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Star Wars: Clone Wars–Vol. 1

Ch. 1

The title appears as one of those static-filled hologram messages. Seeing “STAR WARS” in that wonderful seventies-style logo really brings a lump to my throat. It is sort of like, boy, we’ve come a long way since Star Wars came out; but some things you can’t improve on. Someone--actually, Glark--once said that seventies sci-fi was all about the hexagons, a truism that has never been disproved. I hereby dub the seventies round-cornered geometric designs to be Hexagonal.

The first image is of Yoda riding a solitary tauntaun through the desert. At least it sounds like a tauntaun–one of the beast things Luke and Han were riding on Hoth. I thought they were cold animals, not desert animals. Yoda extends his lightsaber, and suddenly an entire Clone Army appears behind him, blasters a-blasting. The droid army blasts back. Yoda voice-overs in his bass-ackward speech that the Clone Wars quickly spread across the Galaxy. Some droid big guns explode when a squadron of back-up Republic fighters shows up, lead by one of the Jedi council members. There’s a nice shot that follows the insignificant-looking bombs as they drop from the ship and clatter to the ground before blowing a bunch of droids the hell up. As the voice-over intro continues, Count Dooku (whose cartoon version looks great) shakes hands with some tentacle-bearded dudes from Calamari. We see a beautiful series of distant explosions at night, representing a space battle, the Jedi girls from the future Jedi Temple episode, the underwater lightsabers, Mace kicking loot, and muddy clonetroopers in the rain. I love the rainy troopers, for some reason.

“Against this threat, upon the Jedi falls the duty to lead the newly formed army of the Republic,” Yoda continues, bringing up one of my biggest peeves with both Attack of the Clones and The Revenge of the Sith, that the skills and talents that make a good warrior are not the same of those needed by a general. The Jedi are very good at hand-to-hand combat, and assassinations, but this has nothing to do with what they need to lead troops. Most of the Jedi are actually terrible commanders, neglecting their men while they run in and do fancy saber tricks. “And as the heat of war grows, so too grows the prowess of one most gifted student of the Force,” Yoda says, as Anakin and Obi-Wan, still in their AotC getups, jump from a clonetrooper transport to the ground, and unleash the Force-fu on the droids. Anakin’s lightsaber shines on his face and he glowers at the camera, making it clear that he is the most gifted student.

Coruscant. The Emperor’s–whoops, sorry–Chancellor Palpatine’s chambers. Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Yoda are meeting with the Chancellor. I believe the animators wished to capture the spirit of the prequels in this scene by making the dialogue as stiff and as boring as in the movies. Congratulations! You’ve succeeded! Anyway. Obi-Wan, whose cartoon avatar is rather stern, expositions that they’re going to fight the Banking Clan on Muunilist. The ancient Palpatine, huge sagging bags under his eyes, liver spots dotting his forehead, tapping each bony finger together with a distinct clack, delicately asks who will lead the troops if Mace Windu is busy on Dantooine. Where and what is Dantooine, anyway? I’ve always held a prejudice against the place for being too remote for Death Star destruction. Obi-Wan will lead the troops. Palpatine spoils the mood for the older Jedi by “suggesting” that Anakin be given command of the space forces. “Terrible idea!” Obi-Wan yells. “Horrible! Catastrophic! Please no!” Anakin’s eyebrows narrow. Yoda’s all, “You tell him, Kenobi,” then makes the mistake of relenting a little, and Palpatine runs over the Jedi masters and says, “Then it is decided.” Obi-Wan and Yoda glare at him, and make faces at each other, but don’t actually bother to argue the point.

Cut to wherever they keep the clones on Coruscant. The military district, I guess. The obligatory Imperial March blares as the clones march themselves into their ships. This is almost identical to the ending of AotC. Except this is a cartoon. Obi-Wan watches from a vista, all broody and with his cloak pulled over his face. I thought it was Anakin’s job to be dark and broody.

Down in the Hangar District–or Coruscant Intergalactic Space Port–the Clones pop into their fighters with military discipline. The red R2-unit that Luke Skywalker almost bought rolls by, in its Hexagonal glory. Some lackey pulls the fueling lines out of the ships, warming my heart because the same thing happens in Star Wars. The wings of the ships, a cross between X-Wings and the Imperial Shuttle that Vader flies, unfold and everbody takes off. Anakin dramatically flings off his cape, and it is blown onto Threepio. Because it’s not Star Wars without Droid jokes.

As Anakin pulls vertically out of the shipyard, he pauses near a skyscraper window to gaze sorrowfully at Padme. She gazes back. They both put their hands on the windows. Over Padme’s face you can see the reflection of the Coruscant skyline, the sunset, the ships pulling out. The love theme blares over the soundtrack, and it’s all romantic and lovey-dovey and transparent. Anakin pulls away and takes off. Padme is sad, but Threepio brought her Anakin’s cloak, so she has something to remember him by. Padme’s cartoon avatar looks and acts nothing like Natalie Portman, by the way. Bad design.

