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THE CLONE WARS, 2008
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STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS
Movie Review
Directed by Dave Filoni
Voices by Matt Lanter, Ashley Eckstein, James Arnold Taylor, Samuel L. Jackson
Review by Eli Manning



SYNOPSIS:

As Clone Wars sweep through the galaxy, the heroic Jedi Knights struggle to maintain order and restore peace...

REVIEW:

George Lucas keeps the Star Wars tradition alive (or at least tries to) for yet another generation of kids as he brings us The Clone Wars. I guess it's a story that fits in the middle of the 2nd and 3rd editions of the new films.

The only good thing I can say is that at least Lucas didn't direct the film and write the screenplay. But it's definitely his story and his characters and like all three of the new editions of the Star Wars series, The Clone Wars falls flat. And there's many reasons for it.

I just have so many questions to ask Mr. Lucas because I respect what he's done for filmmaking. He basically recreated sound design in film and every single film made after the 1977 Star Wars is better off for it. And what team Lucas is doing on Skywalker ranch in terms of film technology and the evolution of special effects as we know it is truly remarkable. George Lucas is a man who has made movies better -- unfortunately the movies he's made better are never his.

It all comes down to a good PLOT, some interested, fun and exciting CHARACTERS and a THEME to push the story forward and to keep us watching. Lucas seems to have done none of that in The Clone Wars. I know this movie is made for kids and I like to think I'm a kid at heart. Some of my favorite films of the year (WALL-E, Horton Hears a Who!) are generally made for kids. But I can easily say that this is one of the worst movies of the year because there isn't an excuse for making this film this bad.

Lucas has time on his side. He can work on every single frame until it's right because he has all the money in the world and pretty much the best and most creative team in North America today. But why does he always forget about the story?

Problem #1 in The Clone Wars is that we don't care. The two main leads Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi have no chemistry at all. To make things easy, all Lucas needs to do is watch a ton of buddy cop movies (and essentially these two guys are the cops of this world) and find the formula for success on why the audience responds to the Lethal Weapon guys for example. But he leaves us with a group of now animation characters who are as flat as a Diet Coke left on the counter for 5 days.

Problem #2 in The Clone Wars is that we didn't like the live-action version of this world, so what makes us think that we'll like the animation version? Why doesn't Lucas make a film in between the original Star Wars and Empire Strikes back? These are the films we like and the characters we like. If he wants the new generation to buy his toys, then these are the films to make. The Clone Wars

Problem #3 in The Clone Wars is the main plot. Yes there is a war going on and battles to be fought. So what? We've seen this a million times. Where is the spiritual element which made the original Star Wars so good? It's there but it's forced and the kids are not learning anything from this movie at all. And that's what makes kids movies so good. There is a plot and a main character arc where our hero becomes a much better person/mouse/robot etc... and we are all much better for it because we watch the film. What George needs to do is hire a Headhunter agency to pry away the many terrific writers working a Pixar if he wants to continue on with the animated Star Wars world.

Problem #4 in The Clone Wars is that there is no comedy relief character that's always needed in films like this. What the new Star Wars films always lacked was the Han Solo character. The awe shucks everyman hero who also happens to be funny. These are the characters the audience responds to for many reasons. The main reason is because whenever Han Solo came on screen, things weren't that serious. So while Luke is learning how to be a Jedi Knight, the next scene is of Han and Chewy trying to get out of their recent mess. And doing it in a fun way! There is never any fun in the seven and a half hours of the new Star Wars films.

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So if you have any kids, please take them to see WALL-E two, three times more before you see The Clone Wars. We need to put a stop to all of this Star Wars mediocrity.

And if you're reading, Mr. Lucas, please spend most of your money next time on the writers and not the special effects. People need to be taken into a world by the emotion you give us. It's that simple. You can't force us into your world like you think you can with cool CGI and lazers flying across the screen. Go back and think about what you're really doing and how you got to where you are now. American Graffiti had emotion. The original Star Wars films had emotion. Your new films have everything but EMOTION! Emotion is why we watch movies. There isn't another reason.

1 star out of 4!

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