Star Wars Rebels- Mind Games

Surprising Revelation Leads to Confrontation

 

If you were looking for an episode that rivaled some of the Clone Wars best episodes I think you found it tonights with Rise of the Old Masters. The remarkable thing is that it took the Clone Wars a couple of years to produces something like this while Rebels has done it in no less than three episodes. But before we jump straight into the fray with the episode I want to discuss a very exciting addition to the Spark of the Rebellion episode that aired on Sunday night on ABC. For those of you that missed it, audiences were treated to an expanded opening scene that featured Darth Vader himself, in fine form.  This nugget of a scene was voiced by original Darth Vader James Earl Jones and we saw the same life-choking ambition that we grew so fond of in A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. He was powerful, short and distinct, and all he wanted to do was end our heroes. Wonderful!!

Turning our attention back to the episode we find Ezra and Kanan embarking on some early Jedi training that is not going well. The dynamic of teacher and master is slowly being explored and both are struggling with their new found roles.  The bantering between the two highlights this struggle but also illustrates the relationships evolution. Questioning Yoda’s “Do, or do not. There is no try” teachings brings a highpoint to this discussion and also show the series isn't afraid to make fun of itself.  One of the drivers in their relationship is the fact that Ezra is near the same age that Kanan was when the Jedi were terminated at the hands of the Emperor.  At this time, everything Kanan had known was suddenly gone and the only thing that was left was doubt and fear.  It took Kanan over a decade to come to terms with this seeing this fear in someone in a similar position has been overwhelming and often times frustrating. The roller coaster of emotion only gets worse as an intercepted transmission reveals startling information that Jedi Master Luminara was still alive, and being held in one of the Empires Strongholds.  An obviously shaken Kanan leads the gang on an immediate trip to rescue her despite the overwhelming odds. One thing that catches Ezra off-guard is Kanan mentioning the fact that if they can rescue her, she would be an ideal Master to continue his training.  

Finally arriving to the planet we get out first look at the Phantom, the mini-shuttle that is attached to Hera’s ship “The Ghost”.  (These little items really make fans excited, sorry). Once dropped on the side of the fortress the team goes to some make-shift strategies to get into the compound. We begin to see Kanan's Jedi powers used a lot on this trip making us wonder how extensive his training may have been.  He and Ezra finally find the cell the Luminara was being held only to be dumfounded with what they find (and very sad). From here the Inquisitor enters the cell with a demeanor that is as intimidating as his look. Although he is not a sith, we find him very effective with his lightsaber, so much that he makes battling Kanan look simple, and answers our questions about his training. His spinning blade steals the show and makes both Ezra and Zeb ask “Does yours do that?” Adding some perfectly timed comedy within the heat of the battle. As our heroes escape the viewers can’t help notice the amazing nostalgic visuals that the series bring. The inside of the Compound has a very strong resemblance to the Death Star and the blast doors bring back the visions of Han and Luke trying to escape.

In the end of the episode we find a quiet moment with Ezra and Kanan coming to the realization that they both have some maturing to do in their roles of apprentice and student. The bleak past they once shared is that, of the past, and they must now work together to succeed.

Overall this episode was captivating from beginning to end. The Jedi plot twist made the story especially strong and getting a first look at The Inquisitor was thrilling. I also appreciated the humorous interludes that infuse the dynamics of the characters. As they continue to build out a solid story arc I have a strong feeling we will see more past, current and future (Episode IV) characters to keep us highly entertained!! What did you think of the Episode??

Previous Review- Star Wars Rebels: The Lighter Side

Star Wars Rebels: Two for Two

Nostalgic Tone Makes Fledgling Series Shine

DisneyXD premiered its first regular episode of Star Wars Rebels tonight and it took us on a journey that was filled with past references that would make any Star Wars fan excited. We have long come to appreciate the way Dave Filoni's and team have interwoven story lines but tonight gave us a glimpse of the depth these stories will go. I for one was the kid in 1990 visiting Disneyland who rode Star Tours 32 times in a row and had my trusted video camera taping every second of it. So when the Rebels gang begins their mission on a StarSpeeder piloted by a Captain Rex (or a similar model) nostalgia set in. I never thought I’d see my childhood buddy again (accept of corse for in the packaged box in the queue of Star Tours). With this incredible addition, the audience was immediately connected to the episode. On top of this, we are reunited with out favorite two droids R2-D2 and C-3PO. In this world they didn't skip a beat,  the 2 droids, as usual, are a part of an undercover mission that Threepio hasn't a clue and fight every step of the way. This leads to an exciting ploy by the team to steal weapons from an Imperial Commander that hits a few bumps on the way.  When all is about to go horribly wrong Ezra taps into an unknown resource and saves the day. 