Ch. 2

One Star-Warsy wipe later, we’re in space, with the Hexagonal pre-Star Destroyers. Obi-Wan addresses his “special” clonetroopers, the ARC troopers, with the “You’re the best of the best of the best!” speech from MIB. Why is he wasting our time with this queer expository speech? And how can some clones be better than others? After giving no important information to anyone, he strolls out. Sternly.

In the hangar, Anakin is repairing his ship with his mechanical right arm. Obi-Wan approaches him from behind. Anakin raises his eyebrows, then goes back to being angry as he starts in on a passive-aggressive speech about Obi-Wan holding him back. “I know you don’t think I’m ready for a command of my own, but I am the best pilot in the order! Chancellor Palpatine knows it. I don’t know why you can’t.” Shut up, Anakin. Obi-Wan–sternly–replies that it’s Anakin’s “maturity” that he doubts. And for heaven’s sake, piloting skills are unrelated to those that a commander needs. Obi-Wan passive-aggressives back that the decision is out of his hands, and reflected in the ship’s hull, wishes Anakin a happy Force day. “[Dramatic pause.] Commander.”

The pre-Star Destroyers pop out of hyperspace above Muunilist. But oh no! They are greeted by several lightsaber-shaped droid ships, that unleash thousands of tiny little droid ships! How scary! More of the foe that were defeated by Jar-Jar Binks and a nine-year-old!

Anakin leads his squadrons, and the pre-Star Destroyers vomit forth their clonetrooper transport ships onto the planet surface. Obi-Wan sends off the “special” troopers. Muunilist’s rather green capital city shoots a couple of proton torpedoes at the transports, and Obi-Wan needlessly yells, “Evasive action!” No, let’s let ourselves be shot! It’s much more fun! The troopers pour out of their transports to battle a droid army. Y’know, a ground battle in the Star Wars universe doesn’t really make that much sense. But it’s heresy to question such things.

This is a record: an anvil the size of a city. Muunilist is the home of the banking clan, remember? So the city is the same green color as the American dollar. And all the buildings are banks. All. No restaurants or saunas or schools or anything. Shut up, Muunilist. The “special” ARC troopers fly through the seemingly empty city with no trouble. Oh, spoke to soon. A battle droid (hatefully prating “Roger, Roger”) shoots the transport with a fricking shoulder-mounted weapon. The ship spins and flips and finally wipes out on the ground in some lame animation. Unlike every other downed ship in Star Wars, however, it does not explode, and the ARC commander appears unharmed. He makes the “stop” signal, then points with two fingers. All the other troopers exit the burning ship. The commander waves his hand again. I suppose they’re communicating by hand-signals instead of radio because they don’t want the transmissions monitored? Whatever. Those helmets and face-plates they wear are stupid no matter what.

Ch. 3

But, oh no! Someone has spotted the ARC troopers in some very cool binoculars! Droid snipers from the building open fire. The troopers take cover and return fire. The commander makes the okay signal, then bunny ears, then a disco dance move. Understanding this highly technical jargon, two ARC troopers provide cover fire. Fist. Stop. The “Get out of here” move. An ARC technician hurries forward with a heat scanner, that somehow detects the battle droids. The technician makes an “I don’t know” gesture, then the Heil Hitler salute. Twice. The commander mimes punch someone, the Black Power salute, and the Austin Powers judo chop. That’s the signal for the frickin’ bazooka to blow the buildings up.

Serveying the damage, the commander does the Vulcan salute, then waves. The troopers march. The commander shoots at an innocent Muunilist lizard, but misses from four feet. I think the clonetroopers’s secret weakness was they were all farsighted. That certainly is carried through the OT. The commander abruptly makes the Black Power salute again, then spreads his fingers. The troopers stop. A tank putters down a perpendicular street. Instead of blowing it up with the fricking bazooka, the ARC team sends in a guy who rappels in, bounces up the back of the tank, blows the hatch open, shoots up the insides, and pops back out again with the rapidity of a Warner Bros. cartoon. The tank goes kablooey. The ARC commander–who I’m thinking was trained as a mime–slaps an invisible table and marching re-commences. Up he throws the little spherical droid that shot Luke in the loot, and it scans the city. Having located an ack-ack tower–well, that’s what I’m calling it–the troopers skip off to do their merry duty.

Which is to blow the tower the heck up, of course. Since the ack-ack gun is operated and guarded by battle droids, the best course would be to do nothing and wait for one the clumsy droids to trip over something and destroy it. Unsure of his mission, the commander calls Obi-Wan up on the Holonet. “Sir–the ack-ack thingy looks mighty impressive, but it’s guarded by battle droids. Should we really rappel up there, shoot all the droids, bazooka the commanding station, attach time-bombs to the cannon’s muzzle, and rappel away as the explosion licks our heels? Or should we just wait for nature to take its course?” “Do the rappeling thing, it’s cooler,” General Kenobi replies. So they do.

