Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Clone Wars -- "Grievous Intrigue" (Ep. 2.9)

-- For everything you gain, you lose something else.

[Remember, you can sign up to join the Clone Wars Project at any time by clicking this link.]

It's always "nice" to see the return of Grievous. No, seriously. He's like so many classic villains who always got away because they always had some great escape plan ready to go when things didn't go their way. I'm thinking specifically of Zoltar of Battle of the Planets.

So, yeah, Grievous is back, and he manages to capture Eeth Koth. As I've said before, it's nice when we get so see more of other Jedi, and this episode also features Adi Gallia. When a Jedi, a Master no less, is captured, what else do you do other than stage a rescue?

The episode illustrates just how valuable the Jedi are. Well, to the Jedi, at any rate, as they send a whole fleet after Koth and lose a ship in the process. Sure, they also wanted to capture (or kill) Grievous, but the mission, with the rescue of Koth, was a success, even with the loss of the ship and all of the men (clones) aboard.

It kind of makes you wonder.

It also makes you wonder what Grievous was doing in this episode. Grievous' MO is not to capture Jedi but to kill them, so why did he take Koth captive? There doesn't appear to ever be a clear answer to that. I mean, according to him, he did it so that the Jedi would come to rescue Koth, but why? That's also not Grievous' style. He attacks by surprise and always when he has a clear advantage; he would not set himself up as the target of a concerted attack.

Really, I think the writers wanted to do another rescue mission and just forgot to give Grievous a clear motivation for his actions or any kind of plan. So, while the action was rather spectacular, the episode left me wondering why.

There was, however, a great scene where Obi-Wan and Grievous go back and forth about how they anticipated each other's moves. It brought to mind the scene in Princess Bride where Vizzini and Westley have to work out which glass has the poison in it. I'm just not sure in this episode of Clone Wars which one Obi-Wan is.

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Fall of the House of Usher (an opera review post)

When you think of operas (assuming you ever think of operas) and you think of all the reasons you don't want to go to an opera (because I know most of you don't want to go to an opera), this is the opera you're thinking of. No, seriously, it is. This opera, both of them, actually, because this was a double bill (two different interpretations of Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher"), is the very epitome of everything that can be wrong in opera.

The one cool thing, even, turned out to be a bad thing by the end of the show. So... At that San Francisco Opera house, they have these big mobile projection screens that can be on the stage. This allows them to project images which allows for greater scenery options. You want your scene to be on a beach, no problem. In the forest, no problem. Whatever, no problem. Thus far in our opera viewing, the screens have been used very minimally. These performances were set up around using the screens to convey movement. For instance, in the first show, the screens are used to convey movement through the house of Usher.

Right at first, it was way cool. Very neat. But... Well, then the actors just stood in place and did their singing thing. Every once in a while, they would switch places on the stage. The background stuff just became these constantly moving pictures that didn't mean anything. It was inane. What could have been something cool became an excuse for a poor performance. It was like going to a movie that's all special effects with poor acting and no story.

I mentioned that the actors just stood and sang, right? Well, that wasn't the worst of it. It gets worse? Why, yes. Yes, it does. The singing, which was in English for the first one, was just sung dialogue, which is a thing sometimes done in opera but still... Sung dialogue to not very good music. There were no actual "songs." It was monotonous and hard to follow. And the music overpowered the performers throughout both pieces so that you couldn't actually hear them anyway.

To top it all off, I picked this one to go see. I mean, heck! It was Poe! I was all, "How cool is that?!" As it turns out, not very.

You know, I don't want to imply anything (okay, so maybe I do), but Usher House (the name of the first of the two operas) was written by a Gordon Getty, a big donater to the San Francisco Opera. "Big" is probably not the right word there. The dude is beyond loaded and considered one of the richest men in the world. Is it possible that someone in charge actually thought his opera was good? I suppose so. However, I'm going to go with the Occam's razor explanation on this one.

[Edit: Because I was rushed for time when I wrote this, I forgot to mention the vampire theme in the Getty opera. The doctor, who appears for about one sentence in the short story, has a vastly expanded role in his opera. He's a pale thing, and it's implied that he's been alive for hundreds of years. The disease that Usher (and his sister) is suffering from has all the symptoms of someone who is being fed on long term by a vampire as in Stoker's Dracula. It also serves as the basis for Roderick's sister to escape her tomb. Having this incorporated into Usher is just stupid. Utterly.]

