Anthony's Film Review
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008)
An unbelievably bad Star Wars movie, one that shouldn't have been released in theaters...
The universe of Star Wars isn't limited to the six-part live-action saga. It includes countless other stories in novels, video games, and television shows. One such example is the 2008 animated television series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. As someone whose interest in Star Wars is limited to the six-part saga, the Clone Wars animated series is something that wouldn't really interest me and, therefore, I wouldn't be watching. I also wouldn't be watching it because I don't watch television as much as I watch movies.
But wait. The beginning of Star Wars: The Clone Wars isn't really the first episode that airs on television. Rather, it's a feature-length film released in theaters. Therefore, it is something that I'd better see just so I can say that I've reviewed every Star Wars movie that has ever been released in theaters. I'll gladly review it even if it's not live-action. At the same time, I'm going to hold it up to the same high standard as the six live-action Star Wars movies, of which four (the original trilogy plus the third part of the prequel trilogy) I consider to be awesome.
I hate to say it, but Star Wars: The Clone Wars, this movie released in theaters, is terrible. It really should've been aired as a television pilot. It has no place in the medium of cinema where expectations are far higher. You know how bad it is? You can basically tell it's a stinker about 10 seconds after the movie starts. You see, it begins with the familiar blue text against a black background: "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..." OK. Then a yellow "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" logo appears, rather than the familiar "Star Wars" logo. OK. But guess what? There is NO slanted upward-scrolling prologue text to set the scene.
Instead, there is a rapid voice of a narrator setting the scene. It goes so quickly that I could care less about the scene being set up. All I could think of was how the start of the movie sounds very much like the beginning of an episode of a 1950s science-fiction television show. Immediately, another major flaw with this movie is evident: the animation. A computer-animated film in 2008 should not look like computer animation from its primitive days, involving sharp polygons instead of rounded surfaces. I will even go as far as to say that this movie also looks like cutscenes from a video game that came out in the late 1990s or early 2000s.
Looking at the characters is bad. Listening to them speak is another. This Star Wars movie may include a few familiar characters from the live-action films, namely the Jedi knight Obi-Wan Kenobi, his apprentice Anakin Skywalker, the Jedi master Yoda, the Jedi named Mace Windu, and even the gangster Jabba the Hutt, but the voices provided for them are so terribly unconvincing and poorly done that the animated characters are essentially worthless imitations of their live-action counterparts. The only character who is convincing, even for a brief moment, is the droid R2-D2, and that's because no voice acting is required for his characteristic beeps.
Let's say you're one of those Star Wars fans who really just wants to see battle scenes, featuring laser blasts and lightsabers mixed with mayhem and destruction. Even for such Star Wars fans, this movie truly disappoints. The action scenes have overly fast pacing. There's really no chance to take in the excitement of the action, because exciting moments of action that would be cool to see just go by in the blink of an eye. Also, the armies of clones and droids often look like they're marching forward mindlessly while firing lasers in practically the same direction. It's like the animators got lazy with making them at least appear to think a little while in battle.
Not surprisingly, I have nothing good to say about the plot. There is some sign of a story in this movie if you really look carefully, but it's otherwise so thinly and quickly presented (many shots last less than 10 seconds, even less than 5 seconds in some cases) that it is not worth my time to even provide a quick summary. As for the other basic element of a movie, the characters, what's there to say? I've already mentioned the amateurish voice acting for the characters. The only thing I want to add is that the dialogue is so weak, stale, and unoriginal that character development is just not possible.
All of the flaws mentioned above are not in certain parts of the movie. They appear throughout the movie from beginning to end. The poor quality in the beginning is exactly what you can expect for the middle and the end. So it's a movie that never gets better after it starts. Really, the only other Star Wars creation that is worse than this movie is the atrocious Star Wars Holiday Special that aired once on television in 1978. (If you have never seen the Holiday Special, don't even bother.) If you like Star Wars television shows, you'll probably find this movie OK. But for the rest of us who expect a lot out of any movie, Star Wars: The Clone Wars should be ignored entirely.
For more information about Star Wars: The Clone Wars, visit the Internet Movie Database.
In addition, check out my reviews of the following:
Main Star Wars Films
Other Star Wars Films