Friday, August 28, 2015

Summer of Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Directed by Dave Filoni and written by Henry Gilroy, Steven Melching, and Scott Murphy, Star Wars: The Clone Wars revolves a conflict between the Galactic Republic and a Separatist movement where the Jedi aid the Republic unaware of who is behind everything. Told in 3-D computer animation, the film plays into Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi leading a troop of clone Stormtroopers to fight against an army of robots as the former has to retrieve the son of Jabba the Hutt from the clutches of the Seperatists. Featuring the voices of Matt Lanter, Ashley Eckstein, James Arnold Taylor, Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Christopher Lee, and Samuel L. Jackson. Star Wars: The Clones Wars is just a very badly-animated and clunky film from Dave Filoni.

Set between the events in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, the film revolves around the conflict between the Galactic Republic and a Separatist faction as the latter led by Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) has conspired to capture the infant son of Jabba the Hutt (Kevin Michael Richardson) in an attempt to make a deal with the Hutts over the usage of space routes that the Republic wants. Upon learning what had happened, the Jedi council appoints Anakin Skywalker (Matt Lanter) to retrieve Jabba’s son with the aid of his new Padawan learner Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein) as Anakin is reluctant to take her in for the mission. While it has a simple story, it’s a film that has a lot that is going as the result is very messy as there’s a subplot that relates to Obi-Wan Kenobi (James Arnold Taylor) trying to deal with Jabba and fight off some robots with his clone army.

The screenplay tries to do so much as the main story involving Anakin, Ahsoka, and this baby Hutt gets lost in favor of these conflicts that are happening all over the film. Even as it features some very atrocious dialogue which often has Ahsoka annoying the crap out of Anakin. Other aspects of the script that is very confusing is the conspiracy tactics of Count Dooku and his apprentice Asajj Ventress (Nika Futterman) where they will do this and then change things where it would be confusing for younger viewers. At the same time, there are these other subplots which relates to Padme Amidala (Catherine Taber) who would later learn what is happening as she would try to appeal to Jabba’s uncle Ziro (Corey Burton) where she would be the one to uncover the conspiracy.

Dave Filoni’s direction does have a few interesting moments in the way he composes some of the battle scenes and lightsaber duels but the presentation as a whole is just horrible. With the aid of animation directors Kevin Jong and Jesse Yeh and visual effects supervisor Matthew Gidney, the look of the characters and spaceships all look wooden and very clunky where it does become a major distraction. With the messy script, Filoni isn’t able to keep things steady as the direction is often bogged down by a lot that happens and whenever there is time to slow things down. It only happens very briefly so it can go for another major sequence with conflicts and such where it becomes repetitive and loses steam. Especially as Filoni is obviously a work-for-hire guy who is doing what producer George Lucas wants as it is more about bringing something for kids to sell merchandise rather than make something decent. Overall, Filoni creates a very chaotic and un-engaging film about a Jedi warrior and his Padawan trying to save a baby Hutt in a bargain during a war.

Editor Jason Tucker does OK work with the editing in terms of the transition wipes but succumbs to the fast-cutting style that makes the film very incoherent to watch at times. Sound designer David Acord and sound editor Matthew Wood do some fine work with the sound in the sound effects of the droids and in the action scenes. The film’s music by Kevin Kiner has its moments in terms of its string-based orchestra and bombastic themes though it’s really just generic variations of what John Williams has done.

The film’s voice cast does have their moments with Matthew Wood providing many of the voices of the droids as there’s some small contributions from Kevin Michael Richardson as Jabba the Hutt, Corey Burton as Jabba’s uncle Ziro, Ian Abercrombie as Chancellor Palpatine, Dee Bradley Baker in multiple voice roles as clone soldiers, Tom Kane as Yoda and narrates early sections of the film, and Catherine Taber as Padme Amidala. Other notable voice roles include Christopher Lee as Count Dooku, Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu, and Anthony Daniels as C-3PO as they’re merely just cameo appearances.

Nika Futterman is alright as Dooku’s apprentice Asajj Ventress who tries to battle the Jedi in the plan for the Separatists while James Arnold Taylor has his moments as Obi-Wan Kenobi though both of them are hampered by the horrific dialogue they’re given. Finally, there’s the duo of Matt Lanter and Ashley Eckstein in their respective roles as Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano as neither of them really do anything to flesh out their characters as they spend half of the time bickering or showing off to each other.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars is a terrible film from Dave Filoni and Lucasfilms. It’s an animated film that had the chance to be something as an accompanying piece for Star Wars fans but it is extremely messy and has some horrible animation that kids wouldn’t even enjoy. In the end, Star Wars: The Clone Wars is a shitty film from Dave Filoni.

Star Wars Films: Star Wars - The Empire Strikes Back - Return of the Jedi - The Phantom Menace - Attack of the Clones - Revenge of the Sith - The Force Awakens - The Last Jedi - The Rise of Skywalker

Related: The Star Wars Holiday Special - Caravan of Courage - The Battle for Endor - Fanboys - The People vs. George Lucas

Star Wars Anthology Films: Rogue One - Solo: A Star Wars Story - (Untitled Star Wars Anthology Film)

George Lucas Films: THX 1138 - (American Graffiti)

© thevoid99 2015

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