09 August 2008

Clone Wars : The Plot in all its Spoiler Glory

Highlight to read: almost all of this post is a spoiler:

The film opens with the familiar "Long Time Ago... In a Galaxy Far Far Away..." and then jumps into the action: a montage of the Clone Troopers battling the Separatists. It turns out that the Outer Rim territories where the Kamino cloning facilities where is cut off from the Republic, so there is a shortage of Troopers. TheHutt clan (led by Jabba the Hutt) controls the shipping in the Outer Rim. Someone has kidnapped the Hutt's son. Jabba The Hutt makes a plea to Chancellor Palpatine for aid-- somehow a giant slug at the rim of the galaxy has the leader of a trillion people on speed-dial. Palpatine ask Mace Windu and Yoda for help. As luck would have it, they have two Jedi available: Obi-wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker. They are on the planet "Christophsis" having won out against the robot armies-- but communications have been broken. They relay a message to a Republic fleet at a staging area. In a geek-treat moment, we get to see Republic Navy officers-- somewhere on the evolutionary path towards the Imperial Navy. It turns out that Christophsis has not been secured. Anakin and Obi-wan need to lead their diminishing number of troopers vs. the robots. The droids are led by Whorm Loathsom, who looks the love child of Watto and a tusked-boar. A great battle ensues with heavy casualties on both sides. The robots fall back in time for a Republic transport to land and deposit a special messenger, a young Torgruta girl, Asoka Tano. It turns out she is an apprentice-- a padawan-- for Anakin Skywalker. The Jedi council decided that the irreverent Asoka is a match for the irreverent Skywalker. The robot army has fallen back to deploy a massive shield-- an expanding hemisphere that keeps the droids safe at they advance. Skywalker hatches a genius plan. He and Asoka hide under a box in the path of the force field. When the army and field overtake then, they are safely behind enemy lines. While on her first day on the job, she and Skywalker sneak to the shield generator. They plant explosives. They trigger a number of barrel like droids that battle the two Jedi. In a page from Buster Keaton, Asoka uses the force to bring down a wall on the droids surrounding Anakin, leaving him safe in the hole in the wall. Meanwhile, back at the battle, the troopers have been picked off. Kenobi is surrounded and surrenders. He tricks Whorm Loathsom into negotiating the terms of the Republic surrender. This a ploy to kill time so that Anakin and Asoka can bring down the shield and luckily so that Yoda and re-enforcements can arrive. Almost instantly, they start using nicknames for one another: "Snips" and "Skyguy" (guess which is which).

