Synopsis: Star Wars: Clone Wars Volume One reveals the epic adventures that bridge the story arc between Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith. Follow the valiant Jedi Knights and the brave soldiers of the Republic’s clone army as they battle against the droid forces of the Separatists, led by the evil Sith Lord, Count Dooku. Witness the battles that made galactic heroes out of Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, and along the way get a first look at the new menace from Episode III, General Grievous.
This animated micro-series, directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, captures George Lucas’ vision in a dynamic animated style that is a visual delight for all ages.
eyelights: the quality of the animation.
eyesores: its lack of plot or development.
“Like fire across the galaxy, the Clone Wars spread.”
‘Star Wars: Clone Wars’ is an animated TV series that ran on The Cartoon Network from 2003 to 2005. Not to be confused with the ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ TV series or the ‘Star Wars: Clone Wars‘ motion picture, it’s set in between ‘Attack of the Clones’ and ‘Revenge of the Sith’ and looks at the ‘Star Wars’ universe during the war between the Republic and Separatists.
Volume One includes two seasons of ‘Star Wars: Clone Wars’. The show was initially produced as a series of brief, 3-minute vignettes that explored different characters and conflicts. So, although there are ten episodes per season, all of which has been edited together with the use of George Lucas wipes, the overall run of the disc is a little under 70 minutes in length.
Unsurprisingly, then, the series is all-action and no plot; it focuses on combat and adventure, the best use of its short time and combination of hand-drawn and CGI animation. This may seem dull, but what’s enjoyable about it is that no vignette can overstay its welcome so it remains exciting throughout. Plus which new characters and worlds are introduced.
What’s interesting is that we don’t just follow Jedi, we also follow individual troops or even villains. Here are some of the highlights:
- Master Fisto (i.e. the squid dude) is sent to Mon Calamari for some underwater combat. I was surprised to see the lightsaber in action under water since that hadn’t been established before. It worked fine and didn’t steam upon contact either.
- I’m not sure how much I like the character, because it made me think of the cheapest, least imaginative ‘Star Trek’ episodes, but there was a new villain modeled after jousters, complete with armour and lances.
- Count Dooku oversees a lame arena battle. It’s an introduction to yet another new character, this time a winner, called Asajj Ventress, who claims to be a Sith. Dooku duels with her and takes her on as an apprentice, which left me wondering how many there were. There seems to be an infinite supply of Sith despite the fact that there should be one master and apprentice. What gives?
- The Droid Army uses a large ship that stamps the ground, creating tremors and craters. It’s not terribly efficient technology (so much power used by such a huge blunt instrument) but it does the trick.
- Master Luminara and her Padawan fight off a robot spider attack, and wind up getting rescued by Yoda. They are girls, after all. Girls need saving, even in the ‘Star Wars’, which is hardly girl-friendly in the first place.
- There’s a werewolf Jedi. Well, he looks like a werewolf. Could just be an as anthropomorphic wolf-like alien. But it goes in the same category as the jouster.
- It serves up the first appearance of General Grievous (who, for some reason, is all-white here).
All in all, I enjoyed the set, but it left me with a few thoughts:
- After Yoda sets the stage, explaining that the Jedi are leading the armies, Palpatine insists on giving Anakin some forces even though he’s just a Padawan – much to Yoda and Obi-Wan’s discontent. I still don’t understand why they’re not independent and able to manage their own affairs. “No” is a powerful word.
- I find it ironic that the Jedi are leading the first generation of Stormtroopers aboard the first generation of Star Destroyers.
- I never really understood the reason from the first two prequels, but why is the Republic feeling so threatened by dissension that they feel the need to fight over it? If the separatists want to split, all the power to them. Who cares? And if there must be conflict, shouldn’t the Jedi be mediators, not soldiers?
- Anakin disobeys a direct order from Obi-Wan and goes after Asajj Ventress – instead of taking care of his troops. What else is new, right? But that continues to fuel my incredulity about the Jedi’s wisdom. It’s so apparent that this undisciplined twerp is not ready for responsibility and is not learning his lessons, so why aren’t they whipping him into shape? Especially since his actions have deadly repercussions?
- The Jedi have pretty much become superheroes, jump so high and fast they might as well fly. The damage they cause is beyond measure and no one considers who has to repair all that infrastructure. At one point, Mace Windu can push a hundred attack droids with one sweep and pummel them to pieces with his bare hands. Since when?
- And, as per usual, the enemy soldiers are utterly useless (ex: Anakin is faced with 100 fighters and they all miss). It’s a real joke. And it takes away from our heroes’ achievements since the challenge is nearly non-existent. Damn, my grandmother could outmaneuver droid soldiers or clone warriors or Stormtroopers. And she’s dead. Just sayin’.
Anyway, for what it is, this first volume of ‘Star Wars: Clone Wars’ is a quality production: the voice acting is excellent, the animation is superior and the action is noteworthy. Granted, it reduces the franchise to its most rudimentary parts, lightsaber and space battles, and that’s a shame. But, if you know that going in, then its bite-size bites will satisfy.
It’s all a matter of expectations.
Date of viewing: December 3, 2015