Star Wars: Rebels Review: The Force Is Strong with This One

Fanghawk

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Star Wars: Rebels Review: The Force Is Strong with This One

Rebels is the latest entry into the Star Wars universe and it's off to a good start.

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Jandau

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Huh, so that started. Well, for one thing, it would seem they smoothed out the animation quite a bit from that preview clip that came out a few months ago, and thank goodness for that as it was pretty unpleasant. I'll have to check it out...
 

Renegade-pizza

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Personally, I enjoyed the Clone Wars. I'm the first to admit there were a load of pointless senate episodes and more pointless filler, but the last season with the annexation of Mandalore and all the fights that followed were pretty awesome.

The first (two?) episode was okay, but it shows the potential to become a lot more. If they can show us the birth of the rebellion through the lens of this motley crew, I'm sure that it can become something exellent.
 

Nixou

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Well, for one thing, it would seem they smoothed out the animation quite a bit

Speaking of which, I kinda liked the contorted-puppet style of The Clone Wars' animation: it made the lightsaber fights look less like over choreographed ballets and more battle between vaguely insectoid creatures trying to behead each others: the Jedi became a lot more unnerving than in the movies when they were shown going from courteous, overtly polite gents to giant laser-clawed mantises in a heartbeat, which in turn made them look much more formidable.
That's probably an accidental effect of the way the previous series was animated, but it worked for me, and I fear they'll bring back the ballets with this series.
 

Neverhoodian

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Color me pleasantly surprised. The show appears to capture many of the elements that made Star Wars so popular in the first place without feeling too much like a "paint by the numbers" routine. I'm loving how, despite doing away with the old EU, there are plenty of elements from it that are being reintroduced into the new continuity (holocrons, the ISB, Imperial Inquisitors, etc.).

Having said that, the "light-slingshot" or whatever is still stupid. Just give the kid a blaster and be done with it.

Before we continue, can we acknowledge that it's very easy for the Rebel Alliance to look like villains without context? When the first major battle occurs in Rebels, the only thing we've seen the Empire do is arrest someone selling food without a license. Sure, they're a little dickish about it, but come on. Food safety is important. The Rebel forces, on the other hand, set off bombs in a populated city, steal Imperial cargo, and gleefully shoot down soldiers in the street. These aren't the underdog Rebels who fled a Star Destroyer; these guys start on the offensive, and prove to be a significant threat. It's no wonder Darth Vader is hunting them personally by the time Episode IV rolls around.

But don't worry, these Rebels are cartoonishly good-hearted freedom fighters, not terrorists. The Ghost's mercenary crew is motivated by pure intentions, and will do absolutely anything to help the common alien. Those cargo crates were filled with food the Empire kept from starving farmers who were evicted from prime real estate. Meanwhile, Stormtroopers openly use Wookies as slave labor, and anyone questioning Imperial policy is arrested for treason.

Sure, I get wanting the Empire to look bad, but that's pretty heavy-handed, even by cartoon standards. At one point a Stormtrooper stops fighting rebels so he can literally chase a terrified Wookie toddler for five minutes. The murders of Uncle Ben and Aunt Beru were more subtle than this, and it reduces everyone involved into one-dimensional archetypes. Thankfully, once we've established that yes, the Rebels are good and the Empire is unredeemably evil, we can start getting to the fun stuff.
Look, I get it. The Empire is cool, what with their huge starships, stompy war machines and kickass "Imperial March." And yes, introducing some moral ambiguity can work extremely well when done right. Just look at Tie Fighter, a.k.a. the best damn Star Wars game ever made. I don't care how much you attempt to deconstruct it though, the Empire is meant to be evil. Remember, this is the organization that destroyed an entire planet and killed billions just because they wanted to ("Dantooine is too remote to make an effective demonstration, but don't worry. We will deal with your Rebel friends soon enough"). They are Space Nazis, pure and simple, and no amount of headcanon retconning is going to change that.

Also, this is, you know, meant for kids and all. I don't think they're going to go with "challenging shades of grey morality" in a Star Wars kids' show.
 

