Movies & TV Shows

Ahsoka TV Series Premiere Review

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Ahsoka crosses her lightsaber

Caution: The following review contains minor revelations about the initial two episodes of “Ahsoka.”

Drenched in vibrant characters, exhilarating airborne sequences, and a delightfully cheesy musical score, Ahsoka rekindles the essence of vintage Star Wars, marking a departure from recent endeavors. Dave Filoni, who has been toying with the idea of an exclusive Ahsoka narrative, launches this venture with an exceptional inaugural double episode. While numerous modern franchise undertakings appear as if they’ve undergone exhaustive committee design, Ahsoka exudes the distinctive touch of a project steered by a lone visionary. Although the plot’s foundation—a quest to locate one MacGuffin that unveils the whereabouts of another—seems a tad arbitrary, it primarily serves as a pretext to reunite Ahsoka with her companions.

Dave Filoni, after experimenting with directing live-action sequences in The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, has now fully embraced his directorial role. His confident guidance of the opening episode, titled “Part One: Master and Apprentice,” emerges as one of its most noteworthy assets. He exhibits a keen grasp of timing, character development, and optimal camera placement. In the ensuing episode, “Part Two: Toil and Trouble,” the director’s reins are passed to Steph Green, who commendably balances action with character portrayal. Recognized for helming an episode of HBO’s Watchmen miniseries, Green demonstrates equal fascination with the characters’ interpersonal dynamics and incentives, just as much as the spectacular space opera theatrics.

The series owes a substantial portion of its triumph to Rosario Dawson‘s electrifying portrayal of the titular protagonist. Dawson comfortably inhabits the role of Ahsoka like never before. She embodies an assured poise, capturing Ahsoka’s serene essence as she maintains composure in adversity and greets novel environments and individuals with an inviting curiosity. Dawson receives support from two other exceptional live-action interpretations of beloved animated figures: Natasha Liu Bordizzo adeptly embodies Sabine Wren’s resolute demeanor, while Mary Elizabeth Winstead channels Hera Syndulla’s maternal instincts, expertly mediating disputes among less seasoned characters.

Ahsoka TV Series Sabine

The inaugural episodes introduce a pair of promising antagonists: the esteemed late Ray Stevenson (to whom the initial episode is dedicated), embodying the shamelessly malevolent Jedi-turned-mercenary Baylan Skoll, and Ivanna Sakhno, portraying his ice-hearted yet conflicted accomplice, Shin Hati. From Ahsoka’s comrade Huyang, voiced anew by David Tennant, to Hera’s reliable partner Chopper, brought to life by Filoni himself, the droid characters that steal scenes in Ahsoka are brimming with distinct personas.

Kevin Kiner’s musical composition defies the boundaries of Star Wars soundscapes, echoing the pioneering work of Ludwig Göransson on The Mandalorian. Kiner’s Ahsoka melodies begin with the familiar grandeur of sweeping Star Wars orchestrations, occasionally punctuated by piano tunes that infuse the show’s music with a charmingly whimsical essence. Menacing brass notes hint at ominous turns, akin to a villain tracing an unwitting hero’s path. Electric guitar riffs and pulsating drum rhythms accompany Sabine’s high-speed pursuit on a bike, swiftly introducing her audaciously rebellious nature. Kiner’s score crafts a distinctive sonic identity for the series that seamlessly melds with the well-known tapestry of Star Wars compositions.

Ahsoka dazzles with its remarkable visual effects. Television CGI often appears lackluster and frail, but the CGI in Ahsoka could seamlessly belong in a cinematic feature without a second thought. The enchanting Lothal skyline takes one’s breath away, while depictions of starships drifting through the cosmos brim with intricate particulars and subtle luminous nuances. The utilization of The Volume technology is notably subtler in Ahsoka compared to its use in Obi-Wan Kenobi or The Book of Boba Fett. Thanks to the skillful and immersive cinematography by indie sensation Quyen Tran and Eric Steelberg, a favorite collaborator of Jason Reitman, Ahsoka conveys a much more convincing perception of breadth and magnitude than its StageCraft-equipped predecessors. The lightsabers in Ahsoka avoid the intense, glaring radiance of the frame-encompassing lightsabers seen in Obi-Wan Kenobi. Instead, the lightsabers in Ahsoka, especially Ahsoka’s distinctive white blades, bear the understated hue reminiscent of the original movies.

Ahsoka TV Series Droid

Ahsoka unabashedly carries forward the spirit of Rebels into the realm of live-action, while remaining accessible to those unacquainted with the animated series. A few concise lines of explanation are deftly woven in to bring any newcomers up to speed, and the narrative itself stands magnificently as an independent Star Wars escapade. Steered by a triumvirate of resilient, formidable, and fiercely self-reliant female characters, Ahsoka emerges as a Star Wars production that finally caters to young girls in the audience, bestowing upon them a group of heroes to admire.

The initial episodes of Ahsoka refrain from venturing into novel territories of tone or theme akin to Andor, but their potency is ample to rejuvenate faith in the Star Wars franchise, a reassuring response after the somewhat underwhelming moments of The Mandalorian season 3. The Ahsoka premiere wastes no time in reacquainting the audience with beloved figures like Hera and Sabine, all while delivering a plethora of compelling action sequences that punctuate the exposition. And this is just the inception; aficionados of Star Wars can eagerly anticipate an additional six exhilarating episodes on the horizon.

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