John Williams

Top 10 John Williams Star Wars themes

John Williams has scored some of the most iconic movies in cinematic history. He is beyond talented and extremely brilliant. Now we all know a movie isn’t complete without an awesome sounding score to accompany it. Imagine Jaws, Harry Potter, Superman, or Indiana Jones without those beautiful and much needed pieces of music. The same can be said for any of the seven Star Wars films. John Williams has scored and created many themes for many different movies over his carrier. But none are more popular than the music from the Star Wars films. Any fan of these movies will have their own Top 10 list for themes. It was very hard to pick only ten. But without further ado:

10. “Across the Stars” (Love theme from Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith)

Let’s kick things off with a little forbidden romance shall we? This is the theme we hear whenever Padme and Anakin are seen on screen and as they share their first kiss with each other. I think it’s a beautiful theme full of passion and joy. It is one of two love themes that John Williams has created for the Star Wars films and here is hoping he creates a few more with Episodes VIII and IX on the way.

9. “Anakin’s Betrayal” (Order 66 theme)

This theme is played out in Revenge of the Sith when the order is given to all the clone commanders and their troops to execute the Jedi across the galaxy. It’s a particular moving piece because it is one of the saddest moments in the prequel trilogy and unlike anything we have seen before in a Star Wars film. Seeing countless Jedi gunned down or shot out of the skies was heartbreaking to see, not to mention the slaughtering of the younglings by Anakin.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YmhjaFbpkIE

8. “Ben Kenobi’s Death / Tie Fighter Attack”

One of the more thrilling themes from Episode IV is right after the death of Obi-Wan when Luke, Leia, Han, and the rest of the crew jump in the Falcon to escape the Death Star hanger to then only be pursued by a squad of Tie Fighters. The suspense leading up to the Tie Fighters approaching, to Luke and Han taking to the laser cannons on the Falcon to blast them away is like one big adrenaline rush. A small and quick scene compared to most on this list, but it sure packs a punch.

7. “The Battle of Endor I”

I picked Part 1 from the rest of the pieces from this battle is because of this heart pounding opening. It’s goes from suspenseful and quiet to loud and dramatic when the Rebel fleet realizes the shield to the Death Star is still operational. Chaos ensues as Lando leads the attack in space, Han and Leia along with the droids and help from the Ewoks lead the ground battles, and Luke is forced to watch the Rebel fleet get pulverized in space as Vader and his Master look on. And of course as always…IT’S A TRAP!

6. “Cantina Band”

Of course we can’t have a Top 10 list like this without having the “Cantina Band” theme in here somewhere! This is just a really fun theme to hear and grove along with. It is a departure from the heavy brass and strings we normally are used to in Star Wars films and John Williams gives a nice light feeling to this space opera.

5. “Duel of Fates”

This theme still gives me chills to this day. I remember being in the theater and when the doors opened to reveal Darth Maul standing there and then the choir kicked in was haunting. This piece had been something we haven’t heard before in the previous trilogy of films. With three new films for a new generation of fans, John Williams had to revamp the scores a bit for these. Nothing was ever this fast paced with choirs and brass combined in the original trilogy. A very intense track from the prequel trilogy and the best piece of music from Episode I by far.

4. “Han and Leia’s Theme”

A love theme for the ages. This was the very first love theme we got out of the Star Wars movies and boy did John Williams deliver. This is a soft and beautiful piece used to show the affections between Princess Leia and Han Solo. First heard in The Empire Strikes Back and continued on through Return of the Jedi and finally heard again in The Force Awakens, the fans always know when this plays on the screen we will get some kind of interaction between the couple, whether it’s them fighting or saying “I love you” is a different story.

3. “Rey’s Theme”

The number three spot is taken by my favorite theme from The Force Awakens and that is of course “Rey’s Theme”. I think it is one of the best character themes in the saga. John Williams really gives you a sense of adventure, hope, strength, wonder, and curiosity all mixed into one theme and that perfectly describes Rey in the film. It has been compared to Luke’s theme or the “Force” theme from the rest of the films as well which is something I can totally see.

