Against my own instincts I couldn't resist seeing the latest "Star Wars" movie "the Clone Wars". I tried to ignore the lingering scars left behind from the recent three live-action prequel movies which did everything to destroy my fond memories of the original "Star Wars" universe. However in amongst the embarrassingly bad films, emerged "the Clone Wars", an animated "Star Wars" serial, that first appeared as brief three minute episodes online which were then picked up and aired on Cartoon Network. The almost anime like series had some pacing issues caused by the three minute format, however as a whole the shows plot and action actually was surprisingly good, and in pure story terms, surpassed the new feature length films being released at the time.
I suppose this is why I tried to hold onto hope and give "Star Wars the Clone Wars" movie a try. However "The Clone Wars" feature length film features everything that was wrong with episodes 1 through 3. We are taken through the motions of a cliche ridden "Star Wars" story without any of solid storytelling seen in the original trilogy. We can hear all the signature "Star Wars" sound effects, the laser blasts and light saber hums during the battles but there's still no camaraderie amongst our heroes and the convoluted conflicts still ends up being about some sort of intergalactic trade routes with no meaningful impact or emotional bonds to care about.
At points it seems that "the Clone Wars" was scripted by some kids playing with their action figures, with non stop ridiculous battle scenes where the heroes are constantly finding themselves thrown into impossible situations with little meaning or consequences. And then, to make matters worse, "the Clone Wars" movie helps sink the "Star Wars" universe to reach new lows by introducing a couple of characters which include members of the Jabba the Hutt family. One appears to be based on Truman Capote and appears as an effeminate southern gentleman but in giant Hutt lizard shape, and the other is the mind-numbingly stupid baby Hutt which appears like a beach ball with eyes trying so hard to be cute it hurts.
The pain will continue with no end in sight, as "the Clone Wars" movie is meant to be the kick off for first a weekly animated series targeted at an older audience and eventually lead to a regular live action television show ala "Star Trek" but in the "Star Wars" universe. And despite how much we lament it, there's no stopping the Lucasfilm licensing machine from trying to milk every last dollar they can from its once grand "Star Wars" brand.
At least the movie gave the chance for some of the original cast members from the movies such as Samuel Jackson, Christopher Lee, Anthony Daniels and Natalie Portman earn some spare change picking up some voice acting work as they reprise their roles for their respective "Star Wars" characters. The voices can't improve the cheesy dialog or the stiff animation, but at least they sound like who they are supposed to be.
Trying to hold onto my fondness for the original "Star Wars" movies from a long time ago, and a galaxy far far away for Movie Magazine this is Purple.
© 2008 - Purple - Air Date: 8/13/08
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
USA - 2008