Star Wars: The Clone WarsStill Strong with the Force
One has to wonder if putting Star Wars: The Clone Wars
in theaters was nothing more than a marketing ploy to make money and
sell toys. Though it's being released as a stand-alone film, Star Wars: The Clone Wars
is actually just the big screen launch of an upcoming Cartoon Network series by the same name.
The ‘film,' which takes place between Attack of the Clones
and Revenge of the Sith
follows Generals Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they fight
alongside the clone troops of the New Republic. The Separatists, led by
Count Dooku and controlled by Darth Sidious, have kidnapped Jabba the
Hutt's son. The Jedi send Skywalker and his new Padawan, Ahsoka Tano,
to save the stolen slug.
Fans of the almighty saga will
immediately notice differences between the films and this new animated
series. The Twentieth Century Fox Fanfare, which has always preceded
the Star Wars films, is gone - and in its place is the Warner Bros.
emblem, which shouldn't make a difference, but it does. It just doesn't
like Star Wars.
there's the score. Legendary composer John Williams' contributions to
the Star Wars universe are limitless, but his beautiful signature
tracks are scarce here. Also missing is the initial crawl, that is, the
scrolling text that explains any story necessary in order to jump right
into the action.
We still get the backstory, only in the form of
a World War II-inspired newsreel clip. A voice straight out of 1940s
radio explains that the Clone Wars have swept through the galaxy and
the heroic Jedi Knights are struggling to maintain order and restore
After the WWII newsreel ends, the story picks up in the
middle of a large battle. Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker are
leading their clone troopers into battle against the Separatists' droid
army. The action sequences are on par with anything you've seen in the
live-action Star Wars films, and the animation is smooth and
Soon thereafter the audience is introduced to
Ahsoka Tano, Anakin's new Padawan learner. She's a feisty little one,
but she'll soon learn some respect. Ahsoka is cute, adorable, and
precious. And that's not a bad thing. Ahsoka will finally allow sisters
across the world to join in the fun of playing Star Wars with their
brothers. No more playing the damsel in distress, the princess chained
to Jabba - now girls can engage in epic lightsaber duels as Ahsoka
Tano, their own female warrior.
The animation, while not on the same level as recent films like Wall-E
or Kung-Fu Panda
is smooth and beautifully colored. The backgrounds almost look as
realistic as many of the backdrops in the prequel films. The character
animations, however, tend to be as wooden as the acting of the prequels.
While Star Wars: The Clone Wars
doesn't include Jar Jar Binks, there is one new character that will
probably join the list right behind Binks as one of the most hated
characters in the Star Wars universe. Ziro the Hutt, Jabba's drag queen
uncle, is a strange and pointless addition to the universe. Aside from
Ziro, fans may be bothered by some of the film's misplaced humor.
Ahsoka is mainly to blame for saying annoying things, such as giving
Anakin the nickname of "Sky-guy." She's young, and while she doesn't
deliver any "Yippees" like Jake Lloyd's Anakin in The Phantom Menace
, it will still no doubt anger fans wishing every film was as dark as The Empire Strikes Back
diehard fans of the universe George Lucas created will no doubt find
some subtle charm in this animated introduction to the Cartoon Network
series, regardless of the lack of real story. For those casual fans, Star Wars: The Clone Wars
will be a fun, entertaining romp through familiar territory. As a film,
this just doesn't compare to the six-film saga (nor does it mean to)
but as a premiere for a television series, the quality of animation is
superior to other cartoons out there.
Ultimately, Star Wars: The Clone Wars
is geared solely toward children. It's light and fluffy and fun - the
kind of fun that will hopefully hook a whole new generation of
bright-eyed kids who love to dream of galaxies far, far away.
It's hard not
to love Star Wars, it's even harder not to smile when you see Yoda or hear the familiar beeps of R2-D2.