2. “The Force Theme” ( Also known as Luke’s theme)

Speaking of Luke and the Force, here is my number two pick. This theme can be found in every single Star Wars film and TV show to date. It is universally known to the fans as the theme that surrounds almost anything to do with the use of the Force or the good guys in general. It is a great theme and is a very emotional and powerful theme at that. It’s known that the Force binds living things together. And the Force is strong with this theme.

1. “Star Wars Main Theme”

Anyone surprised by this number one pick? Well you shouldn’t be. It is of course the opening to the Star Wars films. This is arguably one of if not the most iconic opening themes in movie history. Even if you aren’t a fan of Star Wars, once you hear this theme you know where it’s from. I always get excited to hear this theme and when you first heard it in the theater again during Episode VII the whole place cheered. This to me is Star Wars, this is one of John Williams’ finest pieces of music he has ever written and will go down in history as such.

So how did I do? Did your favorite theme from the Star Wars saga make it on the list as well? Which John Williams theme from Star Wars is your favorite? Sound off in the comments below and let us know.

Top 10 John Williams Star Wars themes

No April Fooling, The Force Awakens Blu-Ray

It’s no joke that April can’t come soon enough for us Star Wars fans. April 1st is the day that you can download a high definition copy of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and other Disney Movies.  However, the Blu-Ray and DVD Combo makes its leap from light speed to the shelves on April 5th.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens grossed over $926 million at the box office here at home and $2.05 billion across the rest of the galaxy. The Force Awakens shattered box office records, so it will definitely be interesting to see how the sales in the stores do.Star Wars: The Force Awakens Wal-Mart Exclusive Blu-Ray

Speaking of stores, different retailers will have different offers for the in-home release of Star Wars:The Force Awakens.  Target, Walmart, Best Buy, and Disney Stores are offering fans retailer-exclusive collectible versions, so make sure that you visit your favorite retailer on the day of the release.  Here is a list of the stores an their respective offers.The 3D versions of The Force Awakens will be available later this year. That’s right, the April release does NOT include the 3D version of the film. This one is planned for a later release with additional bonus features.

  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens Target Exclusive Blu-RayTARGET – The Target Star Wars: The Force Awakens Blu-ray Combo Pack comes with exclusive packaging and an additional 20 minutes of bonus content, including never-before-seen interviews with Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, and a deeper look at the movie’s costumes and weaponry
  • WALMART – The Walmart Star Wars: The Force Awakens Blu-ray Combo Pack comes with exclusive BB-8 packaging and an exclusive Star Wars Galactic Connexions trading disc
  • BEST BUY – The Best Buy Star Wars: The Force Awakens Blu-ray Combo Pack features exclusive Steel Book Packaging
  • DISNEY STORE  The Disney Store Star Wars: The Force Awakens Blu-ray Combo Pack comes with an exclusive lithograph set, while supplies last of course

Inside the combo packages you can find an in-depth documentary, exclusive interviews with the actors, and a feature about the building of BB-8.  The filmmakers bring a new cast member to life and it becomes an instant fan favorite.  Watch the legendary composer, John Williams and the Seventh Symphony an the music of Star Wars and The Force Awakens.  The music of Star Wars has always been iconic.  Scores for the previous six films were done by the acclaimed composer John Williams, and once again he has returned to score Star Wars: The Force Awakens, ultimately garnering his 50th Oscar nomination for his work.  There are also deleted scenes.  I am personally interested in watching a segment called “Force for Change”; it shows how Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ initiative has united Star Wars fans all over the globe to help others.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Best Buy Exclusive Blu-Ray

Star Wars: The Force Awakens was directed by J.J. Abrams and written by Lawrence Kasdan & J.J. Abrams and Michael Arndt.  The film was produced by Lucasfilm President and eight-time Academy Award nominee Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, and Bryan Burk.

The movie is sure to create more fans and fun times watching it over and over with friends and family, that’s no joke!

The Force be with you all.

– Ultra

No April Fooling, The Force Awakens Blu-Ray

Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Review with Spoilers

Before I begin, this review DOES have SPOILERS from the film.

