Clone Wars – The Good and The Bad

My wonderful wife told me Tuesday evening that I needed to get out of the house for the night and go see Star Wars – Clone Wars. I won’t go into a long speech about how this makes her, hands down, the most wonderful woman on the planet, I think that is implied. So I hopped in the minivan, sans children, and went to catch the latest Star Wars movie in theatres.

I was a little bit apprehensive. I have heard mixed reviews about the latest installment of Star Wars, it seems however, that the mixed reviews follow much the same pattern as all Star Wars movies; critics don’t like it, average movie goer loves it. I went into the theater just hoping that I wouldn’t be disappointed.

Let me start by saying overall, I thought the movie was a solid B+. I have to be upfront and let everyone know that I am a total Star Wars fan-boy so my opinion is biased; however, my willingness to give the film a B+ and not an A should tell you that my review is fair.

The soundtrack to this film is awesome! I am not talking about sound effects; I am talking about the soundtrack. You have your typical light-saber sounds, explosions, blaster fire, etc. The music, the actual music that plays through certain sections of the film really adds a lot to the experience. Some of the soundtrack is a reincarnation of the original score by John Williams; some of the music is new and ranges greatly in styles. This was an unexpected surprise about 20 minutes into the movie. It was so good that from that point on, I made it a point to listen for the music when it came in, which is something I never do.

The Cinematography was amazing. I realize that this is an animated movie, and there are no real physical challenges to filming any given scene from “a certain point of view” (shameless Return of the Jedi reference). With that in mind, I really think that the cinematography in this film is wildly innovative for an animated feature. I think that once again, Lucas is pushing the envelope and really showing us more than just a movie, we are seeing his vision when watching the screen. I found myself sitting there with a stupid grin on my face thinking this is just really a beautiful thing to watch, that was probably my fan-boy talking, I don’t anticipate that everyone in the theater had the same grin I did.

So after all that praise, I bet you are wondering why I gave it only a B+. The truth is, the plot was weak in my opinion. I kind of felt that way going into the film just based on what I had read about the plot and seen in trailers.

** Here is your official minor spoiler alert. I am not going to discuss the plot too extensively but if you are not at all familiar with the plot or characters in this movie there are some minor spoilers from this point on. **

I didn’t really like the padawan Osuka. I thought the interactions (dialogue) between her and Anakin were forced and pretty cheesy. It didn’t fit with the Clone Wars animated series overall and I didn’t feel like it fit within the original films or the expanded universe for that matter. I think that it was a significant departure of character for Anakin from what we have seen and know about his character during this time period.

I also didn’t like the idea of Anakin having a padawan in general. I feel like it opens up too many questions down the road. I realize that this movie introduces the new season of the clone wars and that we have an entire season of animated episodes to flesh out this relationship and what ultimately happens to Osuka, however, we know that by Revenge of the Sith she is no longer in the picture. This means that she either is dead, or has become a Jedi Knight. For some reason both of those resolutions kind of irk me from a continuity standpoint.

As I right this, I almost start to wonder if the character of Osuka was an implant to try and draw in the teenie-bopper girl crowd. Throw in a teenage girl padawan who can kick butt and is kind of sassy and maybe we can draw in the Hannah Montana/ High School Musical crowd. I don’t know if it worked for them, but it didn’t work for me.

In addition, felt like there was way too much droid humor, again a lot of this humor felt forced and really broke up the flow of the film. It made a large portion of the movie seem choppy.

** END OF SPOILERS**

So to wrap things up…

Can you take your kids to this movie? Yes, but it is pretty long; I believe the run time is about 130 minutes. Personally I am going to wait until the DVD comes out to show it to my son, he is three and it’s not easy for him to sit through a 2 hr movie.

Was it a good movie experience? Absolutely, with the exception of the little girl sitting next to me in the theater who insisted on rocking her dolly through the entire movie because the dolly didn’t like the Sith.

If you are a Star Wars fan of any kind, it’s a must see, if you are not necessarily a Star Wars fan, this is not your typical Star Wars movie so please take that into account.

Side Note: Saw a preview for a new animated movie called Bolt that looked pretty hilarious. You can check out the trailer here.

To check out another great review of Star Wars – The Clone Wars check out Steve Glosson’s review at Geek Out Online.

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