Yoda instructs Anakin and Asoka to find and rescue the Huttling. Kenobi goes to bargain with Jabba the Hutt. Rotta the Hutt is held by Asajj Ventress, pupil of Dooku. Whoever designed Ventress for this film came off of an Angelina Jolie binge (bee-sting lips, sultry voice).
I was expecting Ventress to admit that this wasn't a kidnapping, but a botched adoption, then try to adopt Asoka. She is holed-up on PlanetTeff in a Bohmarr Monastery (man, I bet those walking hookas are regretting never getting door-lock or firearm technology perfected-- it seems like everyone loves to take them over and move in). Helping her is an assortment of droids and a weaselly droid, 4A-7. The Republic forces go to Teff. The monastery is high on a butte; so the Jedi and troopers have to mount a vertical assault-- it makes for a great visual. The droids-- largely B1 droids-- are defaulting the monastery courtyard. They are amazingly stupid-- almost Jar-Jar stupid. At the top, Anakin mows down most of the remaining droids and leaves the troopers to mop up. 4A-7 comes out and feigns gratitude for the rescue. Anakin and Asoka go into the monastery to the detention level [a) Why does a monastery have a detention level? Do people pepper their quiet contemplation with assault and battery? b) I want a detention level!]; they know it's a trap. They dispatch some very dumb B1 droids and make it to the cell where Hutt's baby boy, Rotta. I was thinking this would be a douche-bag heir apparent of Jabba. Instead, it's an infant: a bowling ball with arms, a tail and a maw. Rotta is sick, adding to the urgency of getting him back to his parents-- of course I say "parents" but in sci-fi tradition, there is no sign of Momma the Hutt-- underlining that popular premise that females are there to be dying mothers, spunky hard-to-get-girlfriends or marketing ploys. For Ventress and Dooku, this is all part of the trap. They want to frame the Jedi for the death of Rotta. The droid army springs out of hiding (how is it that the security staff on my way in to see this movie could scan me for the presence of a camera; but the Republic forces cannot scan a planet for robots?) and attack the Clone Troopers. Anakin, R2 and Asoka find a way down to a secret launch pad. Once down there, Ventress pounces on them and the droids attack. They need to escape, but they don't have a ride. Beneath the landing pad is a nest of giant 10 meter long dragon-fly-type insects. Asoka spies a ship on a nearby landing pad on another butte. I hit X-A-X Anakin and Asoka hitch a ride from one of these insects, while R2 jets behind them. They get to the other landing pad. 4A-7 is there loading his ship for departure with the help of some B1 droids. All of the robots are deactivated with extreme prejudice. Anakin tries to get the ship ready to go. Reinforcements have arrived just in time again. Kenobi goes into the monastery in search of Ventress. The two of them get into a pitched light saber battle (yawn). As this movie is the kick-off for the TV-series; and Return of the Sith showed Dooku sans Ventress, the writing is on the wall. Someone has to be the bad guy-- er, girl-- for the TV series and eventually die-- but not today. She escapes in the nick of time (she'll be back.... she'll be back...).

Senator Amidala comes into the Chancellor's office to discover that Anakin will be doomed if the Hutts think the Jedi betrayed them. She asks to plead with Jabba directly and Palpatine is against the idea. She suggests that she talks to Ziro TheHutt who live in Coruscant (in the "Old Town" sector-- on a city that covers a whole planet, what is that? Is Old Town the size of Europe?). She goes down to this place that looks like a speakeasy-- with a Thith band doing Swing music. Ziro: he's sort of a cross between Jabba theHutt and Truman Capote, with body tattoos compliments of Prince. Amidala pleads her case and Ziro promises to take it to Jabba. Before she leaves, she spots that one of Ziro's droids is armed with a B1 issue blaster. She dashes back to Ziro's room to overhear theHutt and Dooku (who is popping in via hologram) scheme to kill Jabba the Hutt , kill Amidala and let Ziro take over control of the Hutts (--Fab-Ulous!--). She is taken prisoner. B1 droids (aka the "Jar-Jar-Droid" line) trigger here hologram and up pops C-3PO. She calls for his help. Later, near the climax of the story, C-3PO and a squad of Clone Troopers rescue Amidala and capture Ziro.

Anakin and company get their Spice freighter jalopy on course for Tatooine (two questions here: Do people ship anything but Spice? How can Tatooine be a backwater but show up in six out of seven movies?). On Tattooine, Anakinet cetera are attacked by Dooku's droids. They make a crash landing and trek across the Dune Sea to Jabba's Palace. In the meantime, Dooku has whitewashed the Jedi involvement, convincing theHutt that the Jedi have already killed his son.

They formulate a cunning plan: Anakin with a Huttling sized backpack treks into the snare of Count Dooku. They get into a heated battle (if you've seen Revenge of the Sith, you know how this battle has to end). It turns out that the Jedi pulled a fast one. Asoka actually has the Huttling. She encounters three of Dooku's bodyguard droids and fights them. Somehow the plucky apprentice wins versus them. Anakin makes it to Jabba theHutt . He falls into the trap that Dooku has set up. A moment later, Asoka and the Huttling show up. The Hutts a re reunited. Jabba still wants to kill the Jedi (good idea-- Anakin's daughter will eventually do him in). Intervention by Amidala and a confessional Ziro (Fab-Ulous!) changes his viewpoint and he both sets the Jedi free and agrees to allow Republic access through his shipping lanes in the Outer Rim.

All ends well and I'm sure there are more adventures to come (wink wink).

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