Star Wars Clone Wars Movie: Ugh

I could hardly have been more disappointed. Although I like the artistic stylings of the animation, that’s about it. Note: there are spoilers in this review.

There is no plot to speak of. Characters move from one straightforward situation to the next with no nuance, no character building. We start with Anakin and Obi Wan in a jam. They get out. They go somewhere else. They solve that crisis. They go somewhere else. Etc.

The vast majority of the dialog is either snarky jargon or bland exposition. There’s nothing subtle. The only character growth is theoretically Anakin, who eventually grows to like/tolerate the annoying Ahsoka. That’s annoying to me because Anakin is just a few short years from becoming Darth frickin Vader. Remember that the first time we see Darth Vader in Episode IV, he chokes a man to death with his black-gloved hand. It makes no sense to me to make a movie of Anakin growing and maturing into a normal Jedi knight. I thought Episode III does a poor job, as it is, of explaining the transition from loving, conflicted Jedi to choking-men-to-death-when-I-have-a-bad-day-at-the-office.

After just a few minutes each character moves from being a character to being a caricature. I think some of the high level plot elements are just abusive to the Star Wars story arc. At the end of the movie, we have no less than Obi Wan Kenobi, Anakin (soon to be Darth Vader), and Yoda standing on the doorstep of Jabba the Hutt’s palace. I also find it totally laughable that Jabba the Hutt, the vile gangster who is ruthless and unforgiving has (a) an offspring and (b) cares about it.

And the Hutts. Don’t get me started on the Hutts. Apparently Jabba’s got a cross-dressing metrosexual “uncle” named Zero. (OK, so the movie spells it “Ziro,” whatever). If you’ve ever heard Ryan Stiles impersonating Carol Channing, you know what Zero sounds like. And Padmé, armed with her super-soaker wussy pistol from Naboo decides to walk right in there by herself and demand justice. Because, you know, that would work.

There are also stupid points in the movie that make no sense. Anakin is conflicted about fulfilling some rash promise to help Rex out of a heavy battle, versus safely transporting the Huttlet (ugh) off the planet. In the end, he chooses the mission over his promise, and Rex says something like “It’s OK, the mission is more important.” This whole moral or ethical angst is rendered pointless by the fact that Rex makes it out just fine. There doesn’t seem to be any downside to abandoning Rex in favor of the mission. So what was all that whining about? Oh, yeah. That’s where Luke inherits it.

Action in the movie is pretty pointless. Lots of red and blue streaks go back and forth across the screen for many minutes. From my perspective, since it’s animated, the quantity of laser bolts or detail in the drawing is not the point. Special effects that are exciting in live-action movies are blasé in animation. The animation can make anything happen. If you’re going to have action sequences, make them meaningful.

A reviewer on Netflix commented that it should be pretty good for 10-12 year old boys. I agree. If you’re outside that demographic, and especially if you have any warm feelings for the original trilogy, steer clear.

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