James Arnold Taylor
Star Wars: the Clone Wars sees Separatists led by Count Dooku (voiced by Christopher Lee) and Darth Sidious (Ian Abercrombie) kidnapping Jabba the Hutts son and holding him on a remote planet in an attempt to start a conflict between the Hutts and the Jedi Knights. Anakin Skywalker (Matt Lanter) and his young padawan learner, Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein) are soon to the rescue
To those who dont know, The Clone Wars is an animated TV series set in the Star Wars universe that places in-between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. This film is a prequel to that show, on theatrical release because of public interest and, lets face it, because Lucas can.
But director Filoni and series creator George Lucas might want to go back to the drawing board and do some major overhauls if this movie is any sort of indicator. Although the computer animation used in the film is nice, if not on a par with Pixar (a company that Lucas once owned), and the first half hour has some battles with the fun and spirit of the best of the live-action films. But visual beauty and a nonstop barrage of action can only go so far, and after a while the Clones grow old, and fast.
The action overload ends up serving the audience not as a thrill ride, but a cover-up for Henry Gilroy, Steven Melching and Scott Murphys awful screenplay (Lucas wrote the story). Droids that sound and act like sitcom morons? An intergalactic adventure in babysitting involving Anakin, Ahsoka and a big tadpole nicknamed Stinky? A kidnapping plot involving Jabba the Hutts son and his flamboyant uncle who is so awful and offensive he makes Jar Jar Binks look like Han Solo?
Even if the lack of an opening-title crawl and an orchestra score not composed by John Williams (another major mistake) help make The Clone Wars feel decidedly un-Star Wars like, the lame dialogue, bland characters and groan-inducing plot mechanisms will remind one of the first two prequels in the most unfortunate ways.
At the screening I attended, a very astute five-year old turned to his dad during the films opening voice-over and stated Is this a toy commercial? The answer is yes, sadly it is: a toy advertisement as well as a pay-to-view commercial for something youll shortly be able to see for free. In short: a blatant attempt by a filmmaker to milk long-standing fans out of their money without offering them anything fresh or new. George, if youre going to release something like this theatrically, please at least make some effort into making it worth our time and money.