Friday, December 25, 2015

"The Fall of the House of Usher" (a book review post)

"The Fall of the House of Usher" is a perfect example of how our modern idea that showing is better than telling is just that: a modern idea. Usher is, basically, a story that is all telling. Which is not to say that you ought to like it just because it's Poe -- in fact, most of you probably wouldn't like it -- but it is to say that this story, despite having virtually no action or dialogue has become one of the most famous of Poe's stories.

Honestly, it's not one of Poe's most compelling stories for me, but that has less to do with the telling aspect of the story than it does with the fact that there is no good reason for the narrator to stay for as long as he does with Roderick Usher other than to satisfy the needs of the plot. Where's the motivation, Poe? Not that Poe doesn't supply one, I just can't really buy into the whole "he was my childhood chum" thing. Maybe it's just me, but, if my best friend from childhood wrote me a letter and begged me to come see him because, well, basically, he was all morose and stuff, I'd have a hard time finding it in me to make that trip after not having seen the person for at least 20 years. And, even if I did decide to go, I wouldn't stay there for months on end listening to my previous buddy being melancholy and going on and on about how horrible everything is.

Really, for the end result of the story, Usher goes on a bit too long. Poe gives us way more information than we actually need in order to appreciate the horror at the end of the story. We just don't need to know that light hurts Roderick's eyes or that he can only listen to certain kinds of music or any of the other sense-related conditions he has, as none of that actually relates to what's going to happen. It does help to fill the story with a sense of despair but not in a way that makes sense to the story.

It's a story that leaves the reader with a lot of questions. Maybe Poe meant it to be that way, but I don't really think so. I think it was meant to have a horrifying ending and for that to be enough. You'd read it, get scared, and go on and not think about it anymore. Personally, I like answers.

None of which is to say that I disenjoyed the story. I didn't. It's good for what it is. If you like Poe, you should definitely read it. If you haven't read any Poe, you should start somewhere else.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

You Are the Sun... (pictures I like)

...of my heart.
Do you see the heart?

Maybe this will help:
If you can't see it there, I can't help you.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Clone Wars -- "Brain Invaders" (Ep. 2.8)

-- Attachment is not compassion.

[Remember, you can sign up to join the Clone Wars Project at any time by clicking this link.]

As you can see by the quote from this episode, this is another episode that deals with attachment, but this time it's not Anakin's attachment that we're looking at.

As the show has progressed, various characters have pointed out how like Anakin Ahsoka is becoming. Possibly, the area of attachment is one of those areas. Ahsoka is presented with a choice in "Brain Invaders" which is similar to the choice Anakin faced back in "Cargo of Doom" and, like Anakin, Ahsoka fails to make the "right" choice.

Unlike Anakin, Ahsoka seeks help and advice after the fact about what happened. Of course, she seeks it from Anakin, but Anakin is, perhaps surprisingly, quite mature about it. He tells her that attachments are things that all Jedi struggle with and that's it can be difficult to know what to do. Things worked out in her favor in this particular circumstance, but it's not going to always be that way. Did she make the correct choice? Anakin can't really tell her that. No one can.

Except, maybe, Bariss.

"Brain Invaders" is also a continuation, of a sorts, of the zombie story line, but it's a little more Stargate, actually, than zombie. In that, the story arc for this episode is nothing that hasn't been done before, but it's the crisis that Ahsoka goes through that's the point, anyway. The story is just a way to get her there.

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Barber of Seville (an opera review post)

The Barber of Seville is a title you've probably, at least, heard of. It's one of the most famous and popular of all operas, and, after seeing it, I can understand why. If nothing else, you probably recognize this piece of music:

The opera is by Gioachino Rossini, based on a play by Pierre Beaumarchais. You might remember that I mentioned that name back in my post about The Magic Flute. The Barber of Seville is the first play in the trilogy that continues with The Marriage of Figaro, which Mozart composed as an opera 30 years earlier. No, Mozart didn't just decide to start in the middle. In actuality, Barber had several operatic interpretations before Mozart did Marriage, so Rossini wasn't doing something that hadn't already been done. He just did it better than all of the earlier versions, and his opera has become the operatic interpretation of The Barber of Seville just like Mozart's version of The Marriage of Figaro is the version of that play.

All of that to say that the recent production of The Barber of Seville by the San Francisco Opera was amazing. Brilliant, even. Look, let me put it like this: This opera was not sung in English and, yet, I found myself getting so lost in the action and music of the play that I would forget to keep up with the translations. I would have these, "Oh, wait!" moments where I would have to look back to the screen with the English on it. This is what opera was and is meant to be.

