Let me preface this by saying this series started off on the back foot with me. Between the very childish (I mean aimed at very young kids, not just at kids, before the “Star Wars is for children!” parroting starts...) look and sound and the vehemence with which the pro-Res fanbase disregarded or outright attacked the con-Res fanbase over the feelings on the heavily downvoted trailer, I couldn’t give a womprat’s dingleberry whether this was going to be a hit or a miss as I wasn’t meaning to follow it, anyway.
So has my opinion changed from viewing the first episode? Maybe, but I‘m still doubtful.
Minor spoilers ahead, I’ll try and keep it as clean as possible in that regard, but here’s my take on it.
First thing’s first: I’m still not a big fan of the animation. The models either look stilted or exaggerated from scene to scene, and while it has the potential for greatness there are very few shots and moments that actually look good in my view. Maybe I’m past this sort of show, but I expect more than just garish colours from an animated series, and there are a few that I still follow because they offer more than just that.
There’s also a very septic (for lack of a better word) feel to the whole thing, with pristine textures on anything from the characters themselves to the areas they inhabit. While I’m very well aware this is an animated, fictional show, the main objective of the story is to draw us in, and I’m not about to get drawn into a scrubbed-clean operating room. Clone Wars, and even Rebels to a lesser extent, relayed this aspect of lived-in areas and tangible characters much better.
The way it’s all shot is very (and I mean VERY) static which in this sort of setting is a minus, and there is a distinct lack of speed during the opening sequence of this first episode. A jarring lack of speed. And this carries on into the end of it that’s capped off with a race which ends in the most predictable way this side of the 2012 Apocalypse.
There’s also a fair bit wrong with the shading across the board, with it all looking like they struck a deal with some Schwarzkopf outlet and are trying to push their merch like their life depended on it: every hairdo out there has a distinct gel/hair treatment sheen to it. And it’s really obvious as well as genuinely bothersome in some places.
Oh, yeah, and the only place that sports teeth whiter than this galaxy far, far away is probably Hollywood. Apart from Aunt Z’s, I mean.
The characters are… They just are?
There’s nothing particularly exciting about Kaz, the kid with daddy issues that sets forth into a bigger world, and it’s downright laughable that someone who’s had everything handed to them on a silver platter thus far in life will suddenly have a change of heart and go at it alone. From plenty of experience, that never happens. Once a silver spoon, always a silver spoon, but maybe others will see it as a mark of rising above one’s pre-ordained status or something. Maybe Kaz’ father was the one pushing him to do things all this time, who knows...
There’s a couple interesting aliens and side characters, at least from a visual standpoint, and the setting for the series (as of now the - holy hell, we get it, it’s a thing - fueling station named Colossus) makes it seem contained and focused, which I genuinely liked. Sure, we have sprawling battles and Galaxy-wide travel with Star Wars and that’s awesome, but sometimes it’s good to settle down and realise that there are plenty of smaller cogs that make the whole system tick, so high marks on that.
Neeku (the green bloke in the above picture) is also there because the show’s story team went “Hey, Drax really caught on for Marvel, why don’t we do one of those characters for Resistance?” and then created a bloke who’s equal parts annoying, weird, and try-hard funny without actually hitting any relevant highs or lows in either of those categories and ends up being (even more) PG Drax with none of the Batista-risma and some of the same style of jokes which just fall flat due to the poor delivery.
The fish-looking dude Kaz runs afoul of is also the epitome of cheesy, second-grade villains and I really hope he’s just a passing character and not a recurring one because if so he’s nothing but a Joe-Pesci-on-helium waste of pixels. But that fuzzy, little, janitor thing just looks cool. I’m a 25-year-old dude and I like me a pissed off, orange, floor-buffing, space furball because (in a really screwed up way) it reminds me of Muzzy.
We also get acquainted with what will probably end up being Kaz’ love interest, who for the purposes of this review I’m going to name Miss Condescendingly Bubbly because I dunno what else that personality or plot line is supposed to be. She’s both excited about Kaz being there and acts like a bonafide ass at the same time. Maybe I’m missing some underlying messages or something, but I sincerely doubt it, unless this is some really good commentary on ADHD or personality disorders as a whole. I just think she had a really bad crash one time and hasn’t gotten her feet back under her since. That’s the headcanon I’m going with.
She gets to race Kaz and he challenges her out of a pool of 5, going by the predictable “newest guy must be the easiest to tackle” trope on his part, that’s foiled by the equally as predictable “never judge a pilot by its choice of attire colour and/or age”. Or something.
The jokes are definitely full-on cutesy as you can see from the rightmost panel in the above picture, and fall firmly on the bottom end of the kid-friendly age spectrum. The “pull my finger” end of it.
There’s also a big disconnect between the show trying to instill a sense of danger to proceedings and the episode’s overall tone and even establishing of the faceless “villain” figure du jour which is talked up by Poe Dameron but basically does next to nothing in the end. As is the case for most villains in the Disney Canon, if you think about it.
All in all, there’s not much here to talk over, it all fell kind of flat for me, although there is some potential. Its biggest drawback is the art style which is either take it or leave it for most people (I imagine), and the fact that it’s aimed at really, really young kids, which will have grown ups and even teenagers falling quickly out of love with it.
It was visually interesting at times, low-key mirroring scenes we’ve seen before or outright mirroring itself at one point, but for the most part it fell firmly on the “meh” side of things, which I guess is the drawback for it taking place on a fueling station in the middle of a sea biome planet. Damned if you do...
Myself? I’ll probably give it another fair few shots, but if it keeps going like this, I don’t imagine myself following it to the end of the season, First Order spy plot or not. There’s currently not enough here to keep me coming back, interesting premise or not it still has to be fulfilled.
In the hopes that you’ll be back for my take on Resistance 102, thanks for reading, and have as nice a day as you deserve!