STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS | Film Review

Soon, Star Wars: The Clone Wars will once again come to an end, with the final episode of the newly released season seven out on May the 4th. With that in mind, it’s time to work our way through the series. All of it. Even the movie. Unfortunately.

RELEASED: August 15th 2008
DISTRIBUTED BY: Warner Bros.
DIRECTED BY: Dave Filoni
WRITTEN BY: Henry Gilroy, Steven Melching & Scott Murphy
PRODUCED BY: Catherine Winder
MUSIC BY: Kevin Kliner
STARRING: Matt Lanter, Ashley Eckstein, James Arnold Taylor, Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Nika Futterman, Ian Abercrombie, Catherine Taber, Corey Burton, Christopher Lee, Samuel L. Jackson & Anthony Daniels

It’s often debated which Star Wars movie is the worst. The common favourite is Attack of the Clones. Some think it’s The Phantom Menace. Others believe the newer Disney films such as The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker are the true weakest links.

But if we’re being honest, one of the strongest contenders is the film many casual fans probably won’t have taken the time to watch, namely The Clone Wars.

The Clone Wars delves into the war between the Galactic Republic and the Separatist Alliance, after the events of Attack of the Clones. After Jabba the Hutt’s son, Rotta, is kidnapped, Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker is called away from the battlefront to recover the baby Hutt, and is paired with his newly appointed padawan Ahsoka Tano.

This first entry into the new Clone Wars series is kid-orientated in the worst ways possible. The script is weak and full of silly jokes that aren’t that funny, and the dialogue generally feels awkward as the actors are forced to voclise this shoddy writing. The droids in particular are the greatest offenders, who don’t feel like capable threat in the slightest. As per their characterisation in Revenge of the Sith, this movie really hammers down on their goofy nature, to the film and Star Wars as a whole’s detriment.

New characters like Ahsoka Tano and Ziro the Hutt don’t fare much better, with Ahsoka being more irritating than entertaining, and Ziro just playing up a weak stereotype – something especially tough to take in since he shares screentime with the most famous Hutt, Jabba. It often seems like the movie is more focused on making jokes than it is telling a good Star Wars story.

To make matters worse, the story is quite bland, and the film as a whole feels far longer than it is, despite only being about an hour forty.

This gives plenty of time to take in the various actors brought in to play these characters we’re familiar with from the Prequel Trilogy. Sometimes it works, like with James Arnold Taylor as Obi-Wan Kenobi. Others, less so, as Matt Lanter’s Anakin Skywalker sounds more like a generic action hero than Hayden Christensen, and Dee Bradley Baker doesn’t sound believable as a clone of Jango Fett actor Temuera Morrison.

There are some positives. The soundtrack, for the most part, is pretty good. Kevin Kliner seems to effortlessly find a place for his scores that slot easily in amongst John Williams’ famous music. There is a point where it delves a bit into a pseudo-rock song that doesn’t quite work as well, but on the whole, it’s effective.

Battle droid complaints aside, the greatest strength of the film is giving a taste of the epic scale of the war to come. Star Wars rarely shows off massive battle campaigns, instead focusing on skirmishes that start and begin fairly quickly. However, the Prequel Trilogy started making a change here, and that’s continued through The Clone Wars.

However, it’s still early days for The Clone Wars, and as such the animation isn’t as polished as it one day will be. It varies between fierce, flashy battles and slow, bland visuals, with some shots even feeling unrefined.

Still, good things come to those who wait, and The Clone Wars movie is just the beginning of another long, sprawling Star Wars adventure.

All-in-all, I give Star Wars: The Clone Wars:

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