Ch. 4

Trouble on Planet Mon Calamari! According to Yoda, the tentacle-bearded Quarren race have joined the Separatists and the Calamari are sticking with the Republicans. So that gives the Jedi an excuse to blow the Quarrens to high heaven.

Mon Calamari is a water-covered planet. Some mini pre-Star Destroyers land and float gently on the water. Inside, on the Hexagonal deck, Yoda holonets the Jedi commander, Fisto, to tell him that “in these matters, trusts your insight we do.” I love how much attention Yoda gives to everyone on his radar. Master Fisto grins and rips off his cloak, revealing his perfectly-toned green-skinned body. And his swimming trunks. He shows off his synchronized swimming skills by throwing his lightsaber and catching it mid-dive. Show-off. Clonetroopers follow. Clonetroopers underwater? Bad idea, methinks.

The underwater droid army uses a lot of laser fire and oddly stiff ships. Underwater. Fisto turns on his lightsaber. Underwater. The blade makes the water around it boil, so it looks like a wavy lightsaber. One stiff ship flies at the Jedi Master and gets chopped in half for its trouble. One underwater ship deploys little underwater pods that are actually being piloted by the same battle droids we’ve always seen. Underwater. Master Fisto uses the Force to knock about fifty ships over at once, only it looks strange because we’re underwater. He uses the Force to perfectly divert enemy missiles to enemy ships. Mon Calamari finally arrive on huge sea horses, one of them blowing on a conch shell. Underwater. They eat their opponents. The tentacle-bearded Quarrens have tridents and the Mon Calamari have lances, this is starting to look like The Little Mermaid.

Fisto suddenly stops mid Jedi-fu to dodge a huge beam of light. On the surface, one of the pre-Star Destroyers oddly glows before exploding and causing a shock wave. From a crevice emerges a laser cannon/crab. Oh, Sebastian, I knew it would come to this. Sebastian takes sight of another ship–the laser beam’s circumference is half that of a pre-Star Destroyer–and sends out another blasts. There’s a nice bird’s-eye view from above the surface of the beam growing larger and then breaking through. It doesn’t hit anything this time, but it sends the ship-side troopers scrambling for cover. Fisto deflects some of its smaller bolts back at its hull, then makes a mighty Force bubble and throws it at Sebastian. Yes, it makes no sense to me either. The mighty Force bubble somehow breaks all the legs off Sebastian at the same time. It’s the magic bullet of Force bubbles. The Mon Calamari sea horses band together and push on Sebastian. The best I can describe it to is, Sebastian is the egg, the Mon Calamari sea horses, the sperm. They push the cannon into a bottomless pit, and it explodes. The walls of the pit force the explosion upwards, and it gushes like an underwater volcano. Cool. Fisto smiles.

Did I mention that the last battle took place underwater?

Ch. 5

Outside Muunilist, a space battle is raging. Anakin flies around and shoots ships. Angrily.

On Muunilists’s surface, the battle droids are having their heads handed to them. Because, really, as pathetic as storm troopers are, nothing is more pathetic than the droids. The animation is rhythmic and effective, until we cut to a larger view of the droid army collectively doing the moonwalk. The cannon that the ARC troopers blew up magically repairs itself and keeps firing.

Inside the Banking Clan’s HQ, the Muunilist bankers watch the battle by hologram, and whinge and cower and wring their hands. Because they are bankers. They are also very pale (from working long hours), have huge foreheads (because they are smart), and long fingers (for counting money). What I love about George Lucas is how subtle he is with metaphors. The bankers identify the Republican artillery as their advantage and wring their hands. “I don’t know why Dooku sent you here,” says Banker #5 to an armored hulk, “If all you’re going to do is stand arou–” The Hulk grabs him by the neck. “I mean,” he chokes out, “whenever you’re ready.” Hee.

Cut to: A battalion of droids. On the speeder bikes from Return of the Jedi. With lances. LANCES! They speed through the city and through a smoke cloud created by another bazooka, and charge toward the advancing clone line. The bazooka guy is like, “Huh?” Hee. The speeder bikes nonsensically manage to blow up Republic tanks by just touching them with their STUPID LANCES. Even if they were ELECTRONIC ZAPPING STUPID LANCES, it wouldn’t make any sense. Nor does it make any sense that none of the clonetrooper’s fire is harming the speeders. One trooper in particular has found a vantage point, and shoots at the Hulk. The Hulk, annoyed, returns fire with EVIL RED LASERBOLTS. The clonetrooper’s armor deflects the blaster bolts. That’s a first.

The speeder battalion attacks the big clone guns. The Hulk scrapes the side of a ship with his STUPID LANCE, and the whole thing blows up. Because someone just touched it. A battle droid throws a timed explosive at a tank, and it blows it up. The STUPID LANCERS manage to take out about eight Republic guns without even trying. The Hulk waves his STUPID LANCE in celebration.

