Zach’s Zany TV Binge Watchin’ Reviews: STAR WARS – THE CLONE WARS FINAL 7th SEASON (Ranking The Series As A Whole)

Happy May The 4th Everyone! This morning before heading to work I watched the 12th and final episode of Season 7 of STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS, which happens to be the final episode of the show…ever. If you are out of the loop, The Clone Wars began with an awful animated feature film in August 2008, proceeding by the actual television series which ran for 5 seasons between 2008 and 2013. Then the Disney merger happened and Clone Wars was cancelled, which led to a shortened Season 6 being released all at once on Netflix in 2014 (these were episodes that were finished before The Clone Wars was announced as being cancelled). Then somewhere in between all of this we got the animated Star Wars Rebels for four fabulous seasons, two awful animated seasons of Star Wars Resistance, we got comics, books, and other small releases trying to tie up some of the stories that The Clone Wars couldn’t finish, and then finally the announcement that Disney was letting creator Dave Filoni go back and do 12 more and final episodes of Clone Wars. They wanted to give the fans a wrap up to all the stories and go out on its own terms. They announced it I think a little over a year ago and that it would all debut on a weekly basis on Disney+. The season started back in February, and now here we are. The end. Was it a fantastic last season? No, but it had a perfect final four episodes, a perfect series finale, which more than made up for the so-so 8 episodes that came before (I’ll get to reasons why they were a little meh in a minute). I still prefer Rebels, but in the end, The Clone Wars animated television series was a billion times better than what the prequel movies had to offer and they actually made the prequel movies better if you can believe that. And the last four episodes made me want to go back and check out Revenge Of The Sith again. They are THAT epic.

Let’s get talking about the entirety of the series out of the way. Every Star Wars fan knows that the animated Clone Wars feature film and Season 1 are a slog to get through (they suck Jar Jar’s Balls to be precise), and those I would say are the only terrible things in all of the Clone Wars series. If we are talking all of animated Star Wars though…Resistance is definitely the worst thing ever. You could have a gun to my head and I’d pick the Clone Wars feature film every time than having to watch a even a minute of that “really” made for kids series. Even worse than the prequels. Just…just don’t ever watch that show. Starting with Season 2, the Clone Wars just keeps getting better and better in a roller coaster ride type fashion. The main interconnected stories that brought new characters, new mythology, and other new things we didn’t know about our favorite galaxy are masterful…and then there are the single episodes spread out here and there, that most likely either involved Jar Jar, Padme, C-3P0 and R2-D2, that were meant to cleanse the palate…they just being ho-hum forgettable side adventures. Your attention may linger a bit, but trust me, you only have to go through a handful of those spaced out in order to get to the juicy parts. You’ll know it when you see it, and you’ll feel it when you see it, but there is a “The Chosen One Prophecy” 3 episode arc in Season Three that is truly masterful storytelling (reason why season 3 is ranked low is because there isn’t that much that masterful in that season other than that arc). There really is no way to describe some of the fantastic and epic story telling, especially in 4, 5, and 6, (those will explain why Darth Maul just shows up in Solo: A Star Wars Story alive, so will Rebels) you just have to experience it for yourself in order to prove my stance that it makes the prequel movies better.

Now let’s get to season 7. In the latter half of its run, Clone Wars dedicated 3 to 5 episodes on one continuous main storytelling arc, which is why the latter seasons are ranked so high, is because they mostly got rid of the ridiculous one offs. If you look at my ranking after my review, the reason why Season 7 in kind of in the middle and not higher up, is because a. Anakin and especially Obi-Wan, are barely in any of the 12 episodes, b. The first 4 episodes tell the story of a “Bad Batch” of clones (not meaning they are bad guys, but defects that have some roguish type personalities and behaviors) and while the story is entertaining and well paced, if you are a true Star Wars fan, you’ve already seen all four episodes. Because at the time when Dave Filona and company didn’t think they were going to finish the series, these were the next batch of episodes that were going to be completely finished, animated, and aired, but they didn’t get time to finish them before they were shoved away from their work spaces. Thus on the blu-ray extras (and released on YouTube), those unpolished four episodes were already released. Granted these new ones are more watchable now that they have updated animation and special effects, are the story beats and dialogue are the same. Which kind of leads me to my hypothesis was that Dave Filoni pitched he really only needs to completely make 8 new episodes to wrap up the series, and save a whole shit load of money just by polishing these almost finished ones and releasing those into official canon. I mean, come one, there had to have been one catch as to why Disney granted them one last season. Cost cutting is always on the Mouse’s agenda.

