Taking place between Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, the sixth and final season of Lucasfilm’s animated Clone Wars series is a mixed bag. As with the original prequel trilogy, whenever the focus is on Anakin (Matt Lanter), Padmé (Catherine Taber), or Jar Jar Binks (Ahmed Best), the forward momentum grinds to a mind-numbing halt. This unfortunately means there’s a five episode run in the middle of the 13-episode season that I could have done without. But when The Clone Wars is good, it’s very good, so your mileage may vary when it comes to making it through the middle of the season. And I’d recommend sticking it out, since the final four-part finale adventure is a high point of anything to do with the Star Wars franchise. And the opening four-part story was so good it almost made me reevaluate the prequel trilogy as a whole. Almost. But at least the animation is beautiful. The season opens with a dark and paranoia-inducing storyline as Clone cadet Tup (Dee Bradley Baker) succumbs to some sort of neurological break and assassinates a Jedi master by shooting her in her freaking head at close range. After being captured, Tup is taken to Kamino (a Republic medical base) for examination, accompanied by his best friend Clone cadet Fives (also voiced by Baker). Over four half-hour episodes, Fives learns of the Separatists/Sith conspiracy against the Republic (and Order 66) and is quickly on the run from Chancellor Palpatine’s (Tim Curry) personal guard and not even Obi Wan (James Arnold Taylor) or Anakin will believe him. This was my first time watching The Clone Wars, and I was immediately drawn in by the darkness of the story. Of course, knowing where all of these characters end up made that a little obvious and inevitable, but this story, written by Katie Lucas, was superb. After some online research I found out that Fives and Tup have been around for quite a while, although mostly in the background. That makes their final fates all the more disturbing and daring for a show I’d assumed was ostensibly aimed at the children’s market. The next storyline, on the other hand, takes the blandness of the Anakin/Padmé and doubles down with a heaping helping of politics and banking. It was so boring I really didn’t care what was happening and hoped that someone — anyone — would come along and bust up the continuity by murdering either of the young secret lovers with extreme prejudice. I can’t imagine how kids would find the thing interesting, much less entertaining. The two-part adventure that follows, “The Disappeared,” is more entertaining — if you can handle an unrelenting onslaught of Jar Jar Binks. And can deal with watching him make out with Queen Julia (Ami Shukla) of the planet Bardotta. I, personally, could not. The story itself isn’t bad, although I have to question the already shady racial politics of Jar Jar’s very existence and wonder why they see fit to team him up with the only Jedi of color, Mace Windu (Terrence ‘T.C.’ Carson). Are they trying to offset the offensive Stepin Fetchit stereotype of Jar Jar by contrasting Windu as a positive hero figure? Is Jar Jar so clearly ingrained in the writers’ minds as a racist stereotype that it just seemed natural to pair him up with an actual black character? I’m gonna try not to think about it too hard and just say that it was intriguing to introduce (re-introduce, I guess, after a quick internet search) a villain who isn’t Sith-related, but is instead the witch-cult-leader who goes by the name of Mother Talzin (Barbara Goodson). She was pretty scary and it was entertaining to see some visual references to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom worked in there — despite their also borderline racist elements. So “The Disappeared” is entertaining to an extent, but hampered by some serious issues that have plagued the prequel trilogy since it was first released. Luckily, the final run of episodes make up for the missteps of the five preceding ones. The main focus of this adventure is Yoda (Tom Kane) and his quest to find the source of the Force and learn how to maintain his consciousness after death; something no other Jedi believes can be done. But Yoda received a message from Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson proving that he will take any job, even when no one else from the original films chose to voice their characters) and knows something is up. After a short trip to Dagobah (yes, that Dagobah), Yoda ends up on another mysterious planet and meets the Sages, who promise to train him in the deepest mysteries of the Force. His final test is to travel to Moraband, the long-abandoned homeworld of the Sith, where he comes under psychic attack by Darth Sidious (Tim Curry again) and Count Dooku (Corey Burton). It’s a nice way to close out the season — which had been cut short from its initial 22-episode proposed run — but it lacks finality. And given that the new series, Star Wars: Rebels, takes place fourteen years after the fall of the Republic and five years before A New Hope, it looks like fans will have to settle for the Darth Maul comic, Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir, the unfinished episodes included on this set, and the upcoming Dark Disciple novel by Christie Golden to get more glimpses of the Clone Wars world. Extras The Clone Wars (16:02): This behind the scenes documentary about the making of the entire series of The Clone Wars is pretty entertaining, giving some insight into the work environment and the attitudes of everybody involved with the show’s creation. I don’t know that it really adds anything to the overall enjoyment of the series, but it’s a neat glimpse behind the closed doors of Skywalker Ranch. Story Reels: The Utapau Arc (1:31): I really could have done without this one. The unfinished animation wasn’t a problem; the story is just so tediously awful that it was painful to watch. Although if I was ten years old again, my reaction would probably be different. There’s a lot of goofy banter back and forth between Anakin and Obi-Wan as they try to save a mega-weapon McGuffin before General Grievous (Matthew Wood) shows up to fight them. In the end, nothing changes, and nothing is gained or lost. It’s an interesting look at the making of an episode, and it does provide an opportunity (about a minute and a half) for Anakin to express his feelings about the way the Jedi cast out Ahsoka last season (which from what I’ve read was a storyline that was really the peak of the series), but good god did I want it to stop. See larger image Star Wars: The Clone Wars – The Lost Missions [Blu-ray] New From: $19.96 USD In Stock Advance Review: The Clone Wars: The Lost Missions3.5Overall ScoreShare this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.