събота, 9 февруари 2013 г.

Dan Grievous reviews "Sabotage"

So it has begun... the final arc of Season Five.

This is a "right after viewing" review. For me some episodes tend to either get better or get worse with time.

We start off with a quite the fast newsreel. All I got from it was: Lucas still does not care for the CIS or its worlds, he still wants to keep the lame Republic-allied Trade Federation with Cato Neimoidia being a Republic world and we do not get a deeper reason for the "invasion". The show just doesn't care for the CIS side of the story - Neimoidians attacking neimoidians just so they could make the Republic think that the Trade Federation and Lott Dod are still good. But that would have been too deep. The newsreel reminded me of the first Umbara newsreel that just skipped quickly to get to the "meat".

The "Battle" of Cato Neimoidia was nothing special and it was short - just as everybody predicted. I am just sad I got my hopes up that the show would actually pay attention to the CIS a little more.



The visuals on Cato Neimoidia were stunning and I went back 3 times during my first viewing to look at how good they looked.
The buzz droids encounter was fun and I must say it was better than the one in "Revenge of the Sith".

The moment with R2 slamming a buzz droid with the wing - PRICELESS!



I really laughed out loud during the moment with the reveal of the bottom of Anakin's fighter. That was so funny... I love buzz droids. When I see them on a ship like that, I always think they are having a party on it with all the chaotic movements and noise.

The scene that had Ashoka saved Anakin was fun, but it was catered for the fans that have not seen the later movies. Especially the fact that they wanted the younger fans to think that they had lost R2. It is a normal thing.

Then we get the contrived "Anakin and Ahsoka are the only Jedi in the galaxy" situation.

I am still puzzled that Anakin and Ahsoka are always the only ones the council would trust, especially, given the history of the pair not following orders.

There is not much going on in the rest of the episode after this.

The droid was not that interesting for me. If you are a huge fan of "CSI: Miami" then you will love the cameo/tribute to the David Caruso.

There are several scenes of Anakin, Ahsoka and Ruso-ISC investigating and asking witnesses.
Several times they showed the image of the main suspect Jackar Bowmani and I was really eager to see a model of his alien species... The Abyssin...




http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Abyssin




In the middle of all the investigating and questions to people, we get the coolest cameo of this episode - CIN DRALLIG.
CIN DRALLIG IS IN THE GAME... for anybody who has played and loved the 2005 Episode III game, this is a real treat.


During the scene with Drallig, Anakin meets Letta - the wife of the Abyssin suspect Jackar.

After Anakin talks to Letta in a private room inside the Temple and gets nothing out of her, he rejoins Russo and Ahsoka. They find out that lethal nano-droids were the cause of the explosion.
The walking through all the footage of the wreckage was quite a nice idea. 




Russo heads off to check all the security footage of hangar, Anakin and Ahsoka join him, but he informs them that nothing has been found. I personally loved the interactions between the droids. It really reminded me of Clank and his little robot minions in the "Ratchet and Clank" games.


There is another boring Council scene and then we get a funny scene with the discovery of Jackar, but is just a hand now. It turns out he was the bomb.



Anakin and Ahsoka go to the apartment of Jackar and Letta. They find nano-droids there too and assume that Letta had fed Jackar the explosive nano-droids.

Before she can be taken in, she tries to run. It does not last long since the chase scene is not a good one. 
The Anakin "rage" moments were as stupid as always and there is the famous "We did not say he was dead" cliche. 

After all that nothing, we end on nothing.
The episode very well and if this was not the finale, it could have been just a random, average episode of the show. Not the finale. 


The episode was not bad. I could not find something that I really hated. Maybe cause the episode had not much to offer. Well... Maybe the "battle" in the start. The battle was really disappointing. Not only cause the show wasted so much opportunity by skipping over it, but because it is just too clear that they needed to put some random action in the start. Since this episode was a long episode of  "CSI: Miami" in Star Wars, the creators knew that the episode would be a total bore if it did not start with a battle.
There were some fun moments like the Buzz droids scene and there were awesome moments like seeing Cin Drallig finally make it, but there was not enough to make this episode stand out or anything like that. 

I give it a 7,5. It does not work as a standard epic TCW episode like "Missing in Action" or "Tipping Points", but as a detective episode (an there have been others like Senate Murder, Lightsaber Lost and Duchess of Mandalore) it works better than I expected. 

