July 19, 2015
I liked this edit better than the first one. While the first one was a basic introduction episode to the Clone Wars, this episode builds on the themes of the previous one and gets deeper into it. We saw in Army of the Republic how people viewed armies. There were people who thought the soldiers were just disposable, only mildly better than droids for their strategic and critical mindsets. Others like Shaak Ti saw the clones as people, and gave importance to their empathic, emotional ability, and their sense of teamwork and honor. The view was quite black and white but still compelling enough.
In A New Threat, we go deeper into the minds of the fighting sides. Now it isn’t simply about fighting bad guys together but saving those we love. People criticize Last Jedi for Rose’s lines about this, but corny and spoon-fed (maybe even weakly executed) as the scene may have been, it stuck to the core of what Star Wars is all about. This is clearly seen in A New Threat.
We see what the villains think in the Cloak of Darkness section. All they want is money, power, and control. They don’t care about saving lives, all they want is self gratification. Next in Lair of Grievous we get into the mindset of the Jedi and we see that things are not so black and white. We see Kit Fisto’s apprentice being very aggressive towards and easily provoked by Grievous, and giving into that kind of hate costs him his life. It’s not about fighting those we hate...
In the Boba Fett sections we see that Anakin and Mace are concerned about saving clones, and there is this “no one is left behind” mindset that is reversed when they are in trouble and the other Jedi have to save them. Thematically, Boba is fighting the person he hates, and causes chaos for that. Mace Windu’s response to Anakin about doing nothing about Boba and not seeking him out is the orderly way to do it and ties into this theme well. It is an interesting contrast to how Mace acts in Revenge of the Sith, basically fighting what he hates and trying to kill him, showing hypocrisy with both the Jedi Code and himself (a new character layer not seen before) causing Anakin to completely lose faith in the Jedi and betraying them.
I also can’t stop thinking how this is an interesting contrast to how Mace murdered Jango in AotC causing Boba to cause more damage in the future. Sure he did it because it’s war, but as he said, “We’re keepers of the peace, not soldiers” and fighting a war is not a very balanced thing, necessary as it was. I think it was these kinds of complications of morality and necessary ruthlessness that caused the Jedi in the Prequels to get even more hypocritical and corrupt than they already were, and I love how The Clone Wars subtly explores that. I personally think that the omitted episode “Lethal Trackdown” was also exploring this, especially at the end when Mace is left reflecting on how his brash and imbalanced way he killed Jango because it was war caused more chaos and the loss of lives. It’s great, but plot wise it was the right decision for the editor to omit that. I personally like to view that episode as a bonus to this fanedit, despite the inconsistencies.
Finally, the differing plotlines with one common theme all converge in the awesome Malevolence arc, with the plots having to do with deciding whether or not to save the left behind clones (with the much memed but very compelling “-We’re meant to be disposable -Not to me” exchange), saving an entire medical center from the very evil that threatens the place that save people, and saving Padme from within the Malevolence before it is destroyed. I loved the third act of the movie simply because or this convergence of thematic depth.
The flow was overall still a little slow for me, especially when Padme came in out of nowhere and there were added stakes which I didn’t really feel as well as the medical center part—it just felt redundant and too much plot-wise. However I forgave it because it tied into the themes very well. The villains just kept making things difficult for the good guys, and the Jedi had to decide to make a quick rescue and risk everything in the end. In the end, I have mixed feelings about the actual climax that included Padme, but it worked. However, the overall edit I thought was paced and flowed a lot better than Army of the Republic, so I guess it balances out.
A New Threat is a great edit that improves on the very good Army of the Republic. Can’t wait to see Episode III, Children of the Force!