Television Series DVD
Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Complete Season One
Distributed By: Warner Home Video
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
When Star Wars: The Clone Wars first appeared on the Cartoon Network in 2009, I was stoked. I couldn’t wait to check out the further adventures of Anakin Skywalker, Padme Amidala, Obi-Wan Kenobi and all of the new characters we were introduced to in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated film like Ahsoka Tano, Clone Trooper Rex and more. The twenty-two thirty minute episodes were captivating and the stories were great fun, having that classic Star Wars feel despite being an animated feature. When the Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Complete Season One came out on DVD, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to watch it until now…perhaps that is not as unfortunate as one would think…
The first season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars mostly takes place after the events in the full feature animated film, with the exception of The Hidden Enemy episode which is a prequel to the film. Each episode starts off with a select quote of wisdom that sort of sums up the whole episode. In this season, we get to see more of the relationship between Anakin and his Padawan Ahsoka. Already brash and inquisitive prior to the apprenticeship, Ahsoka has picked up many of her Master’s traits. But Anakin is not the only teacher Ahsoka has – she is also paired up with Luminara Unduli, Aayla Secura and Plo Koon, who teach her patience and sacrifice.
Yoda, too is a teacher in this season, educating the clones on utilizing strengths they never recognized in themselves in the very first episode. We see a good deal of Yoda’s talents - in fighting, strategy and wisdom, Yoda always seems to have the upper hand. Anakin and Obi-Wan see a great deal of action in this part of the war. Often times they are on separate, but converging missions, but the best episodes see them working together. The dialogue between these two characters, which at times is the teasing dialogue of old friends and other times falls into the old custom of a master with much to teach his impetuous padawan, is a lot of fun and one realizes just how close these two men became over the years before Anakin’s eventual downfall.
Anakin’s wife, Padme, sees a great deal of action as well, traveling across the galaxy on diplomatic missions that often get her into heaps of trouble, especially when accompanied by the awkward Senator Jar Jar Binks. Quite a few Jedi make appearances in this first season. In addition to Yoda, Mace Windu, Luminara Unduli, Aayla Secura and Plo Koon, one of my favorite Jedi of the prequels, Kit Fisto, sees action as he is reunited with his former padawan Nahdar Vebb for an adventure through the lair of General Grievous. Set up as a test for Grievous by Count Dooku, this invasion of Grievous’ lair reveals quite a bit about his past as well as the problems being faced by padawan’s coming into their own as Jedi during this war. The perilously shaky line between the dark and light sides of the Force seems to blur each day the war continues.
There are many new recurring characters such as Hondo Ohnaka, the Weequay pirate who, along with his crew somehow manages to capture Count Dooku and winds up capturing Anakin and Obi-Wan when they appear to pick up the Sith Lord for the Republic. At first a deceptive enemy, Hondo Ohnaka becomes an interesting asset in future episodes. Another new character who makes his appearance in the last episode of the season is Duros bounty hunter Cad Bane, who is so cunningly ruthless, he and his team manage to take over part of the Galactic Senate, offering up the Senators in exchange for the release of Ziro the Hutt.
In addition to the happy reappearance of many of our favorite characters and the introduction to some new and intriguing characters, the first season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars features quite a few new planets including Rodia, Florrum, the coral moon of Rugosa, Rishi moon, as well as returns to such well-known locations as Coruscant, Naboo and Christophsis.
This season reveals quite a bit about the clones and their individuality, especially in the episode Rookies. We also get a glimpse into the way the clones have begun to feel about their place in this war. Although some clones see themselves as important cogs in the war, others feel as though they are being used as cannon fodder for a cause they never were even asked if they believed in. We see a lot of this in the books, but have never seen this in any of the movies and I found it a refreshing change of pace to see some rebellion in the usually obedient clones.
The first season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars is filled with action and suspense. There are loads of battles in various shapes and forms, including hand-to-hand combat, lightsaber duels, blaster battles and starfighter dogfights. There are actual deaths of characters in this series. This is not your average cartoon series – it actually carries a parental advisory due to the intensity of the action and the graphic nature of the show.
The Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Complete Season One DVD includes twenty-two extras - a featurette for each and every episode of the season. Each featurette has between five and ten minutes of interesting behind the scenes information regarding storylines, special effects, voices, battles and more. I was amazed to learn that the creators of the show were also huge fans of the expanded universe of Star Wars novels and even thought to include a space battle maneuver used by Grand Admiral Thrawn (The Thrawn Trilogy) in one of the episodes. In the past, I have found that some of the extras on Star Wars DVDs can be tedious and repetitive, but the featurettes presented on this DVD are fun and interesting to watch.
Fans who enjoy the series on television will be happy to learn that the DVD does the television series much justice. The clarity and color seem to have been enhanced and each episode looks much better on DVD than when it first aired on TV. The sound has also been improved upon and you can hear every nuance of the show, from the dialogue to the music to the special sound effects perfectly clear. Any fan of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series on Cartoon Network will be happy to get their hands on Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Complete Season One DVD!