Ragsnstitches

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I like the animation. High quality stuff. Audio's kind of shit though. It's Star Wars, the musical score and action needs to be louder then what it is. And frankly, it would do the show a favor because the VA is pretty bad as far as that 7 minute preview is concerned.

Also, the Protag (ezra?) is kind of grating and looks like Aladdin...

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Not helped by the fact they are both street urchins in a desert city.
 

Fanghawk

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Neverhoodian said:
Who's arguing that the Empire is cool?

I'm not saying Rebels would be better if it were morally grey. I'm saying the good-vs-evil dynamic is so strong that these characters are one-dimensional for most of the pilot. It doesn't have to be one or the other.

In the movies, Han Solo was a good guy, but still a criminal rogue. Tarkin wasn't just scary because he blew up worlds, but because he was so eerily pragmatic about the option. Those characters were more interesting because they went beyond "good/evil for the sake of being good/evil". These characters aren't quite there yet.

Kids can really pick up on those finer points too; the DCAU had some great examples (especially Season 1 of Justice League: Unlimited).

But I totally agree about that light-slingshot...
 

Sniper Team 4

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I enjoyed it for the most part. Ezra better start having a better personality and storyline though, or I'm going to get real tired of him. When he turned out to be Force-sensitive, I rolled my eyes. Because heaven forbid that we get a Star Wars story where the new player isn't a Force user. He is also a walking cliche in my head: Loner kid, no parents, street smart, trust issues, heart of gold, etc...I did like the fact that he took the fruit though, so he broke the mold a little there.
Another thing that bothered me were the white circles in everyone's eyes. Drove me nuts.

The rest of the characters are interesting and amusing enough for me to enjoy though. I do have to wonder how Sabine is able to not stand out, seeing as her armor would be instantly recognizable. I'll keep watching this show for certain, and I hope Ahsoka shows up eventually, just to find out what happens to her. I'm curious to see what happens to all of these characters, actually. Will the show have the nerve to kill them, seeing as none of them are even mentioned in the original trilogy, or are they going to slip into the background and reappear in the new movies?
 

Rebel_Raven

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I'mm looking forward to the series and sounding the hunt when the figures come out. Sabine's is high on my hunt list.

Captcha: snare drum
Yes, drum roll please.
 

ExDeath730

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I loved this first episode, it was very reminescent of the old Star Wars movies, only of course with some chances, but one scene i loved was when Kanan decided to fight as a Jedi.

Really, he just started walking while assembling his lightsaber and dodging blaster shots like it was easy. And when he did used the saber? The effect in everyone involved was very cool. I imagine that in some Stormtrooper heads there was probably that thought that they were all dead when he started deflecting the beams.
 

Fanghawk

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I'm just glad it's a star wars show not entirely centered around jedi/sith fights like everything else has been since the prequels.
 

ron1n

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Kind of wish they could make these cartoons without having to pander to kids and the pre-teen demo. Already cannot stand Ezra.

Voice acting was good aside from Freddy Prinze who is apparently as bland a voice actor as he is on screen.

Some comical moments with the storm troopers actually made the episode for me. From the scene in the detention center to the end scene with the imperial agent. I'll be interested to see if they actually show them without helmets at some stage and whether or not any fett-clones will make an appearance.

Imperial agent was incredibly generic but the Inquisitor looks cool.

Also, thought the wookies looked really weird compared to the art style used in clone wars...like they were too skinny and lacked proper definition and fur texturing.
 

Saltyk

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I'm not a big fan of Computer Animated series, but I think the pilot was a good start. We got a decent sense of the various crew members and their skills and personalities, with a few standing out. It had some good set pieces and action. And perhaps most importantly, it felt like Star Wars, using the familiar music, sounds, and designs we all know and love.

I wouldn't call it great, but pilots rarely are. If I took my impression of the new TMNT series from the pilot, I may not be enjoying it to this day. We'll see if episode 3 is an improvement on what has already been established.
 