Ch. 6

A one-eyed alien with horns on its knees is fighting a one-eyed spider alien with a net.

Count Dooku’s ship appears out of hyperspace, and unfolds its cloaking device.

An alien, riding a many-mammaried pig, wacks the one-eyed spidery guy in half.

Count Dooku’s ship lands on a red planet, and the Count himself emerges. He is greeted by a blue-faced alien who is glad that the Count could make his reservation.

A big alien is trying to rip apart a droid, who sprays it with fire.

Mine Host escorts Count Dooku–you know, I just typed County Fooky by mistake, and I think I’m going to call him that–to his special boxed seats in the gladiator arena. The arena is full of impressive looking monsters fighting, but the arena itself is boring. It’s just a huge cave, with a couple of windows in the wall to represent an audience. This is not the Lucas way of making a gladiator arena. He’d put in a crowd of a thousand computer-generated people, to begin with.

County Fooky watches the fight. Mine Host watches. County Fooky watches. Mine Host watches. The camera closes in on County Fooky. “Impressive,” he says, his eyes still on the match. “You mask your presence well. Flawless timing. Perfect control.” The camera pulls back to show a dude in a black hood has replaced Mine Host. DUN! “You have great skill of infiltration,” Fooky says, still without looking away from the arena. “My host would applaud your abilities posthumously.” The hood guy looks over at the County. “However, I am not looking for a spy,” Fooky growls.

Fine, then! The Hood guy leaps out of the box seats into the arena and rips off the hood. This is supposed to be the big reveal, that the hood guy is a girl, but she doesn’t look very feminine so it doesn’t really work. SithGrrl uses the Force to toss her opponents back. One stupid armored guy shoots at her with a fire-cannon (if he has a gun, he can easily win all over all the gladiators, right?) and she tricks him into shooting her competition. Then she leaps behind him and Force-smacks him into the ceiling.

Kablooey! Fooky cocks an eyebrow.

The stupid armored guy’s head lands at SithGrrl’s feet. Klunk. She makes a “come hither” gesture.

All the remaining gladiators rush her. She Force-pulls rocks from the ceiling and crushes them. One guy she misses, but he’s hit by a gorilla swinging a stone on a chain. He swings at SithGrrl and she leaps into the air and pulls out—two lightsabers! One blue, one green. Have you noticed the Dark Side characters always use Jedi weapons in their own special, corrupted way? In pairs, or double-bladed, or EVIL RED.

SithGrrl sends the rock/chain thingy into one of the box seats. (So much for paying extra for the “good” seats.) The gorilla growls. SithGrrl glares. They charge each other. They swing. They charge. They charge right on by each other and stop, back to back. They hold their poses. Dust settles. The gorilla collapses.

Ch. 7

County Fooky applauds. SithGrrl bows. “You are more powerful than I had sensed,” County Fooky says. Is that a Sith compliment? SithGrrl replies, “The Dark Side is strong in me, for I am Sith.” SithGrrl is a classic over-compensator. Inside she desperately needs Fooky’s approval. Instead he laughs at her and says she’s wrong. He Force-floats down to the Arena floor. “You wear the official Sith apparel merchandise, you fight dirty, but this can be imitated, however,” says Fooky. “You lack a vital quality found in all Sith. Sith have no fear, and I sense much fear in you.” Since when do the Sith have no fear? Fearful or not, it’s not wise to piss-off SithGrrl. “You are a foolish old man who knows nothing of the Dark Side,” she growls, ignites her lightsabers, and charges his back. He strikes her with Force lightning.

She wakes up in a post-modern bed, in a red room. Rough-hewn stone walls. Floor-to-ceiling open window with light transparent curtain. A tasteful piece of sculpture in the corner. County Fooky knows his interior decorating. SithGrrl sees her lightsabers on a plate on a table, like a bizarre Sith breakfast. As she walks forward to get it, County Fooky attacks her from behind, and she leaps high into the air. It must become annoying to their users that lightsabers hum and announce their presence. She Force-summons her sabers, and Sith-fus on her bed. County Fooky, never the most delicate of gentlemen, hacks the bed in two. The Dark Jedi Force-leap and fight a bit. “Truly, if you were Sith, would this contest not be over?” Fooky Yodas. Enraged, SithGrrl swings wildly at him. She even takes down his tasteful sculpture. Fooky resourcefully traps her lightsabers on a piece of the sculpture, then Force summons the handles and cuts them in two. He puts his saber to her neck and they get all Luke and Vader in Bespin, then Fooky calls in a Hologram of Chancellor Palpatine–oops, I mean Darth Sidious–who was watching. “The child’s skill with a lightsaber are (sic) most impressive,” Darth Sidious says. There’s introductions all round. SithGrrl’s job to kill Anakin. “Jedi. Their order is a fading light in the dark,” SithGrrl growls. Darth Sidious ignores her and walks away. As a “Welcome to the evil club!” present, County Fooky replaces her broken lightsabers with EVIL RED ONES.