PS: It is so nice to see once again new Jedi in the show like Dralling. I can not stress that enough. 


сряда, 6 февруари 2013 г.

Dan Grievous reviews "The Lawless"

Ok..... here it is!


A review by Dan Grievous.... WOOOOO - you say. It is more of a dare since people are confused cause of what I say about "THE BEST EPISODE EVAH".


Where do I begin..............

We begin at the prison with Satine being rescued by Korkie and his friends that we have not seen since Season Three. How could we have?! Since the Mandalorian stories have been limited to a nice 3-parter in S2, an abysmal S3 pair of episodes that gave us the Cadets and Almec, and a cameo by Mandalore in S4 with the lame piece summit with the hippie "non-separatists".  
So we get a return from character that we really did not care that much of in the first place, but one good thing comes with them - a lot of badass moments with Bo-Katan. She surely showed in this opening chase why she deserves the fandom she is getting.
After a very good chase, our heroes get to the docks and Satine calls for help. 
From these scenes (until Ki-Adi-Mundi and Yoda refuse to help Mandalore) is where few of my main issues with the episode and arc come from:

- there is no sign in the prison of captured criminals that were enough in number to be seen later as cameos. This arc wasted an entire episode ("Eminence") to get these criminals and they do not even show them as cameos in "The Lawless" - kinda in the same way we got some shots of Umbaran soldiers during Rex's visits to the brig in the Umbara arc. And don't tell me that there was no time since there were several shots of Mando guards in the prison, walking around and could have seen the criminals to show them where they are.
And even if they are still on Mandalore or dead or whatever. 
The total disappearance of the crime lords from the arc shows how hollow and "just for fan service" they really were.

- The disappearance of the cadets was another thing. They were brought in, but later it is reported that everybody that was with Satine had escaped. We do not see them with Bo-Katan so where are they!?
This is another problem that is quite obvious in the arc. Since it is quite rushed and packed to the brims with things, it does not have time to do things right and many elements from the story are either just skipped over or are gone without a trace - something that was not a problem at all in the previous stories. For instance, there were no such holes in the Droids arc story. 

- One final thing that bugged me before we got to the palace with Maul - the "Massacre" of Mandalore?! 
The hell did she talk about?!?! What massacre?! Another problem that comes from the rushed pace of the arc...
Satine complains about a massacre, but when the last episode has ended we got the feeling that all is fine in Mandoville and that people are happy that there was a return of the warrior ways. There was indication of any unrest. People seemed happy with Almec's final speech. Sure, the people were puppets that were controlled by a puppet of a Sith, but nothing like the stuff on Onderon seemed to happen. Now, in "The Lawless" Satine speaks of massacre - which for me really comes out of nowhere cause it changes the tone of the happenings and it makes up for a totally dickish Senate and Jedi Council. If you miss the "massacre" part then you would see why the Senate would not intervene in a bloodless change of power.



  

- The mention of the Jedi brings me to final first complain or nitpick - the uninterested mood of the Jedi or Senate. It is really something strange after events of S3 and S4 that involved the Republic getting involved the business of neutral systems. 
In previous seasons the Republic/ Jedi were ready to get involved with Mandalore any way possible - if the CIS was involved did not matter much. In S2 the Republic was ready to go in and bring order only cause of Death Watch. In S3, the Jedi sent Ahsoka in to train Mandos and before that Padme showed that she cared for Mandalore. 
Now in S4, nobody cares for Mandalore... NOBODY! Not the Senate, not Republic army, not the Jedi council and not even Ahsoka or Padme are not shown to give a damn about the planet - another flaw from the rushed pace. The show advertised this arc as THE TCW arc and yet when all these important events happen, nobody is shown to care about the tragedy.
And I know that TCW did say that the Republic does not get involved in internal affairs of planets that are about trade disputes.
But the Republic have gotten involved with planets that were in trouble and, especially, suffering planets like Aleen in Season 4. Here is where my problem comes about Padme not being even mentioned. She was shown as a good friend of Satine and yet she was not even shown to react and do something like in Season 2. Padme has shown that she can help troubled planets... but whatever!

None of these things made sense...

All in all, the Duchess is captured and in prison and nobody cares for some contrived reason.

