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Fox Home Entertainment presents
Star Wars: Clone Wars—Volume 2 (2005)

"I'm not afraid of you. You wouldn't dare harm the Supreme Chancellor of the Republic. Whatever would your masters say?"
- Supreme Chancellor Palpatine (Nick Jameson)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga  
Published: December 05, 2005

Stars: James Arnold Taylor, Grey Delisle, Mat Lucas
Other Stars: Corey Burton, Anthony Daniels, John DiMaggio, Nick Jameson, Tom Kane
Director: Genndy Tartakovsky

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (animated violence)
Run Time: 01h:03m:33s
Release Date: December 06, 2005
UPC: 024543214137
Genre: animation


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A AA+A B-

DVD Review

After almost 30 years, Star Wars is its own universe, branching out to comic books, television (yep, the infamous Christmas special), and video games among other media. In 2003, in anticipation of the upcoming release of the final film, Star Wars: Episode III—Revenge of the Sith, franchise overlord George Lucas contacted heralded Samurai Jack creator Genndy Tartakovsky, asking him to bring his unique style of animation to the storyline to help bridge the gap between Episode II and the new film. The resulting two-part series, Star Wars: Clone Wars did its job, and then some.

When Star Wars: Clone Wars— Volume One debuted on the Cartoon Network and then on DVD, it was far more popular than Tartakovsky and Lucas could have imagined. The former's incredible talents and style brought a heightened intensity to the action sequences that many felt was missing from the feature films. This not only had fans' hopes up sky high for Episode III, but it also had those same people practically drooling, knowing Clone Wars: Volume Two was on the way.

Both volumes are presented in different formats, with the first consisting of 20 episodes that run only a few minutes each. The second group is a mere five episodes, but run about 12 minutes each, allowing for much more detailed characterization and plot movement. The first volume excells at setting the tone, offering nonstop action at a breakneck pace, but it's in here in the second volume that Clone Wars really shines, and goes a long way towards enhancing one's enjoyment of Revenge of the Sith, thanks to character introductions and heavy screen-time granted to the General Grievous character. For example, those in the dark about why Grievous seems to be wheezing and coughing throughout Sith will see the event behind his ailment here.

Picking up right where the first set of shows leaves off, we see what happens to the group of Jedis who are under attack by Grievous. It goes on through many different storylines, including Anakin's rise among the Jedi ranks, his budding romance with Padme, and developing friendship with Obi-Wan. All of the usual suspects show up again as well, including Yoda, Chancellor Palpatine, Mace Windu, Count Dooku, and of course C-3PO and R2-D2, with the story eventually leading up to Grievous' capture of Palpatine, which is where Episode III begins. It was a risk changing the length of the individual episodes, but the longer format is an improvement. While the intense Jedi fighting and laser battles are a huge part of the Star Wars universe, the ability to watch more of Anakin's rise and subtle hints of his eventual descent to the Dark Side that make this a deeper, more fulfilling experience. Tartakovsky also isn't concerned about making kid-friendly cartoons, giving parents a good feel for the extreme darkness and disturbing subject matter that make up most of the final live-action episode.

Being able to revisit General Grievous' early run-ins with the Jedi is reason enough to pick up this disc. It's great to compare the animated Grievous to the one in the film, and it's even more amazing to see just how close they came in the latter to pulling off his amazingly fast fighting skills that are a bit easier to represent in an animated production.

I've never watched Samurai Jack, as I was turned off by the animation style. After watching Clone Wars, I'm kicking myself now, and am grateful that most of Genndy Tartakovsky's earlier creation is readily available on DVD as well. It seems Tartakovsky has a bright future.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: It's hard to top this 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, which is as impressive as the first volume's release. I can't recall an animated show looking better than this, with amazingly well-defined images, that take sharpness to the next level. Saying the color scheme is bright and vivid is an understatement, with the dynamic palette utilizing every color you could possibly think of. The source material seems to be in very good shape as well, as it's a challenge to find a print flaw throughout.

Image Transfer Grade: A+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, Spanish, Frenchyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Both a Dolby Digital 5.1 and a 2.0 mix are available, and both are very impressive, handling the numerous action sequences especially well. The mixes are very similar, but the booming bass in the 5.1 track makes it the one to choose. The dialogue delivery is precise and clear, blending in with the constant collage of sound effects better than expected.

Audio Transfer Grade: A

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 5 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Star Wars: Battlefront II, Star Wars: Empire at War, Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
1 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Director Genndy Tartakovsky, writer/storyboard artist Brian Andrews, art director/writer Paul Rudish, writer/production manager Derick Bachman
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Still Galleries - Sketches & Storyboards and Posters & Artwork
  2. Revenge of the Brick - Short animated film with Lego creations.
Extras Review: The extras collection isn't huge, but there is enough juicy information to warrant at least a single look at most of the material. The audio commentary track features director Genndy Tartakovsky, writer/storyboard artist Brian Andrews, art director/writer Paul Rudish, and writer/production manager Derick Bachman recorded together, and they talk a lot about working with George Lucas and the technical aspects of shooting these shows. The best discussions involve how Clone Wars serves as a bridge between films, and how important it is to the grand scheme of all things Star Wars.

Connecting the Dots is a 10-minute featurette that compiles footage from the Star Wars movies, Clone Wars, and interviews with the commentary's participants. Much of what was divulged in the commentary is repeated, but there is enough new discussion to give this a try.

There is a collection of trailers, but the only one that is not related to a video game is that for Episode III. A pair of still galleries is also available, as well as a playable XBox demo for Star Wars: Battlefront II.

The best of the bonus material is the five-minute Revenge of the Brick. This very funny short film is a Star Wars spoof that features animated Lego figures as the principal characters, vehicles, and so on.

Extras Grade: B-

 

Final Comments

Released pretty much in accordance with the DVD debut of Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars: Clone Wars—Volume Two finally brings the rest of this ground-breaking animated series to home theaters everywhere. This is another fine disc, featuring the same superb audio and video as the previous volume. The extras aren't revolutionary, but they are similar to the earlier disc, and worth a look.

 


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