All of the performers were extraordinary. There was no just standing around and singing in this one. Lucas Meachem, as Figaro, was commanding. He brought all of the necessary flair to the performance of a character who is larger-than-life. Rene Barbera and Daniela Mack were great as the lovesick couple. Allessandro Corbelli was spectacular as Rosina's father. And Efrain Solis (who played Papageno in The Magic Flute) was amazing in his non-speaking (singing) role.

There was great comedy, great singing, and great acting. It was so good, in fact, that, if it hadn't already been 10:30 pm, I would have walked right back in to see it again. Unfortunately, it was already at the end of its run when we went to see it or I would have tried to go again. Seriously, this was a great performance. If you're going to try out opera, this is the kind of production you want to start with.

This is us just before going to see Barber:

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Good Dinosaur (a movie review post)

Dinosaurs were my first great love, from the moment I saw my very first one sometime around the age of four. Maybe three. I was instantly fascinated with them, and it was my goal for about 10 years to be a paleontologist when I grew up. But that's a story for another time.

Dinosaur movies, though, are not that fascinating. Inevitably, like in The Land Before Time, dinosaur movies deal with the dinosaur apocalypse and one small group trying to get to safety. So it was that The Good Dinosaur promised to be something different. A movie where the dinosaurs don't suffer an apocalypse. A movie where they live. A movie about what might have happened if they had not become extinct.

Unfortunately, that moment from the trailer, that moment when the asteroid misses Earth and the dinosaurs don't die, that moment happens with the opening credits and is over in a few minutes. The movie goes downhill from there. Downhill into being nothing original or new at all. It's just a weird hybrid of Ice Age (deliver the human baby to other humans), The Lion King, and a bunch of other stuff you've already seen.

That said, the animation, the background animation, is amazing. It's so amazing that at times I questioned whether it was CGI or not. The dinosaurs, though, are cartoony, and don't really fit their environment. They stick out like the proverbial sore thumb.

The other good thing is Sam Elliot as Butch, the cowboy T-Rex. The whole thing with the T-Rexes as cowboys and the Raptors as rustlers was fairly amusing, and Elliot is the cowboy. I mean, you can't really get more cowboy than Elliot. It just oozes out of his voice.

But that's about it for the good.

The problem is that Pixar should have just let this movie die. When you have to, essentially, fire the guy who came up with the idea because he can't put the story together, you should start to re-think whether you should be making that movie. When, after doing the voice recording for the entire movie, you decide to re-write the script and re-record everything, you need to be re-thinking whether this is a movie you should be doing. Then, when you decide to dump virtually all of the voice actors and replace them, you really need to be thinking about whether this is a movie you should be doing. The Good Dinosaur was not a movie Pixar should have been doing.

I suppose I'm glad I saw the movie. Well, I am. It is a Pixar movie, and I wouldn't have been able to deal with just not seeing it, but, then, I wish I hadn't seen it. I certainly won't be buying it. It's the first legitimate failure from Pixar. There's no "Pixar" quality to it at all. It's mediocre at best, just as a movie, but, from Pixar, it's a disappointment. Completely.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Fallacies of the Church (interlude)

For those of you who have been following this series and even more so for those of you who have been enjoying this series:
It's not over!

Basically, life has just been too busy for me to be able to put together more of the posts in this series, which take a bit more work than one might think. Hopefully, once we get through the holidays, the series will return in January. There are some big topics coming up, so keep a lookout for the return of Fallacies.

Oh, wait... Fallacies have never left.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Clone Wars -- "Legacy of Terror" (Ep. 2.7)

-- Sometimes, accepting help is harder than offering it.

[Remember, you can sign up to join the Clone Wars Project at any time by clicking this link.]

I'm not a big fan of zombies, especially more modern zombie stories with all of their supercharged zombies of utter destruction. I just don't find it interesting. That said, this is one of the more freaky and memorable of all of the Clone Wars series. When we got to the episodes with the return to Geonosis, my younger son immediately got excited about getting to this episode (several episodes into the Geonosis story arc); I can't blame him.

The zombies in this story are... well, they're gross and, yes, freaky. And they want to make the Jedi just like them. Now, doesn't that just sound like so much fun?

