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Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 3 Blu-ray Review

The third season of “Clone Wars” is filled with intrigue and excitement.

The third season of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” starts off with a bang with a superb Clone centric two parter that fits alongside the season 1 episode “Rookies”. The first part (“Clone Cadets”) focuses on the training exercises of a Clone squad while the second part (“Arc Troopers”) is a riveting half-hour in which Anakin, Obi-Wan, and the same Clone Trooper squad seen in ‘Cadets’ protect Kamino from Ventress and droid attackers. To say “Arc Troopers” offers up some of the most exciting battle sequences in the series is an understatement, but there’s also some truly emotional character moments (especially with 99).

“Supply Lines” takes viewers back to Ryloth where the Twi’leks are in desperate need of supplies. This is primarily a politicial story, but like “Arc Troopers,” this episode ends with an emotional climax.

“Sphere Of Influence” is an absolutely geektastic episode for SW fans as it features appearances by Greedo, Jabba The Hutt and the character George Lucas himself played in “Revenge Of The Sith,” Baron Papanoida. To say anything else would be spoiling the fun.

The season takes an unfortunate dip in quality with the two weakest episodes “Corruption” and “The Academy”. One would think a return to Mandalore would be exciting, but Death Watch and the Mandalorians are nowhere to be found here. Instead, we get a snooze fest involving political corrpution, poison tea, Duchess Satine, and nosey students.

“Clone Wars” bounces back with an intense episode (“Assassin”) involving Aurra Sing trying to assassinate Padme Amidala. While well told, this story is nothing we haven’t seen before.

“Evil Plans” is an odd R2-D2 and C3PO adventure which sees them looking for dessert and attending a droid spa (don’t ask). Luckily, Cad Bane shows up to make it watchable.

Following “Evil Plans” is one of my favorite episodes of the season (“Hunt For Ziro”). This episode has it all. A noir style, Cad Bane, Hutts, the debut of Quinlan Vos, lightsaber action, surprise plot twists, and even Sy Snootles.

“Heroes On Both Sides” takes a break from the action and offers up a fascinating exploration of the view points on this war from the perspective of the Jedi and Separatists. The episode also boasts some great scenes between Ahsoka and a new character named Lux  who we will be seeing more of soon in season 4.

“Pursuit Of Peace” is another forgettable political episode with Padme and Bail Organa, but thankfully, the season goes politics free from here on out as the season really swings into gear with arguably the most exciting 3 episodes (“Nightsisters,” “Monster,” and “Witches Of The Mist”). This trilogy not only explores Ventress and her past, but introduces a new potential apprentice for Count Dooku- the fierce Savage Opress (brother of Darth Maul). For “Clone Wars” fans, this is truly as good as it gets as these episodes are packed with epic lightsaber battles and major character revaltions.

Following the “Nightsisters” trilogy is another trilogy known as the Mortis trilogy (which consists of “Overlords,” “Altar Of Mortis,” and “Ghosts Of Mortis”). These 3 episodes really dig deep into the themes in a way we haven’t seen in any “Star Wars” material to date. It covers fate, destiny, the force, and good and evil. Additonally, the episode features a few eyebrow raising appearances by Shmi Skywalker, dark Ahsoka, and Qui-Gon Jinn. Is any of this real? Is it a dream? It’s a mystery and it will leave you wanting more.

Following the Mortis trilogy is yet another trilogy of episodes consisting of “The Citadel,” “Counterattack,” and “Citadel Rescue”. The plot finds Anakin, Ahsoka, Obi-Wan and Clone Troopers attempting to rescue Even Piell from the Citadel prison. Of course, it’s easier said than done. While I don’t think this deserved a three parter, there are some memorable scenes here with Captain Tarkin and Jedi Master Even Piell.

The season concludes with a two parter (“Padawan Lost” and “Wookiee Hunt”) involving Ahsoka and other powerful beings being hunted by Trandoshan warriors. The only thing you really need to know about these episodes is that Chewbacca makes his “Clone Wars” debut. If that’s not enough to get you excited, I don’t know what will.

Summary: Despite a few weak political episodes, the third season of “The Clone Wars” has enough to please even the pickiest of “Star Wars” fans. Highly recommended.

On a side note, I have to say that I found the packaging of this third season set to be disappointing. Instead of the book like case that the first two seasons had, there’s just a basic snap case. Also noticeably absent is the small art sketch book which is a real shame as those extras were loved by fans.

Video/Audio:

The Blu-ray format is far and away the best way to watch this show. If you watch this series in standard def, you are truly missing out on the crisp colors, planet and character designs, space battles, lightsabers, and planet environments. The series is presented in 2.4:1 1080p.

“Clone Wars” is an animated show that goes all out in the sound department. Viewers can expect to hear lasers, lightsabers, explosions, ships, creature noises, and one of the best voice casts around. All 22 episodes have a 5.1 DTS-HD audio track.

Extras:
* “Behind The Story: Creating Kamino”- A featurette about animating Kamino.
* “Jedi Temple Archives”- Access maquette images, character and environment design artwork, concept art, deleted scenes, 3D images, and so forth from each episode. Keep an eye out for the deleted scene animatic involving the Son talking with ancient Sith Lords (I won’t spoil who).
* “Hutts And The Underworld”- A featurette about animating cake, Coruscant locals, the Droid Spa, the torture chamber, the Hutt characters, Nal Hutta, Sy Snootles, and Quinlan Vos.

* “Witches And Monsters”- Katie Lucas, Dave Filoni and others talk about animation designs, Ventress, costumes, Dathomir environments, Savage Opress, and Darth Maul. Footage of the Hollywood premiere of this trilogy is also included.
* “Chewbacca Returns”- A featurette about Chewbacca’s appearances on the “Clone Wars”. Footage of Peter Mayhew’s involvement is included.
* “Secrets Of Mortis”- Dave Filoni talks about why he is keeping quiet about the mysteries of Mortis.

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October 29, 2011 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , , , , ,

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