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Friday, 16 August 2013

'THE CLONE WARS' SEASON ONE. AFICIONADO's TOP FIVE EPISODES. NUMBER THREE: 'TRESPASS'

Trouble ahead for our snowbound Clone Troopers in Trespass.

Celebrating the ground-breaking opening season of THE CLONE WARS, our countdown of Top Five episodes continues apace. Cloak of Deception, The Blue Shadow Virus and Defenders of the Peace almost made the Number Three spot, but ultimately the chilly and exciting tale of Trespass won the day. And here's five reasons why...

1. Orto Plutonia. In sci-fi storytelling terms, you can't go wrong with anything set on an ice planet, and basing it in STAR WARS terms you certainly can't, either. The hostile snow realms of Hoth, home to a rebel base and an epic ground battle against Imperial Walkers would make a huge impact on fans over the years, so it's nice to see that kind of environment again, yet different realised this time out in the animated medium, and now deservedly involving our Prequel heroes. Trespass has lots of stark atmosphere, from the discovery of the mysteriously slain Separatist and Republic forces, to the final battle between the blue skinned, South African voiced Pantorans (originally conceived for EPISODE I), who claim the world as their own against its native peoples- a kind of STAR WARS western in many ways- a re-imagining of the American Indians defending their lands and aggressors from the white man in a story finale that also has a Custer's Last Stand-esque quality abut it.

Watch "Trespass " - The Clone Wars Episode Featurette #1.15 | StarWars.com

2. The return of the Talz. A brief Mos Eisley cantina alien scratching his bewildered head and making a funny zooty kind of sound may have seemed an unlikely choice for a main monster in a CLONE WARS animated episode, but the white furred Talz creatures ultimately work extremely well in the planetary environs, nicely adapted to animation and with excellent sound design. Noble creatures, the fireside scenes in their encampment, alongside our Republic heroes, are a nice touch, whilst their fierce side, showing their building anger in pack war tactics at the Clone Troopers and the Pantorans whom they have to protect, proves chillingly effective and scary.


3. The McQuarrie Factor - Part One. Taking a leaf from his original 1978 conceptual art for Hoth from EMPIRE, Dave Filoni, the art team, with director, go for an altogether more different and even colder look to the ice world of Orto Plutonia to what was seen on-screen on Hoth. There's lots of his huge mountain peaks and an overall blue tint bringing the story temperature down. The use of building snow density in certain scenes is another plus, carefully handled, adding another vital layer of visual storytelling. Overall, from this episode onward, the series animation style is starting to become bigger and more ambitious.

4. The McQuarrie Factor - Part Two.  Beyond the environments, we also get the Master's influence on the characters in their snow gear and vehicles. The Clone Troopers look similar to the way he envisaged the Imperial Snowtroopers surveying the Rebel base before their attack (as seen in Leigh Brackett's original version of EMPIRE), whilst the speeder bikes they use look like squashed down versions of his Snowspeeder concepts. The previous burial chamber that is the Republic base, whose hangar bay our heroes soon inhabit, has echoes of his original look for Echo Base, too. Outside of McQuarrie, its great to see the designers maintaining continuity, putting Anakin and Obi-Wan in snow costumes similar to the ones worn by Han Solo on Hoth-a nice touch adding further to the overall superior design coolness of the story.


5. C-3PO. He'd had a good time as comedy partner to Jar Jar Binks's Bombad Jedi earlier in the series, but now the legend that is Anthony Daniels gets to have further fun as the important and lovably snooty character, bringing back links to his role as an interpreter from the Classic Trilogy with this adventure,  acting as the all-important go-between for the Republic, the trespassing, angry Pantorans and the even more aggravated Talz, helping to carve out a tentative peace by close of play.


Coming October 15th to UK DVD and Blu-ray: STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS- THE COMPLETE SEASONS ONE TO FIVE.

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