[Digression: I just want to say that this evil Sith apprentice thing is stupid. Evil little Dark Force users pop up all the time in fan fic, like bunnies, and it just doesn't make sense in light of what Yoda says in The Phantom Menace. What part of "Only two there are, a master and an apprentice" do you not understand? Maybe Lucas shouldn't have written it, but he did, and it's cannon. Nothing can change that now. :(]

As SithGrrl flies away, County Fooky reassures his boss that SithGrrl can beat Anakin. Darth Sidious is all, “Yo, fool, you think I care?”

Ch. 8

On Muunilist, Obi-Wan is presiding over the battle. The STUPID LANCERS have been successful in destroying the guns. Obi-Wan’s eyes narrow. “Mount up,” he growls. Sternly.

Meanwhile, the STUPID LANCERS continue to blow up tanks by just tapping them with the STUPID LANCES. Suddenly they are counterattacked by a clone devision of STUPID LANCERS. The head STUPID LANCER wears a brown coat, so we know it’s Obi-Wan. In total clonetrooper armor. Whatever. The Hulk and his robot men charge. The STUPID CLONE LANCERS lower their STUPID LANCES. Then they joust.

Oh, please. Make it stop.

The Hulk and Obi-Wan see each other and charge. The Hulk knocks Obi-Wan’s helmet off, revealing adorable blue eyes and long, flowing auburn hair. And stern, clenched teeth and stern angry eyebrows. Obi-Wan thinks, “Forget this STUPID LANCE crap,” and pulls out his lightsaber. He chops the Hulk’s STUPID LANCE in half and explodes his speeder. Thank goodness. The Hulk rises from the fire like the Terminator, and flips Obi-Wan into the air. Obi-Wan turns the momentum of his flight to his advantage and lands neatly on his feet. Slice slice stab. Obi-Wan’s lightsaber goes through-and-through the Hulk’s chest. The Hulk just stands there. Long pause.

The Hulk begins laughing. Obi-Wan is confused. The Hulk punches Obi-Wan in the face, ignoring the lightsaber still stuck in his chest. He beats Obi-Wan up, then shoots little pellets at him. Obi-Wan deflects them with the Force. The Hulk shoots fire. Obi-Wan deflects that too, then uses the Force to mess the fire-gun up. He summons the lightsaber, and the Hulk conjures up these Elbow Lightsaber Shields. Fight fighty fight, then Obi-Wan cuts off the Hulk’s arm and severs his chest in twain. Obi-Wan leaps onto a speeder to head back to HQ, and as he drives away, the flesh of the Hulk’s severed arm grows tentacles and knits itself back together again. DUN! So, once again Obi-Wan forgets/will forget to check to see if the guy who he just chopped up is really dead or not.

Ch. 9

There’s some really cool stuff of Kenobi on the speeder bike. I won’t say much about it except that apparently Jedi can use the Force to fly. At the HQ, the ARC commander tells Obi-Wan they’re ready. “Let’s end this battle, Commander,” Obi-Wan says, doing the Aragorn maneuver.

The ARC troopers blow open the ceiling to the Banking Clan’s HQ, and repel down, looking like Team America. They shoot the battle droids. Obi-Wan jumps through the roof and takes out the droidekas (destroyer droids). For some reason the droids do not have shield generators. Head Banker pleads for his life. “That is entirely up to you and your unconditional surrender,” Obi-Wan says sternly. What I wouldn’t give to see him smile.

He hears something and turns on his lightsaber. The Hulk jetpacks through a window at them. The clonetroopers fire at him, explode him, and frickin’ bazooka him for good measure. “Control room secure, General,” says the ARC commander. Obi-Wan isn’t sure, because he already killed the thing once. Everybody stares at the smoky pit where the Hulk used to be. Suddenly this arm of, like, pure muscle appears and starts smacking troopers around. The muscles extend themselves like Elastigirl’s. Obi-Wan chops his arm, but it just makes the Hulk angry. Obi-Wan and the Hulk Jedi-Fu on the holo table, until the Hulk breaks it. The ARC troopers shoot the Hulk with grappling hooks and slide toward him, firing away. He evades them with the incredibly clever response of moving his arms, disturbing the rappeling lines. The ARC troopers fall. The Hulk’s muscles somehow consume Obi-Wan, who drops his saber. Silence.

The ARC commander shoots this little wire at the Hulk and electrocutes him. It’s really funny in an undescribable way. The Hulk sends the electricity back at him somehow and is about to destroy the commander when he blows up from the inside, a la Men in Black and Hellboy. And according to the fannon story of what happens to the Sarlacc.

Obi-Wan stands in the Hulk’s entrails, covered in slime. He and the ARC commander share a moment, and Obi-Wan actually smiles. Obi-Wan returns to the banker, who whimps out and surrenders. Because he is a cowardly banker. General Kenobi contemplates the helmet of the fallen Hulk as the music of “He’s Not Quite Dead!” plays.

