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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Movie Reviews > Star Wars - The Clone Wars

MOVIE REVIEWS

STAR WARS - THE CLONE WARS (2008)

Featuring the voices of Catherine Taber, Corey Burton, Matt Lanter, James Arnold Taylor, Tom Kane, Ashley Eckstein, Matthew Wood, Ian Abercrombie, Nika Futterman, Dee Bradley Baker, Cory Burton, Anthony Daniels, Christopher Lee and Samuel L. Jackson.

Screenplay by Henry Gilroy, Steven Melching and Scott Murphy.

Directed by Dave Filoni.

Distributed by Warner Brothers.  98 minutes.  Rated PG.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

There hasn't been a truly great Star Wars movie since The Empire Strikes Back in 1980.  However, even the uneven quality of the last four Star Wars films has in no way prepared us for the true wretchedness of the latest installment of the saga - the first of the films to be completely animated.

Honestly, The Clone Wars is by far the worst thing to carry the Star Wars moniker since the cult-favorite failure Star Wars Holiday Special in 1978.

With the previous movies, even when the storylines didn't work so well, at least the movies looked stunning.  Star Wars mastermind George Lucas - who has now been milking this franchise for over thirty years - had decided by getting rid of special effects, models and... you know, actors, the films would be easier to make and he could speed up the filmmaking process. 

It made a certain amount of sense.  After all, the man owns Industrial Light and Magic, which is only the ultimate special effects house in filmmaking.  Surely they could out-Pixar Pixar.

Shockingly, in the change over to computer animation the effects have lost almost all of the sense of awe - while the ships and robots come out okay, the characters... both human and alien... look almost disturbingly cheesy.  I mean it, really, really bad.  In fact, it often almost looks like a late 60s Rankin/Bass marionette Christmas special.  Really, this is the best that Industrial Lights and Magic can do?

Making things even stranger, this is not even the first piece of official Star Wars product called Clone Wars - there was an animated TV series by the same name in 2003, though it left out the "The."  For some reason Lucas can't leave the genesis of his saga alone.  The original plan for Star Wars was the first three movies were going to be the middle films, then they would make three prequels and finally finish up with three films which take place after the events shown in Return of the Jedi.

He also seems unable to let go of his radical rethink of the character of Anakin Skywalker.  He did, after all, become Darth Vader, the embodiment of all Imperial evil.  Yet the Anakin here shows no dark shadings, no clues of his eventual outcome.  Yes, there is some fascination on how someone can go from goodness to evil, however that was supposed to be the point of Chapters 1 to 3.  There is no exploration of that dichotomy here.  Anakin Skywalker has gone from an enigmatic character to a rather dull super-hero.

The dialogue follows the clunky "they didn't really say that, did they?" heavy-handedness and awkwardness of the last few Star Wars films - though this time around the tin-eared Lucas did not write the screenplay.  Nonetheless, you can feel his groan-inducing mindset all over the place.  No one, in any galaxy, talks this way.

Judging from the low-key release of this film - normally Star Wars launches are hyped on the level of political conventions - I can only assume that Lucasfilm and Warner Brothers Pictures (all the previous films were released by Twentieth Century Fox) also realize what a turkey they have on their hands.  So, maybe if we all just look the other way and let The Clone Wars die quietly, we won't have to put up with another one of these poorly made films in two years.  Just say no to The Clone Wars.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright 2008 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: September 1, 2008.

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Copyright 2008   PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: September 1, 2008.

 

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