April 24, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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The Clone Wars “Destroy Malevolence”

Anikin and Obi-Wan's pursuit of General Grievous takes an expected turn when Grievous captures Padme.

Well, that was disappointing.  Two clever episode titles in a row playing off the name of the Separatist superweapon, and “Destroy Malevolence” was the best they could do for the third?  Bah!

Regardless, this is the third and final episode from the Malevolence storyline, and the series is still in basic “kid friendly, Saturday morning cartoon” mode.  That means basic morality and a lesson learned here or there.  The animation is still a bit rough, and about all I know is it will get better.  There’s no happy ending to the Clone Wars, after all.  It’s not as kid friendly as it appears to be if you stop to think about some of the things that happen.

That said, this episode takes a different route when Padme (with C-3PO, still voiced by Anthony Daniels, along for the ride) just happens to show up at the site of the battle in a way where Grievous can take her small ship hostage, preventing the Jedi from finishing Grievous’s ship off…from the outside at least.  The Malevolence dwarfs three Republic cruisers in pursuit as it is, and it turns out there are running trains inside the Separatist ship.  That makes it seem unlikely that Anikin, Obi-Wan, and R2 can find anyone once they sneak on board, but they do because…I dunno.  The Force maybe?

It does seem to be the case that the only reason Padme was out there anyway was because Palpatine lied to her about something happening in the area that she needed to attend to.

Anyway, there is one thing that The Clone Wars did better than the live action movies that inspired it:  the relationships between Anikin Skywalker and both Obi-Wan and Padme.  I like Natalie Portman, and Hayden Christensen has actually acquitted himself well in his re-appearances in the franchise, but those two had no real romantic chemistry.

By the by, wanna feel old?  Both of those actors are as of this typing 42 years old.  I remember seeing Portman in her first movie at the age of 12 or so…

Regardless, much of that lack of chemistry I would chalk up to George Lucas maybe not knowing how to write a romantic scene between those two and then directing it.  I suppose there are ways to deliver his dialogue in a manner that actually is romantic, but that sure wasn’t on display in those movies.  Factor in as well how both seemed rather wooden in their portrayals, something I am sure Lucas pushed for, and what there is is, well, a whole lot of his looking kinda creepy and her just, I dunno, liking that.

But then there’s The Clone Wars.  Voice actor Matt Lanter makes Anikin seem like someone that people would want as a friend, and his camaraderie  with James Arnold Taylor’s Obi-Wan works.  I like the big brother vibe he gives off when dealing with Ashley Eckstein’s Ahsoka.  Plus, there seems to be genuine concern in his voice when he talks about Padme, with Catherine Taber giving the Senator a similar vibe.  Like, between that and the way the episode plays out where they make an effective team to take down the Malevolence while Obi-Wan, cocky as ever, deals with Grievous, really works.

Like, they’re all acting like people who actually care about each other.

The movies could have used a bit more of that.

Plus, this episode has R2 and 3PO meeting up for some basic comedy.  It’s not the best humor I’ve ever seen involving those two, but they do have chemistry even if only one of them has a human voice speaking the lines.  Plus, 3PO seems to be much more durable than the average battle droid considering what happens to him in this episode.

In the end, the Malevolence goes boom, Grievous gets away, and the good guys all get to go home and celebrate.