The Clone Wars movies seemed to come somewhat out of leftfield. I came home from work a few weeks ago to discover my son frantically replaying the trailer over and over. And looking at that trailer, the Clone Wars seemed to be a promising movie.
I should have seen the glaring problems. There are two eras of Star Wars: the original, Han Solo trilogy and the fairly awful recent movies that stretched out a franchise, but left fans cold. Unfortunately, The Clone Wars is set in the midst of the Episode 1-3 era, which means more of the inferior series.
Better yet, as Cinematical point out, the Clone Wars is actually a rather grand pilot episode for a new cartoon series that will air on the Cartoon Network. Noting this, it explains the introduction of a spunky young female Padawan, Ahsoka Tano. Is it too cynical to think that this is a cunning marketing ploy to have a female hero to broaden the market for this cartoon series?
Basically, in the midst of the Clone Wars, Anakin and Obi Wan Kenobi are called off to rescue the kidnapped infant of Jabba The Hutt. That’s right, even a great green slug can find someone to mate with. (There’s hope for you yet, speccy!). The two Jedi have to find the child and return him, accompanied by an impetuous Padawan. We get to use the word nefarious now, as the nefarious Count Dooku tries to convince Jabba that the Jedi are planning to kill the child.
All this for a little safe passage through Jabba’s trade routes.
Anyway, the action follows the efforts of the Jedi to return the sluglike kid back to his slimy father. There are the customary battles and it all seems very ‘Star Wars’ in the storytelling and execution, but how many droid armies do we need to see before we get bored?
Now, I’m not going to come across as a Star Wars purist here. I’m not. I’ve watched all the movies, played the Lego game and all that. The kids loved it, no doubt. And they’ll love the cartoon series just as much. And in a way, that’s the generation these new Star Wars cartoons are taking on.
For my part, eyelids began to droop toward the final third of the movie. We’re at that stage of the series now where we know the fate of the main characters, and every episode of the cartoon will end in a victory for the Jedi. Or a cliffhanger until the Jedi manage a victory.
Despite the complaints, the animation is visually stunning. I enjoyed the introduction of Ahsoka, and the avoidance of the tepid romance between Anakin and Padme. I was appalled by the "big gay Al"-ness of Jabba’s uncle Ziro. Obi Wan was quite good in his fake surrender, I thought that was funny.
From a blog entry on the Star Wars website, Corterville notes it was:
two hours of boring battles, uninspired light saber fights, and witless dialogue that did not manage to crack even a smile on my face.
I found the whole thing completely pointless. It’ll introduce a series of cartoons that have the Jedi team up against the Sith baddies and other unsavoury characters. And guess what? The Jedi will win every time. If you are a Star Wars purist, then it’s time to put your fascination for the story to rest. It’s going to be formulaic from here on.