HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: The Clone Wars: The Lost Missions
HTS Overall Score:81
When Disney bought Lucasfilm from George Lucas, the long running show “The Clone Wars” was one of the unfortunate victims of the change in leadership. The minute it happened there was a great disturbance in the force as fans across the galaxy howled to the heavens and were suddenly silenced. Season 5 had just ended and with Ahsoka leaving the Jedi order in a cliffhanger we left with the fear that the final episodes that had been animated would be lost forever, much like how “Farscape” fans feared the worst after the untimely demise of the show before its final season. Not to lose out on an opportunity with Episode 7 right around the corner, Disney has deigned to give us the final 13 episodes that were animated before the show went under. Most of these were actually supposed to be part of season 5, but some of them were part of the major arc for season 6 and they even through in 4 unfinished episodes as special features to give the fans as much bang for their buck as possible.
As mentioned, Ahsoka Tano is gone from the Jedi order and Anakin and the Jedi counsel are closing in on the real threat behind this separatist war. Lord Sidious and Lord Tyranus (Count Dooku) have the web of deception almost complete and we’re leading up to the events that happen JUST before Chancellor Palpatine is abducted at the beginning of Episode III. This season has 3 major arcs to deal with, mainly an arc dealing with order 66, one with Jar Jar, and an incredible three parter that finishes off the series with Yoda and a Sith lord from the past (some of you may recognize Darth Bane from the old “Knights of the Old Republic” games). The first arc deals with order 66 and just WHY the Emperor was able to get away with telling a bunch of Republic clones to turn on their Jedi masters in the final moments of “Sith”. It seems that our friendly clones have a hidden secret built into their psychological profile that allows for the Sith to have a slightly unfair advantage in this war, an advantage that is almost brought to light thanks to the efforts of one lone clone.
Shifting gears slightly we have a few episodes that deal with the rise of the banking clan, which shows just how neatly Sidious had the politics wrapped up in the senate. The Jar Jar arc was fairly non-essential, but it did wrap up the night sister plotline quite handily as we hadn’t seen what happened to the revered mother until now. The Yoda arc is by far the most interesting one, as it chronicles Yoda dealing with an ancient Sith menace that has risen up once more from the days of the Old Republic, when the Sith were much more numerous and their powers were legendary even in comparison to Anakin Skywalker. Sadly we don’t see any more of Anakin’s apprentice, Ahsoka, but her leaving at the end of season 5 was perfect as it explains her lack of mention in “Revenge of the Sith”, but since she was easily the best character in the entire show, her absence was sorely missed.
As “The Clone Wars” comes to an end I have to look back over the last 6 seasons with a lot of fondness, as the show did what I thought wasn’t humanly possible. It brought back my love of “Star Wars”, after the prequel trilogy pretty much had me wash my hands of the whole franchise. It brought back that childlike wonder and excitement that I had back when I watched the original trilogy. It was a kid’s show first and foremost, and there were plenty of episodes over the course of the series that were filler and aimed at the children, but “The Clone Wars” was always very adult flavored. People died, many times multiple deaths an episode, and many of the plotlines were definitely geared for those of us who are of a more mature age, even though they were always accessible to the younger audience. The “Star Wars” universe was opened up in ways that I hadn’t thought possible, bringing in much of the new canon, but also borrowing heavily from the extended universe canon, as the Dathomir Night Sisters and several other plotlines are straight out of the 1990’s era novels. Woven together with the new canon it creates a fascinating and heavily textured tapestry that allows fans both new and old to fall in love with a galaxy far far away.
The Episode Rundown is as follows.
1 - The Unknown
2 - Conspiracy
3 - Fugitive
4 - Orders
5 - An Old Friend
6 - The Rise of Clovis
7 - Crisis at the Heart
8 - The Disappeared, Part I
9 - The Disappeared, Part II
10 - The Lost One
11 - Voices
12 - Destiny
13 - Sacrifice
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=32745[/img]The first 5 seasons of “The Clone Wars” has always had a very stable image quality that has remained constant over the seasons. It’s only real problem was suffering from the “Warner Curse” where it had a bit too much compression for my tastes and showed some of the famous warner banding issues along with being just a minor hint soft. With Disney in charge of the authoring this go around it’s definitely kicked up a notch, as the colors are a bit more vibrant, the banding is almost non-existent and the detail is exceptional. Originally aired on Television in 1.78:1, the show was actually cropped down from its original 2.35:1 scope aspect ratio, which the Blu-rays and DVD’s remedied here in the states. This is actually one of the VERY few television shows shot/animated in scope and as such it tends to feel more like “Star Wars” rather than a cheap knockoff as some were worried would be the case when it was first announced. The show itself doesn’t give WILD amounts of detail due to the made for TV budget, but the animation style does show off quite a bit of pizazz and pop despite those limitations of the dollar. Blacks are deep and inky with some solid shadow detail, and the colors seem to be a bit richer this time. It’s not really noticeable unless you compare previous seasons back to back, but it is there if you look for it. Well Done Disney.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=32753[/img]Here’s where I had to raise my eyebrow just a little. Warner was known for putting 640 kbps Dolby Digital tracks on their television shows for a handful of years and the first couple seasons of the series suffered that fate, with seasons 3-5 being upgraded to a nice lossless DTS-HD MA track. Strangely Disney has decided to take a step back and give the final seasons that same 640 kbps Dolby Digital lossy track instead of the full lossless treatment. The logic behind it really has me scratching my head since there seems to be enough room on the disc to accommodate the track, but for some reason it was decided against. Still, the track is quite the charmer, and almost matches up to the lossless tracks that Warner provided with previous seasons. The dialogue is clean and clear as could be expected, and the rest of the track has that same aggressive nature that you’ve come to expect from the star wars universe. Lightsabers throb with energy and you can feel the weight of explosions rocking the sub channel during a wild space battle. Surround are incredibly detailed and immersive, giving the full 360 degree effect during the copious battle sequences. Still, if you really listen for it, you can feel the loss of the DTS-HD MA track as some of the low end feels a bit truncated and there is some compression in the high end as well. An excellent track, that comes VERY close to meeting the expectations we had due to the previous seasons, but one that could have been JUST a bit better with a few extra bits in the equation.
• "The Clone Wars"
• Story Reels: the Utopar Arc
Watching “The Clone Wars” come to an end is a bittersweet moment, as it managed to keep my love of “Star Wars” alive, even after my faith being almost completely demolished with George Lucas’s prequel trilogy disappointing many so very much (and interestingly enough living up to others expectations). The characters are fleshed out extremely well, and actually get you to care about some of the more niche characters that you didn’t in the movies. The universe as a whole was widened in a way that couldn’t have been done in a typical film trilogy and really enhanced the lore as a whole, making me REALLY excited to see what J.J. Abrahms will do with Episode 7 next year. So, for those of you who have watched the show, this is a must buy, for those of you who haven’t seen the show….what are you waiting for! Get cracking! Highly recommended.
Starring: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter, Ashley Eckstein
Created by: George Lucas
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 AVC
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1, French, Spanish, German DD 5.1
Studio: Disney/Buena Vista
Runtime: 287 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: Nov 11th, 2013
Buy The Clone Wars: The Lost Missions Blu-Ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Must Watch
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