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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

Star Wars
The Clone Wars
The Complete Season Four


Starring (voice): Matt Lanter, James Arnold Taylor, Ashley Eckstein, Tom Kane and Corey Burton
Warner Home Video
RRP: £39.99
Certificate: PG
Available 22 October 2012

What is there to say about the animated Clone Wars which does not sound like fan boy fawning? The show became, in many ways, what the movies should have been - with engaging characters, consistently excellent battle sequences and engaging characters, even if they insist on bringing the Binks back occasionally.

The action takes place between the second and third films and the show has now been going so long that for some the voices of the animated characters will be more familiar than those of the original actors, including Matt Lanter as Anakin Skywalker, Ashley Eckstein as Ahsoka Tano and James Arnold Taylor as Obi-Wan Kenobi. That is not to say that the show has not attracted some impressive guest actors and season four is no different having called upon the vocal acting abilities of, among others, Simon Pegg, Clancy Brown, Katee Sackhoff and Jon Favreau.

Of course, the coarsening of the original vision means that the show has its heart very much in the prequels, although most of the romance between Anakin and Padme has been, thankfully, toned down. So it has yet to reach the quality of the original trilogy, but it’s getting there with each subsequent season.

Now the fourth season of the show has hit the shelves on Blu-ray we can all enjoy the sumptuous CGI in hi-def. The show has continued to mature across the four seasons, with the fifth currently showing, to the point that the focus of the show no longer relies on the trilogy of Anakin, Ahsoka Tano and Obi-Wan Kenobi to carry a story and the supplementary characters, especially Captain Rex and Commander Cody have become so important characters in their own right that whole storylines now follow only the clone troopers. Moreover those stories do not seem any less engaging than those which contain the principles.

Season four contains twenty-two episodes, spread across three discs, plus a whole host of extras. There are a number of visual commentaries with creators and some cast discussing the show, including The Battle of Mon Cala, Darkened World of Umbara, Obi-Wan Undercover, Slaves of Zygerria and Darth Maul Returns. Each of these sections covers different aspects of the season. For owners of the Blu-ray you also get access to the Jedi Temple Archives, which covers everything from concept art early footage, and twenty deleted scenes.

The stories are spread across a number of episodes, although if you dig under the wonderful visuals there is a recurring theme of the Jedi attempting to protect a planet from the Separatists, while all along they often have a separatist sympathiser in their midst.

The season opens with a story set on the planet of the Mon Cala where the Jedi have to protect a new Mon Cala king from an insurrection instigated by Lord Dooku. Next we have a clone alone story as under a new general Anakin's clones must fight their way towards central city of the night planet of Umbara.

For the next story the focus shifts to both Anakin and Ahsoka as her people are taken as slaves. Anakin, confronted by his past as a slave, starts to show the sort of anger which would be his ultimate downfall. Next the focus shift to Obi-wan who fakes his own death to uncover a plot against the chancellor. Not being in on the plot, Anakin takes a step closer to Vader as he lets his feeling for the supposedly dead Obi-wan take over, fuelled by the quietly destructive voice of the chancellor.

The last story sees Dooku sending General Grievous to wipe out the Night Sisters, forcing Ventress to team up with Boba Fett's gang. The not so big reveal at the end of the season sees the return of Darth Maul.

This is a great show and a lot of thought has gone into the creation of the Blu-ray, making for a ‘must have’ disc for all Star War fans.


Charles Packer

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