Then we get to the meat of the arc - Maul luring Kenobi to his location and capturing him AGAIN.
This is why the Maul thing in the show does not work - he does nothing else, but try to get back at Obi-Wan and he does it in the same way in both his appearances - in S4 and S5. 
He is happy of the reports that Almec gives him, but then we have to be shown once again the dumbass grin of Savage that wants me to vomit. 
Maul... again... is oversure and happy that Kenobi is coming and so he waits. 

At the docks, Kenobi does arrive in the Twilight and in a very nice classic Star Wars-y way gets into the city...

One thing I "love" and am annoyed at is that the show has found a million excuses not to put my favorite Separatists in, but the crew can manage to fit in Moogans anywhere they can and this moogan was not accident since this whole arc is trying to justify the horrid episodes about Mandalore in S3. 

Kenobi frees Satine. Yay, somebody freeing Satine again for the last 5 minutes. But it all backfires... Maul catches up with the escapees... again at the dock. MAN, TCW crew sure loves using this dock as a place that everything happens in the stories of Mandalore. 
Maul makes a lame entrance and Kenobi reacting as slow as possible. This arc really tried to make Maul seem like a menace, especially with toning down the strength of others so Maul would seem invincible. 
Main thing that really made me kinda sad is that they destroyed the ship "Twilight" - a kinda of a symbol of TCW killing off all that was once awesome in earlier seasons.

Maul's facial expressions were awful - he IMO is the most cartoony bad guy on this show. 




Speaking of killing awesome things from previous seasons, we find Obi in the palace listening to another hammy speech from Maul. God! I was so happy that we got over this arc cause there is a certain amount of hammy speeches that I can take from an annoying character as Maul. SO ANNOYING...

The most well-done moment was one of the saddest deaths on this show - the death of Satine. The music, the animation and the dialogue in this scene were perfect.



This was such an important moment that I wished was focused more on and not just skipped over like a death of a random tactical droid. It needed to be more talked about and given more weight. I know it was heavy, but nobody really showed any reaction - positive or negative - to the death of the Duchess. 

I will really miss the Duchess, she truly was an amazing character IMO.

She was such a beautiful and interesting character that has done nothing to anybody...






Then with a rushed transition to Coruscant we see that Palpatine telling Mas Amedda to prepare his ship. 
And I must say how stupid of a cameo the Red Royal Guards were. The scene was too short, they were miles in the back and the background was red - a perfect way NOT to see them.
Such a waste of animation...

Of course, the cow Savage had open his dumb mouth and show how little the writers care for this character or how stupid he is after not learning anything about his "Brother"'s plot
Obi-Wan is sent to prison, but on the way there is freed by the badass Bo-Katan - who with Pre Vizsla, Almec and Satine, she is one of my fave characters of this arc. 


As Obi-Wan escapes, we get one of the most annoying things in this episode had to offer - Bo-Katan is Satine's sister. 

It was not annoying in the sense that they were now linked, but how little was spent in that relationship. That is not like Satine is a distant friend of a former boyfriend of Bo-Katan. NO! They are sisters and that was never explored in the show before - when Satine was alive. THAT is what annoys me...
Until this episode I always assumed that Satine had a rotten childhood and that all her relatives were dead. That because her family had died out, she committed herself to her work. 
This just mentioned relationship could have been the basis of, at least, two other story arcs that would have made Satine and Bo-Katan even more beloved characters. I mean Bo-Katan is a sister of the leader of New Mandalorians, but she is very loyal to man trying to destroy her sister's world. 
That would have made for one great Bo-Katan-centric arc IMO.

Anyhoooo... Obi-Wan escapes and tells Bo-Katan that he is sorry about Satine's death and their conversation leads me to believe that there is going to be a followup arc with the Republic finally invading Mandalore and lead to a battle of Mandalore - something that this arc failed to do. 

Then we have a, in my opinion, very average and quite uninteresting duel between Sidious and doofas brothers. 
The animation is nice, but the Sidious facial animation are just ridiculous with his face being all over the place. It sure tries to compete with Anakin's face in terms of silly expressions. 
The odd thing I found is how "farty" were Sidious's sabers... they never made that sound, but there really sounded strange in this duel.

And we all know who wins - Sidious, of course, who else.

