Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Clone Wars...I Surrender

George, what have you done?

I went to see "The Clone Wars" with my 6-year-old daughter this past weekend. It was...okay. That is about as positive as I can get with this review.

And to answer the question above (since Mr. Lucas doesn't read my blog)--"I have completely sold-out. I have milked the Star Wars franchise for so long it is now completely dry, but all I know how to do is tug on that udder so I will keep on a-yanking until I die or the cow does." I understand that it has long since become simply a revenue source for Mr. Lucas...gone are the days when he had a vision and a real story to tell. That doesn't mean I have to like it. With A New Hope, Lucas paid homage to Kurosawa. Now he just pays homage to himself.

Enough with that...let's talk about the movie...

I was gonna write a bunch a stuff, but I found way to many other reviews out there, so I will repost one...

Aug 15, 2008, Eric D. Snider

The only thing slightly mollifying my hatred for Star Wars: The Clone Wars is that it's meant for kids, not adults. It's shallow, cheap, and silly, just like a Saturday-morning cartoon -- which is what it's supposed to be. The Clone Wars will launch as an animated series on Cartoon Network and TNT in October, and this movie serves as a sort of pilot episode.

The story is set between prequels 2 and 3, with the clone wars raging and Count Dooku's separatists fighting the Republic. In this episode, Jabba the Hutt's infant son has been kidnapped, and the Jedi Council tasks Obi-Wan Kenobi (voice of James Arnold Taylor) and Anakin Skywalker (Matt Lanter) with rescuing him. Why? Because Jabba controls space routes that the Republic needs to pass through safely in order to fight the war. This fact is mentioned at least a dozen times, in case the viewer forgets why the Republic wants to curry Jabba's favor.

While Obi-Wan participates in a less-important subplot that I have already forgotten about, Anakin goes on the rescue mission with his new trainee, Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein). Yes, surly Anakin has a padawan! And she's a teenage girl, and she's really spunky, and they get on each other's nerves! And they have to rescue a baby Hutt and take it to Tattooine! It's Star Wars: The Sitcom!

It's every bit as awful as it sounds, and maybe worse. The dialogue, credited to three TV-cartoon veterans, has Anakin and Ahsoka bantering and teasing each other relentlessly, though never in a way that's funny or interesting. It's always drivel like this:

ANAKIN: (as Ahsoka catches up to him in the heat of battle) I knew you'd get here eventually!
AHSOKA: Always in time to save your life!

Repeat that formula a hundred times and you get the idea.
Then there's the fact that Jabba refers to his son as his "little punky-muffin," Ahsoka calls Anakin "Sky-guy", and the battle droids' moronic personalities that turn them all into stooges, and Ahsoka's cutesy nicknames for everything (the junior Hutt is "Stinky," while R2D2 is "Artooie"). There's the ongoing battle scenes, which are completely devoid of suspense or excitement -- partly because we know who's going to survive them (we've seen the stories that come after this one), and partly because they're animated in generic, assembly-line fashion.

And then there's Ziro the Hutt, who is bound to become the most infamous Star Wars character since Jar Jar Binks. Ziro is Jabba's uncle, a jazz-club denizen who seems to be a gay pimp, or possibly a drag queen, and whose voice (provided by Corey Burton) sounds like a combination of Truman Capote and Droopy the dog. He is painfully unfunny comic relief in a movie that's already lousy with shtick, shenanigans, and cartoon lameness.

Say what you will about the Star Wars films, at least they never looked cheap. The Clone Wars looks cheap. The computer-animated faces are expressionless, and the general quality of the art is light years behind Lucasfilms' usual standards. They went with mostly no-name voice actors to save money, hired somebody cheap to bastardize John Williams' musical themes, and slapped together a movie that insults everyone's intelligence. Anakin's conclusion while investigating the kidnapping sums up the entire movie: "This smells like Count Dooku to me." Yes, Ani, it smells like Dooku to me, too.

Grade: D-


Beav said...

Thank you. You may have saved me from seeing this. (I may end up seeing it anyway; it's Korea after all.)

MthNrd said...

I would see it. Yes it is crap, but there are some plot elements that tie in well to the rest of the saga...although, I wish some of the character you were given there names instead of guessing who they were...I think Bail Organa was in it, but not sure...that's the other crappy thing about the animation.

But you have to see it for Ziro the Hutt...priceless.

From another blog...One of the new characters introduced in Clone Wars is Ziro the Hutt (Jabba's uncle) who is, as MTV Movies' Shawn Alder put it, "a gay stereotype that makes what Jar Jar Binks represented to the island of Jamaica look subtle by comparison."

Sadly, it sounds like the stereotyping is deliberate:

So how did a character who wasn’t even supposed to speak English wind up sounding like that? Because George Lucas insisted on it, Clone Wars director Dave Filoni confessed.

“Ziro, Jabba’s uncle, originally spoke in Hutt-ese, like Jabba and then he had a different sluggish voice just like Jabba, and then George one day was watching it and said ‘I want him to sound like Truman Capote.’ He actually said that and we were like ‘Wow!’ ” Filion revealed. “It’s a hybrid of it but the inspiration is definitely there on Capote. It’s one of those things that takes him from being an interesting character and I think really does put him over the top and does something. He’s a favorite among the crew here.”

Soo Mi said...

I slept through the whole damn thing. Thank god is was a free showing at the base theater. Only afterwards, I was thinking of demanding a refund anyway.

It was just so freakin' lame, even for a kids' cartoon. Kids are not that retarded. Really.