a critiQal film review Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008)

Plot: Obi-Wan Kenobi (Taylor), Anakin Skywalker (Lanter) and the rest of the Jedi Knights and their allies battle the evil forces of Count Dooku (Lee) in a galactic battle of good vs. evil.

Reviewed
712 words (Est. Reading Time 3m 33s)

When I first heard that Star Wars: The Clone Wars was coming to theaters I was excited. Being a fan of both animation and the Star Wars films, I figured this might be the perfect type of film for me.

Then I heard that the film was actually an introduction to a new Cartoon Network series, and I was a bit hesitant. Since Heather isn’t a real fan of Star Wars and I had doubts as to whether the film would be able to stand on it’s own (ie ), I decided to give the film a pass in theaters.

Last weekend, as we were watching previews, Heather expressed an interest in the film. Since it was coming to DVD the following Tuesday, I immediately made plans to rent it. With Heather by my side, we settled in to watch. Would Star Wars: The Clone Wars be able to entertain us both, or is the film just a TV series introduction we could have easily done without?

The voices all seem to be the same ones that fans will recognize from the recent trilogy – so it will come as a shock that most of them are different. The voices so exactly mimic Anakin, Obi-Wan and the rest, however, that it does nothing to distract viewers. Too often, animated sequels tend to switch up the voices, and viewers spend half the time trying to get used to the new voice. Thankfully, that isn’t the case here, and viewers can easily dive right into the film.

The plot, unlike some animated sequels ( comes to mind) is well thought out, and an easy continuation of the films. Since The Clone Wars takes place between the events of and , viewers get to see more of good guy Anakin, rather than the Darth Vader he would eventually become.

While the master/pupil relationship between Obi-Wan and Anakin continues to develop, viewers also get to see Anakin taking on his own pupil, and are introduced to Ahsoko Tano, a brash young female he takes under his wing. While it’s interesting to see how Anakin treats a pupil – since viewers already know the fate that awaits Anakin – Ahsoko turns out to be a welcome addition to The Clone Wars.

Since she’s a new character, most would expect it difficult for viewers to easily assimilate her in with the rest, but her energy and (at times) much-needed comic relief help ease that transition. She is the real animated star of this new film, and is a definite highlight of The Clone Wars.

The animation itself, on the other hand, does take a little getting used to. The characters look much more simplistic than their real-life counterparts, and are full of flat planes and harsh angles. As the story envelops the audience, however, those planes and angles become more acceptable until finally the viewer is hardly aware of them. Most viewers may have been put off by the odd animation from the previews, but they needn’t worry – the film still easily manages to pull the viewer in.

True, die-hard Star Wars fans may argue that The Clone Wars – even without the animated aspect – “kidifies” the series…and they would be right. But, unlike some other obviously “kidified” films (), it isn’t done to the extent that adults won’t be able to enjoy the film. Sure, Jabba’s uncle is a punk-rock version of Jabba, and sure, death doesn’t rear it’s head, but the film still manages to be a fun viewing experience for kids and adults.

While naysayers have groaned at an animated Star Wars film, I was pleasantly surprised by Star Wars: The Clone Wars. A good storyline that both leaves a sastiying ending and leaves room for the televsion series to pick up where it left off mingles easily with a cast of eerily similar character voices for a fun movie viewing experience. While the animation style does detract a bit from the enjoyment of the film until the viewer gets used to it, the storyline and new characters like Ahsoko are definite positives.

Whether you’re a fan of the Star Wars films or not, you may want to think about checking out Star Wars: The Clone Wars. We did, and we liked it.


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