Ten years ago, I walked out of the theater convinced I had seen the last Star Wars movie. The Skywalker saga was complete and George Lucas had pledged no more movies. However, on this Thursday, I found myself in a theater for yet another Star Wars viewing. And so, after ten years, it would seem my Star Wars journey had come full circle in seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens. 

Overview

Following Luke Skywalker’s disappearance, the First Order (or the new Empire) has made a bid to take over the galaxy and squash the Resistance. One thing stands in their path, the last of the Jedi. Both sides scramble to find the last piece of a map that will lead them to the infamous Jedi Master.The Force Awakens: Rey and BB-8

The Force Awakens: Good

1.I was honestly expecting the first scene of The Force Awakens to be reminiscent of the 2009 Star Trek movie. However, this was not the case. The pacing was actually slower than expected. Nevertheless, it was fitting for the movie. After all, A New
Hope 
started off a bit slow. Rest assured, The Force Awakens has its fair share of action sequences but it does not sacrifice story and character development in favor of said action.

2. The movie nostalgia did not flaunt itself in the viewer’s face. There were plenty of callbacks to the previous movies, but they made room for the new as well (albeit new characters and plot points).

3. The lightsaber battles were messy. This may seem like a bad thing, but all lightsaber wielders were actually quite inexperienced. It took a lot of work to make the battles engaging and realistic to the skill of said force users. It was actually refreshing to see a grounded, realistic battle instead of a choreographed, over-the-top battle.

4. Although we do not have confirmation that the new darkside users are Sith, they definitely follow some of the same rules. In particular, the sacrifice. All Sith must make a sacrifice before reaching their true potential in the darkside. This was a philosophy that was shared in The Force Awakens.

5. John Williams’ brilliant music shined throughout the film. He brought in plenty of new themes, as well as some well-timed older themes from the original movies. It was certainly a treat to hear John Williams Star Wars music again.

6. All of the new characters are well developed and relatable. Rey proves to be an ideal female protagonist. Finn is a character who is scared and uncertain. As for Kylo Ren, he is an enemy of unrefined and unfocused power. All characters have their flaws, and they are better for it.The Force Awakens: Kylo Ren

 

The Force Awakens: Bad

There is little to complain about in this film, but I was a bit wary of the many references to A New Hope. A droid with important information… A deadly weapon of destruction… I admit that these plot devices worked well for this movie, but the parallels are hard to ignore.Star Wars: The Force Awakens X-Wing and TIE Fighter

Conclusion

This was certainly the movie that Star Wars fans were expecting in 1999. It is sure to please both old and new fans alike. The Force Awakens could’ve easily trudged down the action-ridden path that has made Star Wars famous. However, it holds back the action, which makes it more meaningful. Character development, in the form of all of the leads, are excellent. And the ending of the movie was nothing short of perfect.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Review with Spoilers

Superman with the Kids – Review

Superman is one of the most iconic characters ever created. I can remember him being a part of my life since watching Super Friends as a kid (just don’t re-watch it now, it’s painful). My father never really cared much for comics, but went out and bought the Death of Superman comics in 1992. I think he was trying to hold on to those as a collector’s investment, but I found them and couldn’t put them down. It was really my introduction to the world of comic books.

I’ve seen every Superman movie made I think. I’ve slogged through Superman and the Mole Men from 1951. I’ve mourned as the Christopher Reeve era of Superman films started strong and ended poorly. I liked Brandon Routh as Superman, though Superman Returns just sort of fell flat for me. I’m of two minds on Man of Steel: it started strong, and I liked the ways they changed elements of his origin, but hated the last third of that movie. So much. I’ve even seen the recently released documentary “The Death of ‘Superman Lives’: What Happened?”, which would have been an interesting/insane take on Superman, and worth a watch. I just really like Superman as a character, and even the bad movies tend to have memorable moments.

