I don’t know what else to say other than I was dumbfounded when I first caught sight of the trailers for George Lucas’ latest tale in his storied Star Wars franchise – Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The blocky, animated characters looked God awful. The minimal amount of dialogue I heard sounded corny. In most cases, first impressions are good for judging character flaws in your potential mate and for making a snap determination on whether a movie will suck or not. In this particular case, first impression be damned – the movie wasn’t as bad as I initially feared.
There is literally one reason for Star Wars: The Clone Wars not sucking extravagantly. It’s the action. Plain and simple. I had no idea that filling the void between Episodes II and III would be the most exhilarating battles offered up by Lucas and team. There are intense fights between the Jedi led clone army and the never-ending Separatist armies of androids. There are massive explosions and laser battles in both space and on the ground. I especially enjoyed the lightsaber work displayed by the Jedis – all their moves appeared effortless in their delivery, ensuring maximum carnage was delivered with each pass (one of the big pluses of not having to use human actors, no doubt). These constant skirmishes leave little time to catch your breath, which is a damn good thing because otherwise you’d take notice of the myriad of little aggravations, like:
- How ill-conceived the actual story is. Aside from the clone war being led by Yoda (voiced by Tom Kane) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (voiced by James Arnold Taylor), the main crux of the film is watching Anakin Skywalker (voiced by Matt Lanter) and his padawan learner Ahsoka Tano (voice by Ashley Eckstein) bicker as they search the galaxy for Rotta the Huttlet, the kidnapped child of none other than Jabba the Hutt (voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson). Yep, good ole Jabba is a father and oh yeah, he’s got an uncle named Ziro the Hutt in the family business too. The Jedi Council figures if they can return the baby worm back home safely, the Republic will be rewarded with unfettered access to the hyperspace trade routes in the Outer Rim (they’re controlled by the Hutts), giving them an advantage in the war. Fascinating stuff.
- How annoying some of the newly introduced characters are. The number one offender is Ms. Tano, who apparently takes great pride in being the biggest bitch in the Republic. How she is granted access into the Jedi Academy is beyond me, as she makes Anakin look like a saint when compared to her. The only good thing about her lays in the fact that since there is not any mention of her in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith we can hope she doesn’t last long in the animated series this movie is supposed to be setting off. I also wasn’t particularly impressed with Ziro the Hutt either. You’d have thought that by the time we reach that far into the future they would have found a cure for homosexuality (he was based off of Truman Capote).
- The marionette/anime inspired computer generated graphics aren’t what I would have liked to have seen, initially. The landscapes are spotless and fantastical, but the characters could have used a bit more sprucing up to make them more life-like (although it is a step up from the original animation of the Star Wars: Clone Wars TV series). It did manage to grow on me as the film progressed, but it definitely took some time to get used to.
That all being said, the fast paced action of Star Wars: The Clone Wars outruns the majority of faults. If you’re a die hard fan, get out there and see this – it’ll give you the fix you’ve been yearning for, since you can’t get the same euphoric feeling from watching all six movies back-to-back anymore. For the rest of you, just wait until it hits the shelves at your local Blockbuster – this isn’t the must see movie of the year (I think we can all agree that that was The Dark Knight). And oh yeah, before you shoot me, the homosexual remark was a joke . . . lighten up people.