Star Wars: The Clone Wars
There hasn't been a truly
great Star Wars movie since The Empire Strikes Back in 1980.
However, even the uneven quality of the last four Star Wars films has
in no way prepared us for the true wretchedness of the latest installment of
the saga - the first of the films to be completely animated.
Honestly, The Clone Wars
is by far the worst thing to carry the Star Wars moniker since
the cult-favorite failure Star Wars Holiday Special in 1978.
With the previous movies,
even when the storylines didn't work so well, at least the movies looked
stunning. Star Wars mastermind George Lucas - who has now been
milking this franchise for over thirty years - had decided by getting rid of
special effects, models and... you know, actors, the films would be easier
to make and he could speed up the filmmaking process.
It made a certain amount of
sense. After all, the man owns Industrial Light and Magic, which is
only the ultimate special effects house in filmmaking. Surely they
could out-Pixar Pixar.
Shockingly, in the change
over to computer animation the effects have lost almost all of the sense of
awe - while the ships and robots come out okay, the characters... both human
and alien... look almost disturbingly cheesy. I mean it, really,
really bad. In fact, it often almost
looks like a late 60s Rankin/Bass marionette Christmas special.
Really, this is the best that Industrial Lights and Magic can do?
Making things even
stranger, this is not even the first piece of official Star Wars
product called Clone Wars - there was an animated TV series by
the same name in 2003, though it left out the "The." For some reason Lucas can't leave the genesis
of his saga alone. The original plan for Star Wars was the
first three movies were going to be the middle films, then they would make
three prequels and finally finish up with three films which take place after
the events shown in Return of the Jedi.
seems unable to let go of his radical rethink of the character of Anakin
Skywalker. He did, after all, become Darth Vader, the embodiment of
all Imperial evil. Yet the Anakin here shows no dark shadings, no
clues of his eventual outcome. Yes, there is some fascination on how
someone can go from goodness to evil, however that was supposed to be the
point of Chapters 1 to 3. There is no exploration of that dichotomy
here. Anakin Skywalker has gone from an enigmatic character to a
rather dull super-hero.
The dialogue follows the
clunky "they didn't really say that, did they?" heavy-handedness and
awkwardness of the last few Star Wars films - though this time around
the tin-eared Lucas did not write the screenplay. Nonetheless,
you can feel his groan-inducing mindset all over the place. No one, in
any galaxy, talks this way.
Judging from the low-key
release of this film - normally Star Wars launches are hyped on the
level of political conventions - I can only assume that Lucasfilm and Warner
Brothers Pictures (all the previous films were released by Twentieth Century
Fox) also realize what a turkey they have on their hands. So,
maybe if we all just look the other way and let The Clone Wars die
quietly, we won't have to put up with another one of these poorly made films
in two years. Just say no to The Clone Wars.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2008 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
Posted: September 1, 2008.