Thursday, November 12, 2009

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season One Explodes Onto DVD and Blu-ray

I’m always surprised when I run into a Star Wars fan that isn’t watching Star Wars: The Clone Wars, but I certainly don’t blame them for being skeptical. When the feature-length premiere was released theatrically in August of 2008, it was thoroughly savaged by audiences and critics (myself included) for its bizarrely stylized character designs, awkward pacing and poor attempts at humor. When that movie opened, as Obi-Wan Kenobi might say, it was as if millions of geeks suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

But then the television series debuted on Cartoon Network that fall, and it started off pretty good. Then it got really good. Today, as its second season rolls on, it might be one of the best pure action-adventure shows on television.

So, yeah, it’s worth checking out.

While smaller compilations of Clone Wars episodes have been released in the past, Star Wars: The Clone Wars - The Complete Season One, now available, collects all 22 episodes in a single set, including seven director’s cuts as well as companion featurettes for each installment. The set is also packaged with an exclusive 68-page production journal. Exclusive to the Blu-ray set is an interactive Jedi Temple Holocron Vault with more than three hours of additional content.

Since this set hit shelves, I’ve gotten the chance to re-watch each of these episodes, many of which I haven’t seen since they originally aired. Save for a few misfires—namely the Jar Jar Binks-centric “Bombad Jedi”—this entire season holds up incredibly well, particularly the later episodes. The Clone Wars has also introduced some pretty cool new characters, namely plucky teenage Padawan Ahsoka Tano and the sinister bounty hunter Cad Bane, who made his debut in the incredible season finale, “Hostage Crisis,” my favorite episode thus far.

Supervising director Dave Filoni and his team should be congratulated for crafting a show for young audiences while at the same time appeasing longtime fans of the franchise. If you love Star Wars, you pretty much need to own this set.

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