Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008)

Untitled-1Star Wars: The Clone Wars is obviously a movie made for children. It is one massive trailer for the TV series that has run for a few seasons now. It is dim witted, dry, and it has characters who don’t belong in the Star Wars universe. They would be more comfortable sitting in front of a group of toddlers, with finger puppets and cardboard sets.

It is a movie made for children, so I should review it as a movie made for children. But should I? The world of Star Wars, by definition of its ambition and content, is not children-oriented. It was made for a younger audience, to pull the teens back to the movies. And teens, mind you, are not four and five year olds, which seems to be the target age of this movie. The characters look like clay models (Obi Wan’s hair and beard do not move an inch, even when he runs his fingers through them), and the dialogue is so infantile that even ten year olds will find it boring. The question I have to ask, after all this, is: Why did Lucasfilm even bother with such an endeavor?

Were the Star Wars movies — yes, even the prequel trilogy — not already making enough money? This movie, which takes place, as far as I can tell, between Episodes II and III, revolves around the kidnapping of Jabba The Hutt’s son. Yes, his son. But he must have died, because we never meet him in any of the live action movies. The son is gone, and this angers Jabba. It just so happens that Jabba is in control of shipping lanes in space; shipping lanes that both the rebels and the Trade Federation want a piece of. It will help them win the war, apparently. So the lanes are important, which means finding and returning Jabba’s son is important. And just in case you’re thinking otherwise, the movie does a fine job of hammering into our skulls the importance of Jabba and his trade route.

Oh, but it’s not that easy. There are twists and conflicts. The Jedi are good, of course, and their mission is honest. But the Trade Federation, led by Santa Claus in Count Dooku’s clothes, aims to frame the Jedi and claim the son, thus claiming the rights to the all-important shipping lanes. That’s ingenious. I will not tell you what happens, or who finally returns the infant Hutt, because I don’t want to ruin the fun.

I will let the movie ruin it for you.

I want to talk about this new Jedi character, called Ahsoka. She is a padawan, first thought to be Obi Wan’s pupil, but is later assigned to Anakin, who, you can be sure, doesn’t want a student. You can also be sure that they will not get along, and that once she proves herself to her hard-to-please master, she will become his best friend. I am not sure what meaning, purpose, or lesson she is meant to carry with her, because she is as irritating as the dialogue she is given. When was the last time we heard a Jedi say “Told you so!”, or the last time we saw one wearing a skin-tight tube top? Never is the answer. The Jedi is not composed of bratty bimbos who thrive on outsmarting and annoying their superiors. “She has a lot to learn”, you might argue. Of course she does, but she shouldn’t be learning in this universe.

I am not disappointed in this movie’s many faults; I am disappointed in its reason for existing. I have been a fan of Star Wars for about as long as I can remember. I’ve had to stomach Episodes I and II, and forgive George Lucas for being greedy. But I cannot forgive this mess. What has become of this franchise? And why oh why does Jabba’s uncle talk like a groovy jazz cat?

Best Moment | Oh no.

Worst Moment | Everything. Get Ahsoka the hell out of there. Throw her into space. Burn her. Do anything you want. Just get rid of her.

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