A highlight is the death of Savage... finally, after 3 wasted arcs, one of the worst and maybe THE worst character in Star Wars dies a mediocre death at the hands of Darth Sidious. His death IMO was the best thing to happen with the Maul "storyline since the end of "Monster".



Maul is also defeated and starts crying almost for mercy, but gets a load of lightning in his face. And that is how the episode ends - with Sidious promising that there are going to be more wasted episodes about Maul.
His voice also did not sound like Ian Abercrombie, but more like Tim Curry. Abercrombie managed to hid his british accent in the series, the last lines had a clear Tim Curry-like british ring to them.

IMO this has been the worst finale...
This entire arc was building up to Maul being zapped for several seconds and then a fade to black. This was not a satisfying final episode of the arc and the promise of Maul episode made me cringe a lot. 


Overall this episode was OK at best. Nothing that odd or too special. It was a standard action-oriented episode of "The Clone Wars".
All the scenes and story seemed rushed and the episode and the entire arc would have benefited from two extra episodes somewhere in the season - that way the story could have been paced better and not just skip over tons of possibly good stuff. So rushed, painfully rushed...
The episode was full of great performances, but as a whole the episode and arc suffered from poor writing. The previous two arcs - the Young Jedi arc and the Droids arc - have had much better writing with better, well, everything.

The duel was good, but not as good as the Pre Vizsla duel - that was a true masterpiece. The thing that also matters for me a lot is that the outcome of the Vizsla duel was more interesting and less 
annoying that the one of this duel with Sidious. The episode's ending was the most annoying part.



In the end, this episode gets a 6 out of me - that is mainly for amazing characters Satine, Bo-Katan, some good action and a great emotional scene with the death of my beloved Satine. Without them, this episode would rank as high as the "The Academy" episode that I personally gave a 3. 
"Shades of Reason" gets a 7,5 out of 10 cause it was more fun and interesting and less rushed than this episode.

"The Lawless" - I am not a fan. 

понеделник, 4 февруари 2013 г.

Tikkes never died on Mustafar




Here is something I want to make clear about Tikkes and "Revenge of the Sith" and his "death in the movie" according to some:


1. For years Tikkes was assumed MIA since we all clearly see that he does not die in neither of the versions of the Massacre of the Leaders. The one people mistake for him is actually Po Nudo's aide. Tikkes in ROTS has a lot of white-gray clothing - no Separatist Council leader had white clothing on Mustafar. None of the corpses as well... Like Rogwa Wograta, I think he was still alive during the reign of the Empire.


2. If somebody brings up the pile of dung called "The Complete Encyclopedia" then you are wrong. That thing was written by either Republic/Empire or Rebel fans. I have not met one writer/actor/animator that has worked on SW or TCW or anything...and say they are a CIS fan. I am guessing that like many fans, the writers of the vile book did not care as well for the CIS (How can anyone after Lucas's horrible portrayal of the CIS - nobody cares for the loosing team) so they just assumed that everybody went and "killed" them off. The descriptions of the deaths for all Separatists Council Leaders are just a basic copy and paste of the lame "Killed by Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader on Mustafar".


3. Tikkes was on Utapau and he is seen in every council scene. He greets Grievous even... But on Mustafar when ALL the leaders (who are there) have gathered to talk to Sidious, Tikkes is not there... then where is he?!!!?!?!?!?!! HA?! You would not miss a call from the Sith Lord Darth Sidious - PROOF that he is not on Mustafar at the time of the meeting of Vader and the massacre. 4. He should have gone and he should have been with all the leaders, he did not arrive late, cause Grievous said they had A SHIP waiting for them. They traveled as a group. If he was not on Mustafar with the others then he did not get on the ship with them on Utapau. Something changed his mind...

5. HE IS A AQUATIC CREATURE... I can not imagine the Quarren suffering on Tatooine, but Mustafar is the last place of a Squid-like alien that lives on aquatic worlds.


 There you have it: The Five points why Tikkes is NOT dead on Mustafar in "Revenge of the Sith".

събота, 27 октомври 2012 г.

Dan Grievous reviews Tipping Points

This was an awesome episode.

From start to finish this should have been the feel of the entire arc but better late than never.
Every scene mattered and was needed in the episode. Something I could not say for "A War On Two Fronts" or "Front Runners".

