August 26, 2008 by  

Star Wars: The Clone Wars


Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Obi-Wan Kenobi is voiced by James Arnold Taylor in "Star Wars: The Clone Wars."

Starring: Matt Lanter, James Arnold Taylor, Samuel L. Jackson
Directed by: David Filoni (TV’s “Avatar: The Last Airbender”)
Written by: Henry Gilroy (TV’s “The Clone Wars”), Steven Melching (TV’s “The Batman”), Scott Murphy (TV’s “The Clone Wars”)

It’s going to be really interesting to see how much more George Lucas can milk out of his two biggest franchises, “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones,” before things start looking too desperate.

Truthfully, it might never happen, especially with the former. Although it’s highly unlikely that Harrison Ford could pull off another archeology adventure as Indy, “Star Wars” has proven that its larger-than-life fan base will always be at bay. Add to that new generations of Jedi kids getting reeled in by parents who loved the original films, new additions to the saga, and efforts in other genres to keep the idea fresh, and “Star Wars” isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

It’s unfortunate, however, that merely having the influence and manpower to create anything you want from your “best-of” filmography can last you a lifetime even when the final product isn’t nearly as impressive as it was in its early years. This is the tier where “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” stands. As the series’ first-ever animated feature film, “Clone Wars” lacks breathtaking moments as its dull cartoon characters are slapped on screen with little reverence for its predecessors.

There is so much back story in “Clone Wars,” it’s sometimes hard to keep it all straight unless you are ore of the millions of diehard followers. But even when the sci-fi soap-opera story line becomes clear and we realize which alliances have been broken and why Jabba the Hutt’s infant son has been kidnapped by Count Dooku (voiced by Christopher Lee, one of the only original actors who returns for this computer generated letdown), it’s not much better than some of the “Star Wars” parodies that can be found online. Anyone up for some lightsaber battles Lego-style?

Either way, “The Clone Wars” feels like a stage-managed mistake, tossed awkwardly between two live action films and featuring mediocre storytelling and inadequate battle sequences. Now, we’re not talking Jar Jar Binks/Jake Lloyd scale here, but we’ve definitely swayed away from what made “Star Wars” gripping adventure in the first place. Until Lucas can figure that out, or hire someone to do it, anticipate more sci-fi filler to keep fans in Chewbacca costumes from having serious withdrawals.

Grade: C-

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