri and Death Watch, and we will then wrap up the season with two, four-part story arcs.  The first story-arc will star Obi-Wan Kenobi as he goes under cover as a evil sniper from (dramatic pause for fanboy gasp) Condord Dawn!  Concord Dawn is a planet within Mandalorian space and has a long history with the Fetts.  Does this combined with the return of Death Watch  foreshadow TCW revisiting the Mandalorians, setting up a story arc featuring a Mandalorian Civil War and the defeat of the neutral pacifists under the leadership of Duchess Satine?  I sure hope so!

The final four-part story arc will lead nicely into the 3D re-release of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace as it will star Savage Opress and his brother Darth Maul.  How will they put Humpty Dumpty Maul back together again?  I guess we will just have to wait to find out.

TV Guide.com has a brief description of the Lux-Death Watch episode, “A Friend in Need,” which will air on January 13th, 2012.

Lux renounces Dooku and the Separatists, and joins an extreme faction known as the Death Watch.

The move from patrician to Mandalorian is an interesting character development for Lux.  From the EU we know that being Mandalorian means (even the evil Death Watch version) takeing people from all species and backgrounds; it is less about your biology then it is about you adopting the culture.

It will be interesting to see how Ahsoka handles the conflict of emotions, being happy Lux is standing up to Dooku and the Separatists, but being concerned about his new friends.

It certainly sounds like TCW is going to be very interesting in the last half of this season.  I know what I will be watching this Friday night!  Will Anakin decide to join with the Zygerrian Queen or will he be able to save himself, his freinds and the Togrutan slaves?  This Friday at 8:00 P.M. on the Cartoon Network we will find out.

Come back soon to the Star Wars Report for continuing coverage of TCW and all things Star Wars!

~ Pete

 

The Clone Wars Season 4 Episode 10 Review

Hello and welcome back to another review of Star Wars: The Clone Wars! This week, the Umbara arc comes to an end with The Carnage of Krell! Pushed to the brink of Rex’s loyalty to Krell’s leadership after he deliberately sends his own troops against one another, the 501st decides to arrest the sinister General for treason against the Republic. Below are my thoughts on the episode.

Last week, we left off with Fives and Jesse being imprisoned by Krell for disobeying orders, and expecting to be court-marshaled. Going into this episode, I had thought the climax/end would be Rex stopping the execution, which in fact happens in the first five minutes of the episode. This creates a brand new sense of suspense that is surrounded in mystery of when, exactly, Rex will snap. The events leading up to Rex’s betrayal were truly not expected at all, and I was in quite shocked when I found that Krell was having the clones kill one another. This episode raises the bar in almost every way: story, character, action, and especially how dark, and sometimes disturbing, it was. But honestly, I think the events in the Carnage of Krell did a fantastic job to set the stage, specifically for the 501st, for Order 66, and possibly gives a different perspective on how the clones could turn on the Jedi in the future. Even if Krell admitted to not being a follower of the Jedi code, the Clones still would see him as a symbol of the Jedi, which would definitely diminish their loyalty, even in the clones like Dogma, who believed in blindly following orders. So how else might the 501st be changed? Well, for one, their trust in the Jedi will have lessened, and two, I think their loyalty toward Anakin will have increased, seeing that he is not a conventional Jedi, and will always put his men before his orders. This would make their ultimate betrayal toward the Jedi easy for most of them, especially if Anakin is leading the charge.

I think Rex has proved to be an extremely unique character, even when compared to his fellow clones. And I do believe that has a lot to do with the time he spent with the runaway clone Cut Lawquane. It just hasn’t really shown until now. His line at the end of the episode is a question that Rex seems to be the only one asking, what happens to the clones once the war ends? It took a “Krell” for Rex to realize that maybe Cut was right. Or at least have some valid points. Unlucky for us, we know that the republic gets overthrown, and an empire takes its place, but I don’t believe Rex would be a part of that, which I think his character is ultimately building toward. It was never Rex’s initial intention to kill Krell, only to arrest him. It was only when he learned of a chance that he might escape that Rex attempted to kill him. Which is also another point: Rex’s failure to kill Krell creates a difference between himself and the clones that will be a deciding factor when the time comes for Order 66. It makes me wonder if we will see Order 66 in the Clone Wars. It would be unfortunate if we didn’t since that would be the perfect time to conclude Rex’s story. I can’t see the Clone Wars team killing him off for a random reason like Echo (which was pointless) when they have a solid and intriguing character story evolving like Rex. It just does not seem plausible to me.

There were a lot of small details I’d like to point out. First of all, I thought the General’s lightsaber had a very cool sound to it, very unique and different from other Jedi. The scene where Rex and the 501st are approaching Krell to arrest him for treason was obviously supposed to mirror the temple assault in Revenge of the Sith, but this time (as mentioned above), we now have the perspective of the Clones and their point of view of betraying a Jedi. Also, I liked how they’ve been setting up the tentacle monster to be the one who defeats Krell. It was awesome for the clones to use the environment as the way to get to the General.

The Carnage of Krell is the best of the Clone Wars yet. The arc has been building toward this episode, and it did not disappoint. Nothing went quite the way we had all quite theorized, and we sure learned a lot more about Rex, Krell, and even the fate of Waxer, which created a lot of emotion in the episode. That pretty much wraps up my review of this episode! What did you think of it? Leave a comment below! Thanks for reading, and may the force be with you…always

-Ryan