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Star Wars: The Clone Wars

deathrdream-mainIf there’s one positive thing that can be said about George Lucas, it’s that he has managed to change the face of both film-making and the way we watch (particularly, listen to) movies. He’s at the forefront of the digital revolution of movie production and is constantly pushing forth in new directions when it comes to the technology behind every aspect of cinematic presentation.

It can also be argued that Lucas stands alongside Gene Roddenberry, in that he has bought to the world a broad, cohesive, science-fiction universe that has entertained millions for decades. Sadly though, it seems that, much like Roddenberry’s Star Trek Universe, Lucas’ creation is running dry, as the latest dip into the well — STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS — appears to reveal.

My frustration at what a complete mess the prequel trilogy made of the Star Wars saga aside, The Clone Wars does absolutely nothing to develop the characters of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, or any other familiar face from the Star Wars universe, any further than what we already know. In fact, Anakin’s development seems to take several steps backwards as we’re asked to see this character — who by this point is well on the destructive path which sees him turn to the dark-side — as the hero. Even the development of the new character of Ahsoka Tano is thin and superficial at best.

Taking place during the three year gap between the events of Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, The Clone Wars picks up with Kenobi and Skywalker as they continue to battle the massive CIS droid army. But when the son of Jabba the Hutt is kidnapped, an opportunity to curry favour with Hutt clan is seized upon by the Jedi council. Yoda dispatches Ahsoka Tano, a young Padawan, with orders that Kenobi and Skywalker must attempt to find and rescue the young Hutt and return him safely to Jabba’s palace on Tatooine.

There was a huge opportunity with the development of this feature, and the series which will follow on from it, to introduce a whole new cast of characters and tell new stories. Stories that don’t feel shoehorned in-between the movies that we’ve already seen, and ones that don’t continue to convolute the existing story. Personally, I was hoping that this film would hand off to a new group of rebels. Characters whose adventures we know nothing about, characters who play a part in the Star Wars universe, from time to time come into contact with established characters or events, but whose fate is unknown to us.

Granted, The Clone Wars is action packed. In actuality, it’s all action and very little of anything else. But it’s hollow. There’s very little drama or suspense to be had here because we DO know the fate of these characters! What’s the point in action if you’re not unsure if the hero (or villain) will survive or not. We know what becomes of Anakin and Kenobi… So, we know that when they lob themselves into the midst of an army of droids, or their ship is under attack and they’re forced to crash land, or when they make a death defying leap from an escarpment, that they’re going to be just fine.

What is painful though, are the attempts at comedy. Once again lame, slap-stick humour is used, inappropriately, to lighten intense action sequences. The problem is that these childish attempts (as with the prequels… and Return of the Jedi) is that they have no place alongside the violence of the action sequences. What’s more you’ll be begging for the return of Jar Jar after just a couple of moments of comedy stylings from the battle droids.

So then… what’s the point of this feature? What reasons did The Clone Wars give me for having any interest in the soon to come series? Well, none.

I really liked the stylised look that Lucas Film has used for the characters in The Clone Wars. I thought that it may be somewhat distracting, but having seen it now, I’m convinced that had an attempt at ultra-realisum been undertaken it would have been far more off-putting. As it was, the look of this feature is probably the one aspect of it that i came away wanting more of.

Who am I kidding, I’m going to watch the series as soon as it starts, because I can’t stop myself. Lucas introduced us to the Star Wars Saga back in the 70’s, and he did it with A New Hope. As much as I hate what has become of the universe that I spent much of my childhood pretending to be a part of, hope is the one thing that will keep me going back… I just HOPE the series is better than the movie.

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6 Comments

    The very first movie I ever saw on my own was Star Wars in 1977.
    I was 10 years old and I went to the cinemas in Caloundra.
    Wooden floors and canvas deck chairs. the distant sound of the clack clack clack of the reel to reel in the back ground. I got a chock-top cone at interval while they changed the film for the second half.
    And now 30 years on Lucas has passed the buck and has resorted to mass production.
    Oh the shame of it all!!
    I only hope the rumours of another 3 movies is just that…

  • There wont be another three movies Macca… well, lets say that I doubt very much that there’ll be another three movie that are actually considered to be part of the original story. However, there’s this new series starting (following on from The Clone Wars film) and a new, live action, series that is probably going to be hitting TV screens in 2012ish… from what I understand, that series wont directly involve the characters from the original story-line – at least not in primary roles.

    More reason to hope.

  • Man…

    I liked SMH.com.au’s Pick of the Flicks rant on this film – very passionate! Haha.

    I guess I just need to accept George Lucas makes films for kids and be done with it.

    It really does sting after the opposite direction was so true, and so successful, for The Dark Knight.

    Would I have even seen this film if it wasn’t QUOTE MARKS Star Wars END QUOTE MARKS? no way.

  • They didn’t even have rolling credits at the start! some cheesy Team Fortress 2 narrator instead?! Bah.

  • Dear oh dear. Every time I see an interview or a ‘making of’ for anything SW related these days, Lucas, through the the producers is constantly talking about ‘finally’ having the time to do character development… if you put together every ship landing sequence, epic pan across large battlefield and every lame joke that have plagued us since Ep1, surely replacing these with any meaningful dialogue would have gone some of the way to having us empathise with the characters.

    This isn’t a matter of “i’ll only watch it if i can download it for free”, it’s “I’m not even going to download it!”.

  • I’m not sure I can add a whole lot to say here: Lucas is off in his own world, and doesn’t seem to have any wish to leave any time soon.

    Still, I have hope, because the last thing I want to see, in the future are the words: “George Lucas’ death was the best thing to happen to Star Wars.”

    Because, damn it, it’s George Lucas. I want to see this man go out with his dignity left intact. Imagine lying on your death bed, knowing that your fans hate you. Ouch.

    And yet, the evidence supporting that Star Wars may very well be better off without him, is a little scary. The two best Star Wars related stories I’ve experienced in the last few years, were RPG’s made by Bioware and Obsidian entertainment.
    I heard the original Clone Wars was great, too.

    And hell, I think what George Lucas’ is going through now is a good lesson for us all: if you’re writing a story, find someone to bounce your ideas off that aren’t afraid to tell you that you’ve buggered up. Listen to them. Your stories will always be stronger for it.