A 98 minute pilot disguised as a movie
Image Courtesy of IMPawards.com
Director: Dave Filoni
Notable Cast: Samuel L Jackson, Matt Lanter, Tom Kane, Catherine Taber, Anthony Daniels
It’s getting harder and harder to defend George Lucas. After the original Star Wars trilogy, he seemed to want to do smaller films like American Graffiti. Instead, he went and did the prequels as well as plenty of projects designed to cash in on the Star Wars franchise including adventures about the Ewoks, etc. His “desire” to do something else besides big budget productions has never been realized, as he’s done nothing that isn’t related to either that universe or the Indiana Jones universe he and Steven Spielberg created together. So one could really question his desire to make a film like his friend Francis Ford Coppola did in Youth without Youth, a small independent feature that disappeared from theatres as quickly as it arrived into them. If Lucas’s idea of small independent features is a 90 minute advertisement for his television show detailing the back story of his original trilogy even further, then perhaps he ought to at least be honest about it. And if the television show is to have he same quality as the pilot episode known as Star Wars: The Clone Wars, then perhaps it’ll have a quick death.
Focusing on the time between Revenge of the Sith and Attack of the Clones in the canon that is Star Wars, the film focuses on the kidnapping of Jabba the Hut’s son by the Seperatists. It’s up to the Jedi to save him. And to go into any detail would be to revisit one of 2008’s worst theatrical experiences, a film that has Star Wars in its name but has nothing of the magic involved in any of the series.
Even the new trilogy had some of the old magic from Lucas’s original trilogy, but his new film has none of the soul. The film’s problem is that it says its Star Wars, but nothing about the film has anything similar to the other six films in the series. Even John Williams’ signature score has been altered up and redone, making it into something that’s a pure commercial project. Whereas even the new trilogy had some claim to artistic legitimacy, as the back story of the series is something that could be mined, continuing to engage in the past of the series is almost fitting as Lucas seemingly can’t let go of anything related to his original masterpiece. He isn’t even moving past Return of the Jedi, which has a lot of fertile grounds. He’s stuck going into the one area he knows and that’s all. It’s kind of sad that as a producer this is the only thing he will ever do, most likely, because a small meaningful film is something he talks about doing but doesn’t seem like he’ll ever actually do.
It does look pretty, though, and if anything the film is a marvel of animation. It certainly looks better than any of the animated films to come out in 2008. Lucas has raised the bar for how good an animated film can look with this film, but that’s about it. It’s antiseptic at best; pretty images don’t equate to an engaging story, witty dialogue or well developed characters. For all the beauty of the computer animation, there’s nothing to engage the brain. It’s a wonder for the eyes, but nothing else. This is a film devoid of a soul. It doesn’t help that almost the entire cast from any of the prequels, outside of Samuel L Jackson as Mace Windu and Anthony Daniels as C3PO (making him the only person to appear in all seven films), leaving the film with familiar characters with different voices. It’s the same as if Kermit the Frog was voiced by Jason Statham; it just doesn’t sound right.
The Star Wars juggernaut is one in which George Lucas has made a substantial fortune. It’s a shame that it’s the only thing he seems intent on doing, and the final depth in quality has hit with Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
FINAL RATING (ON A SCALE OF 1-5 BUCKETS):
Tags: George Lucas, Samuel L. Jackson, Star Wars