Bob_McMillan

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To me, this looks like the Clone Wars with the endless gold stores of Disney backing it, which is good. The only problem I have? This sh*t is violent as fuck. You'd think that wouldn't be a problem, but (spoiler) the last part where the ISB agent kicks the stormtrooper off the column? That isn't funny, that's terrible in a kids show, especially since it feels it was there to garner laughs. It kinda contradicts the mood that they're trying to set. It would be better of they just went dark and gritty the way the Clone Wars did in the final seasons.
 

Kusko25

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While not being to impressed with the characters and the like it is rare that I get engaged in a show based on the first episode. So I'm gonna give that a shot.
What bothered me though was that in an era where Disney actively discredits old cliches in their movies they are so ready to jump on the 'Stormtroopers suck at their job' bandwagon. Those are elite troops! Most of them (at this point in the timeline) are clone wars veterans! They know their sh*t!
Also a bit disappointed that while they did bring Kessel back as a spice mine where wookie-slaves work, they redconned all the cool stuff about it, like the maw-cluster and the resulting difficulty maintaining an atmosphere.
And for goodness sake being a jedi isn't an on/off switch! I was so happy when they showed the kid having small precognitions as a sign of him being force sensitive and then they just go into overdrive and show him levitating objects and force-jumping (relatively advanced techniques) 30 minutes later.
Is it too much to ask for semi-realistic pacing? Showing that it actually takes work and training to get good at something?

Anyway I'm sure it is going to be mildly entertaining but I'm not holding my breath.
 

Ishal

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Ragsnstitches said:
I like the animation. High quality stuff. Audio's kind of shit though. It's Star Wars, the musical score and action needs to be louder then what it is. And frankly, it would do the show a favor because the VA is pretty bad as far as that 7 minute preview is concerned.

Also, the Protag (ezra?) is kind of grating and looks like Aladdin...

.


Not helped by the fact they are both street urchins in a desert city.
Yeah, he's totally Space Alladin. He was also called a "street rat" once or twice during the pilot.

But honestly, I don't care about that. That's probably got some Disney influence in there somewhere, but I think it's the creators playing it a little safe. He's the main character... kinda, but I'm a little hesitant to totally call him that. He's the character the audience is attached to because they're both new to all of this. But with a cast of characters like this, it's kinda like they're all the main characters. As long as he changes a bit and has some interesting moments, I don't really care. There's the rest of the cast to watch if he gets boring. But as bland as he is, he's still 110% better than every anime protagonist I've seen in the past year. But eh... maybe that's not such an accomplishment.

Don't agree about the VA. I think it's great. Most of these guys are professional actors, and the rest are voice actors who've appeared in a fuck ton of games. Maybe it does have to do with the audio, though. It was kinda off in some places.

OT: Yeah, I'm enjoying the hell out of it. It's already started out stronger than Clone Wars did. And it's not tied down to the awful prequel source material.

Also from what I've read. They're grabbing stuff from the EU as they see fit. There is a Tie Fighter pilot who shows up later with the title of Baron. He's in one of the clips. That's a nod to Soontir Fel from what I can tell. So we'll see how it goes. As for the the show being too "kiddie." Yeah, it is, and? What? Do people want it to try and be dark like Clone Wars did, and fail miserably just the same? Star Wars has dark themes, and a few dark moments, but the overall tone is not dark. Only a scarce few times has the series ever handled it well and made it compelling.
 

nima55

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Ragsnstitches said:
Not helped by the fact they are both street urchins in a desert city.
Quick note; it wasn't a desert, it was planet Saskatchewan. Fields of grain everywhere.
 

Naqel

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Nov 21, 2009
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Ishal said:
Space Alladin
Not just Space Alladin, Jedi Alladin.

Which pretty much is the only reason I'm even interested in this.

I wish there was a way to have a Genie in there too. Dose Obi-Wan hologram(s) count?
 

Fanghawk

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Am I missing anything if I did not watch all the earlier seasons of clone wars? I only watched the first 3 seasons of that show.