- The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)
- #140RVW: Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008)
- Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion (2014) – Series Premiere
- Dark Disciple: Star Wars (2015)
- Plastic Galaxy: The Story of Star Wars Toys (2014)
- Star Wars: Episode I.II – The Phantom Edit (2000)
- Star Wars: 30’s Serial Edition (2008)
140 Character Movie Review – #140RVW
If you sat out The Clone Wars, drop your principled stand or risk missing a new series with the timeline & spirit of the Original Trilogy…
Spoiler-free Movie Review of Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion:
For all of the great things about Star Wars fans, they can be seriously stubborn. Many will not partake of anything Star Wars except the 6 feature films – and many of those would stop at the original 3. I have met serious fans who will not watch this or any other animated show, and it’s entirely their loss…
A very gifted group of individuals poured their heart and soul into creating Star Wars: The Clone Wars, a CG-animated series that ran for 5 seasons on Cartoon Network. After the purchase of Lucasfilm by Disney in 2012, all thoughts were turned toward returning to the timeline of the Original Trilogy and the planned sequels. The show was dumped to another time slot before being unceremoniously and unwisely cancelled in 2013. Fans of the show, aware (thanks to the fantastic communication of show-runner Dave Filoni) of a backlog of content already in production, wondered if any of the material would see the light of day. Filoni and his team were allowed to cobble together what they could finish with reasonable effort and expense, and fans had to wait until March 2014 for the abbreviated 13-episode 6th season (“The Lost Missions”) to be put out exclusively on Netflix.
The output of the show was 125 episodes and a feature film – that’s approximately 48 hours of new content set in the SW galaxy! That’s not counting the 25 mini episodes of the first Clone Wars 2D-animated micro-series by Genndy Tartakovsky from 2003-2005, which would bring the total to 150 episodes and 50 hours. That’s almost four times as much Star Wars content as the feature films provided – but since these weren’t the original films, some weren’t interested. That’s just very silly to me. Don’t make the same mistake by skipping Rebels.
For the kick-off of this new series, they tied what would have been the first two episodes together for a tv movie event titled Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion. Disney actually screened the movie one week early for users of it’s WATCHDisneyXD.com service prior to the television debut on Friday, October 3. I caught the show early, but due to the twin roadblocks of a regular job and a rather verbose writing style, I’m not getting my review out until the day after the official premiere. Sigh…
Interestingly, the show premiered on the same day that the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series debuted in the US six years earlier in 2008. Rebels has already been renewed for a second season by Disney, and it’s likely to be be a big part of the lead-up to the future films.
Star Wars Rebels is set five years before the events of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, when the few remaining Jedi are scattered and the Empire is in full swing. It’s an awesome time in the saga, full of potential and depicts what it was like before Luke and company started wrecking the place. Knowing more about the height of the Empire is fantastic, and I suspect I wasn’t the only kid wondering what happened in the years leading up to the original movie. I’ve always considered this era the most fascinating and I can understand why Disney wanted to quit the Clone Wars and get back into the Tie Fighters.
The promise of this time still needs to be backed up with good stories, and they seem to be on the right track. The series opens by following the exploits of an orphan named Ezra who scratches out a living on the streets before running across the path of a team of semi-criminals out to steal the same cargo of the Empire. The group of malcontents make up the crew of the starship Ghost and contain a diverse set of personality traits that seem to have been picked by focus group for maximum interest. That’s not really a bad thing, just be aware that you may experience sensations of déjà vu with some of this. The parallels to Firefly and other stories are unavoidable.
It is undeniably a kids show; I’m not sure why that’s supposed to be a problem. The original films were for kids, no matter how many fanboys insist otherwise. The Clone Wars was a kids show, albeit one that covered terrorism, suicide and torture at times. Depending on your perspective, being “for kids” is either a tremendous insult or a promise. Being “for kids” can certainly imply a dumbing-down, but it also hopefully carries the suggestion that you’re in for a good time; that the work in question will be meant to be enjoyable. That’s really important.
And Rebels fulfills on that promise. Watching the premiere event was like watching a movie and a fun one at that. As much as I loved The Clone Wars series and admired the skill involved, it never really was able to completely capture the spirit of the 1st film. That’s not a criticism – it was depicting a different, more complex time and a sensibility to match. Of course the subject matter of the original films was never soft – they do have the word wars in the title after all – but the spirit of adventure made it all seem more fun and carefree than it really was.
From the moment you see Stormtroopers march on screen you can’t help but be transported to that time and feeling. I can’t overstate how enjoyable it was to see Tie Fighters streaking across the skies and hearing the familiar sounds of their cannons and the troopers blasters.
The story is good, not great, and I’m absolutely certain that the show will have a cartoonish feel at times. The previous series certainly did and so did the films – yes, even the OT. The Clone Wars series seemed to alternate at times between adult stories too dark to let my daughter watch and ridiculously silly stories too goofy for me to watch. But most of the episodes lived in the comfortable middle ground where everyone could enjoy the wonder of the this galaxy and I expect Rebels to do the same.
I really shouldn’t have to sell you on this series – the images of Stormtroopers and Star Destroyers ought to do that. If you’ve complained in the past that nothing since Return of the Jedi has made you feel like you did when you played with your Kenner figures, give this a try. Don’t sleep on Star Wars Rebels; it’s going to be very good…
The Representation Test Score: C (5 pts)
|Main Cast||Taylor Gray Ezra Bridger (voice), Vanessa Marshall Hera Syndulla (voice), Tiya Sircar Sabine Wren (voice), Steve Blum Zeb Orrelios/Alton Kastle/Stormtrooper (voice)|
|Release Date||Fri 03 Oct 2014 UTC|
|Genres||Animation, Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi|
|Writers||Dave Filoni (created by) &, Simon Kinberg (created by) …|