Ch. 10

The space battle rages. There’s some very impressive artwork of the layers of explosions. Anakin, predictably, is flying impressively but being a terrible commander–focusing on taking out individual targets rather than leading his squadrons. The clone Gold Leader is blown up. Anakin is all, “Y’all sit back and do nothing while I try to take out a flight of droid ships myself!” Anakin blows up a lightsaber-shaped ship via the nonsensical “I’ll fly into their hangar!” trick. A pre-Star Destroyer takes out another lightsaber ship via more traditional means. It’s more complicated than this, but it’s hard to describe truly three-dimensional space battles on paper.

All the gun ships are destroyed. It appears the battle is won. Then an entire squadron explodes at once. A rogue fighter! But not part of the Rogue Squadron, unfortunately. “Mop up the fighters as planned,” Anakin radios. “This one’s mine.” His eyebrows narrow. He means business.

Ch. 11

Anakin and the Rogue play space chicken. Anakin wins. Then they fly around and fight. Finally Anakin has the Rogue on his scope, and says, “I have you now,” which warms my geeky heart. But the Rogue avoids the blaster bolts. Anakin snits, “This is no droid pilot.” He chases the Rogue planet-side and blows up some buildings trying to shoot it.

At the Clone HQ, Obi-Wan hears the explosions. “What was that?” he asks. The rogue ship parts his hair. “That’s not one of ours,” he deadpans. Vrrooom! A second ship. “That was Anakin!” He exclaims.

He comm-links Anakin. Anakin insists he has it “under control,” as he nearly shoots Obi-Wan. “You’re supposed to be in space leading our forces,” Obi-Wan says. That’s what I’ve been saying. Obi-Wan and Anakin bicker. Obi-Wan tells Anakin to forget the Rogue. “Master, this is no droid pilot,” Anakin says, as we cut to the cockpit of the Rogue, revealing SithGrrl. “And the Force is with HIM,” Anakin adds. “I can’t let HIM get away!” The Rogue exits the Muunilist atmosphere and prepares to jump to hyperspace. At least that’s what Anakin’s R4 says. I have no idea how the R4 manages to divine the coordinates that the Rogue is headed to, but whatever. Obi-Wan orders Anakin to not follow that ship, under any circumstances. “Sorry, sir. Your signal is breaking up,” Anakin snits, and turns his comm-link off. Hee. The Rogue and Anakin make the jump.

Obi-Wan scowls sternly and send the ARC troopers after Anakin, as backup. “I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” Obi-Wan mutters.

Ch. 12

On some planet that looks like Holland, a little kid runs up a hill and goggles. Behind the hill a huge battle is raging between droids and clones. Starring in the battle is Mace Windu, who takes down Super Battle Droid after Super Battle Droid with aplomb. Remember how Anakin described Obi-Wan as “as powerful as Master Windu”? That’s a huge complement to Obi-Wan.

The droid army stops fighting abruptly. Mace and the clone troopers just stare at them, instead of shooting them. Morons. A huge ship flies slowly overhead, and stomps on the ground, creating kind of a mini-earthquake/meteor impact. Windu rides out the shock wave, but most of the troopers do not. The ship stamps again. It’s a really bizarre weapon. This time Mace is knocked off his feet, but it only makes him mad.

Ch. 13

So mad that he takes down a battalion of Super Battle Droids with his bare hands. The ship stomps its foot in frustration. Mace retaliates by taking down more Super Battle Droids using just the Force. The ship stomps again. Mace reclaims his lightsaber, cuts himself into the ship, and blows stuff up. The ship goes kablooey. Mace Force-flies onto the hill that the kid is standing on.

The kid looks at this tall black bald Jedi with torn clothes and a purple lightsaber, and doesn’t run away screaming. He gives the Jedi a little water. Or perhaps Gatorade. The kid looks at his jug, like, “This has Jedi saliva on it! I will never wash it!” Mace thanks him by knocking his hat off as he Force-flies back to the battle field.

Ch. 14

A probe droid lands on a snowy planet and scans the surrounding area. Can you say, “the empire strikes back”? It locates a cathedral-like opening of a cave, and skitters off on its spidery legs.

Inside the cave, an absolutely beautiful scene that should be in the prequels is taking place. A Padawan is constructing her lightsaber with the Force as her master recites Jedi dogma. Specifically, crystal : lightsaber :: heart : Jedi. Jedi : Force :: crystal : lightsaber. Force : heart :: lightsaber : Jedi. The construction of the lightsaber disturbs me, because it looks like it can come apart in four pieces, plus the crystal. And is it really necessary to Force-float the pieces together? I remember a detail from Empire of the Sun, my favorite Star Wars novel, about Luke constructing his second lightsaber in the ruins of Ben Kenobi’s house on Tatooine, using supplies he found there. He was so worried the damn thing would explode.

