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Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008)

Rating: 4/10

Running Time: 98 minutes

US Certificate: PG UK Certificate: PG

On DVD

Country: United States

There’s this whole galaxy far, far away thing, and in it lies the canon of Star Wars. From this canon comes forth Star Wars: The Clone Wars, an animated take on some of the goings on of Anakin Skywalker (Matt Lanter) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (James Arnold Taylor) that fall on the timeline somewhere between Episodes II and III. This is a kid’s movie, which doesn’t necessarily always have to mean there’s a lack of quality, but in this case, it helps explain much of what diehard Star Wars fans find so insulting about this addition to the story.

There’s all kinds of warring going on in the galaxy, with the Republic being attacked by the Separatists and the Jedi folks feeling stretched pretty thin. While Obi-Wan Kenobi is off doing his hero thing with the Clone Army, Anakin has been given a Padawan learner named Ahsoka (Ashley Eckstein) by Yoda—and right away, a new crisis erupts. It seems that someone has kidnapped Jabba the Hutt’s son and it’s up to the Jedis to get him back—or risk the destruction of the Republic.

Much of the criticism for this movie comes from the Star Wars diehards who seem to feel that George Lucas is somehow trying to destroy his own creation. I don’t think that’s the case; I think what we have in The Clone Wars is a piece of the Star Wars puzzle that could appeal to adult fans, but was created especially for kids. Kids like nicknames and one-liners and video games, and this film is full of goofy nicknames, clichéd one-liners, and animation that feels a lot like you’re watching a friend play something on your PlayStation. But it’s not a bad way to introduce kids to this world and some of its characters, and Ahsoka is not nearly as annoying as Jar-Jar Binks. There are definitely better kid movies out there (for the total opposite experience of watching this film, see Wall-E), but this one will hold their interest for at least one viewing, and it’s not quite as bad as some would have you believe.

It's Got: An okay story and a look at what a baby Hutt looks like.

It Needs: Better dialogue, less video game-y fight scenes.

DVD Extras Commentary by Dave Filoni (director), Catherine Winder (producer), Henry Gilroy (writer), and Jason W.A. Tucker (editor); three featurettes: "The Clone Wars: The Untold Stories" and "The Voices of the Clone Wars", and "A New Score"; Gallery of concept art; six webisodes, four deleted scenes. DVD Extras Rating: 8/10

Alternatives:

Star Wars, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

Summary

A decent venture into the world of Star Wars for the kids, The Clone Wars offers bad dialogue and subpar animation, but should hold the interest of younger viewers and is pretty harmless.

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