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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Review: Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Kids Will Love It, Geeks will Shudder

By Vincent Janoski

Clonewars Well, Star Wars: Clone Wars was released, and though it was a much anticipated event (or ploy) to get every Star Wars geek to the theater for something a little different, you might spend your money better on the Genndy Tartakovsky versions.

The action picks up shortly after Episode II: Attack of the Clones and owes a lot to the aforementioned Tartakovsky versions in voices, style, and tone. But that is where the similarities end. We're thrown smack in the middle of the narrative with no explanation of character or setting, because, well, you know it all by now, don't you? Obi-Wan and Anakin are deep into battle when they are called to action to find and rescue Jabba the Hutt's little "punky muffin" (yes, that is what Jabba called him). The message is delivered by Ahsoka Tano, Anakin's new padawan learner, a whiny, vacuous little twit who, if she wasn't a force-wielding Jedi who kicks some serious Droid behind, would fit right in as a character on Hannah Montanna. I knew we were lost when Anakin called her "Snips" and she called him "Sky-guy" and R2D2 "Artooie." With the introduction of Ahsoka, one can almost forget Hayden Christensen ever happened. But there are some neat new characters who make appearances and, of course, plenty of aliens.

As far as the animation rendering goes, there are some stylistic choices that give the whole thing a "dirty," monochromatic feel with the look of papier-maché sculptures. The animation was supposedly done to resemble Japanese anime, but methinks they confused anime with Supermarionation. I felt like I was watching an episode of Thunderbirds.

Let's be clear. It's Star Wars, and it satisfies your yearning for clone trooper-on-droid action and light saber duels. We get to see lots of armored and unarmored clones do their business and big spaceships battling in the void. My 5-year-old simply loved it and would not have let me hear the end of it if he was forced to wait until the DVD, or worse, the TV show. There are some very silly things about this Clone Wars such as the fact that the battle droids all sound like Erkle from Family Matters, and Zero (Cero?) the Hutt sounds more like Capote the Hutt. But there are some very cool things about this version of Clone Wars too which should add some real variety to the mythos. Ventress is one of these things. This character is one evil Sith witch and is the best carry-over from the Tartakovsky toons. She should make the subsequent TV episodes fun to watch, if the show lasts that long for her to become a major feature that is. I also can't wait to see more Jedi and General Grievous.

In short, see it if you or the geeklets can't bear the wait, but you might spend your money better somewhere else waiting for the inevitable repeat during the TV release.

Original here

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