Thursday, August 21, 2008

Clone Wars Review

This really isn't the blog to read for movie reviews, if you want those go here. Despite that, I am going to give it a go, but keep in mind I am reviewing this not as a movie critic/fan, but as a Star Wars fan.

So there are two reasons why I like Star Wars, and thus two ways upon which to judge this movie. The first reason is like I like the epic, grand narrative of Star Wars. Despite a few bumps in the prequel trilogy (and a few in Return of the Jedi) it is a great tale. The second is more important, because it is the reason why I like Star Wars so much and that is how it contributes to the Star Wars Universe.

In regards to how the Clone Wars contributes to the overall Star Wars universe it is good. Everything that appears in this movie is consistent with Star Wars overall. Star Wars movies often take lengths to make the universe feel real and used. This does the same thing by including little details like having WWII style decals painted on the side of Clone drop ships. There were a few universe related problems, like the inconsistencies in how long it took to travel, but that has always been a problem in the Star Wars universe.

In regards to the Star Wars story, the clone wars is a bit of a problem. In Star Wars there is the Canon and there is the Expanded Universe. The Canon are the six movies, and the expanded universe is everything else. The movies exist on their own, but the expanded universe needs the movies to exist. The Clone Wars is problematic because it is a movie, but for all intents and purposes it feels like extended universe, so it is in an odd middle ground.

So, let's get to something that looks more like an actual movie review. When the Clone Wars started I was really nervous, because they did away with the traditional scrolling text, and instead did a cheesy and awful newsreel style voice over to set the stage. Half way through the movie I realized why they did this. With the exception of Episode I (and possible Return of the Jedi), which skewed for a younger audience, Star Wars movies have universal appeal. However, the Clone Wars is very much made for children, and that is why it does not have scolling text, because not all kids can read. The pacing is very much like that of a cartoon. Which is not a bad thing, after all Pixar movies have a similar pacing. There is intentional (and slightly out of character comedy). They introduce a character, Ankian's Padawan, that is very much a stereotype (the "I can do anything you can do" girl with attitude). The voice actors do a decent job, and all of the characters feel right. The one benefit that doing this in an animated style is that they can get away with doing things that would be hard, or not look right with actual actors. Thus, the movie features an absolutly incredible battle scene, and when you see it you will know what I am talking about.

Speaking of battle scenes, it was a bit odd just how much of the movie was fighting. The Clone Wars racks up a really, really high body count. Granted they are all droids and souless clones, but still there is a lot of violence, and the movie make sure it notices that individual clone troopers are not just hit, but dead. It seemed a bit odd given the younger audience that it appeals to.

As a Star Wars fan, I was pleased. I guess I do have a mental block with it being in a theater, and I would have preferred this a bit more if it was a direct to DVD video instead. That being said, now that they have gone and done this I want to see more animated movies within the Star Wars universe (Rogue Sqaudron would be awesome!), because there can never be to much Star Wars.


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