As a father now, I’ve had to be selective about how to introduce my kids to these types of movies. We tend to be more than a little protective in what we allow our kids to watch, so a lot of the more action-filled movies have been off-limits. My kids are starting to get older now, so this weekend I decided it was time to introduce my children to Superman, Richard Donner’s 1978 origin story for the Man of Steel. I’ve seen this movie dozens of times, though I prefer Superman II, but this time, I wanted to see what it was like for my children to get to experience this for the first time. My son, the older of my two kids, has read enough of the kid-oriented graphic novels from the library that he knows Superman’s origin and backstory, and has a passing knowledge of Superman’s key antagonists like Lex Luther and Doomsday. As those familiar elements were presented, you could see the moments of recognition in his eyes. My daughter, however, didn’t really know much about Superman, and so for her this was all new.

Before I dig into specific elements of the film, there are a couple of things I realized while watching Superman this time around. First, this movie was clearly made with kids in mind. Many of the elements that don’t work for me had them laughing and engaged the entire time. I don’t know why I’d never really considered that before, but seeing how wrapped up in the movie they were, it struck me what a good job was done making a really family-friendly film without being obvious about it. Second, I really, really miss this version of Superman. The Clark Kent persona gets a lot of flack for just being a pair of glasses and a slouch, but in this film there’s a pronounced difference between the two personas, and it speaks to the identity that is trying to be crafted for the character. Both Clark Kent and Superman feel likable and real, and it’s a testament to Reeve’s acting that he pulls it off so well.

— Superman: The Bad —

Since I prefer to end on a positive note, let me get the elements of this film out of the way that just don’t work:

Superman Flying Around the World Backwards

No. Just No.

Reversing time by flying around the world backwards

This is the single largest criticism of this movie. It makes no sense logically, though one thing that struck me was that they foreshadow this possibility early on. Jor-El clearly explains at several points earlier in the movie that it is forbidden to tamper with human history. Was this previously a problem for Kryptonians when they would travel to other planets? Interestingly, my kids had absolutely no problem with this, though they were at first confused about what Superman was doing, but then just excited that Superman could save Lois.

Otis and Miss Tessmacher

We are supposed to accept that Lex Luthor, the Greatest Criminal Mind of the Century™, would tolerate working with two of the most useless people imaginable. The movie goes out of their way to tell us over and over again how stupid Otis is, and I have yet to understand exactly what role Miss Tessmacher plays aside from eye candy in one scene (that includes the dumbest group of military people to ever be in charge of nuclear assets). Is she his mistress? His secretary? Her plot role in helping Superman escape to stop the nuclear missiles is presumably not her only reason for existing, but why does Lex keep her around? Virtually every moment where either sidekick is on screen is terrible. The best I can figure is that these two are like the cartoon character sidekicks in an animated movie that serve as the comic relief for children. My kids thought Otis was funny, but they can’t find a reason for Miss Tessmacher to be there, either.

We spend far too long on Krypton

When the movie begins by sentencing Zod and Co. to the Phantom Zone, I thought at first I had put in the wrong movie. But no, in contrast to the after credits scenes and teases we’re used to today, this teaser for Superman II happens before you see anything else for Superman. You get this weird scene of giant ominous faces condemning three strangers to a terrible fate (at least we’re supposed to think that flying pane of glass is terrible. We’re never actually told what it is) with absolutely no context.  I don’t even remember if they actually even mention Zod’s name.  Marlon Brando’s Jor-El is the only other person physically present during this scene. This moment is never alluded to again for the duration of the movie. In the next scene, we find out Krypton is doomed, and the Kryptonian governing council was all right there, in person, to be their version of extreme climate change deniers I guess? This whole drama takes so long to play out, with it taking a full 20 minutes or so before young Kal-El is sent through space to earth, that my kids really began to wonder whether there was going to be any Superman in a movie called Superman.

Superman’s sometimes incredibly random powers

Super speed, flight, super hearing (though it’s never really explained how Lex figures out he can do that, since it doesn’t come up in Lois’s interview), and x-ray vision are all present as expected. Heat vision doesn’t show up till the second film, which was the one thing both my kids asked about at the end of the movie (“How come he didn’t use his eye lasers?”). The ability to spin himself fast enough to drill through concrete? Not sure how he discovered that power. Superman admits in his interview with Lois that he’s never clocked himself flying before, but there’s no good explanation at why catching missiles is so difficult, yet flying fast enough to change Earth’s rotation is possible shortly thereafter. Are his super-speed or time travel capabilities only unlocked via heartbreak?

