Movie Review: Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008) – The Force Gets Animated by ThinkBox

By ThinkBox

August 22, 2008 DVD Movies Reviews No comments

First things first. You’ve got to check out the Star Wars: The Clone Wars official site. It is jam packed with all things Clone Wars such as videos, games, downloads, characters, screen shots, etc. You could spend days playing around on it. Loads of fun. In fact, I’ve spent more time on that site in the past week than I have on my wife (it’s a married thing – some of you will understand.) Sadly, I wish I could say I was just joking.

The website also gives you the ability grab the following widget for your own site, MySpace, Facebook, or whatever.

Spoiler Alert: Anakin Skywalker turns to the dark side and becomes Darth Vader. But that doesn’t happen in The Clone Wars. I know, that was probably a bit mean to trick you like that.

The Essentials

Title: Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Official Site)
Directed by Dave Filoni
Written by Henry Gilroy, George Lucas, Steven Melching, and Scott Murphy
Running Time: 98 mins
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for sci-fi action violence throughout, brief language and momentary smoking.

The Plot of The Clone Wars

As the Clone Wars sweep through the galaxy, the heroic Jedi Knights struggle to maintain order and restore peace. More and more systems are falling prey to the forces of the dark side as the Galactic Republic slips further and further under the sway of the Separatists and their never-ending droid army.

Anakin Skywalker and his Padawan learner Ahsoka Tano find themselves on a mission with far-reaching consequences, one that brings them face-to-face with crime lord Jabba the Hutt. But Count Dooku and his sinister agents, including the nefarious Asajj Ventress, will stop at nothing to ensure that Anakin and Ahsoka fail at their quest.

Meanwhile, on the front lines of the Clone Wars, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Master Yoda lead the massive clone army in a valiant effort to resist the forces of the dark side. (Taken directly from The Clone Wars Official Site. Hey, work smarter not harder)

The Review of The Clone Wars

Visually and artistically, the movie is stunning. Viewers will quickly recognize several buildings and familiar rooms in this animation. The colors are bright and modern and the vehicle movements are spot on. Since there were a ton of CGI scenes in Episodes 1-3, there are moments when you wonder if they just used the same files. The strong angled beards and hair were tough to get used to on a few of the characters though. I immediately thought of the stylized sculptures of the ancient Greeks like the Dying Warrior. My art background forces me to wonder if this time period inspired the character designs a bit. See below:

The storyline was decent. I mean, we all know that one doesn’t become a Star Wars geek solely based upon the acting and directing. At least with the computer animated backdrop of the movie, there are no real expectations of great acting (not that there would have been anyway) so George Lucas didn’t necessarily get in the way of the story aside from one minor annoyance – but more on that later. The Clone Wars did not really add much to the original storyline, nor did it take anything away from it. There is very little in the movie that seem to attempt to elaborate or further any of the subplots of the original live action movies. That being said, it’s completely acceptable. We know the story. We know what happens at the beginning, in the middle, and of course at the end. All in all, there seems to be just enough connection in The Clone Wars to have it included as part of the Star Wars story but plenty enough different that we are okay with the animation.

The movie doesn’t disappoint in regards to humor. You could always count on that good ol’ George Lucas humor. There are some moments of funny dialogs between droid superiors. R2-D2 celebrates some sharp shooting. And Anakin’s struggle with his young Padawan learner, Ahsoka Tano, is reminiscent of the relationship between Obi-wan and Anakin during his apprenticeship. However, a minor part of the movie that is not very amusing is the appearance of Ziro the Hutt. Feelings reminiscent of the introduction of Jar Jar Binks come to mind. It’s not so much the character or the fact that he is Jabba’s uncle. It’s the voice that’s annoying. There are grumblings that Ziro is the first overtly gay alien. I didn’t initially think of that. I was too busy trying to use jedi mind tricks on myself in order to block out the voice. It’s just the Lucas way I guess. Rumor has it that Lucas explicitly asked for Ziro to sound like Truman Capote. Although, at one point, he (or she) sounded like Adam Sandler to me. Ridiculous. But that’s really the only negative and he has only a small part in the movie unlike Jar Jar.

All in all, the movie is a fun experience for a Star Wars fan like me. I was fortunate enough to be able to load up my two sons on The Clone Wars opening weekend for a little boys only time. Unfortunately, my wife doesn’t understand the power of the Force. She has yet to watch a single Episode of Star Wars all the way through because she can’t, and I quote, “stay awake.” Eh, she doesn’t deserve to be a Star Wars fan anyway. But somehow she manages to stay awake during Mama Mia!, The Notebook, Kate & Leopold, You’ve Got Mail, etc., etc., etc.

Spoilers: This isn’t going to destroy your movie experience by any means. But, one of my favorite scenes involved a confrontation between battle droids and clone army troopers. The clone army commander told a battle droid leader, “Your outnumbered!” In the scene, it was clear that the clone army was actually outnumbered. The droid started to count, “Wait, one, two…” Then boom! Reinforcements arrive in battleships to blow up the sidetracked droids. Trust me, it’s funny. You also find out what a baby huttling is in the form of Jabba the Hutt’s son. Oooo, nasty!

Watch The Clone Wars If…

You enjoy computer animation and are at minimum a casual Star Wars fan. If you even remotely want to see this film, go ahead and buy a matinee ticket to save some money. This movie is worth the big screen experience for any Star Wars fan.

Rating: 5.5/10

ThinkBox gives it two Sith Lords and a droid – which is a few Jedi Knights short of a must-see.

ThinkBox gives it two Sith miniatures and a droid