Star Wars: The Clone Wars (PG) ★★

Review Date: August 15th, 2008

If you'd like to get caught up in the whole Star Wars milieu once again, the animated Clone Wars really isn't the best way to do it.


Of course, the kiddies will probably enjoy Clone Wars much more than their adult chaperones; it has a certain videogame sensibility that will appeal to them, whether they are into Star Wars or not. Taken from the animated TV show, this big-screen treatment falls somewhere between Episode II and Episode III, before Anakin Skywalker becomes Darth Vader, in which Jedi Knights Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi are knee-deep in droids in their fight against the Separatists, lead by Count Dooku. Anakin, Obi-Wan and Anakin's new Padawan trainee Ahsoka Teno, however, are called away from the frontlines for a side mission: to rescue Jabba the Hutt's kidnapped son. That's correct. The slimy crime lord apparently has a baby slug who doesn't smell very good (according to Ahsoka). Of course, it's all part of some master plan by Dooku to destroy the Jedi but seeing Jabba's son is quite something. Wonder what happened to him by the time Return of the Jedi came around?


What a change of pace. Besides Christopher Lee, who reprises his role as Dooku, Samuel L. Jackson, who briefly voices his Mace Windu character, and Anthony Daniels as C3P0, the rest of the voices are mostly unknowns. That's probably a good thing because if some A-list movie star had to recite the awful dialogue The Clone Wars dishes out, they'd be embarrassed. Wow, is it bad. The supposed playful banter between Anakin and the feisty Ahsoka is particularly cringe-worthy. And unfortunately, it sort of falls in line with how poorly written Episodes I through III were as well.


Which leads me to my main pet peeve about the continuing Star Wars saga: George Lucas has never found another writer on par with Lawrence Kasdan (who wrote the two best Star Wars movies, Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi). God knows, the man is great with the visuals. As Clone Wars executive producer, you can see all the innovation Lucas pours into the animation. The film has just as much action as one of the live-action films and is quite vibrant--real eye candy for the video-gaming generation. But Lucas gets so caught up in all the details and the universe he has created, he forgets about a compelling script--or hiring a good writer to write it for him. It seems like he just figures people will love it anyway because it's Star Wars. Maybe some will, but for others, like me, we need more. Clone Wars doesn't give it to you.

Bottom Line rated this film 2 stars.