The flying date with Lois
Lois and Superman Interview

Everything is fine, until they take off. Then, let the score and the whispered musings put you to sleep.

It’s corny, goes on way too long, and Lois does far too much inner monologuing. My daughter loved the whole thing and spent the whole scene in excited fits of embarrassment. Guess I’m just not the target audience for this one.

The Special Effects

They’re not all bad, especially given that the film was made 37 years ago, and the green screen flying doesn’t look terrible, but this film definitely shows it’s age.  The most disconcerting effects happen anytime dead Jor-El is communicating with Clark, especially when he first reaches the Fortress of Solitude. The weird Technicolor fade-ins and fade-outs and floating heads are just not something my kids have really been exposed to. I do appreciate that many of the action effects are practical, which helps give the scenes an air of believability, even if they can feel dated.

— Superman: The Good —

Despite those issues, I have to admit, I really enjoy this movie. It’s not perfect, and most of the important side characters and virtually every extra in the movie feel like walking clichés instead of actual people, but it gives the film a very sort of cheesy charm that works. The brief interactions with a wide variety of New Yorkers citizens of Metropolis should feel ridiculous, but for some reason they don’t. Let me touch on some of the best things this movie offers.

Christopher Reeve
Clark Kent vs Superman

While not true for all actors, Clark Kent is more than just Superman with glasses because of Christopher Reeve.

There are not enough good things to say about his performance in this movie. Without his acting, this movie would have failed. There are a couple of great moments that really define why this works for me. First, early after his introduction to Metropolis, Clark and Lois are leaving the Daily Planet and are robbed at gunpoint. Clark plays the ultimate coward, whining and terrified. After he catches a bullet to save Lois, there’s this moment where he looks at the bullet in his hand, and has this look of satisfaction that’s amazing. It’s everything short of winking at the camera, and I love it.

There’s a second moment, after Superman has his flying date mentioned above, when he shows up as Clark to take Lois on an actual date. While Lois is in the other room obviously still twitterpated by Superman, Clark takes off his glasses, stands up straight, and you see his whole demeanor change as he is about to tell Lois who he really is. I mentioned above the whole ‘glasses as a disguise’ trick isn’t often done well, and this is where Reeve excels. It’s not just taking off the glasses or standing up straight, or even speaking a little more confidently that makes it clear he’s now Superman, it’s the look in his eyes, the set of his chin. It’s a brilliant scene where he sheds the alias and is both confident and insecure, and he does so much with just body language.

Finally, when Lex tricks Superman into opening the lead case with the Kryptonite in it, there’s a moment of sheer terror when Superman realizes he’s actually in trouble.  The look on Reeve’s face is genuine, and you really believe he’s afraid. It’s vulnerable and real, and such a great performance.

Reeve just does such an amazing job as Superman. Confident, even flirty with Lois, small and timid as Clark, genuine as a hero with a smile on his face and no trace of condescension even delivering some really cheesy lines. He carries this movie.

The Costume

Superman is nothing without the costume.  It’s as iconic as any can possibly be.  This version of the costume feels lifted straight from the pages of a comic book.  It’s classical, with bright colors, and the first time you see Superman flying out of the Fortress of Solitude wearing it, it is just incredible.  I’d love if they explained a little more where he got it from, since everything we see on Krypton seems devoid of color, but that’s a really minor gripe.  My kids excitement was palpable, since it does take a while for Superman to finally become Superman.

The dynamic between Lex Luthor and Superman
Lex Luthor First Revealing Kryptonite

Gene Hackman really shines in these moments when he triumphs, if briefly, over Superman

Gene Hackman is an amazing actor, and, when his scenes aren’t being ruined by his sidekicks, he really steals the show. The entire scene with Lex explaining his whole plan to Superman about the nuclear missiles and California leading to the Kryptonite reveal is incredible. Superman is swaggering about confidence in his abilities, and Lex is just toying with him. The way they interact together here is fantastic, and echoes so much about what I like from this dynamic in the comics.

