Friday, March 18, 2005

You might have thought Star Wars: The Phantom Menace was a shoddy piece of crap that insulted Star Wars fans everywhere but I give you Star Wars: Clone Wars. Now I don't have a problem with the story, set between Episode Two: Send in the Clones and the soon-to-be-released Episode Three: Everything Goes to Shit. It's a simple tale of Count Dooku stirring up planets to rebel against the Empire and Chancellor Palpatine sending the Jedi to lead his clone army in to wipe them out. It's so simple it's established in the first five minute episode. The first ten parts follow the same pattern; an army squadron go in, kill a lot of rebels, the rebels bring out someone really nasty who kills a lot of clones, the Jedi comes in and fights the big bad and kills it. The episodes are all about five minutes long and the average dialogue per episode about thirty seconds.

So, they've been written to hold the attention of hummingbirds with ADD. Now this is OK, it's the tasty treat you can have between human rights abuses documentaries without ruining your appetite and there's lots of plotting with Jedi knights rolling and tumbling over places like the action scenes in AotC. Unfortunately it looks crap.

Lucasfilm might be a cutting edge studio which has pioneered the development of CGI but they've given the animation duties to a studio that makes Jamie and his Magic Torch look advanced. The website is misleading as to the quality of the artwork. They're going for that Batman/Justice League style of square jaws and tall thin shapes but it lacks conviction. They try to find some middle-ground between stylised and 'realistic' and miss both. There are also a few too many fights in dark rooms/in wide empty deserts/in the depths of featureless space for my liking, it seems only the batallion lead by General Kenobi thinks it might be an idea to try and capture the capital city of the rebels, all the other knights seem happy to fight them in the big desert or the middle of the ocean. I would have expected some sparkly CGI affair, something like Reboot even. I was thinking of battle scenes akin to those in the climax of AotC, as those were all CGI anyway. And this is an official storyline. This IS the Clone Wars! But if the films are a homage to those old saturday morning shows that Lucas loved as a child this cartoon is a homage to those cartoons we watched as children which had no purpose but to make us buy the toys.

Another smaller point is that dialogue is admittedly not what Star Wars is famed for, but as this is being made at the same time as the third film, was it really too much to ask the actors to take half an hour one day to do their dialogue? We have someone pretending to be Ewan McGregor (who of course is doing an impersonation of a young Alec Guinness), someone trying to be Christopher Lee, about the only 'real' voices are Yoda and R2D2.


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