Unless you’re a devoted fan of Star Wars, this one could probably wait until it comes out on disc. Other than the great sequence with a proto-Walker climbing a vertical cliff face, there isn’t much in this little movie that’s especially visually spectacular. In fact, there isn’t much that’s spectacular in it at all. (This review gets filed under “Random.” The movie isn’t good enough to warrant getting included with “Arts.”)
George Lucas conceived of this Clone Wars movie as a pilot for a new animated series, but it feels just like a regular episode of such television fare. At no time does this new entry in the saga rise to the ambitious levels set by all the other big screen entries. Remember those two Ewok movies in the mid 80’s? This movie doesn’t aim for too much bigger of a scale than those did, which is sad considering the quality animation and larger narrative background available for Star Wars now.
Yes, this movie should have been direct to video. Fans of this new generation of Star Wars cartoons would be better served to see the excellent volumes of Clone Wars videos produced in 2005.
Perhaps the biggest problem with this new movie, though, is its insistence on continuing to plumb the depths of ethnic stereotypes. After the laughable “trade federation” stooges of the prequel trilogy–and, of course, Jar Jar Binks–2008’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars gives us, in the first half, a grizzled alien general with a thick Scottish accent and, in the second half, a ridiculously vile and corrupt Hutt…who sounds like somebody’s Big Momma straight out of New Orleans. (I sometimes think that the vanguard of our culture’s obsession with demonizing our own heritage lies with the fact that virtually every major Star Wars villain has had a British accent.)
So, to summarize, the new Clone Wars movie in theaters is visually uninspired, with almost none of the new vehicles, weapons, and creatures that draw in fans of the series, adds practically nothing to the mythology of the saga (alas, this “big screen event” amounts to no more than a mere footnote), and what little it does give us dwells on trite rehashes of the weaknesses of the series. The “remix” theme music is likewise lame. And the conclusion…it fizzles out with an appropriately dull whimper.
Final Grade: D