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Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Episode 108

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It’s no secret that most Star Wars fans over the age of 6 have a hard time tolerating Jar Jar Binks, the clumsy, goofball sidekick character introduced in The Phantom Menace. Clearly, creator George Lucas had intended for Jar Jar to infuse his new Star Wars films with Buster Keaton-esque slapstick humor while, at the same time, allowing his team at Industrial Light and Magic to flex their rendering muscle in having the computer-animated character interact with his flesh-and-blood castmates. However, his irritating antics in that first prequel film endeared him to nearly no one, and his role in the saga was scaled back considerable in the next two films. In Revenge of the Sith, the character is relegated to a cameo appearance with only seconds of screen time. That film is also widely considered the best of the prequels. Coincidence?

If you’ve been clamoring for more Jar Jar, than this latest episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, titled “Bombad Jedi,” is for you. For everyone else, well, the series has been good so far. It was only a matter of time before a genuinely bad episode reared its ugly head. In this case, that “ugly head” is orange with floppy ears attached.

When Senator Padmé Amidala is betrayed while on a peaceful visit to the planet Rodia, it’s up to Jar Jar Binks and C-3PO (voiced by Ahmed Best and Anthony Daniels respectively) to rescue her from the villainous Trade Federation viceroy, Nute Gunray, her nemesis in the films. It makes comedic sense to pair a straight-laced character like Threepio with the bumbling Gungan, but the humor here is mostly watching Jar Jar trip over himself and either accidentally screw over his friends (by blowing up their ship) or save them (by inadvertently posing as a Jedi). Children will eat up his antics without question, but few adults will be able to forgive the character’s over-the-top mannerisms, grating voice or infantile speech pattern enough to fully enjoy this episode.

The episode’s writer, Kevin Rubio, is no stranger to Star Wars-themed humor. He created the acclaimed fan-film Troops—a COPS satire featuring Imperial Stormtroopers—and wrote the fan-favorite Tag and Bink series of Star Wars spoof comics published by Dark Horse. He does the best he can with the material, and includes an inspired bit where a flustered Threepio pretends that he has no idea why a Jedi robe is aboard Padmé’s ship—covering for her secret marriage to Anakin Skywalker—but overall, this episode just doesn’t work.

“Bombad Jedi” is the first installment of the Clone Wars series that truly misses the mark for older fans, but youngsters will probably enjoy this lighthearted adventure.

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