Thursday, 16 April 2009

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Lowdown: Episode 2.1
I don’t think it would make me seem extraordinary before others if I were to say the first Star Wars trilogy has had a major part in my growing up. The problem is that George Lucas decided to come and shatter the memories with a second trilogy that was redundant and forgettable. Now there’s a new kid on the block, Star Wars: The Clone Wars (or just Clone Wars for short), which promises to fill the gap between episodes 2 and 3 and tell us something about the happenings of the war between the droids and the cloned soldiers. This time around, Lucas chose to do things using animation.
We know how it all ended, so there’s no real tension in the air; the main question is whether Clone Wars of the first trilogy’s quality or whether it is of the second trilogy’s mediocrity. The answer is neither, and I am afraid this is because Clone Wars delves into new levels of shallowness.
Once again we join hands with our favorite Jedi heroes, Anakin and Obi-Wan, only that this time around they (as well as most of the other characters) are made to look the same as they do in the “proper” films but are actually dubbed by [cheap] imitations. Our heroes lead an army of clones fighting droids in some remote area, when suddenly they are told their attention is required elsewhere: First, Anakin is being assigned with a young Jedi trainee he needs to look after, a girl that seems to make a genuine attempt at being as annoying and superficial as Jar Jar; and second, our heroes are relieved of their previous duties and told to retrieve Jabba the Hutt’s son. This son has been kidnapped and on his rescue lies the collaboration of the Hutts with the Federation, and everybody knows the Hutts control the “outer rim” and therefore their collaboration is sought after by both sides.
So much for plot. Everything else in this film is just a collection of a few lines of meaningless dialog (with Yoda a particular pain with his ongoing reverse speeches) and tons of action scenes, which wouldn’t be too bad if the action scenes weren’t as dry and unimaginative as they are. Clone Wars is aimed fairly and squarely at kids, but why does it assume it has to aim at kids with single digit IQs?
With not much of a plot and character development that would be eclipsed by any surrealistic painting at your local museum, this one is a dumb film from start to finish. Talking about a finish, Clone Wars doesn’t have an ending worth mentioning, because it fails to link between episodes 2 and 3; it just hangs there, somewhere in between, leaving the door wide open to sequels and such.
What can I say in closing? My partner gave up watching Clone Wars after less than half an hour. I lingered to the end, attracted by the sound quality and waiting for a miracle to come and save the film. Only that it never did.
Worst scenes: Heading into battle, as one often does in Clone Wars, both our heroes lead their armies by jumping into battle with commands such as “you know what to do”. They have the spaceships, the have the weaponry, but they don’t have a briefing room. No wonder the dumb droids were hard to overcome. That said, I didn't understand why our duo needed armies to accompany them in the first place, given that all their battles are solved by them jumping around doing Jedi stuff.
Technical assessment: The picture is excellent yet quite unforgiving to the jerky and very annoying animation that doesn’t seem lifelike at all. The Dolby TrueHD soundtrack is aggressive and detailed, as befits an action film; it’s a pity this Blu-ray opts to default to an inferior Dolby Digital soundtrack and that manual intervention is required to rectify matters.
Overall: This is not just a dumb movie, this is a film that will dumb you down. I’ll be generous and give it 1 out of 5 stars. Steer away!

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