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Review: Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008)

Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008) 

Directed by: Dave Filoni

Premise: Taking place between Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, Anakin Skywalker (voice of Matt Lanter) and Obi Wan Kenobi (voice of James Arnold Taylor) must rescue Jabba the Hutt’s son from the Separatists while Count Dooku (voice of Christopher Lee) manipulates other criminal elements to spring a trap on the Jedi.

What Works: Star Wars: The Clone Wars is intended as a feature length premiere of an upcoming television series. The film is computer-animated and goes for a non-realistic style. Instead, the picture goes for the look and feel of a weekly comic strip. The style works and will probably serve the story well as it goes into a half hour television series. The picture starts on a bang with some large scale action scenes that are on the level with anything in the live action films. On the whole, The Clone Wars is better than Attack of the Clones or The Phantom Menace. The picture runs only about an hour and a half and is tighter than those films (which ran nearly two and a half hours). It also handles the politics of the Star Wars universe in a much more streamlined way, its humor mostly works, and the interpersonal storyline between Anakin and his apprentice, Ahsoka Tano (voice of Ashley Eckstein), has much more weight to it than nearly any of the similar storylines in the live action prequels.

What Doesn’t: Although it is superior to two of the three Star Wars prequels, that does not mean the film is necessarily good. It still suffers from clunky dialogue and clumsy plotting. Star Wars: The Clone Wars is intended as a feature length pilot episode for an upcoming television serial. The film might have been best presented on television as a mini-series, since it is going there anyway. Also, even given its nonrealistic style, some of the animation is not very good, especially in conveying emotions and other subtleties in the faces and body language of the characters.

Bottom Line: Star Wars: The Clone Wars is not a bad film and fans of the Star Wars franchise will probably enjoy it. Like the pilot of any television series, this film does a lot to set up adventures that will take place in the rest of the series. It pales in comparison to the original trilogy but there is an opportunity to make an interesting series here.

Episode: #201 (August 24, 2008)