This episode, like the Spark of the Rebellion movie, has a basic premise but it is filled with nuggets of important information about the characters and story. We get an opportunity to dig deep into Zebs past and learn about his species downfall at the hands of the Empire. His history alone links his alliance with the Rebel cause. The core of this emotion nearly gets him killed at the hands of Agent Kallus who shows his superior fighting skills and reason for being so feared. He will be a handful for the Rebels as they spread the spark throughout the galaxy. But alas, in another stellar ending, we see a familiar face, along with one of our favorite vessels get their first air time. Senator Organa makes his debut and steals the show with a few pivotal revelations. If you haven't seen it you really need to. Where the story goes from here is anyones guess but the links to the original trilogy are strong and gives me reason to pull out those old VHS tapes again and go with Rex on his first flight again, and again, and again.

What did you think? Was this ending as good as the Spark of the Rebellion ending? Let us know.

In Case You Missed It- October 11, 2014

"IN CASE YOU MISSED IT" IS A WEEKLY RECAP OF THE TOP DISNEY COMPANY NEWS ITEMS DETERMINED BY MORTOWN MAGIC

 

  • Walt Disney Studios premiers the teaser trailer for Tomorrowland. Brad Bird’s (The Incredibles) adventure into the great unknown starring George Clooney, Britt Robertson and Hugh Laurie. Entertainment Weekly also releases the first images and story details giving fans fragments of what the feel and look of the story may be. Disney diehards interest in this movie are high due to the fact Walt Disney, and his ideas and vision, are an integral part of the story. George Clooney also made a surprise appearance at NYCC Tomorrowland panel this week and wowed the crowd. Begs the question that if the movie gets some legs if it may be a blueprint to Disneyland’s own Tomorrowland and it’s much needed makeover.

  • Disneyland Paris get a significant 1.3 billion dollar bailout from the Walt Disney Co. making them the much needed majority shareholder. This news brings a smile to many who have suffered through the parks questionable upkeep. Disney can now move forward to getting this park into the condition it deserves. It also has analyst smiling because with the Euro being so week, an economic uptick could mean a significant win for Disney.
  • Darth Vader is back!!! Lucasfilm announces the airing of the Star Wars Rebels movie; Spark of the Rebellion airing on ABC. But…a special scene will be inserted giving us a glimpse of the legendary villain himself. If that wasn't news enough to bring a grown man to his knees, the scene is being voiced by Vader original James Earl Jones. If anyone questioned Disney’s ability to handle the Star Wars universe, they are showing they know how….by letting Lucasfilm do what they are good at!

 

  • Spider-Man joining the Avengers?? This is the latest Sony rumor that hit the net hard this week. We all know Spidey has had his own fun with the gang in the comic books but it looks like there are indications he may do so in the cinematic universe as well. We can all hope that Sony and Disney come up with some kind of deal to make this happen. This could be another feather in the cap of Bob Iger if he can pull this one out of his hat.  
  • Big Hero 6 releases another full trailer and it looks like Disney has done it again. The trailer shows the same emotion that has drawn us in with their last few animated features (Frozen, Tangled, Reck it Ralph) and is transfused to an eclectic group that centers around a puffy robot named Bay Max. The mystery of the storyline still remains but it should be a fun ride.

  • Disneyland Park finishes some upgrades to the iconic Sleeping Beaty Castle. These upgrades include new railing along the drawbridge walkway and a much needed upgrade to the fence that had parents sprinting as children approached the wide open gap. All it takes is one fall folks….

    Honorable Mention: Disney Studios released Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day this week and it turns out to be a good movie for all ages. Steve Carrell and Jennifer Garner keep the adults entertained with a story that hits close to home, while kids will find one of the characters to relate to. I recommend it for a lazy weekend flick.

Did we miss anything? Let us know.

Rebels Off and Running- Episode 1

Animated Star Wars Linch-Pin Fails to Disappoint

Breath your sigh of relief Star Wars fans, the formula from Clone Wars is still intact. Take some time to salute Pixar and Marvel for paving such lucrative paths for Disney to trust in this first Star Wars installment. The freedom Lucasfilm had to utilize Dave Filoni and bring-in Simon Kinberg to maintain the beloved trend Clone Wars started seemed to have worked..so far. The result has brought us an exciting kick-off to the season premier of Star Wars Rebels, and with that, comes new stories and characters that will attempt to mesh within the Star Wars universe. 

