Theatrical Review: Star Wars: The Clone Wars

In the midst of Episodes 2 and 3 of the Star Wars films and shown even further in Genndy Tartavoksy’s animated Clone Wars shorts from The Cartoon Network, there’s a period that allows for even further stories within the Clone Wars milieu itself, and that period is where the new CGI animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars takes place. In this theatrical release of the first five episodes, on Tatooine, Jabba The Hut’s son has been kidnapped as the Jedi Knights and the Republic are negotiating the use of trade routes owned by The Hut. Now the Jedi charge Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi with the task of finding Jabba’s son, while Anakin also has under his tutelage a new Padawan, a young 14-year old girl name Ahsoka Tano.

And right off the bat, I thought it was a lot of fun as well…

For myself, I like this look that it has, sort of a cross between Genndy Tartakovsy and Gerry Anderson, I think it has it’s own personality. The Star Wars franchise is strong enough that it can handle many different looks if need be, at least to me anyway.

The film is mostly wall-to-wall action, and there’s a lot of cool set pieces in the film, my own personal favorite being a fight handled vertically on a cliffside up to the local where Jabba’s son is being held captive.

And I like the interplay between both Anakin and his new brash Padawan, Ahsoka- almost seeming to me like she’s given to him as more of a test of his own skills more than anything else (and sort of almost setting a precedent of something that’s to come in the upcoming video game The Force Unleashed.

For the presentation of a side story apart from the six live action films, I think this style works and really wouldn’t mind seeing it done further, perhaps a side story involving the adventures of Luke, Han and Leia set between episodes 4 and 5 or even a prequel of sorts to episode 4, showing the early days of Han Solo could be pretty cool.

I figure if you’ve got the intense and irrational hate for the prequel films, you’ll probably have the same for Star Wars: The Clone Wars though honestly, and I’ve been on the record with this, I don’t get it, but then I’ve never looked at these as “religion” either. I’ve seen complaints going the way of this being a pointless exercise simply because we already know what’s going to happen with Anakin in Episode 6, and that’s just ridiculous- I mean why not see other stories with these characters that don’t necessarily involve the major things that happen in the live action films (one friend to me equated that idea with the notion that we shouldn’t see any more movies set in historical times, say World War II, then simply because we already know how that ends- I see it as why then read adventures of continuing comic characters if each one of those stories don’t represent a major life change for them.

I’ve seen complaints of the new character Ahsoka and how her brashness just turns them off, when again, I just don’t get it, as I even think Qui-Gon Jinn makes some reference of the same with Obi-Wan pre-The Phantom Menace and further, like I said above, this seems to me more a test of Anakin’s skills more than building a Jedi out of Ahsoka.

I’ve seen complaints about the animation and the look that just don’t make any sense, not really allowing for a different artistic interpretation that this series certainly can stand, but you listen to the complainers, and this look seems like it’s a complete slap in the face to them.

As it is with the prequel trilogy, there’s counters to every con argument for Star Wars: The Clone Wars. I saw this with two other friends, one who’s pretty much of my same temperament with the series and another who’s a little more into the whole thing, and we call came out of it having a really good time and ready for more. Star Wars: The Clone Wars is a good side story to the main films and just a whole lot of fun…

About Darren Goodhart

Darren Goodhart is a 44-year old St. Louis-based Graphic Designer and Illustrator (and former comic book artist) who's been seeing movies all his life, but on an almost weekly basis in theatres for the last 20 years and owns nearly 1,000 DVDs for his home theatre. He's learned a lot about film over the 20 year period, and has taken his appreciation beyond the mainstream. His favorite types of film are mostly genre entertainment, but he also enjoys a wide range of drama, action and cult-y stuff from around the world, and is currently re-discovering a love affair with lower budget exploitation and genre films from the 70s and early 80s. He doesn't try to just dismiss any film, but if there's a bias against one, he'll certainly tell you that in the space of his reviews.

17. August 2008 by Darren Goodhart
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