Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Wow. What a total letdown. A Star Wars movie was a total, and complete letdown, and a horribly bad movie on top of it. What is happening to the world? I mean really?

This is the wierdest thing I’ve ever experienced in my life. Wierder than seeing Brett Favre unretire and end up wearing a New York Jets jersey. It’s overwhelming actually. The world seemed a little less bright today, and the whole world seems different. The fits of sadness, depression, rage and guilt..yes guilt, I’ve felt in the past 22+ hours since seeing this film have been more than this die-hard, life-long Star Wars fan can handle, and while I wanted to wait a few days to see if my head cleared any, I’ve actually felt worse the more time has elapsed since yesterday and the more I’ve thought about what I just endured at the hands of total hacks who were give keys to the corvette and allowed (somehow) to make a total mockery of Star Wars. It’s inexcusable what this film has done and what it represents, and even more so when I try to contemplate the notion that other people, mostly kids, will actually walk out of this movie and like it. The very thought makes me feel like bathing…excessively.

So..I’m done. That’s it, that’s all she wrote. I’m done with the expanded Star Wars universe and all the continuing efforts to fill George Lucas’ pockets a little more deaper and help his great-great-great grandchildren live happy, unwanting lives in the future. I’ve spent much of my adult life now defending the recent Star Wars prequels, especially Episodes I and II, and the more I did, the more I’ve come to realize that they both kinda sucked too, and the more excuses I had to make, the more obvious it became that the movies were bad. But I’ve accepted them. I don’t love them anywhere near as much as the original trilogy, or even as much as Episode III, or to be honest, even as much as the earlier batch of Clone Wars cartoons a few years back, or most of the video games for that matter, but I found things in each of those movies that I could love, and I latched onto those ideas and those scenes and it really became a situation where the parts are much greater than the whole.

I’ve excused all the ridiculous ideas in the prequels, like midi-clorians, trade disputes, gungans, immaculate conceptions, total hack-job love stories, padawan ponytails, bad asian accents, the total lack of emotional dialogue and a million other things. I’ve even excused the Ewoks and the ill-concieved Ewok movies and cartoons. I’ve come to terms with all of those things. Again, not liked them per-say, but I’ve accepted them and defended them against unrelenting assaults from all sorts of people. Why? Because I love Star Wars. It’s important to me, and spoke to me as a young child and inspired many of the ideas I’ve had about the world and about films and storytelling. Star Wars has been a huge part of my life, and while I may not have the same amount of passion for it as a 28 year old as I did when I was five or six, or even sixteen, I still enjoy the films and look forward to the random days every so often when I pull one of the DVDs out to watch and totally get lost in this fantastic universe.

But this? I mean WTF? What happened? How could they screw up Star Wars so monumentally?!!?

I could never have imagined just how out of place and how bad this movie feels while watching it. I can honestly, and confidently say, that any actual fan of Star Wars, especially any over the age of 25, will not get this movie and not enjoy it at all. It’s just not for us, which is sad, and Lucas has alot of explaining to do about that one. It’s blatantly for children under the age of 7 or 8 years old, and I’m guessing that might be pushing it too. It’s also not for anyone who has seen or cares to see the actual live action films, as this movie is so dumbed down and so idiodic that anyone with even a casual liking of the other films would be insulted by the stupidity found in the plot and screenplay.

From the word go, Clone Wars is a total letdown and a total piece of hack-job crap. It also doesn’t even feel like a Star Wars movie, also from the very start, which has the Warner Bros. logo instead of the Fox logo…wierd…and then has retardedly bad comm chatter from clone troopers voiced over the Lucasfilm logo…very odd…and then rather than the traditional opening crawl and theme music, we have a total hack version of the theme and then a bizzare newsreel like catch up as to where our heroes are, which actually seems like the really bad news scenes from Starship Troopers to be honest. It was less than 60 seconds in and I already felt my spidey-sense tingling, a great disturbance in the force. My whole mind started screaming “oh no. god no. please.” and I reared back and endured horribly bad moments after horribly bad moments.

