Star Wars Special: The Clone Wars Review
Another day, another Star Wars analysis. Welcome back to my review series to one of the most epic science-fiction sagas, today I’ll be talking about a slightly different movie.
Genre: Action /Animation / Fantasy / Science-Fiction
Director: Dave Filoni
Cast: Matt Lanter, Ashley Eckstein, James Arnold Taylor, Tom Kane, Nika Futterman, Dee Bradley Baker, Catherine Taber, Kevin Michael Richardson & Ian Abercrombie.
Run Time: 98 min.
US Release: 15 August 2008
UK Release: 15 August 2008
German Release: 14 August 2008
This is the third day in my countdown to The Force Awakens and my third review of the Star Wars movies, following my two posts in the past two days. Since I am writing reviews based on the chronological timeline of these movies, today I will be analysing the animated sci-fi film Star Wars: The Clone Wars, that was released in 2008. While some may argue that it is not a true Star Wars movie, it was still released in theatres and is part of canon.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars was originally to be intended as a TV show (which happened later that same year) and planned during the postproduction for Revenge of the Sith. Fact is, you can tell that this movie is three/four episodes of the TV series meshed into one long screening and once again it is mostly George Lucas fault, who after watching the first couple of episodes decided it should be made into a movie.
The film did not get positive reviews, standing on an 18% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and most critics panned this animation for its bad effects, bad script and the lack of the original cast. This review will be much shorter compared to my other Star Wars reviews.
— WARNING, THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS! —
The plot follows Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi as they are right in the middle of the clone wars, trying to stop a strategically important planet to fall into the hands of the separatists. They obtain news that a baby Huttlet from Jabba’s family was kidnapped. Anakin takes Ahsoka, his new apprentice with him to free the baby Hutt, while Obi-Wan is trying to keep his former student under the Order’s control.
It is hard to keep an objective tone for this critique, as everything about this movie pains me. I will admit that there are some things I did not find terrible, but it was simply poorly executed in the movie and would have been perceived much better in the television series cinematic.
My biggest issue with the movie though is the fact that it is an overlong pilot episode for the TV show, marketed as a movie that bridges the gap between Episode II and Episode III. Even worse, this movie takes place in between the series timeline, meaning that it isn’t as much of an actual Pilot but rather the middle part of a TV show that was released in the wrong chronological order.
The Clone Wars was basically a gigantic advert for the TV series and an opportunity for George Lucas to cash in on hardcore Star Wars fans, without investing in an emotional story. The film’s story simply jumps from battle to battle and does not focus once on character development.
If Lucas had wanted an animated movie for theatres, he should have given the effects team the time and funds needed to make an appealing movie. Maybe even focus on the beginning of the clone wars and how Anakin became a Jedi Knight, as in the Star Wars: Clone Wars cartoon of 2003.
If there is a positive aspect in this movie, it is that due to the low investment of character development Anakin Skywalker partially comes of as the character I envisioned him to be in Episode II, not the whiney brat with tantrums he was portrayed as by Hayden Christensen.
Now let’s talk about the animation, which felt downright lazy and cheap. The fact that it was originally planned to be for TV standards, did not help that it was later released as a cinematic film. I am not implying at all that it is the artistic team’s fault, it is Lucas his who was pushing the team to make a movie out of those episodes, even though they did not have the funds to scale them up for the movies. The characters felt very mechanical and unemotional, with dull eye movement and flawed lip sync.
Finally, my last issue with this animated sci-fi flick was the music. While in the TV show the tuned up and fast paced John Williams’ score fitted perfectly, I wished they had kept the original soundtrack for the animated film. The music simply made the movie feel disjointed from the rest of the Star Wars universe.
Verdict: As much as it pains me to say it, because I am a huge Star Wars fan, but Star Wars: The Clone Wars is a terrible movie in every possible aspect. It has no emotional investment, the animations are bland and the story is a promotional piece of garbage for the televisions series. I will give it a 3.0 out of 10.
What is your opinion of Star Wars: The Clone Wars? Did you dislike it as much as I did, or did you find it entertaining? Thank you for reading, and if you are interested in my other Star Wars reviews, have a look underneath!