Wednesday, October 15, 2008
The Clone Wars Movie
Star Wars: The Clone Wars is not a "movie." Originally, it was intended to be the first several episodes of the upcoming TV series of the same name. However, due to various reasons, these episodes were edited together into a "movie," and released in theaters.
God help us all.
One thing that is immediately obvious is the fact that The Clone Wars is very kid-oriented. Instead of the dramatic Star Wars logo and the opening crawl sequence, the film begins with the Clone Wars logo, and has no crawl. Instead, what would have been the text of the crawl is actually the spoken dialogue of a narrator. It sounds somewhat like the narrator of the old WWII propaganda movies, and works on some level. However, I honestly hate the fact that Lucasfilm feels the need to talk down to me. I could have read the opening crawls just fine when I was four years old, and I don't need it to be read to me now. Just let me read it for myself and let my imagination do the work.
This "movie" does not have spectacular animation by film standards. In fact, visually, it's rather sub-par compared to virtually any other CG animated movie in theaters. However, for a TV series, it will be easily one of the most visually stunning shows on TV, if not the most. The characters are rendered with a style reminiscent of hand-painted maquettes. It's a very interesting style, though in motion much of it seems strange. George Lucas apparently told the animators to make the motions of the characters stiffer and more exaggerated, rather than smooth and lifelike. This is an interesting move, though it doesn't always pay off. Many of the character movements just look awkward or illogical, rather than stylistically interesting. The battle scenes are spectacular to be sure, but they lack a certain style. They don't have the sharp style and pacing of the previous animated Clone Wars series, and aren't realistic enough to be anywhere near as good as what was seen in the live-action films. What's left is something in-between that isn't as good as either, and falls short of nearly every mark.
The two main flaws of the film are the dialogue and the pacing. Throughout the film, there is no pause. The entire movie is one quick sequence after another, filled with poorly-written and acted dialogue. This may not be the fault of the voice actors, however, as the animation for the film was done at least a year ago, and the voice actors may have had to lip-sync to the animation, causing the lines to sound odd or ill-timed. Additionally, the "squeezing" of the already-made episodes into a film under two hours may have left the editors with nothing left to do but make every shot in the film as short as possible. I honestly cannot describe how fast the film moves. It's like watching a schizophrenic on caffeine (my apologies to any schizophrenics whom I just mentally compared to this film. You're much better than that).
There is no room for drama or a quiet moment. The film just keeps on running, never taking a break. This makes the action scenes seem no more exciting than the [very few] non-action scenes, and the dialogue less and less important. Rather than allowing for the dialogue to have any timing or depth, the film abruptly jams lines together, making it seem as though the movie's editors were having Mountain Dew pumped into their veins.
Please understand; I love Star Wars. I own at least three dozen Star Wars novels, not counting my many guidebooks, my favorite of which is titled Jedi vs Sith: The Essential Guide to The Force. I own at least fifteen Star Wars video games, and there are very few who dare to challenge me at Star Wars Trivial Pursuit. Heck, I even own a Master Replicas Force FX Luke Skywalker Episode IV Electronic Lightsaber.
Do yourself a MASSIVE favor and DO NOT SEE THIS FILM. It's not worth your time or your childrens'. Instead of paying for a movie ticket, go buy an action figure from the movie; you'll have more fun with that.