The next batch of four episodes were original but they focused entirely on Ahsoka and what she did right after she left the Jedi order. Even though a novel that was released several years ago puts into perspective what she did with her time leading to her surprise appearance on Rebels. And while the story was at a break neck pace, and interesting as it ultimately had some ties to Solo: A Star Wars Story, it was ultimately a disappointed because I feel like we’ve seen that kind of story before. You know, the one where a loner befriends a group of people that don’t like her kind (Jedi) but they all come out alright in the end, even after figuring out her identity? Yeah, so not entirely original. But those 4 episodes are set up to the last 4, which are also Ahsoka centric, but also Darth Maul centric (finishing his unfinished storyline from Season 5 + the Son of Dathromir comics that tie that season and 7 together), and it also does the unthinkably bold. When everyone thought that when Clone Wars ended, it would end right up to the events of Revenge of the Sith, so that you can just pop in that movie to continue the adventure when you were done…nope, these last four episodes, EPIC, EPIC, episodes take place at the same time as Revenge of the Sith. I won’t reveal more much than that, but it fits in seamless with that movie, and the Ahsoka/Maul final duel in the second of the last four episodes are masterful. And the final episode’s final five minutes, with no dialogue, and a chilling yet required cameo, close out the series in epic style. So if you are a Star Wars fan, or you consider yourself to be one of high order, and you haven’t watched this series, then you really aren’t one of high order. But you could be. Anyway, the last season was pretty good, with a perfect final four episodes, and if the other 8 weren’t just recycled stories and had a little more umph to them the whole season would be higher, but I think you’ll agree in the middle is where it belongs. So if you haven’t started this series, but plan to, well…I hope you have some mythological discovery fun…and of course…May The Force Be With You.

All of Clone Wars Ranked:

  1. Season 5
  2. Season 6
  3. Season 4
  4. Season 7
  5. Season 2
  6. Season 3
  7. Season 1
  8. The Feature Film

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: STAR GIRL (Disney+)

“Where were you when amateur critic Zach Alexander put the first Disney+ original film in his worst list of the year?” is what you might be asking yourselves years from now…even amid this pandemic. Just kidding, no one gives a shit what I think, but eveb among this COVID-19 shit, I will remember that STAR GIRL is the first Disney + original film that I didn’t much care for. For people like me…you…you always remember your first. Here’s the thing, well…two fold: first, the movie isn’t that bad, I’m about to write a review after this one of a movie called Lost Girls on Netflix, which was way worse than this. Secondly, A lot of you will like this anyway, especially if you’ve read the beloved book, and at the same time, I’ve just seen this kind of movie too many times to care at this point. It’s another weird, awkward, yet very nice and inspiring person being accepted at a school in a small town movie. She says her name is Star Girl, and at first the school thinks she’s odd (except for a boy, who is our narrator and has a crush on her the entire time) and keeps her at a distance, some of her actions (like singing nice songs) makes the school conform and the school at one point after she starts going there breaks down social barriers where everyone is accepted by everyone and no one dislikes each other, get bullied etc. But that’s the middle of the movie, and you know there has got to be some kind of conflict for this thing to stretch out into an hour and 47 minutes (really only an hour and 37, fucking Disney+ is still stretching out their credits to no man’s land), so other stuff happens, but I won’t be that spoilery type person. Suffice to say, her star shines bright, but then it doesn’t.

It just takes a long time to get to some kind of plot. Over the half of the movie it is just this boy, telling the audience about his crush and admiration for this really weird chick that dresses different and acts different and doesn’t give a shit. And he wishes he could still be that way, because he used to be weird with his clothing choices (really only his dead father’s really large tie). And I kept wondering where the fuck the movie was going. And instead of showing it’s hand card by card, it just lays them out on the table right after halfway through the film, and it didn’t feel like any of the hard hitting social lessons were earned very well. Especially when it reveals that in Star Girls good deeds, she does two things accidentally wrong (only one I really understood, the other seemed like really not a big deal at all, and something that the entire student body wouldn’t get upset over in real life). And the ending seems abrupt and not earned either with how depressing it is. The ending doesn’t make that much sense, and I’d get into it more but if you have any interest in this movie, and want to watch it, I don’t want to ruin it, especially if you are quarantined in your house and have nothing to do.

The acting all around is pretty good, even though the great Giancarlo Esposito’s (Gus Fring in Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul) character in this is completely pointless. Also, it LITERALLY looks like he stepped off the Better Call Saul set to shoot less than 10 minutes of this film. It had me laughing, the just dishevel his hair and point and shoot. Star Girl is played by Grace VanderWaal, who was a giant sensation on America’s Got Talent, musically speaking. Or so I heard, never watch that show. But she sings and plays a guitar/ukele in this and is really quite good. Who knew she could act? While I didn’t care much for the movie, I enjoyed her performance and could see her doing better films in the future. All in all, the movie has good messages about social conformity (kind of ironic since we are practicing social distancing right now because of the virus) but it just didn’t work for me. I was interested in the movie for the first ten minutes when the boy was explaining his chool life, but quickly got bored, and basically never recovered. However, I will always remember that this is the first Disney+ film that I didn’t really care for too much. Noelle and Timmy Failure were barely passable though, Togo and Lady & The Tramp being its highlights. So this is only the fifth film, take that for what you will. I’m sure there will be something worse down the line, in fact, I’m 150% positive there will be, I just wish at this point that Disney+ maybe would’ve debut with more original shit under its sleeve. All it really has original masterful content wise is The Mandalorian and the last season of Clone Wars. And no, that isn’t enough to earn this streaming service a star on the classroom board for me yet.