August 15, 2008 at 5:21 pm #1404
I love Star Wars. A New Hope is my favourite movie ever. I consider it to be perfect in spite of its flaws. That may seem like a contradiction…but those of you who have seen it will understand what I mean…it is the perfect movie, the reason we go to the cinema. A sequel followed that built on the first film and raised the stakes while lowering the mood. And it was awesome. Return of the Jedi was a mixture of both and almost schizophrenic in a way. Then came the prequels….the movies that divided fans the world over.
I love the prequel trilogy. I’m not an apologist…I don’t feel the need to apologise for my love of those movies…sure they have flaws, so did the originals (though maybe not as many) but the biggest hurdle a movie has to overcome in my eyes to be considered good isn’t dialogue or plot…yes those are important…but the main issue is enjoyment factor…will I have fun watching a movie? And for the prequels the answer is yes. I enjoyed them immensely. They are fun movies. And if story is what matters, they have a better overall story than the original trilogy, which was essentially A New Hope and a 2 part sequel. The prequels feel like a trilogy. Maybe the story could have been executed a little better, I won’t argue that point, but as a story it works.
Which brings me to The Clone Wars. You know, I’ve read some of the reviews for this and they’re full of complaints. You know the stupid defense a lot of prequel lovers have, where they say that those who don’t like them simply don’t "get" them? It’s a ridiculous argument. But it’s an argument that can be applied to a lot of the reviews of this animated feature.
They simply don’t get it. There is no opening crawl…the reviewers complain…they don’t get it. There shouldn’t be an opening crawl…is The Clone Wars one of the 6 episodes in the Star Wars Saga? No…it’s a side story…heck, The Clone Wars IS the opening crawl.
The first paragraph of the opening crawl for Revenge of the Sith reads as follows:
War! The Republic is crumbling
under attacks by the ruthless
Sith Lord, Count Dooku.
There are heroes on both sides.
Evil is everywhere.
And that’s what the Clone Wars is.
The reviewers complain that it’s for kids…again they don’t get it…it’s a theatrical animated movie that serves as a prologue for an animated series that will appear on Cartoon Network…not Adult Swim. Of course it’s for kids. And make no mistake about it, if you have children, they will love the movie.
I’m sure some of you will point to Pixar’s movies, which are for kids but have enough there for older people to enjoy. Well some of the action is breathtaking and fun and I certainly got a kick out of it. The jokes are childish…a little too childish at times, and may have your average 8 year old rolling their eyes…and that’s one of my few complaints…the movie is aimed at children, which is fine, but it doesn’t give them enough credit. Kids are more intelligent than the writers or anyone in Hollywood understands.
And before anyone blames Lucas…he didn’t write it…he came up with the general story and supervised designs…and that’s about it. In fact there are times where I find myself missing Lucas’ direction.
Another flaw in the film is that the voice work simply isn’t up to scratch. Samuel L. Jackson and Christopher Lee reprise their roles from the prequels, along with Anthony Daniels and they do a fine job. But There are two voices in particular that simply get on my nerves…one is the voice of Obi-Wan, which is the same one heard in Tartakovsky’s animated Clone Wars shorts…it sounds nothing like Ewan MacGregor or Alec Guinness and is annoying. Fortunately, the terrible voice of Anakin from the shorts has been replaced with a much better voice for the cgi film and series. The other voice that gets on my nerves is the one for Yoda. If you’ve watched a cartoon in the last few years you’ve probably heard the voice of Tom Kane at some stage. He is a great voice artist and he certainly does sound like Yoda…unfortunately he suffers from terrible dialogue.
Back when Frank Oz was doing Yoda in Empire Strikes Back, he had Yoda’s lines written normally, and then went through them himself and gave it the backwords talking vibe that we all know. For The Clone Wars though, it appears as if the writers wrote Yoda’s backwards speech and went way overboard. Kane does the best he can, but every single line is done in backwards talk…even Frank Oz didn’t do that with all of them. It goes from frustrating to annoying to downright unbearable by the end.
Kane also did the voice for Yoda in Soul Calibur and the previously mentioned Tartakovsky Clone Wars shorts, which suffer the same problem.
The battle droids are also kind of annoying, with the same voice work as seen in Revenge of the Sith…once again they are played for comedy rather than hardened enemies of the Republic. Although there are some jokes involving the battle droids that were actually quite funny.
