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Star Wars Rebels: Complete Season Two (Blu-ray Review)

Star-Wars-Rebels-S2Star Wars Rebels: Complete Season Two delivers all 22 action-packed episodes of the hit CG animated series’ second season, plus exclusive, never-before-seen bonus material on DVD and even more exclusive footage on Blu-ray! This thrilling continuation of the Star Wars Rebels saga depicts the continued efforts of the crew of the starship Ghost to defeat the evil Empire. Available in your galaxy on Blu-ray™ and DVD August 30, 2016.  Star Wars Rebels was created by Dave Filoni (“Star Wars: The Clone Wars), Simon Kinberg (“X-Men: Days of Future Past,” “Sherlock Holmes), and Carrie Beck. The Lucasfilm Animation production is also executive-produced by Filoni and Kinberg. Featuring the voices of Freddie Prinze Jr. (“I Know What You Did Last Summer”) as Kanan, Vanessa Marshall (TV’s “Young Justice”) as Hera, Steve Blum (“The Boxtrolls”) as Zeb, Tiya Sircar (“The Internship”) as Sabine, Taylor Gray (TV’s “Bucket and Skinner’s Epic Adventures”) as Ezra, Ashley Eckstein (Her Universe apparel) as Ahsoka Tano, Dee Bradley Baker (“American Dad,” “Phineas and Ferb”) as Captain Rex and all the clones, David Oyelowo (“Selma” and “The Butler”) as Agent Kallus and Sarah Michelle Gellar (“The Crazy Ones,” “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”) as the Seventh Sister Inquisitor.

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Season 

Amid growing Imperial oppression on Lothal, the rebels are forced to seek out new allies throughout the galaxy and additional resources to sustain their fight against the Empire. With the help of Ahsoka Tano, the crew of the Ghostbands together with a secret rebel cell and ex-soldiers from the Clone Wars to join a fledgling alliance determined to restore peace and freedom to the galaxy.

As Ezra continues his journey to become a Jedi under Kanan’s guidance, the threat of the dark side looms large over the fate of the growing rebellion. Darth Vader himself will dispatch new Inquisitors to snuff any spark of resistance, setting the stage for a climactic showdown in which past lives will be revealed, terrible truths will be discovered, and the lives of our heroes will be changed forever.

Most of us fell in love with the little rag tag rebellion splint cell last year when it debuted on Disney XD.  The show both worked as a follow up to Clone Wars and a return to form of feeling like classic Star Wars.  Featuring different, interesting characters that would lead to a full view of the early Rebel Alliance, we followed Ezra Bridger and company on a journey to find their place in this galaxy.  In season 2, we catch up with Ahsoka Tano and good ol Rex from Clone Wars as well as tying more of the Rebellion into full focus.  Even a young Princess Leia lends a hand.  Which, its crazy how smart they are with her role and place in the universe at that time in the story.

On the other side of things, Darth Vader has a bit more to do this season.  And holy cow, is he ever the badass he once was in the series.  James Earl Jones once again voices him, and damn, he is a complete menace.  Its also refreshing to be scared of him once again.  Coming along with him are more Inquisitors, one voiced by Sarah Michelle Gellar.  They don’t have the sort of menace that their leader did the previous season, but boy do they bring a whole new level of eerie weird to the table.  Gellar especially is a creeper.  They give a sense of unpredictable unease every time they show up on the screen.

As I’ve mentioned plenty of familiar characters cameo’ing on the show, the main characters, arcs and stories are strong enough that they don’t really need to crutch on them at all.  I’m not counting Ahsoka or Rex here, they are natural fits for the show since its a companion to Clone Wars.  But, some of them feel like the show is giving a little help to itself, but really you could take or leave it.  Some feel like they have a place; Tarkin, Bail Organa.  But, overall its a true testament to how good the show is, in that the new characters are really pulling their weight and are the most interesting aspect.