The young Clark Kent

While I think Man of Steel handles the origins of Superman well, this is the gold standard. The Kents are believable, kind, and loving. When Pa Kent gives the speech about why he has Clark conceal his powers, it is uplifting rather than paranoid, even though the content is nearly the same. Pa Kent’s death is heartbreaking. Everything here was handled perfectly, and covers all the traditional elements my son reminded me had to be there.

The Score

You cannot underestimate the genius that is John Williams’s score and how much it impacts this movie. I bet you’re humming it in your head right now. It’s incredible, and it really adds to the movie.  There are a couple of variations on the main theme to keep it fresh through the film, and the romance theme set that tone perfectly as well.

Margot Kidder as Lois Lane

Again, a fantastic casting choice. She screams a lot, and I’m not a big fan of the flying date scene, but much like Reeve she gives a very genuine performance, and her chemistry with Reeve is visible. She’s confident and assertive and immensely likeable as a character. Watching her get flustered by Superman in their interview is tremendously enjoyable, which, again, was my daughters favorite part of the movie.

The Humor

Remember when superhero movies were funny? There are quite a few moments of well-crafted (or at least well-intentioned) humor in this movie. One of my favorite moments is the obligatory ‘Superman saves a plane’ scene. The pilot, after looking out the window to see Superman supporting the exploded engine turns to his co-pilot and delivers in a perfect deadpan, “Fly. Don’t look, just fly.” Superman also gets to deliver plenty of one-liners, some of which are a little groan-worthy, but not Schwarzenegger level, so it’s fine. Even Hackman gets in on the fun with the slightly terrible line “We all have our little faults. Mine’s in California.” That one did make my son groan. It’s just such a nice change to watch a superhero movie that isn’t bleak and joyless.

— Superman: Conclusions —

So, the final verdict from my kids was that this was a solid hit. My son really enjoyed seeing all the things he knew about the character portrayed well. My daughter really enjoyed discovering one of the great romances in comics. I love coming into the room listening to them talk about it even now, days afterwards. Whether it’s about that silly guy who hit Superman in the head with a crowbar (“how dumb was that, Dad?”), or Clark’s little nod to himself after catching the bullet to save Lois, or even how dumb Otis is, the fact that they are still talking about it just makes me smile. This movie is such a perfect introduction to the character of Superman and what makes him great. It’s definitely more fun than serious, and it’s got plot holes, but it’s aged far better than you probably think it has for being more than 35 years old. If you haven’t seen it recently, especially if you have kids like mine, you can’t go wrong with truth, justice, and the American way.

Have you seen a Superman movie lately?  What’s your favorite Superman film?  If you say Superman IV, then you’re a terrible person.  Leave a comment below and tell me what you think.

Superman with the Kids – Review

Star Wars Rebels Season 2 Movie Review

Things were looking pretty good for our heroes at the end of Star Wars Rebels Season 1; however, the Empire is not one to turn the other cheek and makes sure that the rebels pay for their actions by sending along an expert in dealing with such matters, Darth Vader.

WARNING: SPOILERS ABOUND!

Overview

Following a huge victory at the end of season 1, Rebels picks up where it left off with the crew of the Ghost helping out the new rebel fleet. Some of the crew, in particular Kanan, feel a bit overwhelmed by their new circumstances. The idea of serving as a sort of intergalactic Robin Hood against the Empire was fulfilling. Fighting a full on fight against said Empire, on the other hand, is almost out of their league. So when the crew receive a message from Lothal concerning the smuggling of a high ranking official off world, it seems like the perfect opportunity to get more Imperial information as well as return to their roots in small-time rebellion; however, little do they know that this is a trap laid by none other than the Sith Lord, Darth Vader.

The Good

Kanan expresses his uneasiness with joining the larger rebel cause.

Kanan expresses his uneasiness with joining the larger rebel cause.