The action was so fun. Finally a battle I love from "The Clone Wars", it has been a while.

In terms of characters, the heroes really shined while the villains of Onderon as usual did nothing much but sit around and send forces for the Rebels to defeat.
I sure wished Kalani and King Rash did more in the episode but I have nothing against villains that do not fight. After all, I am a huge fan of Tikkes.
Even if Kalani did not do much like other villains from recent seasons, he has had really good lines these past episodes. Especially the one "His army will not withstand the Power of the Confederacy!". That for me as a fan of the CIS and a video maker is a line that can only dream of these days. A line that is perfect for videos.



King Rash was there and he went out as I expected.

For the second time in this arc I care for the good guys. 
As I have said before Saw is my favorite hero of this arc who once more was totally badass. He has proven to be so much fun and worthy of a video tribute.
Lux, General Tandin and the rest were all fine. I even cared and I liked the way Steela's death was done. This was a truly epic moment where everything seemed perfect in my opinion.

Having Hondo Ohnaka in this episode just added even more flavor to the episode. He is always a treat when he comes on screen. He is a real delight even for a few seconds...



In terms of story, this episode was a standard "Heroes win the battle" episode that was executed perfectly.
The end was also great cause for the first time in a while the CIS characters act really reasonable and logical. Yes, they left Onderon but the fact is, as others have pointed out, the Separatists did not lose. They just decided that it was not worth the time and money to continue this conflict with the Rebels. I loved the logic of the villains of this arc. Well, half of them at least. 

But the things that stole the show were the amazing Heavy Missile Platforms aka The Droid Gunships.
They looked amazing, they sounded amazing and they caused amazing havoc and death.







This episode was worth the wait and made me very happy. 

9,5 out of 10 for "Tipping Points".

I just can not stop thinking about the Gunships, they were stellar!

сряда, 28 март 2012 г.

Most and Least Favorite Episode by Season


Season One Most Favorite episode: "Lair of Grievous" - NUFF SAID!

Season One Least Favorite episode: "Jedi Crash" - the episode did not work for cause it focused on my least favorite thing on the show. And the show always loses my interest when they try and try to make us worry about a person who is "dying" but in the end lives up until the end of ROTS! That always sucks. But the sky battle of Quell was kick-ass! Stunning rocket droids!

Season Two Most Favorite episode: "Cat and Mouse" hands down! I know it had Anakin in it but Admiral Trench stole the show. This episode also had a lot of something I loved about the first seasons - they really managed to show the POV of the villain of the episode. And Trench was so awesome to watch and listen!

Season Two Least Favorite episode: "Deathtrap". I really did not like the Fett arc finale. It was not that good. It was supposed to be about Boba taking revenge on Mace and it all went down the toilet after most of this episode and the arc focused on... you guessed it.. ANAKIN! And they do not even hide what a show off and a spolight thief he is! Boba was not that fun in it as he just moved around and played "Assassin's creed" with the crew. But Kilian ROCKED!

Season Three Most Favorite episode: The hard part now is there were not many good episode in S3 but the one that I love the most out of it is "Counterattack"!!! It was so fun! It was the most Star Wars-y episode of the series. If you ask me, it was the EMPIRE STRIKES BACK OF TCW! It had awesome Sobeck scenes, Tarkin banter, Jedi action, heroes losing and all the good stuff! I LOVE THIS EPISODE!

Season Three Least Favorite: There was a LOT OF S#%T that season but the most vile and disgusting episode was "Evil Plans"! What a waste of time and the story in it - there was NONE. Or if there was it, it could have been summed up in a newsreel. All the scenes were horrid and another droid episode failure. Note to self: If an episode has its own title in the newsreel then the episode will suck big time! WORST EPISODE OF THE SERIES!

Season Four Most Favorite episode: "MASSACRE" - do I even need to say why after all the praise and love I have been giving this GENIUS EPISODE!!! GENIUS, GENIUS, GENIUS... BEST EPISODE OF THE SERIES!

Season Four Least Favorite episode: "Shadow Warrior" - again it needs no explanation to why it is the worst for me! Only good thing to come out of it - Rish Loo! He is awesome!

петък, 3 февруари 2012 г.

