I have to start by stating that I am a HUGE Star Wars fan and I have defended the very flawed prequels on many occasions. I have seen every Star Wars film in the theater, except this one. So I was excited and nervous to sit down with the first animated Star Wars feature film and form my own opinion.
This film takes place between Episodes II and III as well as between the Genndry Tartakovsky directed Star Wars: Clone Wars animated series, Volumes 1 & 2. As the story opens, minus the familiar title scroll, Jabba The Hutt’s son, Rotta, has been kidnapped and he’s turned to the Republic for help. They need the favor of the Hutt’s so they may have use of their space ways, which will tip the scales of the war. So they decide to send their two best Jedi’s, Obi-Wan and Anakin. Too bad they’re busy on a far off planet fighting a huge droid army along side a dwindling clone squad. When they ask for back up they get Ahsoka Tano, Anakin’s new Jedi Padawan. The thing is Anakin doesn’t want a Padawan, at least not at first.
After they win the day, they head off to find Rotta. This proves more difficult than originally thought, as the whole thing is a big plot by Count Dooku to turn the Hutt’s against the Republic and further weaken them. One of the biggest threats here is the new Sith Apprentice, Asajj Ventress, introduced in Clone Wars, Volume 1, who wants nothing more than to kill Skywalker.
It’s a fun story that’s filled with wonderful action sequences, new characters and this film is the perfect springboard for the new Clone Wars Animated Series. But, like the prequels that surround it, it does have it’s flaws.
The biggest flaw is the animation. It’s computer animated and unfortunately every moment you feel like you’re just watching a cut scene from a video game. Even worse, the faces show little if any emotion, which makes it really hard to care about any of the characters. One of the biggest problems with the prequels is the dialogue, and while the dialogue here is not great, it’s still ten times better than any of the three live action films.
The Battle Droids have a lot more dialogue here and seem to have become the comic relief of the film, which proves more annoying than funny and hardly logical. Why would the Separatists make such stupid droids to fight for them?
The big addition to this film is Ahsoka. While the idea of a female Jedi as a main character is a good one, this character is slightly annoying. She comes up with nicknames for everyone calling Anakin “Skyguy” and R2 “R2y”, which just doesn’t make any sense. She’s spunky like Anakin was when he was younger which leads to a rather quick connection between them and the witty Star Wars banters gets going. But her introduction is a HUGE continuity issue. If she is to become such an important part of Anakin’s life, where is she in Clone Wars, Volume 2 and Episode III? We can only hope that is issue will be tied up somewhere in the new animated series.
Many fanboys hated this film and there is a very good reason for it. This film wasn’t made for them like they wanted it to be. This film was made for their kids. This is very much a kid’s film and with the introduction of a young Jedi for kids to relate too amidst this big intergalactic war, it’s easy to see why 30-year-old men living in their mother’s basements would be annoyed. They should just be happy that Jar-Jar is nowhere to be found. All annoyances aside though, this is a fun movie that can be enjoyed.
The film is presented in 2.4:1 Anamorphic Widescreen. And the audio is in Dolby Digital 5.1 Ex. The sound is fantastic, the score and the effects are great. The animation for the faces is lacking, but all the other animation is pretty good and the colors really pop off the screen.
Commentary by Director Dave Filoni, Producer Catherine Winder, Writer Henry Gilroy and Editor Jason W.A. Tucker: This is an okay commentary. Chock full of interesting information delivered in a very dull dry way. No spark here to keep you interested.
The Clone Wars: The Untold Stories: (24 min.) This is an introduction to the TV series. You learn what the show is going to be about and you get the plots of several specific episodes.
The Voices Of The Clone Wars: (9 min.) This is an introduction to the voice actors of the film and the TV series.
A New Score: (10 min.) An introduction to Kevin Kiner who has been given the monumental task of creating new Star Wars themes for the film and TV series that are in line with John Williams classic score.
Webisodes: (20 min.) This film and TV series are Dave Filoni’s babies and he wants you to know it. These six “webisodes” are Filoni talking about such topics as the epic battles, the TV series as a whole, the heroes and villains and Ahsoka, Anakin’s Padwan.
Deleted Scenes: (11 min.) You get four of these including one in a Rancor pit. These are okay scenes. It is understandable as to why they were cut.
Bonus Digital Copy Of The Film
This isn’t a great film. If I’d paid ten bucks to see it in the theater I probably would have been annoyed too. But if you’re a Star Wars fan (not a fan boy, there is a distinct difference) and you watch this at home understanding that it is for kids (I suggest actually watching it with one and enjoy the film through their eyes) and also the lead into the new TV show then you’ll enjoy it for what it is. There are some descent special features here although most of them are just plugging the show.
Warner Bros. presents Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Directed by Kevin Kiner. Starring Matt Lanter, Ashley Eckstein, James Arnold Taylor, Dee Bradley Baker, Tom Kane and Christopher Lee (voices). Written by Henry Gilroy, Steve Melching and Scott Murphy. Running time: 98 minutes. Rated PG for sci-fi action violence throughout, brief language and momentary smoking. Released on DVD: November 11, 2008. Available at Amazon.com.
Tags: Star Wars