Being the Star Wars geek that I am, we obviously made time this weekend to see the movie. Many non-geeks are confused about what Clone Wars actually is, so let me try to explain. The Clone War was first hinted at by both Princess Leia and Obi-Wan Kenobi in the original Star Wars movie, Episode IV: A New Hope. It actually took place between episodes two and three. It was a major conflict between the armies of the Galactic Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems and named for the clone troopers who fought for the Republic.
Clear as mud, right?
The Clone Wars movie is basically a precursor to an eponymous animated series which will begin airing this fall on Cartoon Network and TNT. Both are based in this timeframe and use the war as a backdrop.
Visually, it’s stunning. No one would expect anything less from Lucas and his band of happy CGI troopers. The animation style is very stylized and angular which I like too. The rest is pretty much typical Star Wars fare. The dialog is what it is, and the story is decent – over the heads of one sector of the target audience, a little simplistic for the other. As a whole I liked it. But I’m a fanboy, so many would say my opinion is slanted. And they may be right. I do own both the Ewoks and Droids cartoons on DVD after all. But here are my two biggest complaints;
1) No Opening Crawl. Star Wars movie goers are used to seeing the iconic “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” followed by a three paragraph textual description of the happenings immediately prior to the events of the movie; an easy way to set the scene and give a little back-story in a few quick seconds. It’s also an integral moment in all of the movies, an homage to the Flash Gordon serials of the 30’s and 40’s, and a huge reason why Lucas bucked the studios and refused to include opening credits. In the case of Clone Wars, we see the beginning phrase, but then a narrator reads the setup as they flash images and mini-clips that may or may not go along with the narration. It was very un-Star Wars and felt more like a “previously on LA Law” kind of moment. Maybe they’re planning on the majority of their fans to be either illiterate, or more likely too young to read.
2) New Hutt Characters. If Rotta the Huttlet, Jabba’s Muppet Baby-esque son at the heart of the movie’s story-line, wasn’t bad enough, they had to go and introduce us to the single most annoying character in the Star Wars universe, possibly even more annoying than Jar Jar Binks, Ziro the Hutt. Ziro is Jabba’s estranged and evidently flamboyantly gay uncle who lurks in the red-light district of Coruscant. He has purple skin with powder blue tattoos, wears a plume of feathers behind his ear, and talks like Truman Capote in amazingly perfect English. Yeah, that makes perfect sense. I audibly groaned every time he had a scene.
But, that being said, I still liked it and will probably watch the series too.
Thanks for hijacking even more of my life George! My wife will be thrilled.