Star Wars: The Clone Wars—The Complete Season Two

Featured In Issue 151, November 2010

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Warner Home Video
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Not Rated
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Justin Ridge, Rob Coleman, Brian Kalin O'Connell, Steward Lee, Giancarlo Volpe, Robert Dalva, Kyle Dunlevy & Dave Filoni
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Dolby Digital 5.1
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As the flight for peace plunges further into the galaxy, the heroic Jedi are faced with all new dangers. Never-before-seen creatures pose new threats and create further chaos during the intensifying "Clone Wars." Adding to the turmoil, bounty hunter Cad Bane steals valuable Jedi secrets, a mind-controlling queen creates an indestructible army, the giant Zillo beast terrorizes Coruscant, and a young Boba Fett seeks out revenge! With fierce battles, expanded storylines, and ground-breaking animation, this is a "Star Wars" adventure that is bigger, bolder, and more intense than ever before. (Tricia Spears)

Special features on Disc One include "Behind The Story," with the featurettes "Magic Of The Holocron Episodes" (HD 12:44) and "Return To Geonosis" (HD 17:11) and "Jedi Temple Archives" (HD 54:40), which includes early test animation, concept art, 3-D Turnarounds, and deleted scenes. Special features on Disc Two include "Behind The Story," with the featurette "Creating Mandalore" (HD 18:42) and "Jedi Temple Archives" (HD 40:35). Disc Three's special features include "Behind The Story," with the featurette "Attack Of The Zillo Beast" (HD 15:33), "Jedi Temple Archives" (HD 46:08 ), and two trailers. Also included is a 68-page Production Journal with original sketches and artist notes.

As with Season One, the computer-generated animation is delivered in the 2.35:1 1080p VC-1 format. The dark and elaborate animation delivers an incredible visual experience. The color palette is warm, with bold and vibrant hues. Contrast is excellent, with deep and solid blacks and shadow delineation that impressively reveals detail. The animation is enhanced with impressive dimensionality. Resolution is superb and reveals the extremely fine textures. The imagery is sharp and pristine throughout. The animators have once again created a visually dramatic and engaging eye-popping experience that is fascinating to experience. This is an extremely well-crafted picture that is visually stunning. The visuals from Season Two: Rise Of The Bounty Hunters present an even more spectacular visual experience that will thrill fans. To be continued... (Gary Reber)

In 2009, I had the opportunity to return to Skywalker Sound to personalize myself using the Smyth Realiser headphone system—a revolutionary virtual surround technology—in the very King Vidor dubbing stage used to record and mix the soundtrack for the series. (See Issue 143 for a comprehensive description of this revolutionary virtual surround headphone technology.) As part of this review, I again used the Realiser system to precisely emulate the entire in-room listening experience comprised of the sum of loudspeakers, electronics, cables, and the room itself (in this case the Skywalker Sound dubbing room), including the acoustical signature (entire electro-acoustical system). The headphone system precisely replicates the room's sonic signature (see Issue 144).
As before, because the dubbing stage LCR loudspeakers are positioned behind the acoustically transparent 10-foot-wide transparent screen, the sound heard through the Smyth Realiser system is less dimensional in width than our reference system, where the left and right front loudspeakers are positioned outside the screen and beyond the screen's edges. The sound at Skywalker Sound is, thus, slightly less wide in the front hemisphere of the soundfield and the surrounds, which are positioned on the side walls and above ear height sound as such. Still, as before, the sonic character is effectively holosonically® enveloping with, at times, an aggressive surround presence. Frankly, I preferred the wider, and larger dimensional sonic character of our reference system. The soundtrack remains limited to the lossy compressed Dolby® Digital 5.1-channel format and does not support a lossless soundtrack. The soundtrack translated impressively in our reference environment, revealing a very dimensional soundfield, with aggressive directionalized surrounds, pans, and frontal sound effect positioning. The music score is well recorded and sweeping in its soundstage width and depth and extension into the surrounds. Bass extension is, at times, powerful and deep, with plenty of low-frequency impact delivered by the .1 LFE channel during battle scenes. Dialogue, while ADR produced, sounds perfectly natural and is nicely positioned to create a sense of spatial integration with the scenes. This is a world-class soundtrack, as is to be expected by the sound wizards at Skywalker Sound. The sound effects, Foley, voices, and music are all perfectly integrated, for an enthralling sonic experience. I only wish that Season Two's 24-bit, 96 kHz masters had fully benefited from the pristine fidelity and dynamics that a lossless or linear PCM encoding can deliver. Nonetheless, Season Two continues to deliver a thrilling sonic experience that is sure to please fans. (Gary Reber)