Billy Soistmann

Review: Star Wars: The Clone Wars

In Animation, George Lucas, Remakes & Sequels, Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Star Wars, Warner Brothers on August 21, 2008 at 9:41 PM

Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008)

  • Directed by Dave Filoni
  • Written by Henry Gilroy
  • Starring:
    • Matt Lanter as Anakin Skywalker
    • James Arnold Taylor as Obi-Wan Kenobi
    • Ashley Eckstein as Ahsoka Tano
    • Tom Kane as Yoda
  • Rating: 7.5/10

Let me start by saying that I am a huge Star Wars fan and have been for a long time. I went into the theater very nervous. I had heard negative things about the movie and I was worried that the continuity between episodes II and III. Also, (1) Anakin having a padawan, and (2) Jabba the Hutt’s son scared me. There was a lot of potential for The Clone Wars to be a very disappointing movie, especially after the wonderful Clone Wars cartoon by Genndy Tartakovsky.

Once the title card appeared and retreated into the distance, I was relieved. Star Wars was back. How could I be disappointed? I loved the intro (even though there was not the familiar crawl) because it was very reminiscent of the old action serials that Star Wars and Indiana Jones were both inspired by. Basically, we were told: “Jabba the Hutt’s son has been kidnapped and needs to be rescued so that the Republic can be allowed to use Jabba’s hyperspace lanes.” and we’re thrown into the action. As the movie rolled on, I enjoyed it. The action was essentially non-stop and I loved the visual style. The characters were very well designed and I liked how it wasn’t too “real” looking. The filmmakers could have decided to make the animation look almost as good as live-action, but what would be the point? We accept the fact that it’s a cartoon and I think that the story only works with animation, and would have failed were it live-action. I liked the overall style of the movie and I thought the character design was excellent.

While I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, I found myself cringing at some of the acting and writing. At some points you could tell that it was just actors reading lines. It didn’t feel natural when one character would say something and a split-second later the other character knew exactly how to react. Some lines were cheesy, but it is Star Wars, so you can’t complain. Overall, the story felt like a stretched TV show (which is basically what it was). With a feature, there was so much potential for an epic, galaxy-spanning story, but instead the writers chose to elongate a mediocre episode idea into a movie, which was disappointing. More character development and backstory that we haven’t heard before would have been great, but I can’t gripe too much about the story because the movie and subsequent TV show are obviously geared towards a new generation of Star Wars fans. (not that that should stop you from enjoying either) Also, you should remember that the promised TV series between episodes III and IV (which should debut “later this decade”) will probably be darker and, hopefully, geared toward an older audience.

In my opinion, the best part of the movie was the cinematography and lighting. My favorite shot is when the camera is running behind the clones in the opening battle. Another great scene is when Anakin, Ahsoka, and R2 are walking through the desert. The twin suns in the sky created some very interesting silhouettes and made for some breathtaking shots. The lightsaber duels were just as good as in the live-action movies. The use of color in the movie was very well done, especially when Anakin is riding in the Republic gunship. The only thing that annoyed me slightly was that almost every shot in the movie was canted (not level with the ground). While this provided some interesting perspectives, I felt that it was used too much, detracting from it’s affect.

Now, back to my two concerns before-hand. I thought that Anakin’s padawan was handled semi-well. She was slightly annoying and I’m not sure how they will get rid of her, especially in a kid’s show. (She’s never mentioned in Episode III and Yoda and Mace Windu won’t make Anakin a Jedi Master because he has never trained a padawan, so something must happen.) All I’m going to say about Jabba the Hutt’s son is that it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.

Another thing I didn’t like was that everyone had a nickname for absolutely everything. For example, I hated when Ahsoka called R2-D2 “R-2eey.” There’s no reason for it! I mean, count the syllables: R2-D2 (4), R2 (2), R-2eey (3). It’s just a failed attempt to show that the characters are good friends, but we already know them, so it’s pointless to make up stupid nicknames.

While The Clone Wars has it’s faults, all-in-all I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a great introduction to the TV series, which I think will be much more satisfying than the movie because the simple stories will work better as individual episodes instead of a stretched movie. I still would reccomend that you see it in the theater, though, just to experience the magic of Star Wars on the big screen once again.

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