The Force is weak with "Clone Wars"

Aug. 18, 2008, midnight | By Jeremy Gradwohl | 12 years, 2 months ago

Inartistic animation film is dry and shallow

"Star Wars: The Clone Wars" is the epitome of a stretched-out series, milked for all its worth. In this case, Warner Bros. tries to stretch out Twentieth Century Fox's "Star Wars" series until what is left is an inartistic sequence of battle scenes with brief intervals of dialogue that is more clichéd and uncreative than the other "Star Wars" films. It is surprising that George Lucas would even associate his name with this stain on the "Star Wars" name, let alone produce it.

The movie does not start with the famous scrolling text used in the live-action "Star Wars" movies; it starts with a brief montage similar to "Previously on…" segments before TV shows. The story runs so quickly that none but "Star Wars" buffs can figure out what's going on.

"Star Wars: The Clone Wars" takes place between the second and third movies, during the height of the Clone Wars between the good side (the Jedi and the Republic) and the dark side (the Separatists). The Separatists kidnap Jabba the Hutt's son and try to frame the Jedi for the incident to garner the Hutts' support. Meanwhile, Anakin Skywalker (Matt Lanter) is sent a trainee jedi, named Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Drane). Although, Anakin and Ahsoka start out with personality differences, they work them out and are able to rescue Jabba's son. With some help from Anakin's love interest Senator Amidala (Catherine Taber), Jabba learns about the Seperatists' plot and eventually joins the Republic's side of the Clone Wars.

The dryness and lack of creativity made the movie almost seem to be a parody of the other Star Wars movies. Count Dooku's henchwoman, Asajj Ventress, looked like a dominatrix. Jabba the Hutt's uncle, Ziro the Hutt, was meant to be portrayed as a sketchy character who owns a bar in a seedy part of the Republic's capitol city. The way that director Dave Filoni chose to portray this was to make Ziro a bright purple and green version of Jabba with feathers around his eyes, smoking a hookah and speaking with a southern accent similar to that of Cartman from Comedy Central's "South Park."

The attempts at humor by making the clones seem like dim-witted droids only make the movie seem shallower. The 3D animated characters looked like avatars, which overshadowed the intricacy of the backgrounds. Dave Filoni chose progressive shots, especially for an animated movie; however, the shots were unconventional for a "Star Wars" film. To make matters worse, the original actors' voices from the live-action movies were not used in this film, except for Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu.

"Star Wars: The Clone Wars" is a curtain raiser, meant to promote the upcoming animated television series premiering this fall on Cartoon Network by the same name, also produced by George Lucas.

The film is obviously catered towards a very young audience, an audience too young to criticize a film. It would be hard to call "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" mindless entertainment. It's just plain mindless.

"Star Wars: The Clone Wars" (98 minutes) is rated PG for sci-fi action violence throughout, brief language and momentary smoking. Now playing everywhere.

Jeremy Gradwohl. Jeremy is a good, upstanding citizen. He likes the city of Takoma Park, baseball, good music and the Orioles back in the day when they had Cal Ripken Jr. Nature also plays a big part in his life. More »

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