The film focuses on a plot by Count Dooku to try and frame the Jedi’s for kidnapping Jabba the Hutt’s son. All of this is really just excuses to have more loud sound effects and more battles. Before the Jedi’s can send Obi-Wan to negotiate and Anakin to try and retrieve Jabba’s son, they must assist them in defeating a large droid army on a planet that is basically Coruscant, but not, if you catch my drift, and immediately the TV sized scale and budget become apparent, and I already found my teeth grinding that I had fallen for Lucas and Warner Bros’ trap. They had succesfully tricked us into paying $10 to see a TV pilot on a movie theater screen and didn’t bother enhancing it or touching it up at all. The character models are meant to be viewed on TV, on a small screen, where the many flaws, poor coloring and lack of emotional expressions wouldn’t be so noticeable or glaring. Each scene has the typical TV animation device of choosing an emotion for each character and sticking to it to save money and time, so despite the change in emotion in the voiceover or the drama of the scene, lets say, the facial expressions all stay the same, save for maybe an eyebrow or head-tilt. Its really bad, and my attempts to explain just how bad it is aren’t good enough to convey how bad it truely is.

During the battle on the Coruscant like planet, Anakin is given a padawan learner/side-kick, who quickly throws her name into the hat for most annoying character in the Star Wars universe. And there have been many of them, lets be clear on that, but this one is uniquely bad. This one’s name is Asukah, a young girl padawan learner who sasses off and has a voice that sounds like Hannah Montana with an attitude and personality to go along with it. I’m not kidding here. She is basically Miley Cirus in Star Wars. Its awful. Whats worse is the stupid psycho babble nickname shit that she does the whole movie. She immediately just starts calling Anakin “Skyguy”. I shit you not. And instead of slicing her head off with a lightsaber (c’mon, he’s already a mass murderer and ends up being evil anyways, whats the harm?), Anakin follows suit and gives her an equally annoying nickname, “Snipps”, and so we have two JEDI KNIGHTS bounching around and getting into endless battles yelling back and forth at one another using the names of Skyguy and Snipps. OMG! Shoot me now.

But Wait…it gets worse…

Asukah calls R2-D2 “Artooey”. Yep. I mean c’mon! Are we trying to cater this to adults or have we thrown in the towel?

Eventually, after battles and annoyingly repetitive hologram phone conversations take a break, Anakin and Asukah go to rescue Jabba’s son and he ends being basically a little gas ball, and looks kinda like a warped, bizarro version of pacman, but who makes bodily function noises constantly, and whom Asukah annoyingly names “Slimey”. Okay…I get this is a cartoon, its targeted at kids, fine, but cartoons can be intelligent and accessible to everyone, of all ages. Infact, the best cartoons and animated movies are successful for just that reason. They are fun for the kids, but have subtle layers of intelligent thought for the adults. Its also why Pixar films (using one example) are so timeless. A 6 year old will enjoy Wall-E for different reasons than a 12 year old, an 18 year old and a 35 year old. But they we ALL enjoy it. Thats the point.

Much like the other Star Wars movies. They are escapist fantasy films meant for the WHOLE family. Kids love the silly costumes and action and adults eat up the mythology and humor. Thats how it is supposed to work. Not stupid nicknames. Not balls of gas making poopie noises and belching green smoke. Not battle droids so stupid they can’t remember a series of numbers 2 seconds after hearing it, or falling off cliffs when they bend over to look, or any number of stupid things that occur. When did they droids get to be so dumb? And WHY?!?!? Droids can’t be menacing if they’re this stupid. And despite all the sound effects and explosions and robots firing lifelessly onto clones and lightsaber battles, and all the things going on trying to deflect your attention away from just how bad the plot is.