There is also a new character…perhaps the most interesting in that she shouldn’t be there. I’m talking about Ahsoka Tano, Skywalker’s new Padawan…now she doesn’t appear in Revenge of the Sith and so she seems fated to die…although killing a cute young apprentice in a kids show seems a bit…well…dark…so I suspect she might survive to the end of the series and may show up in a Forced Unleashed sequel or perhaps even the live action series as a surviving Jedi.
Ahsoka is young, impatient and reckless, a bit like Anakin. She’s a Star Wars version of a teeny bopper. Yeah I said it. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just a little strange to see in Star Wars…although thinking about it, I have a strange feeling that this is what Princess Leia was like as a young teen. Ahsoka has a nickname for everyone from Anakin to Jabba The Hutt’s tadpole of a son.
Speaking of the Hutts…all I have to say is what were they thinking with Ziro The Hutt? I mean, yeesh. Watch Futurama…take a look at Hedonism Bot…now imagine him as a Hutt. That’s Ziro.
The film has flaws….but I enjoyed it. I had fun watching it. So it passes the first test. Original Trilogy "Purists" will hate it…absolutely hate it. If you hated the prequels, you will loathe this movie…even if you liked the prequels, you may not like it. But your kids will love it. Seriously, coming out of the cinema, there were kids who couldn’t stop talking about the action scenes and how they laughed at this part and were wowed by that part etc.
Also, if you can view the film for what it is, rather than what your mind tells you it should be, which a lot of people had trouble doing with the prequels, then you may enjoy it.
The animation is a cross between Tartakovsky’s Clone Wars and Thunderbirds with a dash of classic Star Wars thrown in for good measure. It’s no Pixar film but it should work well for the TV series. Some of the shots are absolutely beautiful and the battles are intense. There is a scene where Ahsoko is in a Republic gunship, nervously waiting for battle. The camera follows her outside into the heat of war and it’s a really effective moment.
For you continuity freaks who are wondering where it fits in with Tartakovsky’s series…well I would say it is set after Anakin becomes a Jedi Knight but before the final mission before the Battle Over Coruscant that opens Revenge of the Sith. If the scene with the light being turned off in Padme’s apartment in the Clone Wars shorts is supposed to represent the night Luke and Leia are conceived, I would think that the new series is set in the nine months after that. There is certainly nothing in the movie that contradicts Tartakovsky’s shorts.
So I guess I should sum this up…well yeah it’s a film for kids…and I know you’re rolling your eyes…but what’s wrong with a little light hearted adventure? Star Wars started as a light adventure story with A New Hope, and it’s nice to see that return after the darkness that was Revenge of the Sith. Children will love this movie, and for those of you looking for something with a harder edge, there is a live action series coming in a few years that should satisfy that desire.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars is a fun movie that has plenty of flaws. Does it get me excited for the series? Sure, I’d watch it anyway since I’m a Star Wars nut, but the movie has me a little more excited than I might have been. Would I like to see more Star Wars stories at the cinema? Most definitely. In fact, I’m hoping that if the Clone Wars is successful, it may open the door for future Star Wars projects to get theatrical releases in live action or animated form.
I enjoyed this film, kids will enjoy this film. It’s not the best film of the summer…but it’s by no means the worst and now I can’t wait for the series.
Then again…I’ll be 24 on Sunday but I’m really just a big kid.
I know…how could a movie that has been panned right across the internet get such a high score from me? It’s flawed and it’s for kids…but it’s fun. I had fun watching this. I had fun watching Iron Man. I had fun watching Indy IV.
I will stand by this review. A New Hope wasn’t a dark and edgy film…it was a light adventure space fantasy…and it’s the most popular movie ever. Clone Wars is no A New Hope, but it is fun.August 27, 2008 at 8:54 am #5185
I admit I wouldn’t have gone to see this in a million years except for the fact that I was writing a review of it..but anyway, it was bearable for me..not being much of a Star Wars fan! I agree that some of the battle driod’s jokes were funny alright! Anakin’s padawn added some spice too as she’s quite a fiesty character..but she was bordering on being a Juno smartass type…so I’m not sure how much more of her I could take! For Star WArs fans (and as you said, prequel fans) it’s fine..but for anyone else; well they should prob wait for the TV series.
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