To the opposition of many Star Wars fans, George Lucas decided to release the pilot episodes to his television show in theaters, thus setting up the potential to further destroy one of the most celebrated franchise in cinematic history. Star Wars: The Clone Wars is an animated sci-fi film set in between Episodes II and III, and I'm not sure what to make of it. Admittedly, it's pretty entertaining; then again, the dialogue is cringe-inducing.
Had Star Wars: The Clone Wars merely debuted on television, there wouldn't have been a problem. I probably would have never watched it, and had I did, I would have shrugged off the changes, et cetera, with the understanding that this is indeed a TV show, and not a theatrically released movie. And this is what the movie boils down to... as a TV premiere, Star Wars: The Clone Wars is an entertaining, action-packed and visually engaging cartoon; as a movie, it's something else entirely different. There is a standard for Star Wars movies (whatever that may be), and this one just doesn't live up to that standard.
What really kills the movie is the characterization and dialogue. The dialogue is just painfully dreadful, and seemingly written for a younger audience. The characters crack jokes, have nicknames for each other and say really stupid things more often than not. Of course, some people would say this falls in line with the other Star Wars movies. However, the characters themselves are noticeably different; Anakin Skywalker, as the main character, is cheerful and all-good, which is strange considering he was always brooding in the movies, especially after Episode II. I can understand why the change was made for the cartoon, but once again this comes back to why this film should have not been released in theaters.
Beyond the writing, Star Wars: The Clone Wars is pretty entertaining. There is a ton of action, and the visual effects are pretty good. The characters themselves look pretty stupid (I'm sure, had this movie been intended to be released in theaters from the beginning, a different animation style would have been given to the characters, no doubt), but the various battles and action scenes that ensue are all delivered with some George Lucas flair. On the flip side, much of the great soundtrack seems missing at times, and rock music can even be heard at one point.
Ultimately, Star Wars: The Clone Wars feels like two disjointed stories crammed together, which makes sense because it is two disjointed stories crammed together. As such, The Clone Wars never feels like a real, epic Star Wars movie. Still, if you don't expect too much you can have an entertaining time with the picture, but that doesn't mean it wasn't a huge mistake to release it in theaters. This one should have stayed on TV, where it would have excelled marvelously.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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