Those that enjoyed Star Wars episodes one through three might well find something to love in this animated introduction movie to the animated television show.
To me, it was telling that the iconic Twentieth Century Fox logo was missing from this juvenile look into the Star Wars universe. However, the younger you are the more you may like it.
Obi-Wan Kenobi (James Arnold Taylor) and Anakin Skywalker (Matt Lanter) are engaged in a battle on the planet of Christophsis. They’re outnumbered and are hoping that an arriving shuttle contains much needed reinforcements. What steps off the shuttle is a Padawan named Ahsoka (Ashley Eckstein).
Obi-Wan says that he doesn’t need a Padawan but it’s revealed that Master Yoda (Tom Kane) has sent Ahsoka to be Anakin’s pupil. The battle wages on and it looks like the Jedi and Clone Army are going to be overran.
However, some quick thinking by Anakin and Ahsoka and some distraction by Obi-Wan lead to the Republic’s victory. Master Yoda arrives with reinforcements and tells the Jedi that Jabba the Hutt’s (Kevin Michael Richardson) son has been kidnapped and he suspects that Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) is behind it.
Obi-Wan attempts to negotiate with Jabba as Anakin and Ahsoka travel to the location where it’s believed that the young Hutt and his kidnappers are holed up.
The Count has other plans in mind as he convinces Jabba that the Jedi are responsible for the kidnapping and his assassin Ventress (Nika Futterman) is sent to make sure that Anakin and Ahsoka don’t succeed in returning the Huttling to Jabba.
The Clone Wars film is basically a 98 minute introduction to the new animated series. George Lucas liked the footage so much that it was decided to mold it into a feature length format and release it into theaters.
If you had problems with the episode I thru III, no doubt this new cartoon series will only triple those dislikes since this film and the series only adds to them such as more of the “Roger, Roger” robots (Ugh!).
Ahsoka is a teenager with an attitude and every time she calls Anakin “Skyguy” my teeth ached. Even worse is the aptly named Ziro the Hutt who seems like the love child of Truman Capote and Ursula the Sea Witch from Disney’s the Little Mermaid.
The filmmakers try and add some class to the film by having some of the actors from the films recreate their roles – Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu, Christopher Lee as Count Dooku, and Anthony Daniels as C3PO – but they only do it for the film and don’t follow suit by voicing them on the series.
I guess I’m just a bitter hater of the great flannelled one, or shall be deemed one. I suppose that this is George Lucas’ baby and he can do with it what he pleases. It just rankles me that we had a great opportunity that would’ve made some quality television or animated films and it seemed aimed squarely at the kiddy set.
The original trilogy was embraced by those same kids and it didn’t have half the goofy stuff that appears in this film. My kids loved the film so it probably hit the right target audience, but I couldn’t stomach a lot of it.
The animation is very interesting since it has a Thunderbirds feel to it. It’s just the goofball script that doesn’t serve it well. There are some good bits in a desert battle between Dooku and Anakin, but then Ahsoka does something annoying and it’s soon forgotten. The younger you are the better it will seem (though you may regret it later in life).
The Clone Wars is presented in anamorphic widescreen (2.40:1) and is enhanced for 16x9 televisions.
Disc one features a commentary by director Dave Filoni, producer Catherine Winder, writer Henry Gilroy and editor Jason W.A. Tucker. Disc two starts with the 25 minute “Star Wars Clone Wars: The Untold Stories” that examines how the show and film came about. The 10 minute “The Voices of Star Wars” takes a look at the vocal cast.
The 10 minute “A New Score” is about the new music created by composer Kevin Kiner. There’s also a gallery, 11 minutes of deleted scenes (including a fight in a Rancor pit), and 5 minutes of trailers. Disc two also features a digital copy that you can download to your PC or portable device.
The Clone Wars has some moments, but they’re tarnished by the plot points that made the new trilogy so much worse. My kids loved it, but I didn’t like it. The force wasn’t with this one this time, in my humble opinion. Your kids might disagree.