August 16, 2008

Movie Thoughts: Star Wars: The Clone Wars

I am a Star Wars fan. I am not a blind Star Wars fan and refuse to blindly love the movies. I watch them, because I love the universe behind them. Any glimpse into that universe will get some of my money, but not always my praise. The Phantom Menace started out good, but fell down in the end. Attack of the Clones was full of action, but not much else. Revenge of the Sith made me smile, but only did the end finally make me feel like the actors were earning their paychecks.

My biggest problem with the prequels was the character of Anakin Skywalker. Weakly written and horribly acted lead to a big gaping whole in all three prequels. When Anakin finally rose up as Darth Vader in Revenge of the Sith and screamed "NOOOOOOOOOOO!", I screamed "YES, Anakins gone." This brings me to my thoughts on Star Wars: The Clone Wars and unfortunately the lackluster Anakin rears his ugly head.

Fortunately, the movie is completely computer animated, so no Hayden Christensen was needed. Unfortunately, the character of Anakin still feels stiff and forced through the entire movie. Good thing there is enough action and comedy to save Clone Wars from a failure. The graphics are cartoony, but believable against vivid backgrounds and settings. The important note here is that the movie is consistent and easily fits into the epic Star Wars movie saga.

Also, the move to complete computer graphics opened the door for much better action sequences. I don't want to spoil the movie, but one scene has our heroes scaling vertically up a cliff face while fighting the never ending droid army. It was believable and did not once feel faked for the sake of a live actor. That single scene absolutely convinced me this was the right move for the Star Wars franchise.

Overall, the movie was fun, albeit aimed at a younger audience. The general aim helped me forgive some plot shortfalls and out of place comedy. The movie was a general mix of the classic Star Wars we all love and the new age Star Wars that is hard to enjoy even as a fan. I highly recommend a viewing for any Star Wars fan, especially those with children.