Star Wars: The Clone Wars “Sacrifice” REVIEW
“Through this path, victory we may yet find. Not victory in the Clone Wars, but victory for all time.”
Here we are at the end. In a small way, Yoda’s journey is indicative of The Clone Wars as a whole. For years, the idea of a weekly Star Wars show seemed impossible. There was much discussion surrounding the topic but nothing ever came to light. How could broadcast TV capture the scope and scale of Star Wars? Miniseries and specials? Sure. Weekly TV? Not happening. Then The Clone Wars was announced and nothing really changed. The ambivalence many felt during the beginning was understandable. The series had to live in the tainted shadow of Lucas’ prequel trilogy, a poor film introduction and Genndy Tartakovsky’s Star Wars: Clone Wars miniseries, a series in which many dub the best thing to happen to Star Wars in years. However, Dave Filoni and his team persisted and in the end created something fantastical.
The Clone Wars took Lucas’ wonky base and turned it into something enduring, something exciting, something that crossed genres. The Clone Wars brought meaningful character depth the prequels were missing. It was playful at times and gravely serious at others. It was something fans of all ages could enjoy. For six years, an entire generation of viewers, Star Wars: The Clone Wars was Star Wars. The show made Anakin a likable rogue and Obi-won a quick witted smart aleck. It gave us Ahsoka Tano, a character many were skeptical at first, but some became the heart of the show. While the beginning parts take some warming up to, the later seasons end strong and feature some of the best animation across any medium. Disappointing the show runners could not have gone out like they wanted. Still, they have left many of fine Star Wars tales for fans to enjoy for years to come.
“Sacrifice” brings us to the Sith home world of Moraband. It is here Yoda will find his last test. Moraband is in stark contrast to the lively planet of “Destiny.” The entire place is in ruins, sandstorms blow across the surface and there is nothing left that could be called alive. Almost as soon as Yoda lands, it is as if the planet is taunting him. Spirits of Sith in the forms of snakes assault the Jedi, telling Yoda what he is looking for is not here. The Sith ghost look wonderful and the way they push Yoda back at times gives their ghostly bodies a sense of weight.
In an excellent cameo, Mark Hamill stops by to provide the voice of Darth Bane, the ancient Sith Lord who established the rule of two. Hamill is excellent at playing villains, his deliberate delivery of lines is menacing. He’s more Alvin than Joker here, but still it’s great. The design for Bane is impressive as well. There are plenty of particle effects and it’s as if every breath Bane takes expands his frame fueling the fire inside his body.
Bane, as with the other Sith spirits are only illusions, made by the Force Ghost to test Yoda. The real trial lies beyond the gate where the “Sith of his day” will surly try and break his spirit. Sure enough Yoda’s presence on Moraband has not gone unnoticed to Sidious, who calls on Dooku to assist him in trying to eliminate Yoda while he is alone. The image of Sifo-Dyas Sidious sends to Yoda is cool, but the real challenge comes from the final battle.
The transition to Coruscant is great. It happens quickly causing the audience and Yoda to question what’s real and what’s an illusion. This continues throughout the fight. There is some foreshadowing here like Anakin killing Dooku, as he does in Revenge, but at the same time, some events are different. Still we get a very kinetic fight between Yoda and Sidious and it is here does the episode’s title come into play. Once again the camera work is great and captures the tight spaces of the walkways, along with the fight choreography. While Yoda ultimately does not discover Sidious’ true identity, the Force Ghost agree to teach Yoda how to manifest his being after death, but not before sharing with him another small peak into the future.
The coda at the end is touching. The calm of the Jedi temple, along with Kevin Kiner’s score, clearly playing off John William’s original, adds a shimmer of hope as Yoda tells of his journey to Obi-won and Mace. It’s a fitting end and works to wrap up Yoda’s journey and the series as well.
It is impossible to think “Sacrifice” could tie up all the loose end of The Clone Wars series. However, it features excellent storytelling and is something all Star Wars fans will enjoy. Disney’s Star Wars Rebels has plenty to live up too. Luckily most of the team of The Clone Wars is working on that show as well.