1. “The Siege of Lothal” changes the dynamic even more than the season finale. We honestly were not sure where the series was heading after finding out that the small band of rebels aboard the Ghost were actually one sect in a larger group. The option of them still operating in Lothal is completely thrown out by the end of this episode as Vader makes that an impossibility. Getting off of Lothal was a good and bold move on the show’s part, as it throws our characters out of their comfort zone.

2. Darth Vader is used properly and it looks like he will not return for quite awhile. At first, it seems that our heroes will outwit and escape Vader. This would have been a concern since Vader cannot lose like the villains in the previous season; however, “The Siege of Lothal” uses Vader perfectly. Even when it looks like the rebels had escaped Vader’s clutches, we find out that it was all apart of his plan. Also, as expected, Kanan and Ezra are no match for Vader in lightsaber combat. That scene, in and of itself, was an awesome treat to watch as Vader toyed with the duo.

Ezra and Kanan observe the destruction of Tarkintown.

Ezra and Kanan observe the destruction of Tarkintown.

3. The inhabitants of Lothal have had it rough. Many of them have had to move to Tarkintown, a refugee camp that the rebels often helped out. The name of Tarkintown is a clear call-out to the Hoovervilles of the 1930s when the poor would move to these places and mockingly name them after President Hoover, but Tarkintown also serves as an important plot point as it is burned to the ground by Darth Vader. Why did Vader do this? To take advantage of our heroes’ “weakness” for compassion. Watching Tarkintown burn into ashes really brought the idea home that there was little else our heroes could do in Lothal.

4. When Vader reported to the Emperor of his mission’s completion, we did not see the Emperor. Rather, we simply heard his voice (as performed by the very talented Sam Witwer). I am sort of hoping we do not see the Emperor’s face at all in the show, as his disembodied voice would make him more mysterious and foreboding. Of course, now that Vader knows Ahsoka lives and has already told the Emperor of this, we can only imagine what their plans might be. Vader clearly is not going to turn Ahsoka to the Darkside since he already informed the Emperor of her presence. Sith lords do not inform each other when they want to usurp the mantle of Dark Lord of the Sith.

The Bad

Darth Vader reports the status of his mission to the Emperor.

Darth Vader reports the status of his mission to the Emperor.

1. Within the first few minutes of the episode, John Williams’ music was already being used. I am not talking about a small theme. Rather, the show used quite a bit of the asteroid field music from The Empire Strikes Back for much of the scene. This was a problem throughout the first season, and, unfortunately, it would seem that it will be a problem in this season. George Lucas himself pushed the production team of the Clone Wars to use Williams’ music sparingly. That show would throw in a theme here and there, but we would never get a full track pulled from one of the films. Overusing John Williams’ themes and even copying and pasting them into the show, instead of creating new themes, not only devalues their worth but is also lazy.

2. Darth Vader’s voice sounded a little bit off. This is not a stab at the work of the awesome James Earl Jones; however, somebody in the sound department did not do the best job at making the voice sound mechanical. It actually sounded too mechanical. Maybe minimization is the goal of the show, but, for those of us who grew up on the original trilogy, this sounded wrong.

Meet Lando's droid (left), W1-E1, the droid with a Southern accent.

Meet Lando’s droid (left), W1-E1, the droid with a Southern accent.

3. Lando shows up again to help out the crew of the Ghost; however, this could easily have been handled by an unknown smuggler since Lando had a total of maybe thirty seconds of screen time. Minimizing nods to the original trilogy is key since they could steal the show from our core heroes… of course, I might be able to forgive this one since we were introduced to Lando’s awesome southern-accented droid.

Conclusion

“The Siege of Lothal” was a huge opening episode that set the course for the entire season. Our heroes no longer have a planet for their headquarters (poor Ezra’s old home was even destroyed), Vader and the Emperor are plotting, the rebel fleet is on the run, and, on top of that, it looks like we are getting a new Sith Inquisitor! There was very little not to like in this episode. All in all, season 2 is off to a great start.

 

Star Wars Rebels Season 2 Movie Review