I am going to spare everyone my Star Wars ranting and ravings; like any good geek I have my issues and yet there is still and always will be a certain place in my heart for that galaxy far, far away. That place in my heart has been renewed a bit through my son, who is now 6, as he brought his light saber with him to the screening of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars is an off shoot of the Star Wars saga and takes place between Star Wars: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith; and is the first three episodes of the upcoming Cartoon Network series of the same name; all wrapped up in a feature film. Another thing to keep in mind is that this story is not really a part of the Star Wars canon; it is a standalone story with some sprinklings of things to come with the republic…
Star Wars: The Clone Wars begins with a recruiting film of sorts, the need for Clone Troopers is great and the Republic wants you to join the elite force of troopers. It was a nice touch and it set a great pace for the film, however half way into the second act that plotline just disappears. I hope that piece of the story continues in the TV series as it worked well. Although I have to ask, why not just clone more, but what can you do?
The story centers on the kidnapping of Jabba the Hutt’s son (who looks and sounds oddly like the “baby” in David Lynch’s Eraserhead). Anakin Skywalker and his new padawan learner, Ahsoka Tano, are dispatched to retrieve the little slug because the Hutts control many of the trade routes throughout the galaxy. If Jabba doesn’t get his son back then the Republic will surely fall; and you don’t want to see Jabba angry.
That’s the story line of the film; again, this is a precursor to the TV series coming either this fall or early 2009. Why they had to release this in theatres is beyond me…wait strike that…this is George Lucas we are talking about, we all know why this had to be released in the theatres…green backs baby. That’s right in true Lucas form it’s all about the marketing = $$$$. Hasbro has a fantastic new line of Star Wars figures based on Star Wars: The Clone Wars and they just would not have the same impact if they were released in conjunction with a TV premiere, so why not toss it out in the theatres for a bit to see how it does.
However, I digress…Star Wars: The Clone Wars is not a bad film. The animation is crisp and brings a nice taste of realism to the film; especially the clone troopers and ships all throughout the film. The animation of the characters, however, leaves a little something to be desired. Especially the characters we all know, especially the classic characters like Jabba the Hutt. They just look and sound processed and plastic.
It’s very cool to see some of the Republic officers aboard the ships in their grey uniforms. Even my son mentioned how it was weird to see them as “Good Guys”. We do see some memorable landmarks from the original trilogy, so that gives Star Wars: The Clone Wars a bit of nostalgia, which was sorely missed in Episodes I and II.
Now, the bad. My biggest complaint is the new Padawan learner, Ahsoka Tano, is a sniveling, whining, little brat. Every time she spoke, I just wanted to strangle her. She had “cute” little nicknames for Anakin (her master I might add, show some respect B*#@%) like “Sky Guy” (no I am not kidding) and she called R2-D2 R-Twoee! I wish I was making this up my dear reader, but alas, I am not.
In the name of all that is holy why does there always have to be a snarky little brat in the Star Wars galaxy. If this little brat had the necessary midiclorian count, then I wish the force would shut her the hell up. I am not kidding, it’s that bad.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars tries too hard to distinguish itself from the other animated short series on Cartoon Network back in 2003, by using 3-D style animation. Tartakovsky’ Clone Wars was the best thing we have seen from Lucasfilm is long time. It was a great bridge between Episode II and Episode III, tied up some gaps, and gave us some back-story on the Sith and General Grevious.
If Star Wars: The Clone Warsis going to be a successful series, it can’t go too far from the Clone Wars canon; and the Tartakovsky series should be continued.
Lucas is not heavily involved in Star Wars: The Clone Wars as he did not write, or (thank the maker) direct any of this film. Although I have a very strong feeling that the Ahsoka character had Lucas’ grubby paws all over her; you know the feeling I’m talking about; we all felt it earlier this summer with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. (In all fairness, the monkeys and gopher joke were Spielberg’s idea – AD)
I should mention the score for the feel of the film. 20th Century Fox is not the distributing studio, Warner Brothers is. So straight away, this did not feel like a Star Wars film. There was no fan fare and the familiar John Williams score is still there, in spirit, but it has a new twist to it, and not the good kind. It just doesn’t fit. The original score for the film, however, is a nice touch. It has a very Eastern sound to it, I really dug it. The mood and tone of the score was great for the film.
To wrap this up, I enjoyed Star Wars: The Clone Wars and my son had a great time. It’s wonderful to see him so excited for anything new in the Star Wars universe; so if this is all we get then I’ll take it. I will be very curious to see how the upcoming TV series plays out; as I am sure, you all are as well.