Season Two didn’t quite have the pace or stream through things like Season One did.  A big part of that is the fact it had a bigger episode order.  That sort of slows things up a little bit.  And every once in a while they try to slip in these super kid friendly episodes to sort of balance things out.  While I’m not against that, I just don’t see what’s to not like for all ages on the other episodes.  The show gets a bit dark in some places, but overall I find it to be an all ages affair every week as Star Wars always has an should be.  While its a hair more up and down than Season One, its still got that vibe, magic and ability to carry what that previous season did and expunge upon it and move on forward.

Star Wars Rebels’ second season continues to impress and wow, while adding good lore and history to the overall canon.  This season had a larger episode order to maintain and overall I think it handled it well.  It wasn’t without its soft spots and a little bit of finding out how to do it.  Once the season had run its course, looking back it was all worth.  Most importantly, it still had huge episodes that was of the best of anything on television last year.  Everything worked and they left us desperately wanting more and super curious as to where this thing was going to go for season three.  Season Two has a hell of a cliffhanger.  I can’t wait for it to start up again!

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Episodes

The Siege of Lothal

The Lost Commanders

Relics of the Old Republic

Always Two There Are

Brothers of the Broken Horn

Wings of the Master

Blood Sisters

Stealth Strike

The Future of the Force

Legacy

A Princess on Lothal

The Protector of Concord Dawn

Legends of the Lasat

The Call

Homecoming

The Honorable Ones

Shroud of Darkness

The Forgotten Droid

The Mystery of Chopper Base

Twilight of the Apprentice

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail:  As expected, this looks terrific on Blu-ray.  Star Wars Rebels Season Two displays a sharp, crisp image with good animation detail present.  The animation style here is plenty simple but every twist, turn and piece of detail on a face or uniform or ship surface is accounted for.  

Depth:  Yeah, this CG show has good 3 dimensional work and expert spacing.  Characters and objects move and live plenty free of their setting and environment.

Black Levels:  Blacks are solid and do what they do in animation.  Detail still present with visible texture and no crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are very strong, but not overly vibrant.  A bright image, featuring strong oranges, purples and blues.  Lightsabers looks plenty poppy and gorgeous in this picture.

Flesh Tones:   N/A

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, German 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish

Dynamics:  I still don’t understand why they choose to forego lossless audio on these Star Wars cartoon series (Clone Wars was the same way), but they do.  Even though, this is a pretty terrific track that delivers the goods and then some.  Audio is full, distinct and decently layered.  Even while being just Dolby Digital, it does the job pretty handsomely.

Low Frequency Extension:  Explosions, ship engines, flybys, large creature stomping/roaring and some intense sabering put the subwoofer to work.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Lots of work comes from the front, but the rear speakers get ample opportunity to add with some effects of their own while mainly displaying some solid mood ambiance and helping out with the score.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is clear and clean.

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Extras 

Star Wars Rebels Complete Season Two is a 3-disc set.  The “Rebels Recon” feature is one that is a feature on Disney XD that goes a bit more inside on each individual episode.

Disc 1

Rebels Recon (HD, 43:31) 

Disc 2

Rebels Recon (HD, 49:09)

Disc 3

Rebels Recon (HD, 37:27) 

Connecting the Galaxy: Rebels Season Two (HD, 3:30) – Uncover hidden references, easter eggs and connections to the Star Wars universe found throughout the season.

From Apprentice to Adversary: Vader vs. Ahsoka (HD, 6:08) – Executive Producer Dave Filoni reflects on the climactic ending of the season, when Ahsoka Tano finally confronts Darth Vader in a long-awaited, fierce and epic lightsaber battle.

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Summary 

In its second season, Star Wars Rebels continued to be a force to be reckoned with on television.  Its one of the best things the franchise has ever done and continues to be an awesome follow up/sequel/companion to the excellent Clone Wars cartoon.  This Blu-ray brings a great picture with very good audio that disappointingly is still only Dolby Digital.  A roster of solid and not overbearing extras make for a wonderful release.  This series is one you need to have in your collection, so pick up this excellent second season of Star Wars Rebels (and the first if you don’t have it already).

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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