The apprentice, Barris Offee, thanks her master, Luminara. Shouldn’t she call her “mistress”? Whatever. They’re actually inside the crystal mine. “Barris Offee, your training is complete,” says Luminara, bowing. Then she gets a whiff of a Force disturbance. “Something trespasses on sacred ground. The temple is breached!” she snarls, unfurling her lightsaber. I’ll pretend that the Jedi Temple wasn’t on Coruscant during The Revenge of the Sith, and wasn’t used in an entirely different capacity.

The spidery probe droids are planting timed explosives. It looks like they’re laying eggs. They see the Jedi coming and disappear. Powers of invisibility make no sense in the Star Wars universe. The closest thing to them would be a cloaking device. Anyway. Barriss Offee is all, I can sense a presence! A droid presence? You can sense droids through the Force?

Anyway, the stupid spidery droids turn visible again before they attack the Jedi, because they are confused about the definition of the element of surprise. Synchronized Jedi fu ensues.

The explosives go off and the debris fall on the Jedi. The women use the Force to hold the rocks in the air. Barris Offee is straining with her hands in the air, her eyes closed, when she sees her master (or former master) is kneeling and meditating. Barris drops to her knees and begins to meditate as well. Aww. Brings to mind the Maul/Qui-Gon battle from Phantom Menace.

Ch. 15

Shiny ship in Hyperspace. Yoda has Force indigestion. “To Ilum we must go,” he growls.

“Absolutely not,” snaps Senator Amidala’s one-eyed personal security imp, Captain Typho. I hate Typho for many reasons. First of all, he’s a stick in the mud worse than Obi-Wan Kenobi. Secondly, he reminds me of the boring bits of Phantom Menace. The Queen-ignores-her-security-people-because-she-wants-to-have-a-“normal”-life-which-is-something-she-should-have-thought-of-when-she-signed-up-to-be-queen-so-I-don’t-feel-sorry-for-her bits. Thirdly, he stole Tycho Celchu’s name.

Anyway, Yoda wants to go to Ilum to rescue the Jedi from chapter 14. Typho, reasonably, doesn’t want to put the Senator’s life in danger. So Yoda egregiously violates the Jedi code of ethics by putting the Jedi-mind-rape on Typho. Padme laughs at the encroachment of her security detail’s brain, and acquiesces to Yoda. Typho is perplexed. The only thing I like about this scene is that it confirms that Typho is weak-minded.

Threepio complains to Artoo that Ilum “is on the other side of the system!” Whatever that means. Artoo beeps rudely at him.

So, anyway, they land on snowy Ilum, and Padme doesn’t want Yoda to go out alone, and I’m getting kind of bored. Padme, wearing a white fur-lined cloak and hood with pom-poms, no joke, somehow thinks that she can keep the little greenie meanie from getting hurt. I guess she’s never seen the end of Attack of the Clones. He tells her to lay off. She looks sad. Yoda stares, horrified, at her pom-poms, then comforts her by saying, “Call you I will if assistance I require.” I’ve said it before, I love how considerate Yoda is. Padme perks up under the illusion that she’s needed.

Yoda broods on a snowy hill overlooking the Jedi temple, and is attacked by the invisible robots. Yoda-fu ensues. Yoda defeats them by causing an avalanche with the Force. He trots into the Temple and starts Force-shifting boulders about, but we don’t see if Barris Offee and Luminara are squashed flat as pancakes or not.

Ch. 16

Back at the ship, Padme says, “I have a bad feeling about this.” Shut up, Padme. Padme says she shouldn’t have let Yoda go. Typho reasonably points out that Yoda is a Jedi master. More reassurance from Threepio and Artoo. Typho goes aboard the ship to try to fix some “low-band interference,” whatever that is.

Padme asks R2 if his sensors are affected by the cold, and he, through Threepio, claims that they aren’t. But what about Empire Strikes Back? Whatever. So Padme decides to sneak off without telling anyone. Moron. No wonder she’s always being assassinated.

She is promptly attacked by the InvisiDroids. She happily decides to sacrifice her hideous fur-lined pom-pom cloak for the greater good. Then she decides she could spare Threepio too, and sends him out in the InvisiDroid’s range. The InvisiDroids stupidly appear. Padme throws a grenade at them, and it somehow doesn’t blow Threepio up. Pity. Even worse, the hideous cloak survives.

And that’s all the Padme-fu there is.

Yoda and the Jedi women show up. The women look at Padme like she’s a huge goober. Yoda is sad because the Jedi’s top secret temple facility was nearly destroyed. “But by who [sic] I know not.” R2 somehow hacks into a spider-droid’s head and finds a message of the former Jedi, County Fooky, ordering the attack. Yoda’s eyes narrow. “[Fooky],” he growls.

Ch. 17

Anakin arrives at Yavin IV, the moon that hosted both the hidden Rebel base in A New Hope, and will eventually host Luke’s new age Jedi Academy. Anakin’s R4 droid find the approximate landing spot of SithGrrl, and Anakin strolls off to find her on foot.