One of the things I find interesting in this episode is how unstructured the Jedi actually are, despite appearances to the contrary. There is almost no command structure at all. The Masters and Jedi Council are in control but, really, any Jedi may decide to do whatever he or she pleases without regard to what anyone else says. This is why in The Phantom Menace Qui-Gon and, later, Obi-Wan can decide to train Anakin despite the Council's disapproval. Direct orders other than from Knight to Padawan are rare. Each one feels and uses the Force differently, I suppose.

The other thing about this episode is that it might be the clearest picture yet that we've had about the dynamic between Obi-Wan and Anakin. Anakin is always ready to rush in and solve all of the problems with his lightsaber, rarely stopping to think first. Obi-Wan is more cautious. He's the negotiator and wants to see if there's a non-violent answer first. He also likes to have a plan. His role in the relationship is to hold Anakin back, to make him pause and look before leaping. Anakin is always there to jump in when things get hot if circumstances don't go Obi-Wan's way.

"When this doesn't go as planned, which it won't, I'll be ready."

Monday, December 14, 2015

Brooklyn (a movie review post)

I went into Brooklyn with very little idea of what it was about. That's fine, though, because I've been trying more, lately (lately being the last few years), to know less about movies before I go see them (it's a complicated process; don't ask) so I have fewer preconceptions and expectations. Basically, all I knew was that it was about a girl who moved to Brooklyn.

As it turns out, that's really all it's about, a girl who moves to Brooklyn. More specifically, it's about an Irish girl who moves to Brooklyn because she can't find work in her small village in Ireland. It's also a love story. It's the love story of the girl and the Italian boy she falls for, but it's also the love story of the girl and the city she falls in love with.

The movie is good. It's not great, but it's solid, and I enjoyed it. The relationships between the girls at the boarding house where Eilis stays are colorful, to say the least, and the boarding house scenes, mostly around the dinner table, are quite humorous.

The acting, for lack of a better way of saying it, is steady. Saoirse Ronan does a good job of playing someone who is rather lost and confused for much of the movie but, as such, her role is a bit understated. I like Jim Broadbent, but that's mostly just about him. Emory Cohen, as Tony, is probably the most dynamic of the cast. He certainly carries a lot of charisma with him in a bit of a James Franco kind of way. But, really, there's nothing remarkable here. No one to write home to Ireland about.

This next part is a bit spoilery. That's all the warning you'll get.

The biggest issue for me with the story is that Eilis is so passive. She doesn't move to Brooklyn because she wants to; she moves because her sister arranged it because her sister felt she would have better opportunities in the United States. A priest her sister knows arranges for her a place to stay and a job. She falls in love with the boy not because she falls in love with him but because he falls in love with her.

Later, when she has to return to Ireland because of a family death, she almost stays because she just keeps doing the things other people arrange for her: a new job, a new boy, a return to her old, small life. It was distressing to watch her just go along. But only mildly distressing because Eilis seems so unconcerned herself, unconcerned to the point of not even reading the letters she's receiving from her boy in Brooklyn.

The movie just goes on like that until you -- or, at least, I -- wonder what's going on and what's going to happen because, just from a time perspective, the movie must be almost over and there's no real way out for her from what's going on. The way that comes is sudden and contrived and leads to the only active choice that Eilis makes, the choice to return to Brooklyn. And the movie ends. We do get to see her get back, but, really, it's that sudden, and I was left feeling a bit... unsatisfied.

My wife liked it more than me.

But let me go back and say again: It's a good movie, and I did enjoy it. It's just not great. The rising action is too slow and doesn't rise high enough for the conflict, when it happens, to provide much of a climax, then the movie is just over. But, maybe, that's the way of life, which is really what this movie is: life. I wouldn't say it's a must see, but it's worth watching.

Friday, December 11, 2015

The Leaf Dance (a sonnet for my wife)

The Leaf Dance

The brown leaves rustle in the wind,
slowly crawling along the trail,
beckoning us to follow them.
“Fall is in the air.” Chimneys send
off'rings of scents into the pale
Autumn sky as the light grows dim.
Your shins flash in the dusk as you
expose your calves, lifting your skirt
and dancing through the crunching leaves.
I take your hand and pull you to
me, stealing a kiss as you flirt
away into the falling eve.
I chase after, pulled in no small part
by the cords that bind our hearts.

copyright 2015
** ** **

I'm not going to offer much in the way of explanation for this. I will say only two things:
1. Fall is my wife's favorite season.
2. She loves, with a child's delight, to step on crispy, fallen leaves.

So this is for my wife.
Because I love her.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Clone Wars -- "Weapons Factory" (Ep. 2.6)

-- No gift is more precious than trust.

