Short version: The Clone Wars is visually interesting, but in the end pointless – and worse: annoying.
Screen Rant reviews The Clone Wars
Holy cow there’s a lot of… angst? anger? annoyance? surrounding the latest addition to the Star Wars saga: The Clone Wars. Me, I’m indifferent. I’m not a huge Star Wars fan (although I was when the first three movies were released for the first time) and I think that George Lucas has run the franchise into the ground and it’s all about:
1. Visual Effects
3. Money (see #2)
The Clone Wars takes place between Star Wars episodes 2 & 3, covering the most intense part of the fabled “Clone Wars” first mentioned by Obi-Wan Kenobi way back in 1977 in the original Star Wars film. Therefore we have Anakin Skywalker (destined to become Darth Vader) still playing the hero and a young Obi-Wan Kenobi no longer teaching Anakin but fighting side by side with him.
I really won’t get into the story too much. It basically consists of a whole lot of battle sequences, one after the other – all very loud and very “busy” as far as what’s going on. The main plot involves Anakin having to rescue the infant son of Jabba the Hut. Yes, you heard right. Jabba the Hut is a loving daddy.
Of course we have Count Dooku in the mix, playing one side against the other and misleading Jabba the Hut into thinking that the Jedi have kidnapped his son when in fact he is the one behind it.
Let’s just cut to the chase, shall we?
The animation, once you get used to the style of the characters, is excellent. There is nothing 2D about this, with sequences filmed in a very cinematic manner in regards to camera angles and movement. Hayden Christensen did NOT return to supply the voice of Anakin, and that my friends, is a blessing. Samuel L. Jackson and Christopher Lee returned to supply the voices of their characters, and having Lee voice Dooku is a good thing.
Obi-Wan and Anakin in The Clone Wars
This may sound odd, but with the direction that George Lucas has taken the series, it actually worked better as a 100% CGI animated film. As it was with Episodes I, II & II, they were 90% CGI anyway. The live actors actually looked out of place in those films. At least here everything “matches.”
Finally, it’s actually an improvement over the three prequel films.
Hoo boy… where to start. How about the primary issue… Why is this necessary? We already had an excellent 2D version of The Clone Wars created by Genndy Tartakovsky that was highly stylized and very well done. This one is fancier, with 3D CGI and a more expansive story that will be told (the film is an introduction to an animated series that will run on Cartoon Network as well this Fall), but what is the point? We already know how the story will end!
So why was that not an issue with the previous version of The Clone Wars? Because it was broadcast in between Episodes 2 & 3 of the live action movies. We didn’t know how it would turn out, and it was a bonud story to help fill in what happened during the gap. But now, the entire story has been told, we know the conclusion, and I don’t really see the point.
Beyond that you’ll be annoyed within seconds of the film starting as Lucas has done away with the traditional “crawl” which brings you up to speed as it fades away into space. What did he replace it with? A voiceover that sounds like it was recorded by some cheesy game show host, describing events that led up to the start of the movie. I kid you not.
Anakin, Ashoka and Obi-Wan in a scene from The Clone Wars
What else? How about an uber-annoying “tween” female Padawan that is placed under Anakin’s care? This character doesn’t act like a Jedi in training, she acts like a typical Junior High student that’s used to being spoiled by her parents. VERY annoying (she actually even annoyed the heck out of my own 12 year old daughter). I also found her kind of creepy as compared to the older characters she looked like she was 10, but had C-cup breasts that were housed in a tube top. Very appropriate for battle.
Lots of snarky repartee ensues between her and Anakin and it’s like fingernails on a chalkboard.
Then we have Jabba the Hut’s brother (I guess). I’m a bit uncertain because he sounded like either Truman Capote or just plain female (another item that confused and annoyed my daughter). Also making an appearance was Padme in a seemingly spray-painted on costume. It wouldn’t bug me so much if this was anime targeted at a slightly older crowd but the target is really little kids. The audience was chock full of cute little ones running around with light sabers and Darth Vader helmets.
I’ll admit that by the time I was about 2/3 into the film, I actually started to enjoy the ride a little bit (and that’s why I rated it as high as I did), but overall I think fans are going to be disappointed.
Overall it was like watching a fireworks display: A lot of sound and fury, but not much substance.