Saturday, August 30, 2008

star wars: the clone wars - a review


sit down my children, and i will tell you a tale. the year was 1985(or was it '86?), and a young detroit and his best friend, we will call him chicago (a scant 1 day older than detroit), caught wind of a movie. a movie called "Star Wars." these young cities had no idea the role this space tale would take in their futures, but they were excited and curious about the mystery and adventure that were contained within. they wouldn't stop talking about it, they wouldn't stop playing "star wars," even though to date they hadn't seen the film. on one fateful night, detroit and chicago's parents rented what was called a VCR, and a single video tape, "the empire strikes back." and the young lads hunkered down in front of the television for what(unbeknownst to them) would be a pivotal moment in their life. over the next 13 years, the boys lived by one credo, "george lucas is god, and star wars is the bible." toys, models, costumes, stuffed animals, trading cards, models, records, games, videos, and books all followed. collections grew, and grew, and grew. rumors of further story, prequels and further sequels, eventually surfaced. "there's supposed to be 3 more movies before AND after the ones we already love?!" the boys exclaimed. retooled versions of the originals soon appeared, the boys couldn't get enough. george lucas was god, and star wars was the bible. then... in late 1998, as 1999 quickly approached, there was a blink on the horizon. Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace would be released in theaters the next year. speculation as to the story, the characters involved, the cast, it was all up for grabs, what was Episode 1 going to be like?? What did the title mean? was anakin going to be in it? were luke and leia going to be in it as children? we NEEDED to know! tickets were bought for opening night. midnight, 3am, 6am, 9am... yes! we would stay up all night and see the NEW star wars movie! 4 times! A NEW star wars movie, we still couldn't believe it. it was like george lucas had heard our prayers, and answered them. the young lads were engrossed in episode 1, blindly unable to see the horrid pile that it truly was. but, eventually, we all know how it turned out. fast forward 9 years. countless dvd releases, horrible cg, spin offs, video games and plenty of reflection time later, we catch up with our hero. detroit, now a seasoned 27 year old, disillusioned by the constant raping and exploitation of his childhood passion by it's creator hears of another star wars movie, to take place in the midst of the prequel story line.

"is this really necessary?" he wondered. "hasn't george lucas done enough to tarnish my childhood memories?" he pondered. "when is this gonna stop?!" he proclaimed.

as time went on, things surrounding this nightmare got progressively worse. this new movie was to be computer animated. many of the voices were NOT going to be done by previous cast members. and then trailers surfaced... the animation looked choppy, the voice over work lackluster, and of course... no hints as to the actual storyline. detroit found it near impossible to get excited about the upcoming film. as much as he desperately wanted to, he just couldn't. "it might be good," "it looks kinda cool," some friends chimed. he would always reply with, "look, i want to agree with you, but we all know... this isn't going to end well for any of us." the reviews started coming in, unsurprisingly the world responded with a resounding "MEH." but detroit knew, deep down in his heart, that the 10 year old contained within him would never let a star wars movie pass without being seen.

and this brings us to today. i stand before you, in the wake of seeing the clone wars. i am happy to report that seeing this "movie" was not a TOTAL loss. the art style was very cool, and a lot of interesting choices were made in regards to character design, texture and lighting approach, and environments. i give the art direction department an A+ on a job well done. unfortunately, the praise ends there. the bordering on beautiful art style was utterly torn to pieces by amateur animation and voice over "acting". it's almost as if they started with the character design, said "yes! this rules!" and then immediately stood up on top of their drawing tables and took a giant shit. character movements were so choppy and jarring and lifeless, it was as if they were watching marionette footage for inspiration. animation can be exciting, and voiceover work can be engaging and heartfelt and convincing. however, this movie does not hit any of those points. the storyline was pointless and annoying, it was so obtuse and thrown together, i was actually rolling my eyes at some points. the pacing was all over the map. i literally felt like i was watching a movie that was a product of a room full of 12 year olds sitting around saying "wouldn't it be cool if they did this?!!" and then another chimes in and says "yeah, and this too?" and another chimes in and says "and then this too..." and not a single idea got turned down. the most satisfying part of the movie was when i got up in the middle to take a crap. this movie is totally unnecessary, totally superfluous, totally annoying, and should have either immediately been canned as an idea entirely, or gone straight to dvd, or maybe just make it a game and leave our beloved childhood memories alone for now.

however, there was a trailer for the new harry potter movie, so ya know... that was cool.

love, an predictably saddened detroit.

p.s. don't even get me started on the upcoming star wars tv show.

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