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STAR WARS : THE CLONE WARS (2008) *** movie review by SEBASTIAN

Posted on September 19th, 2008
Posted on September 19th, 2008

I remember watching the cartoon network mini-episodes of the clone wars and wishing for more. Well it seems I got my wish, but not without a few catches. George Lucas’ newest installment in his ultra-popular franchise delivers very well most of the time, but there are definitely some big problems with this film.

I doubt that are many out there that would be interested in this film, without having seen at least some of the previous stories. That said, this story follows the exploits of JedI Knights Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as the clone wars rage on. The plot concerns the kidnapping of Jabba the Hutt’s son by separatist factions in an attempt to frame the JedI.

To say that this film is kid-friendly is an understatement. Its as if Lucas and his team felt the need to shift the focus away from the politics of his prequels and refocus them on the Jar-Jar and Ewok type of themes that young children seem to love. I knew that going into this movie, so maybe that’s why I was surprised that some of these tactics worked better than I would have expected.

In this story Anakin is assigned a Padwan learner, Ahsoka Tano(even though he seems a little young to be doing that) whom many critics panned for being a whining kid not needed in the story. I don’t agree with that at all. I really did think that here character brought out some really interesting stuff in Anakin’s character. When he was with Obi-Wan all the time, all we ever heard was complaining. Now we get to see that he’s actually a good leader and teacher. I liked that.

We are also given some really cool set-pieces that entertain delightfully. The action is intense and doesn’t let up. A particular favorite of mine was a jedI offensive straight up a cliff-side. The visuals in that scene were amazing. It reminded me of when I watched the original Star Wars movie in the seventies. It brought back that sense of wonder.

Now before you get your hopes up too high for this one let me tell you about the power of the dark side. There is the appearance of a character that I think no self-respecting Star Wars fan can abide. That’s right. I’m talking about Ziro the Hutt. This character seems to serve no other purpose than to offend in the most gaudy way possible. Imagine Jabba pink wearing Mardi Gras type jewelry and talking like Truman Capote and you’ve got a pretty good picture of it. Yikes!

You say that doesn’t scare you, huh? Ok. Well there’s also the issue of the long running time, as well as some pretty big lapses in the production levels themselves. At 98 minutes it feels a good 15 minutes too long. Then there are the characters’ facial animations. I did not like the wooden ways they speak. This could have been corrected with more time given to the project, or Heaven help us, cutting down on the massive action sequences and putting it on T.V. as the pilot for the new series this fall.

Another gripe of mine was that there was not quite enough plot. I guess I’m used to the prequels. Also too much story would probably distract the kiddies that are the target audience.

On a positive note, I do think this is a good start to this new series. I just wish they would refer to the mini-episodes that were so awesome.

3 out of 5 stars

Here’s a trailer

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