Television Series DVD
Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Complete Season Three
Distributed By: Warner Home Video
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Now that the powers that be have decided that the new Star Wars animated series, Rebels, should air on a channel I don't have, I can only get my animated Star Wars fix by watching my TV on DVD sets. This time around, I decided to watch Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Complete Season Three.
There's quite a bit going on in the third season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Viewers get a closer look at what it means to be a clone trooper in episodes like Clone Cadets and Arc Troopers. I loved Clone Trooper 99, a clone that grew too quickly and has become too old for warfare. He imparts many a word of wisdom to the younger troopers hoping to make the grade. There is also a glimpse at the duality of the clones - their need for brotherhood as well as their need for individuality.
Ahsoka Tano is no longer just a padawan youngling. She has grown into her own beside Anakin Skywalker and gets to take part on a few missions of her own, including helping save a high ranking government official's family in Spheres of Influence, working alongside Mandalorian academy cadets to reveal a conspiracy in The Academy, protecting Padme Amidala from the assassin Aurra Sing, plus two story arcs in which she appears prominently, Mortis and Padawan Lost.
We also see more of Padme and her fight for justice and to maintain some sense of sanity in the Senate during this time of war. One of the best story arcs in that vein features Padme attempting to orchestrate peaceful negotiations with the Separatists through an old friend (Heroes on Both Sides and Pursuit of Peace).
We see more traces of darkness inside Anakin Skywalker...more hints about what he can become thanks to his attachments and his inability to focus on the greater good. The best display of this...and also my least favorite story arc...features in Overlords, Altar of Mortis and Ghosts of Mortis. During this arc, Anakin, Ahsoka and Obi-Wan Kenobi find themselves the guests of a family immensely powerful in the Force. The Father keeps the balance between his children while The Son embraces the Dark Side and The Daughter embraces the light. While The Son and The Daughter battle, attempting to sway Anakin one way or the other, The Father sees that Anakin is the one mentioned in the prophesy - the one who could bring balance to the Force. Thus, he sees Anakin as his replacement. Unfortunately, Anakin is not willing to take on that position; even less so when The Son gives him a glimpse of the man he may become. Points of interest in this arc are a dark side Ahsoka, a visit from Qui-Gon Jinn and Shmi Skywalker and Anakin's visions of his possible future.
My favorite story arc by far features Asajj Ventress, her betrayal by Count Dooku and her attempts to exact revenge. You come to feel sorry for Ventress and root for her victory. In this story arc, the fact that Dooku has an apprentice is discovered by Darth Sidious. He is ordered to destroy her and, after another failed mission, Dooku sees that he gains nothing by keeping her on. His attempt at killing her fails and Ventress returns to her homeworld, Dathomir, and the comforts of Mother Talzin and the Nightsisters. Through spells and a couple of Nightsister assassins, Talzin attempts to aide Ventress in her quest for vengeance, but their attempt at assassinating Dooku fails. Mother Talzin decides they need to come at Dooku from the inside by offering him a new apprentice, one who has sworn allegiance to Ventress. Thus, Savage Opress, a Dathomiri male with enhanced strength and powers, is born. By the end of this arc, we learn that Savage has a brother and that he is still alive...I find it very hard to understand how Darth Maul could have been cut in half and survived, but this was the big reveal at the end of the arc.
There are a number of episodes in which we get an early look at some of the heroes and villains of A New Hope. Mon Mothma and Bail Organa appear in a number of episodes. Grand Moff Tarkin also makes an appearance as a high ranking officer in the Republic military. Smarmy and working for his own personal agenda, we see that Tarkin didn't change much from the time of the Clone Wars until we see him aboard the Death Star in A New Hope some twenty plus years later. And then there's everyone's favorite - Chewbacca - who appears in the very last two episodes of the season, Padawan Lost and Wookiee Hunt, in which Chewbacca must help Ahsoka Tano and some Force sensitives escape the hunt orchestrated by a Trandoshan tribe.
There are very few extras found in this DVD set and they consist of featurettes explaining how various locales, etc. were created, their goal during particular story arcs and more. I loved learning how they created battle scenes and variations for the clones. I enjoyed learning how the animators took on the look of the Hutt Syndicate, fashioning them to not only have variance in style and texture, but also to resemble various Dons in mafia films we all can recognize. I loved the fact that the creators of the Padawan Lost/Wookie Hunt story arc approached Peter Mayhew for guidance regarding their animated version of Chewbacca. And, my feelings about the Mortis story arc aside, I found the Mortis featurette to be incredibly lame. Why have a featurette at all if you refuse to reveal anything about the arc and how it was created? Two minutes of no information does not a featurette make.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Complete Season Three was a lot more fun to watch on DVD than in its original format on television. The visuals and sound are enhanced on this DVD for better clarity and enjoyment. I could have done with a few more extras - less technical and more fun, deleted scenes or something of the like - but otherwise, this DVD set was highly enjoyable (with the exception of the Mortis arc - yes, I plan to beat this one to death). Can't wait to fire up the next DVD set in my Star Wars: The Clone Wars collection!