21 June 2006

Disappearing Ink XVIII - Star Wars: Clone Wars Volume 1

When Luke Skywalker first learned that the "old hermit" Ben Kenobi once fought with his father (Anakin) in the Clone Wars, excitement filled his voice and my imagination. What were the clone wars? When episodes 1-3 were announced, again I felt excitement at seeing Jedi versus endless platoons of clones in battle for 3 whole movies! Oh how wrong I was. Not only were the killer clones the good guys, but the clone wars were scarcely even shown in the films. For shame! These epic battle took place between episodes 2 and 3, off screen. We got Jar-Jar, we got young Boba Fett, we even got lots of clones in the prequel saga, but we did not get our fill of honest to goodness clone wars. That's were this movie fills in.

Fortunately, Cartoon Network along with Lucasfilm was able to create an animated "microseries" filling in on some of the events taking place after the clones attacked, but before the Sith got their revenge. Originally aired as 20 3-minute episodes (each installment complete with a recap and sneak peek of the next episode), this first volume of Clone Wars has been edited together into a 60 minute film on DVD. If only the content here could be translated into live action. This volume pretty much does a better job of satisfying fans expectations of what more Star Wars movies should deliver than do the actual films. I should mention that a second volume followed depicting the events immediately preceding Episode III. Stay tuned for that review eventually.

Clone Wars delivers a highly stylized, and surprisingly light on dialogue (which for Star Wars is ALWAYS a good thing (for example "sand is rough..." from AOTC)), depiction of several key battles. Obiwan leads some clone troopers against a droid stronghold supported by the bounty hunter Durge, Anakin chases after the Sith wannabe Asajj Ventress, Kit Fisto impresses in an underwater battle, and Mace Windu shows why he is deemed Yoda's equal. In addition, the dreaded General Grevious is introduced, and he is actually a worthy foe. For delivering massive space battles involving hundreds of little digital ships instead of too-long pod races, and fast-paced Jedi skills instead of Jar-Jar antics, Clone Wars Volume 1 earns an A-.

Here is a peak at the first segment (en espagnol for fun):

Check out my past reviews:
Star Wars: Clone Wars - Volume 1
Starchaser: The Legend of Orin
A Grand Day Out With Wallace and Gromit
The Last Unicorn
Fire & Ice
The Sword in the Stone
Tim Burton's Corpse Bride
Princess Mononoke
The Black Cauldron
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Grave of the Fireflies
The Iron Giant
Kaena: The Prophecy

1 comment:

j said...

Interesting stuff. 2 thoughts.

1) Its sad that they have this huge backstory all thought out and it either never even makes it into the scripts of the films or ends up on the cutting room floor, or worse is held back on purpose to sell more "Director's Cut" DVDs down the road.

2) The Spanish version was fun to watch, but the Spain Spanish with its lispy z's made me cringe a lot.