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STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS (director: Dave Filoni; screenwriters: Henry Gilroy/George Lucas/Steven Melching/Scott Murphy; editor: Jason W.A. Tucker; music: Kevin Kiner; cast: voices of- Matt Lanter (Anakin Skywalker), Ashley Eckstein (Ahsoka Tano), James Arnold Taylor (Obi-Wan Kenobi / 4-A7 / Medical Droid ), Dee Bradley Baker (Clone Troopers / Captain Rex / Cody), Tom Kane (Yoda / Narrator / Admiral Yularen), Nika Futterman (Asajj Ventress / Tee-C-Seventy), Ian Abercrombie (Chancellor Palpatine / Darth Sidious), Corey Burton (General Loathsom / Ziro the Hutt / Kronos-327), Catherine Taber (Padmé Amidala), Matthew Wood (Battle Droids), Kevin Michael Richardson (Jabba the Hutt), David Acord (Rotta the Huttlet), Samuel L. Jackson (Mace Windu), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Christopher Lee (Count Dooku); Runtime: 98; MPAA Rating: PG; producer: Catherine Winder; Warner Bros..; 2008)
“Might appeal to those under twelve, as the kid-friendly epic has video game watchability.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

It seems as if after thirty years executive producer George Lucas’s popular Stars Wars franchise is ending with a whimper instead of a bang. No longer an event film and running out of story and failing to come up with new CGI effects, the film shot as a computer-animated 3-D film feels uninspiring and looks tired. It’s the first-ever all animated feature from the Lucas enterprise, which plays as a mere pilot episode for the Clone Wars animation television series coming out in the fall. This version might appeal to those under twelve, as the kid-friendly epic has video game watch-ability. For adults, this is a Star Wars film that feels like it lost its way in a cartoonish outer space and looks all played out. I think I heard the fat lady singing. TV director Dave Filoni makes his film directorial debut an inauspicious one. Henry Gilroy, Steven Melching, Scott Murphy and George Lucas turn in a dull script that is geared for the juvenile crowd and those who like their good and evil served up in the simplest of gobbledegook terms.

The action take place between the events in the Star Wars films of “Episode II: Attack of the Clones” and “Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.” The good Republic is still at war with the evil Separatists. The plot involves the evil leader of the Separatists, the renegade ex-Jedi Count Dooku (Christopher Lee), plotting to weaken his enemy with a diabolical plan of kidnapping. The Republic is led by Jedi master Obi-Wan Kenobi (James Arnold Taylor) and his star pupil partner Anakin Skywalker (Matt Lanter). Master Yoda (Tom Kane) has assigned Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein) to Skywalker and he’s to train this reckless and undisciplined teen to be a Jedi. Ahsoka is made up to look like the design on Indian pottery. The Padawan might be fresh and inexperienced, but in this tale will prove to be a strong and brave sword fighter. The mismatched partners give off with some really annoying banter, which was supposed to be cute. She refers to him as Skyguy (ugh!) and he calls her Snip (ugh!). Their mission is to rescue Jabba the Hutt’s (Michael Richardson) kidnapped son Rotta (David Acord). The beloved son was kidnapped by Dooku’s goons and the incident is made to look as if the Jedis kidnapped him, as the slippery Dooku made a deal with Jabba’s swish-talking corrupt crime lord uncle Ziro (Corey Burton) to go along with the deception. The criminal band of Hutt’s control the outer Galactic rim and its important trade routes, and it’s vital in the war with the Separatists and their fierce droid army that the Republic maintain a truce with the malevolent Hutts so they can use that route and not get tied down with another unnecessary war. It’s up to Jedi knights Ahsoka and Skywalker to rescue Rotta, whom they christened Stinky, to keep the sick burping slug alive and return him to his anxious pappa in Tatooine. Count Dooku recruits the resourceful Asajj Ventress (Nika Futterman) and an army of sinister agents in ensuring that the Jedis fail in their mission. But the Jedis are helped by a massive clone army that penetrate the Separatists’ protective shield thanks to the Jedis. What ensues are a number of slumber inducing battles that have to be seen to be disbelieved.

The inert film is a tedious watch and with the bland voice of Lanter as the star, it seems as if all the life has finally gone out of the slipping franchise. This pointless, uninteresting, robot-like and forgettable Star Wars film might signal that the franchise’s time is finally up.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”