DVD/Blu-ray Reviews

Star Wars: The Clone Wars - DVD Review



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I was going to get something off my chest in a full article recently, but upon hearing I was going to be reviewing the new Star Wars entry I thought I'd wait and just be economical with my words before getting to the task at hand...

My bone to pick, or simple bewilderment, is the acidic rants constantly targeted at George Lucas (more focused lately on the Indiana Jones series). Okay, the prequels to most are not a patch on the originals. Okay, George isn't the greatest wordsmith out there (a fact the man concedes) but when I read ‘he raped our childhood;' ‘he should be shot for what he did' and so on, I am going to come out swinging. These ungrateful, disrespectful, disgustingly rude people should pause for a moment and remember why they're angry in the first place. They love Star Wars. He wrote Star Wars. He sat down with a pencil and hammered it out. He gave us one of the most beloved films of all time. To have ONE film make that list is an accomplishment, but he gave us a trilogy of them. Then, just to remind you twats it wasn't any fluke, he created Indiana Jones. So cut the man some slack, say ‘thanks but no thanks, George don't like your new flavours' if you want to, but give the man his dues. Enough said...

Star Wars: Clone WarsThis latest entry to Lucas's saga ain't gonna win any points with most. ‘The Clone Wars' is a CGI feature film set between Episodes 2 & 3. Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi are enlisted to help rescue the kidnapped son of Jabba the Hutt, and in addition to being pulled from a vital assignment, Anakin is lumbered with a spicy young female Padawan (trainee), and isn't too happy about it.

The story isn't really a fully realised feature film. It's more of a combined set of episodes, giving you a taste of the upcoming TV show. As a result, the narrative is choppy and impossible to find a rhythm with. There are some inventive new action sequences, but more so than any other Star Wars film before it, The Clone Wars seems to play simply for those moments. There is no tension; the story is overly simplistic (even for kids); character is almost non-existent, being replaced with ‘attitudes' which fail more than they work; and the dialogue at times makes the prequel trilogy's shockers seem eloquent.

A few of the live action actors return: Anthony Daniels, Samuel L. Jackson, and surprisingly Christopher Lee as Count Dooku. But for the most part the voices to well-established characters are all new. Most of them do a pretty good approximation to what we're used to, with the rather notable exception of the voice of Anakin, who's completely different to Hayden Christenson and jarring.

Goerge didn't write or direct this one put away the arrows. David Filoni takes the reigns of a Star Wars flick for the first time since Richard Marquand. His framing, particularly in action sequences, proves to be more inventive that what's been seen in the last three live-action entries. He has a gift for spectacle on a grand scale. You will either buy into the style of character design or you won't (I didn't). It's kind of an angular, bulgy eyed rendition of the marionette puppets in ‘The Thunderbirds'.

The animation is simplistic, and in this day and age, with a brand name as high profile as this, it's a dangerous game to play. I can see why people were disappointed. This is not to say it doesn't look good, or at least polished, but for all the resources available to these people, and the standard of Pixar and Dreamworks not something to be ignored, they could have done a lot better.

But by far the most unsatisfying thing in this film is the music. Gone are the tunes of John Williams, replaced with bombastic tones from Kevin Kiner that - while grandiose do not make this feel like a Star Wars movie. There is no opening crawl, either, replaced with a cheese ball voice-over more suited to Scooby Doo.

This film was never going to win over those who have soured on the saga, and by examining the budget and the modest resources afforded it, I don't think it was meant to. This is really nothing more than a teaser for the upcoming series. Perhaps, with more instalments, the scope of what they're trying to do might become clearer. But as a stand alone piece ‘The Clone Wars' follows its three predecessors in failing to inject enough character and heart throughout the explosions to make anyone care even the kids or the die-hard fans.


Component Grades
Movie
DVD
2 stars
4
DVD Experience
3 Stars

DVD

DVD Details:

Screen Formats: 2.4:1 Widescreen transfer

Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese

Language and Sound: English: Dolby True HD; English: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1; Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access.

* Commentary
o Feature-length commentary track with Director Dave Filoni, Producer Catherine Winder, Writer Henry Gilroy and Editor Jason W.A. Tucker

Number of Discs: 1 with Amaray Packaging

{pgomakase}

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