Studio: Warner Home Video
Starring: Matt Lanter, Nika Futterman, Tom Kan
Director: Dave Filoni
Time: 98 mins.
In a galaxy far, far away… The Star Wars saga continues in this first animated feature from Lucasfilm Animation! Featuring some of your favorite characters and a host of new ones, this is Star Wars like you’ve never seen it before. As the Clone Wars sweep through the galaxy, Anakin Skywalker and his new Padawan learner Ahsoka Tano plunge into a dangerous mission to rescue the kidnapped son of crime lord Jabba the Hut. The renegade Count Dooku is determined to make sure they fail, and with his deadly assassin Asajj Ventress in pursuit, this is a mission of grave consequences. Meanwhile, on the front lines, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Master Jedi Yoda lead the massive clone army in a valiant effort to defeat the droid army and resist the forces of the dark side. Lightsabers ready! A new era of adventure awaits!
Ah, 1977. What a summer. Back in the pre-Internet days slow rumblings of an amazing new fantasy flick dressed in space opera tropes began to trickle out through the print media. Star Wars hyper-drived its way across screens and permanently into the cultural zeitgeist. Those were heady days. The birth and growth of a new franchise. The Empire Strikes Back came next and the euphoria increased exponentially.
Inevitably a franchise makes missteps, gets older, and starts to creak at the joints. Many feel it started with Return of the Jedi. Many more with the prequels.
The next step was to further kid-dify the franchise and turn to animated adventures. The latest iteration is a computer generated one dealing with the very era of Star Wars history that many wanted to see in the prequels – The Clone Wars.
Released theatrically The Clone Wars was generally met with derision and currently sits at a 5.5/10 rating at IMDB. Having for the most part, except for pleasant memories of what had been, moved on from all things Star Wars; I had no desire to see this.
Seeing this for the first with the distance of time and far less emotional investment the IMDB rating seems a trifle harsh. Yes it contains some cringing moments, ‘Sky Guy,’ still grates but the movie has good pace, steers clear of the political mumbo jumbo of the prequels and serves up a variety of action sequences that ape the major battle scene from The Attack of the Clones. Repetitively.
The animation style is done with the characters imagined in angular lines. So now the characters look much more like the robots and droids that they battle and interact with. That seems ironically appropriate to me.
It saddens that for the current generation of children the animated Clone Wars television series that follows this movie, note that series is not done in the same animation style, is THE representation of the Star Wars they best like and identify with most. Inevitable in the life cycle of a franchise that has been steered the way it has. But still sad. Very sad.
Crave Factor – 7
2.4:1 Widescreen anamorphic widescreen image preserves the 2.40:1 aspect ratio of its theatrical exhibition. The computer animation has vibrant colors with sparsely detailed landscapes that are not nearly as busy as the prequel films. I found that rather refreshing.
There is little to no sense of depth or dimensionality to the image.
Being created entirely in the digital realm the image is rock solid and blemish free.
Crave Factor – 7
As one might expect from a Lucasfilm product, the audio sounds strong and vibrant throughout. Effects work surround the listener during action sequences, and dialogue is always clear amidst the over-dramatic score.
There are three different Dolby Digital 5.1 language tracks: English, French, and Spanish. Subtitles are also available in English, French, and Spanish.
Crave Factor – 7
A commercial for the animated television series Star Wars: The Clone Wars precedes the main menu.
There is a feature-length commentary track available featuring director Dave Filoni, producer Catherine Winder, writer Henry Gilroy, and editor Jason W. A. Tucker. It is a mix of discussion of the making of the movie versus shilling for the spin-off television series. As a result the commentary wanders into sales pitch mode too often detracting from the subject at hand.
For the Star Wars completionists there is also a two disc edition of available with additional extras.
Crave Factor – 6
Conclusion & Final Thoughts
Time and distance makes me indifferent. It is a movie aimed for the younger curve of the Star Wars franchise. The kids enjoy it. Good enough for the Forces controlling the Empire it seems.