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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - November, 2010

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"Star Wars - The Clone Wars, Season 2" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Eberle

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Synopsis

This account of the Clone Wars takes place between Episodes 2 and 3 in the movie trilogy.  Anakin Skywalker (Lanter) and his padawan, Ahsoka Tano (Eckstein) along with Obi-Wan Kenobi (Taylor) battle the evil Separatists to save the long-standing Republic.  Through 22 serialized episodes we see the forces of darkness represented by a shifty bounty hunter, a mind-controlling Queen, a monstrous alien creature and even a young Boba Fett seeking revenge for his father’s death.  The Jedi have their hands full fighting enemies of the republic all the while trying to restore order to the hundreds of peaceful worlds caught in the conflict.

Specifications

  • Lucasfilm
  • 2010, Color, Not Rated, 8 Hr 14 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec:  Not Specified
  • English:  Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Starring:  Matt Lanter, James Arnold Taylor, Matthew Wood, Ashley Eckstein
    Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: No
  • Language: No

Commentary

I admit I’m a big Star Wars fan and yes, I do think the original movies from the seventies and eighties are the best.  I’ll still watch anything from the franchise though and I have yet to be disappointed.  When Cartoon Network premiered this series, I didn’t have their feed on my cable system in high-def so I bought the discs for Season One.  I was thoroughly entertained and buying Season Two was a no-brainer.  All the voice-acting is done superbly and the animation quality is first-rate.  It’s not quite on Pixar’s level but it’s still quite excellent.  The storylines are engaging and fun and will appeal to a wide variety of fans both young and old.  Since it’s only a little more than eight hours of material, you can watch the entire season in just a few sittings.  I like watching four or five episodes at a time for that classic serial feel.  If you’re even a casual fan of anything Star Wars, you’ll no doubt enjoy this show.

Technical

Image quality is superb and among the very best CGI animation has to offer. Rich color and detailed textures are what this show is all about.  The picture is razor sharp at all times and really pops from the screen.  Dark scenes are equally excellent with great shadow detail and consistent black levels.  Most animation tends toward the bright and bold but Clone Wars presents a nice mix of image dynamics.  You can enjoy this show equally on a television or in a theater presentation.  Even though it was created for TV, the aspect ratio is 2.35:1 cinemascope, very cool.

Audio is merely average mainly due to the inexplicable decision to include only a compressed Dolby Digital soundtrack.  These Blu-rays are excellent in every other respect so I can’t imagine why Lucasfilm would not deliver a lossless codec.  The sound quality is certainly clean and clear but dynamics and detail could be far better.  The sub and surrounds won’t have much work to do as the majority of the audio comes from the front.  Dialog is clear and well-placed.  The music maintains the feel of John Williams’ iconic score even though it’s penned by others, well done.

Extras

Bonus features are a bit thin but the included art book somewhat makes up for it.  On disc there are four featurettes with cast and crew interviews and a database of concept artwork.  The included book is a production journal with 68 pages of original sketches and artist notes.