Anakin looks through the dense jungle, but is startled by the noise of a ship landing. It’s the troopers that Obi-Wan sent after Anakin. Remember how I said they were ARC troopers? Well, scratch that. They’re regular Clone Troopers, so they should be killed in about fifty seconds. Anakin, upon hearing that Obi-Wan sent him back-up, pouts and narrows his eyes. “Fine!” he sulks. He sends them to sweep the jungle.

The red shirt Troopers split up, and of course are attacked by a disembodied entity which kills them all. None of them think to radio the others. After all his troops are slaughtered, Anakin gets the whiff of a Force-stink. “Something’s not right. I can feel it.” What finely tuned senses you have. Anakin hears the very last trooper screaming in pain. He runs back to the clearing where the ships are parked. The trooper lies groaning under the Trooper transport. “Trooper, are you all right? What happened?” Anakin asks. The Trooper replies by dying in the explosion that engulfs the Transport. Anakin yells at his droid, but his fighter blows up, too. Anakin looks horrified at the severed dome of the R4.

SithGrrl walks through the fire. Anakin glares at her. “I’m going to make you pay for what you’ve done,” he says. Nobody messes with his R4! “Come, Padawan,” SithGrrl growls. “Your fall will be my ascension to the Sith.” Gauntlets thus thrown down, they fight.

Ch. 18

SithGrrl and Anakin fight until SithGrrl loses her lightsaber. She jumps into the forest canopy. Jedi-fu becomes tree-fu. They fight til they reach the ancient temples, and SithGrrl Force-smacks Anakin a good one. She poses with her two EVIL RED BLADES. Anakin poses with his good, blue blade. It begins to rain.

Ch. 19

The lightsabers steam in the rain. The two opponents look at each other.

Anakin attacks, and knocks SithGrrl into an ancient temple. They stalk each other through the dark. SithGrrl tries to sucker-slice Anakin, but he fights back, gains the advantage, and chases her out of the temple, on to the top of on the Mayan pyramids. Or what looks like a Mayan pyramid. Anakin loses his lightsabers, but calls on the Dark Side, breaks one of SithGrrl’s wrists, grabs the EVIL RED BLADE and hits her as the visages of Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, and Yoda flash on the screen. The cartoon version of Qui-Gon looks hilarious. Sad-eyed, of course. Obi-Wan looks stern and horrified. The cliff crumbles under SithGrrl and she falls to her supposed death.

Anakin watches her fall, holding the EVIL RED BLADE. He screams. His scream echoes. He tosses the EVIL RED BLADE after SithGrrl. Drama queen.

Ch. 20

On Muunilist, Jedi Master Wolverine is battling the droids. The droids abruptly freeze. “The I.G. Banking Clan has surrendered,” Obi-Wan P.A.s “The day is ours. The Republic is victorious!” The clones cheer.

The cowardly bankers are loaded on a ship.

Obi-Wan watches from Cloner HQ. His hair looks shiny and silky, no doubt conditioned by the Hulk’s digestive juices. The ARC commander tells him the Rogue fighter Anakin chased is back. “Hold your fire, Captain,” Obi-Wan says, sensing Anakin’s presence. Tension supposedly builds as the fighter lands, then Anakin pops out of the thing.

Anakin approaches his Jedi master. “Hug, you two, hug!” I yell. Instead Anakin hangs his head and admits that the Rogue was luring him into a trap. “But I emerged victorious!” Anakin adds. Except for all the clone troopers that got killed. Instead of congratulating Anakin, Obi-Wan lectures him. He’s interrupted by his pager beeping. Some hapless Jedi guy requests assistance on planet Hypori. “Our forces are totally destroyed! General Grievous is hunting us!” he says. The transmision ends abruptly.

On Hypori, the commlink falls from the hapless Jedi’s hands.

A bunch of Super Battle Droids are attacking a graveyard of fallen Republic ships. They stop attacking in unison. Their white-clad general raises his hand.

Inside the wreckage, six Jedi sit around, very freaked out. The silence unnerves them. “Never have we been outmaneuvered by droids,” a female Jedi with Twi’lek-like horns worries. “His strategy is without flaw. “Focus. We are Jedi,” counsels a Jedi Master, one of the guys on the Council, I think. Or he was in Attack of the Clones. Everyone perks up a bit.

“Jedi!” sneers a metallic voice. The Jedi draw their sabers. The disembodied voice, General Grievous’s, tells the Jedi to pray to their Force god, or whatever, because he’s going to kill them. No one can see him, but they hear his droid motor running. A human Jedi Padawan, who resembles Shaggy, is freaking out. Tension builds. Shaggy screams and runs out of the downed ship. He is promptly squashed by General Grievous. The General attacks them with two lightsabers, that he spins like propellers on an airplane. He quickly and efficiently kills the Jedi. Scene.

Yoda feels the disturbance in the Force. He uses the “coming-storm” metaphor from the end of Terminator. On that (derivative) note, we end.
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