Sunday, October 5, 2014

Star Wars – Rebels Spark of the Rebellion

Review by Ken Parker

So Star Wars is back in animation form after The Clone Wars abruptly ended last season. Now under Disney control, Star Wars – Rebels takes place after the events of Revenge of the Sith and a few years before A New Hope. A brand new set of characters take center stage and a new animation team take over. After a few online shorts, the series has finally debut with an hour long episode. How did it hold up?

First off let me state that I liked The Clone Wars. I enjoyed the series very much but have never really been that much of a fan of that time period. It is very hard to see the Clone Troopers and Anakin Skywalker as protagonists when we all know how that turns out. The highlight for that series was probably the original character of Ahsoka. Still, it would be up to Disney to try to top this popular series with their own and set the stage for what is to come in the Disney world of Star Wars.

The opening episode, “Spark of the Rebellion” is a good start. It does a fantastic job in introducing sympathetic characters in a neck break fashion of high action and suspense. Mix in a good amount of humor and the episode was very impressive.

What is even more impressive was the recomposing of the Star Wars music and using it within the episode. It felt natural and it was good to hear these familiar beats of music from time to time. The characters involved all seem well designed and voice acted and this seems to fit right into the Star Wars universe.

Star Wars Rebels - Are those Wookies?:
Now there were some negatives. First off, the animation takes a little it to get used to. Stylized like The Clone Wars, the animation has a very cartoonish look. In other words the animation is not trying to copy reality. This was how The Clone Wars was and that is fine for Rebels but the ship animation is a step backwards in Rebels. In The Clone Wars the ships seemed almost close to the look from the movies while in Rebels, the ships as well as the stormtroopers and other familiar objects have an almost deformed cuteness to them. They are not meant to be exactly like the movie version and this is fine but it does create some unusual looks. Enter the Wookies. Ah, yes, I did laugh at the appearance of the Wookies. They did not look right at all. They look more like Lego Wookies.
The Clone Wars

So the animation is not exactly a highlight for this new series. Another thing that bothered me in relation to this is the fact that every character seems to have the ability to jump around and move fast. Zeb and Sabine easily jump on top of a Tie Fighter. Zeb is an alien and Sabine a Mandalorian bu how come they have Jedi like powers when it comes to moving around?

The story sees the introduction of Ezra, a young thief who is now a Jedi in training. Kanan Jarrus is an older Jedi who will train him. Kanan is a boring character so far but time will tell. Overall I think this series appears to have the right writing and direction. The animation is not the best but the same could have been said for The Clone Wars and that took time to get used to. I look forward to seeing more of Rebels.

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