I find it interesting, and encouraging, that not too much was crammed into this first episode. The mere fact that a simple search and rescue mission wove so well into the overall story is a good sign of things to come. In doing this, the audience could get to know the characters, and tag along with no serious obligation. Much like we did when Luke gazed into the dual suns of Tatooine, we were living within the episode. And despite the enormity of this particular mission, no one acknowledged what may be in store until two of our hero’s, Kanan and Hera, stumbled upon something special in the young Ezra.

The Galactic Navy also had a strong showing. The complete dominance of the galaxy is in full bloom and you have to appreciate how the Empire goes about its business. Seeing Star Destroyers and Tie Fighters within the atmosphere of a planet is quite exhilarating and something we have never seen before. Throw in the callous, Agent Callus, and we see what we have to look forward to. His battle helmet alone creates a must-have for Halloween. 

But it’s the final 2 minutes of the episode completely captivates the audience. We witness the never before seen transmission sent out at the end of Episode III by Obi-Wan Kenobi that brings the episode to a stirring conclusion. His message not only puts a cap on the episode but ultimately connects the entire Star Wars universe. His words are poignant, strong and defiant and can only be described as moving. But before we could get too nostalgic, we are sent back to the Star Destroyer to catch a glimpse of our new villain who may eventually end the run of our new heroes…..

Now don't get me wrong, there is a long way to go and there is a lot to prove until fans will be fully vested. But for now, let the doubt escape your mind and enjoy the ride. 

Let me know what you thought of the first episode. Was it what you expected?

Clone Wars: Essential

Animated Series a Must Watch as Universe Expands

For those of you who missed the Clone Wars animated series I have some advice….Watch it now!! And for those that have, let’s talk! Now I know that many of you probably had the same reaction I did when Lucasfilm announced an animated “Clone Wars” cartoon. But I promise you won’t be disappointed by this installment in the Star Wars franchise. It will restore your faith in a galaxy far far away and make you giddy for the next animated chapter. 

It took me three years to get over the scars left by the Episodes I through III, and a giant leap of faith to be willing to partake in this cartoon world. My Clone Wars indoctrination came in middle of season 3 - Yoda was leading a clone command unit into Toydaria, hoping to win the support of the king. Despite my obvious confusion about a mid-season storyline, I was impressed with the well developed plot, story, and emotion. The characters and story were given tremendous freedom. I quickly decided to wait until the series concluded to watch it all, starting at the beginning. When I finally caught up to season 3 I was well immersed in this refreshing world that had sparked my love for Star Wars.  The characters and themes I had always hoped to explore were there for me to enjoy. And now, finally, with season 6 officially under my belt, I have a one word review…..Incredible!

Now before I go any further I do want to note that yes, some of the episodes are campy and kid oriented. That’s totally fine by me.  C3PO and R2-D2’s adventures are welcome distractions to some of the harsher actions going on in the universe. And delving into Anakin’s experience during the turbulence of the clone wars -- watching his developing relationship with his own padawan Ashoka, seeing him identify with her doubts and insecurities . . . it almost helps me understand how that skilled podracer became the most heinous villain of all time. 

Almost.

What I did come to understand after watching the Clone Wars, is that it is the erosion of faith in the Jedi Council had everything to do in Anakin’s conversion to the Dark Side. And what caused this erosion you ask? A perfect synchrony of the Dark Side and the missteps of the Jedi council itself. Pieced together so brilliantly throughout the series. This was most apparent in way the Council handles his padawan, Ashoka Tano accusation of being a traitor.  Although the Jedi Council eventually comes around, Ashoka’s fate rattles Anakin to the core. It’s a heartbreaking moment for the future Darth Vader - he loses his student, his friend, and a relationship with the only person that understands him. This relationship ultimately serves as a linch-pin in a story, and the emotion, that the prequels seemed to miss.

Star Wars fans will love the in-depth look Clone Wars gives not only into Anakin’s journey, but from other stories including the mystery surrounding Darth Maul and the Death Watch resurrection, Asajj Ventress, to the cover-ups of the Jedi order.  The series lets us dive deep into multiple storylines that can exclude the main characters and give us perspective on a lesser known hero or villain. Each season bests the last and intertwines us into a spectacular season finally. We hope you’ll share your thoughts with us, and we hope you’ll join us in a few weeks as we undertake an episode by episode discussion of Lucasfilm’s latest offering, “Rebels.” With Clone Wars guru Dave Fittolli back in the driver’s seat, and with the Star Wars universe expanding, we’re thinking this new installment will be outstanding. And if you haven’t seen it……SEE IT NOW!!!!

Now tell me, what is your favorite season, and in that, what is the best season finale? I have my thoughts....