Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

‘Ahsoka’ falls short

Ahsoka+falls+short
Kara Lee

 

 

 

 

“Star Wars” is different now. The film franchise used to be a series of action sci-fantasy films about space wizards hitting each other. They were fun, at least some of them were. Some of them were about young heroes taking on injustice in the galaxy, others were about alien politicians arguing about trade routes and a small number attempted to tell more complicated stories. Those select few, of course, were met with much less fanfare, and slowly, “Star Wars” retreated. Characters from older films, books and even cartoons came back to the franchise, begging the fans they had offended by straying the path to return to their beloved “Star Wars,” back to the comfort of a warm blue lightsaber and Mark Hamill’s welcoming voice. But still, “Star Wars” is different now.

The “Star Wars” that adorned the silver screens of the late 20th century was a heartfelt, creative, bold adventure, but the “Star Wars” that appears every week on Disney+ is a hollow, lifeless shell — a regurgitation of things you remember liking, dancing like marionettes in front of barren computer-generated wastelands. That is exactly what “Star Wars: Ahsoka” is — a regurgitation. A slipshod patchwork story that begins in the middle, and never goes anywhere.

You may recognize the characters that star in “Ahsoka,” they previously starred in “Star Wars: Rebels,” a Disney XD children’s cartoon, but the baffling decision to recast every character and present the story in live-action severs those connections returning audiences have by replacing talented voice actors with equally talented live actors who are held back by an ironic over-reliance on CGI, and writing as flat as cardboard. It is really a shame too, some of these actors have really excelled in other performances, but placed in the wraparound green-screen sets that modern “Star Wars” is known for, their individual charms and personalities slip away.

Just as the charm of the characters dissipates into boring locations, the story seems to meander along before completely slipping away. The story that Ahsoka attempts to tell is not a complicated one, rather it is just nothing — devoid of real stakes, thematic power or emotional weight. By the time the credits roll at the season finale, I wished these events were recounted in a quick flashback, or in one of the series’ iconic opening title crawls. Ahsoka’s principal antagonist, Grand Admiral Thrawn, a character pulled from expanded universe novels and re-canonized in the aforementioned cartoon, completely lacks presence in the story, despite being played by the incredibly talented and occasionally menacing Lars Mikkelsen. One of Thrawn’s last lines in the season is, “I regret we haven’t met face to face, and perhaps we never will.”

Ahsoka’s story attempts to expand on some themes of its cartoon source materials, mainly that of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” by exploring the moral implications of Ahsoka’s training, and that she was basically a child soldier drafted without consent or regard for her own well being, but nothing comes of it. By the end of the finale, she remains the exact same character that we opened the season with. The few threads of interesting plotlines are dropped before the finale, left not only unresolved but completely ignored. It is not impossible for “Star Wars” media to tell meaningful, deeply thoughtful stories. Just last year, “Star Wars: Andor” delivered an exceptional season of TV, that was equal parts thought-provoking and absolutely thrilling. Ahsoka falls short of both.

Ahsoka’s worst sin is the absolutely horrendous technical aspects. Backgrounds are gray, sets are cold and devoid of humanity, and the cinematography and blocking are nauseatingly flat. Rarely will you see the characters actually in the same frame as their enemies and no scene is more emblematic of this problem than the climactic battle between Ahsoka and crew against a horde of resurrected zombie stormtroopers. On paper, it sounds like a blast, but in practice, it was incredibly dull. All of these issues are compounded by the erratic way they are edited together. Shots, especially during action scenes, last so little you barely have time to process what the characters are doing before three or four other brief shots blow past you into the sea of ugly gray mush. Editing is not something that most sane people pay attention to, but once you notice the way these scenes are cut, it is impossible to focus on anything else.

It is truly unfortunate that this show falls so spectacularly flat at just about everything it strives to accomplish. Buried underneath all the boredom, there are the workings of an interesting show, one that tells a compelling and touching story of a young warrior attempting to rebuild and heal in the wake of a newly free galaxy. That is not the show that they made, and that is okay. “Star Wars” is different now. I just wish it was interesting.

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About the Contributor
Kara Lee, Graphic Editor
Kara is a communication major on track to graduate in 2025. After graduating they hope to work for non-profits that specialize in environmental concerns so they can give back to the planet that provides so much for us. When Kara is not in school or working they can be found either drawing or hiking.

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