Shifting focus in "The Clone Wars"

Seeing how this week we are entering one of the last arcs this season, I wanted to point out exactly what is wrong with the show for me at this point in time.

You know what is the problem with the show these days the most and why, for instance, I am not  fan of it so much anymore!?

The main reason - the shift in the show's focus!

The first two seasons were very good in terms of balance between story, action and visuals. The first season did not have the eye-candy of Season Four but had the solid stories that made up for that fact. That was also evident in Season two with the animation getting a lot better.
And I think everything changed with the underwhelming Boba Fett arc that chaged this show forever.
Because it was one of the first to go into the OT lore and get a cameo for the marketing ploy of Lucasfilm animation. That is the first major change - relying on an foreign element to drive your show. They continued that all the way into Season four and now with the bland Return of Darth Maul who by this point in time has been overused in marketing and commercialism.

The other thing that I feel the Fett arc changed was the way the episodes and arcs were built. Well, at least, that is the first most obvious arc/episodes that made me feel a wind of change in the show.
The second thing - making the War take a backseat to main character exposition. That is what the show is killing me with!

In the first two seasons, the War came first and we got stories about it with the characters' personal stories part of it. Best example would be the Ryloth arc - to this day one of the best arcs.
The thing about the arc is that it focused on the Battle of Ryloth and featured personal stories in it like the one of Numa and the one of Chum Syndulla!
We got battles in each episode of the arc and personal struggles that arose from the battles. And it was fun and the way the episodes' stories were built, no character was too exposed or too annoying. Even Anakin in the overall finished arc was not so annoying as he did not "eat up" the time for other Jedi and because of that we had a nice exposition of Mace Windu and Obi-Wan Kenobi.

But from the end of Season two to the latest episode of Season four, the show has been going in the wrong direction. At least, that is how I feel about it.
From the start of Season three (with slight feels in the second half of Season two) the show changed it around and now focuses on the character's issues first and the War is used just as a backdrop that at times can be ignored entirely!
This is where the show kinda started to suck for me. The visuals were getting better but little by little I started to feel that the show had stopped telling stories about the war and how it effects everyone in a different way. Instead we got only how the main characters interact with each other over and over with a little hint that a war is going on. The best example of this would be the latest episode "A Friend in Need" and before that the stupid and overhyped trainwreck called Umbara.
The problem with these kind of episodes was that they missed the point of the show in showing the WAR FIRST, CHARACTERS REACTIONS SECOND!
Let's start with "Plan of Dissent" which was the most painful example of where the show has sidetracked at! The episode was basically 17 minutes of just talking and 3 minutes of flying, shooting and destroying the supply ship. The problem was that in this episode and the next one we all forgot there was a War waging on Umbara and there were many parties involved! The only thing we got was the clones blab and share feeeewiiiiings in the comfort of the taken base without having to do any fighting and that is the main problem. They just talked and never even mentioned the battle until the very last scene of the arc.
The same is with  "A Friend in Need" where the war was totally forgotten and was barely mentioned just because we needed interactions between our main characters. And the episode failed to deliver cause of that fact.

I know it might sound like I am sucker for only action but the thing is focusing first on characters would be so bad IF the characters were the least bit intersting. Focusing on Anakin, Rex and Ahsoka is the reason why the show sucks these days cause they are bland and uninteresting characters. The only one who got a little better as the seasons went on is Ahsoka and she still suffers from the Hero blandness syndrome!

The shift of focus is not more evident than ever with Filoni's people confirming that Darth Maul is going to be an integral part of the show. This means that we will have to forget about the War and deal with the awesome person that was actually dead for the last 13 years!

The last episode to show the War in a very good way was the brillaint episode called "Water War". It did not spent to much time on the characters that over exposed and got to what the show is supposed to be about - the War. The Second Battle of Dac in the new Clone Wars show was one of the best opening episodes of this series, a series that visually does not cease to amaze! The reason is that the episode was traditional TCW stuff - war, clones vs droids, explosions and in all that some interaction between the characters. That is why it was sooooo good and is my favorite episode of Season Four!

Maybe when the show remembers that it is supposed to tell the stories of the war, a war that is shown in the title itself, then maybe, just maybe we could get the epic feel of Season One's greatness once more. Until then we will get episodes that focus on characters we know ALL about and in the end will result in seasons wasted in learning/ watching something we already have.