Friday, August 22, 2008

Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008)

By Reymundo Salao

There is actually a Clone Wars animated mini-series which (was shown in Cartoon Network some years ago, and) generally consists of 2 volumes. This series happens after Episode 2, and before Episode 3. The Clone Wars movie happens in between volumes 1 and 2 of the animated Clone Wars mini-series.

The story takes place during the Clone Wars when the forces of the Republic, with the aid of the Jedi Knights at their side are at war against the Separatists led by Count Dooku and a shadow leader; Darth Sidious. The story centers upon Obiwan and Anakin who must rescue the kidnapped son of Jabba the Hutt. They have to do this in order to negotiate and ally with Jabba the Hutt whose control in the Outer Rim of the Galaxies might be instrumental to succeeding in this Clone War.

This movie was kiddie action eye candy, it may have a satisfactory entertainment value, but it still is nothing more than a cartoon packaged for children. When the first three Star Wars movies came out (the first in 1977 and the last was in 1983) this space mythology trilogy made history and pretty much was, the “Lord of the Rings” of its time. But then when Lucas went back to continuing the Star Wars saga with his prequels (that began in 1999), Lucas seem to have forgotten about his real fanbase and concentrated on making the Star Wars movies just a vehicle to attract a wider market, something that proved that the shallowness of the prequel trilogy was just a way to advertise the merchandising that went with Star Wars (from shirts, to action figures, to DVDs). It seems that he didn’t take the original storyline seriously anymore. We’ve had a kiddie Anakin Skywalker, a silly old Jar-jar Binks, and too many artificially animated characters. Why the hell did he have to make Anakin the central “kid-appealing” hero if he was to become a villain in the end of the prequel series anyway (which happens in Episode 3)? It’s like an irresponsible way of writing fiction for children. To the eyes of his kiddie fans, there would be a sort of justification for being him becoming evil at the end.

By now, Lucas has already used up all the remaining little love I have left for the Star Wars saga. He has drained out what used to be my ardent sense of geekery for the franchise. By now, every time I see any prequel character my blood boils with annoyance reminding me how dumb and disposable the prequel episodes were and diminished the reputations of the series’ own fanbase into some kind of Mickey Mouse club for space alien power rangers.

The filmmakers might justify that this movie was made for children. But we’ve seen really fine animated movies from Hollywood lately such as “The Incredibles” and “Finding Nemo” which did not have to resort to lazy scriptwriting just to push the alibi that this was “made for kids”. The movie also seems to have radically deviated from what already has been part of Star Wars consistency. I wasn’t very fond of the World War 2 type radio intro at the beginning of this movie, that was just pure corny. Even the introductory theme song was altered and the new one sounds silly. There also have been violated and altered storylines here which would not be very consistent with the other Star Wars movies. You have an Anakin who has a Padawan, and we also find a Jabba the Hutt who isn’t really much of a badguy after all. All these details that add to the idea that this series is going to the “forgettable cartoons” category. The idiotic circle is now complete; this is not star wars anymore.

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