Star Wars: Resistance Episode 1 Review.

 

Worried that the news series will be too kid friendly? Hoping it will fit into canon? Scared it will be a big pile of bantha podu? Ease your fears our review will. #StarWars #StarWarsResistance

 

As is often the case, when the trailer for the new Star Wars series dropped it was meet with some….resistance. Fans fretted over the animation and the characters and the open attempt to be more kid oriented. However, most fears of the new series were quickly dispelled within the first few minutes. While family friendly the show deals with adult themes much in the same way Rebels and Clone Wars did before it.

 

A Bit of Old and New.

 

The episode opens with  familiar scene in the Star Wars universe. Three X-wings on a mission encounter a Tie-Fighter and a battle ensues. Its short but sweet and eventually loops back to an ending that promises so good political intrigue between the Resistance and the First Order. The mission is a success due to the skill of relatively new recruit and the shows main protagonist Kazuda Xiono. Kazuda’s piloting skill catches the eye of Poe Dameron who brings him aboard the Tantive IV as he briefs General Leia Organa on the mission. The throwback to A New Hope is nice. How General Organa got her ship back from the Imperials is anyone’s guess, but the concept is a nice touch.

After an impassioned plea, Poe decides to make young Kazuda into a spy for the resistance. We learn that Kazuda is the son of a senator,  one who doesn’t approve of the Resistance. But the show intentionally doesn’t show us who that is. His hologram is fuzzy and faded as the message is scrambled by Poe for security purposes. It seems there might be some conflict there in the future. Is Kazuda’s father secretly a first order sympathizer?

Poe drops Kazuda off on the racing world of Colossus, leaving BB-8 behind to watch after him. Traditional tropes of the Star Wars universe are both present and welcome. Dingy ships, dangerous bars, underdogs and hotshot pilots are here in abundance. Resistance walks a tightrope of consistency and familiarity vs cliche and over stuffed fan service. It is largely successful and the few missteps (like BB-8 shoehorned into the cast) are forgivable. The parts store on the Colossus will feel familiar to fans of the Star Wars Epsiode 1: Racer on N64 and Dreamcast.

While the characters are simplified for younger audiences, they are still interesting and engaging. In particular Yeager and the world of the Colossus are engaging. Humor is clearly geared towards younger audiences but its not annoying or overly distracting.

 

Technical bits

 

Art and sound designs pull heavily from various eras of Star Wars canon. The mish mash approach helps create the lived in aesthetic Star Wars is famous for. The new era aesthetic and the old tropes make the series feel instantly unique. This is new territory for Star Wars and there is a little bit of excitement to see where it goes.

The score fits in beautifully with Star Wars, It melds the classic motifs and instrumentation with new material wonderfully. While the score for Clone Wars really established it as its own story, Resistance downplays things a bit.  While it still uses the orchestral arrangements, they are a bit more low key and mimic John Williams more quiet moments effectively.

The cell shading looks fantastic – on the humans. Some alien species lose some definition Droids, ships, and most importantly environments look amazing, however. The lighting effects are brilliant. As we speculated before, while it was a bit dodgy in the trailers, the show looks great overall.

The directing is is some of the best TV Star Wars has had to offer. There is some great compositions to the scenes. Despite a thin plot that fills an hour the episode moved along at a breezy pace.  That said the plot is super thin and doesn’t really go anywhere. 

 

Final thoughts

 

Though it is familiar – the show doesn’t totally look and feel like Star Wars. Unlike Rebels rehashed OT aesthetic, Star Wars resistance is trying something new.The younger audience, the lack of Jedi and military battles makes the show elicit memories of  the first half of Claudia’s Grey’s Lost Stars. And that’s not a bad thing.  But It’s hard to see where it’s going to go. The series isn’t doing anything bold or radical, just playing somewhere unexplored. Which is very much in keeping with the franchises roots. It’s still too early to say if the show is going to work or not. But if the first episode is any indicator, the odds are looking up.

 

KJ McDougall is an avid fan of Star Wars and has been since early childhood. He can be seen at staff meetings waving his hands around saying things like “You want to give me a longer deadline.” Either he’s really passionate about Star Wars or he really thinks he’s a Jedi, we’re not exactly sure.