[Remember, you can sign up to join the Clone Wars Project at any time by clicking this link.]

Most of what The Clone Wars has dealt with up to this point in regards to the relationship between Anakin and Ahsoka has focused on how Anakin allows his relationship to get in the way of doing his job. Much of the relationship is there to demonstrate how Anakin's attachment issues affect his ability to live up to the Jedi code and show his slow slide to the Dark Side (rather than the sudden shift as it appears in Revenge of the Sith).

However, this episode uses Anakin's issues with attachment to show where the Jedi code is itself weak and how other Jedi could perhaps do well to be more like Anakin.

"Weapons Factory" features Luminara Unduli and her apprentice, Bariss Offee. Bariss and Ahsoka get sent on a mission together. Anakin... well, Anakin frets and doesn't want Ahsoka to go. Anakin and Ahsoka are having issues, just in general, over whether Anakin trusts Ahsoka or not. However, when the apprentices get into trouble, it's Anakin who has faith in his apprentice while Luminara, basically, writes her apprentice off with "if it's her time..."

What we see in the episode is one Jedi, one who strictly follows the code and has no sense of attachment to her apprentice other than her duty to train her, who feels no compulsion to try and save her apprentice and, thus, would have left Bariss and Ahsoka to die if it had been up to her, and one Jedi who has difficulty (unknowingly) with some aspects of the code, specifically in his tendency to form attachments, who is unwilling to give up on his apprentice until he has proof that she's dead. It this attachment that Anakin has with Ahsoka that leads Anakin and Luminara to rescue the two apprentices.

It's also a demonstration of Anakin's trust in Ahsoka's abilities. He believes that she is still alive because he believes in her capacity. Luminara immediately decides that Bariss has failed.

The episode provides an interesting contrast between the two styles and shows, at least from the standpoint of our own sensibilities, that the Jedi have a thing or two they can learn from Anakin and how to invest in those around them.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Spectre (a movie review post)

I would be happier if the producers of the James Bond movies could make up their minds about whether they're doing continuing story lines or not, but I suppose that's not something that has specifically to do with this movie. But even without that, I find Spectre to be much more difficult to make a decision about as to whether I liked it or not. But, see, that's not exactly true, either, because I quite enjoyed watching the movie. Most of the movie.

Okay, I can't do this without spoilers, so be warned.

In a general sense, having Spectre be a direct sequel to Skyfall worked really well. In the specific sense of the antagonist being Bond's "brother," it was kind of a disaster. Seriously, we're supposed to believe that this kid who didn't like the fact that his father took in young Bond after the death of James' parents killed his father and grew up to become the leader of a massive, secret terrorist organization all to more effectively torture James. And kill all of Bond's girlfriends. Yeah, that just doesn't fly. It more like hobbles around on the ground and you just want Christoph Waltz to die.

Speaking of Waltz, I'm a bit tired of him. He might be fine in this movie if I hadn't seen him play the same character in about half a dozen movies at this point, but I have seen him continuously play the same character -- the sort of crazy, kooky, villain -- in film after film, and it's grown tiresome. Maybe some other actor could have gotten me to buy into the villain being Bond's long-thought-dead foster brother, but not Waltz.

Still, it is a Craig Bond movie, and it's highly enjoyable. The action is great, and Daniel Craig still puts on a very believable James Bond. I'm still very much liking Ralph Fiennes as M, and Ben Whishaw is great as Q. Andrew Scott even puts in an admirable performance as C, though it was difficult not to expect him to be a bad guy after his go as Moriarty in Sherlock. He just has that feel. Also, I do really like Naomie Harris as Moneypenny. Lea Seydoux is fine as Swann, which I only say because it doesn't seem that she did anything with the role that a dozen (or more) other actresses couldn't have done.

So... the bottom line:
Spectre is quite worth seeing in the theater, especially if you're a Bond fan. It's also essential viewing for the Bond fan, since this one continues to delve into Bond's backstory. Aside from Waltz and the whole "brother" thing, it's a really good movie. Great action, good acting, stunning visuals. Despite Waltz, I'm sure I'll be buying it on disc as soon as it's released. If you're not a Bond fan or if you're not familiar with the Bond movies, this is not the movie for you. It's certainly not a good place to start if you haven't seen any other Bond films. I do hope, though, that they move away from exploring Bond's childhood soon. I mean, why is it, after all, that we have to make orphans of all of our heroes?

