The Clone Wars season 4 episodes 1 & 2 review: Water War/Gungan Attack

The new season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars gets off to a surprisingly slow start. Here's Cameron's review...

This review contains spoilers.4.1/4.2 Water War/Gungan Attack

Kicking season four off of the Star Wars animated series is a double bill of underwater action on the home world of the Mon Calamari, Mon Cala. And look who’s making his series debut, Admiral ‘It’s A Trap!’ Ackbar.

Well, actually, the rubber faced fish creature is just a Captain here, but it’s great to see the wobbly-handed lobster boy in animated form. His world is descending into war with the other indigenous species, the Quarren (or ‘Squid Head’ to the less tactful), leading to an opening scene full of politics and reminiscent of the senate scenes from The Phantom Menace.

And like Episode I, it shows a planet with two races at each others’ throats. Enter the Separatists to take advantage. It also, sadly, rather slows up the story at the front end, with ten minutes or so of discussions and arguments. Not the way in which I’d hoped the season would begin.

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The Separatists here are represented by Riff Tamson, a shark-like alien who is as bad as he looks. Unusually, for The Clone Wars, his characterisation is not up to their high standards, and Riff certainly has a bit of Shark Tale about him. The cartoon appearance is matched by his pantomime performance, where he actually uses the word “meddling”.

Similarly, our chum Ackbar suffers from a poor vocal realisation, leaving all signs of his personality (so charmingly displayed in Return Of The Jedi) at the proverbial door. Also not aiding the viewer is the rather whiney, unsympathetic Prince who’s been left in charge of the planet.

There are, as always with this show, some excellent set pieces, made all the more spectacular in their underwater environment. But the visuals cannot really overcome the stodginess of the story and the rather bland characters.

After the tumultuous and hugely entertaining events that ledd up to the previous season’s end, it’s slightly disappointing to see that the action has been pegged back a notch or two. Though it’s probably for the best, so the guys and gals behind the show can ramp up the excitement once more. Hope so, anyway.