But wait…it gets worse…

If you can somehow stomach Asukah and Slimey and the nicknames and the stupidity of advanced robots, then about the point where you may start considering harry carrey in the theater is the introduction of Ziro the Hutt. Ziro is basically a cross-dressing, crack-whore, tattoo filled, feather wearing, scratchy femine voiced, english speaking baffon. Yes, a hutt with tattoos who speaks english. This was basically when I stared at the ceiling for awhile. This character is offensively awful, and how a character like this ends up in any cartoon, let alone a star wars one, is beyond rational thought.  About this same time, a completly random subplot with Padme appears in the film, and ends about as quickly as it begins and is just way too rushed and convienient to be considered good writing. It was fitting though, seeing as how the whole movie was utter rubbish.

And why are the Hutts even involved in the so-called plot of the movie? Why, Trade disputes of course. Naturally. Who doesn’t like a good Star Wars trade dispute plot line. I know I’ve missed them about as much as High School Math class. Apparently Lucas and the writers of this piece of crap don’t read reviews and don’t pay attention to the fact that we all hated the endless political trade dispute plotlines of the first two prequels. But why not, lets pile it on high and make the movie total rubbish and completly irredeeemable. I mean seriously?! Trade disputes? Thats what you’re going with? Ooooookkkkayyyyy then. Well, at least it will be resolved in some way and have some bearing on something, right? No? Darn. Worth a shot. ooy.

(insert bottle of alcohol here, gulp, and repeat)

Everything feels wrong. No John Williams music. No Ben Burtt sound design. Nothing. And then it begins to enter your brain, the thought Lucas doesn’t want us to think, what he hopes we never will…”Why do I care about this movie?” Really. Its a cartoon movie that has virtually no technical connection to the actual films its based on. Its a cartoon that takes place inbetween two films that have already been released, and so we know the fates of every single character in the movie and the pending show. Nothing is dramatic at all. None of the endless holographic discussions about moving this army here or attacking that planet there or why this character here is betraying that person. Enough! My god is it horrible. Do we really need all this plot and constant recapping of it? Really? Is it that hard to follow that this army here is fighting that army there? Honestly? And does anyone find any drama in yet another Anakin-Dooku lightsaber battle? Not me. We know how it all ends George! We know who dies and who lives and who survives into the later (original) films. None of this matters. None of it.

A film isn’t Star Wars because it has the characters or vehicles or lightsaber battles. Star Wars has a feel, an adventurous, escapist, romantic feel. Star Wars should seem epic and fantastic, and this movie does neither. I hated mostly every single shot of this movie, and when something even remotely cool occurs, the second I lowered my guard is when some annoying nickname was being yelled across screen or some truely awful one liner was delivered by some hack voice actor. It’s awful that this movie will be enjoyed be kids who will only have this as there first Star Wars film experience and use it as a reference moving forward. As a lifelong Star Wars fan, I felt abandoned and betrayed by this film, and honestly believe Lucas has cast the “original generation” of fans aside, and decided to relaunch his global empire for a new mindless generation, and sadly…they will probably eat it up.

Even more sadly…for the first time in my life, I can utter the phrase… “I hated a Star Wars movie”…and that just feels wrong.

Very wrong.

2 thoughts on “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”

  1. i agree the film was lacking in most areas, but still found some parts to enjoy. The action was non-stop, which my 7 year old enjoyed, but that doesn’t equate to a well told story to me either. It was a definite let down in most respects and I would agree w/ your sentiment that Lucas has moved on to another generatiof of viewers.

    Well written, and your frustration with the movie, as someone with a long history of loving the prior movies, comes across well, and one feels sympathy for you reading much of the review. It is very long though, and my gripe would be the length and the lengths to which you disect the movie. I do like to see you being able to type equally long reviews for movies you liked (your dark knight review is top notch sir!) as well as the ones you hate.

  2. thanks bob. yeah, a few friends of mine, also longterm fans, liked it quite a bit actually, but oh well. I just thought it was so watered down and way too kiddy. Glad you found some enjoyment in it. I’ve mostly moved on, but for a few days, I was really pissed off. And thanks for the praise of my batman review!

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