Friday, December 4, 2015

The Magic Flute (an opera review post)

Our second opera (you can read about the first one here) was The Magic Flute by Mozart. Yes, that Mozart. What? You didn't know he wrote operas too? He composed the operatic version of The Marriage of Figaro (based on the play by Pierre Beaumarchais), still one of the top 10 most performed operas worldwide.

But The Magic Flute is not The Marriage of Figaro and not as widely performed. I'm assuming that's because it's not as good, though it was very enjoyable. [I'll have more to say about Figaro in the next opera post.] Actually, there are parts of it that are downright hilarious, although it does have issues with the ending.

Basically, The Magic Flute is an allegory about the Freemasons (of which Mozart was one) and the Catholic church, represented in the opera as The Queen of the Night (now, if that doesn't tell you anything about how Mozart feels about the Catholic church, I don't know what will). The protagonist, Tamino, is initially aligned with The Queen of the Night but quickly switches sides once he discovers the reason and logic of Sarastro and the brotherhood he belongs to.

On the surface, it's a very cliche love story: young prince sees a picture of a beautiful princess, falls in love, and goes off to rescue her. The princess hears that a prince is coming to rescue her and immediately falls in love with the prince, sight unseen. There are places where it seems that Mozart recognizes the ludicrousness of the plot, but he uses the familiar trope to tell his allegory.

And that's all I'm going to tell you about the story. It's all online; you can look it up. I will say, though, that the ending -- which is one of those "everything inexplicably turns out okay in the end" kinds -- is what I would say is the weakness of the story. I'm sure it could be debated how it relates to the allegory of the opera, but I'm not going to have that debate in relation to the story itself, which I think suffers.

As I mentioned in my last opera post, one of the things opera can suffer from is performers who just stand and sing, and this performance had issues with that as well, though not as bad as in Lucia di Lammermoor. Sarastro tends in this direction though, with him, it could be on purpose as he's supposed to be a very serious and solemn character. That said, the lead Paul Appleby, as Tamino, also tended to just stand and sing. I have to say that he was quiet boring as the male lead.

However, in the performance we saw, the female lead was played by Nadine Sierra (you might remember from the first opera post that she was fabulous as Lucia in that opera), and she was, again, brilliant. She's definitely someone I'm going to be keeping my eye on.

The true gem of this show, though, was Efrain Solis as Papageno, the Queen's bird catcher. No, I don't know why he's a bird catcher.
That's Papageno on the left and NOT Nadine Sierra as Pamina.
What I do know is that he was hilarious. Completely. Papageno is the comic character of the piece as The Magic Flute is a comedy, and Solis pulled it off perfectly. He is not a stand-and-sing kind of guy. I would go back to see this again just for his performance.

One other thing: this was actually performed in English, which my wife and I didn't know going in, so that was a pleasant surprise. Of course, we went to a performance that had translations happening (basically subtitles), so they actually became distracting since we didn't need them.

I liked this one better than Lucia, and I liked Lucia, so that's saying something. Next up:
The Barber of Seville

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Clone Wars -- "Landing at Point Rain" (Ep. 2.5)

-- Believe in yourself or no one else will.

[Remember, you can sign up to join the Clone Wars Project at any time by clicking this link.]

This episode is pretty much just a straight up battle episode. You need those big, epic battles every so often in Star Wars. It's part of what makes Star Wars, Star Wars. As such, the battle is pretty epic. It's a ground assault against the Geonosians and, actually, pretty violent, which I guess is okay because the Geonosians are bugs. The Jedi cut them apart as often as they do droids, but you don't get that kind of treatment when the Jedi are fighting humans or human-like aliens.

To make it even more exciting, you get to watch Palpatine, using reverse psychology, set the Jedi up for a trap. It also leaves him in the clear because, of course, he counselled against their plan of attack.

Fun things in this episode:

"This is another fine mess you've gotten us into." I'm not sure if that's the exact quote, but it's pretty funny to hear Ahsoka giving Anakin the Laurel and Hardy line. R2 and 3PO are absent from the episode, so Ahsoka and Anakin fill in nicely.

Ahsoka and Anakin keep a running count of enemies they've killed and try to outdo each other. I feel quite certain this was modeled on Gimli and Legolas from The Lord of the Rings.

Ki Adi Mundi, while injured, beats both Ahsoka and Anakin.

The only downside to this episode is that they bring Mundi but don't give him much screen time. While he does get more kills than Anakin, you don't see him doing any of it.

If you like a good battle sequence, though, this is a good episode to watch.