Friday, October 21, 2011

Clone Wars: Nomad Droids

Another quick one, but here we go: after a koan lifted from the original trilogy, "Nomad Droids" starts out with some nice dialogue from Padme. She says to 3P0, "It's a big universe out there, beyond the...million planets that you know." That's great because it really opens Star Wars up, and reminds us of how large it is. The small room the characters are standing in reinforces how, although there are a million and one worlds, there are also homey places on them. The pause in the voice acting made sense too, and was funny: Padme knows who she's talking to. The koan may have folded the universe over on itself in a travesty of repetition, but this line opened it up again. 

The first act then becomes an oddly paced, but charming homage to the original trilogy, nearly shot-for-shot replicating the opening moments of A New Hope. Typical for the prequels though, the ante is upped: instead of Darth Vader striding through a doorway, we get General Grievous and Adi Gallia battling their way through. It's an exciting scene and a fun way to show how far Star Wars has come. Props for including a properly dressed female character who isn't there just for demographics too. 

The space battle is pretty if threatless: we know the droids are going to survive, and we know they're going to be funny doing it. "Avoid them the other way!"got a chuckle out of me, but the fight itself was like the Transformers movies--big for bigness sake and rather boring.  

Threepio's method of picking a leader ("Who is the most intelligent? The smartest? The most compassionate?") was surprisingly, pleasantly moral. His earnest "Congratulations, you are now a democracy!" after the munchkin aliens vote was very funny, and their immediate devolution into infighting was...both amusing and scathing. And then the droids just leave them to it! Well, I guess history has taught us how much interventionism works, although the Republic seemed awfully fond of it on Mon Cala.

The droids go looking for power sources on a planet full of pre-sentients. I know they're desperate, but finding it seems unlikely. Haven't they ever tried to find wi-fi in northeastern Jersey? But the fact that they do find it does lend credence to Padme and Threepio's earlier conversation about the limitless adventure of the galaxy. 

Both the destruction of the pit droids and Artoo and Threepio's slow sink into sleep were pretty sad. The image of the two OT droids sitting under that mushroomy formation for years edges on haunting.

At times the episode is dark in ways that remind me of the droid torture scene in Return of the Jedi. The organic body count is pretty high too, when you consider the pirates and the munchkins that might still be feuding. 

It's another odd episode, which I suppose the droids ones are supposed to be. I can see how a kid would enjoy the colorful aliens and bizarre landscapes. I appreciate them-- the plant life is very good, even if it does remind me of hair clips. But the Russian-accented antagonist who can understand R2-D2 just as well as it seems everyone except the audience can just seems too...Clone Wars. It's a fun episode, with some good moments as well as some blatant disregard for how storytelling should work. If you sit back and enjoy it, it's pretty and entertaining.

If you think (or blog) too hard, it's resoundingly mediocre with a shiny veneer.  Wizard of Oz references abound to a ridiculous extent (what does Star Wars have to do with Oz, really?), and Artoo continues the murderous tendencies he started in Revenge of the Sith. Events are threatless and disconnected. Commander Wolffe's reaction at the end of "Nomad Droids" made me chuckle just like he did in "Mercy Mission"-- he doesn't want to hear any more about the droid adventures either. I, like Wolffe, look forward to the return of the more serious episodes.  

1 comment:

  1. Well, TCW definitely gets a point for including a properly dressed female character who isn't just there for demographics.

    I think "blatant disregard for how storytelling should work" characterizes a good deal of TCW writing...