Film Review: Star Wars – The Clone Wars

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The three Star Wars prequels still divide fans of the original trilogy.

Was Jar-Jar Binks a travesty, or just The Phantom Menace’s answer to the Ewoks?

Were the epic battles little more than over-the-top and confusing computer game cut-scenes, or George Lucas once again pushing movie technology to its very limit?

Did they add to the original movies, or detract from them?

Did they ruin fond childhood memories or set off waves of pleasing nostalgia?

Only one thing is certain – if you’re of a certain age, you’ll still have a soft spot for all things Star Wars, even if you hated those long-awaited movies that came out between 1999 and 2005.

The idea that there’s suddenly yet another new Star Wars film out at the cinemas may well come as a bit of a surprise, but it will still spark some curiosity whether you laughed or cried at the end of Revenge of the Sith.

If you’re anywhere between your late 20s and mid-40s, you’ll have grown up with this strange universe and there’s a good chance you’ll have ensured that (if you have any) your kids are doing the same.

It’s a fact: children love Star Wars.

Indeed, the argument of some defenders of the prequels is that the reason they drew so much criticism is that they’re films for kids, just like the originals.

Just because the target audience of the first trilogy has grown up doesn’t mean that the new films have to as well.

You can see their point – after all, who’d want an 18-certificate Star Wars? It’d ruin all the fun.

As if to prove that these films were always meant primarily for kids, though with adults being more than welcome to join in (much like the cross-generational appeal of the Shrek movies, in fact), for the latest Star Wars outing George Lucas has opted for something rather different to what we’ve previously seen at the cinema.

Yep, this is the Star Wars universe in cartoon form.

Of course, there have been animation spin-offs before, from the near-legendary 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special (in which the character of Boba Fett first appeared in cartoon form) to the mid-Eighties spin-off series Droids and Ewoks.

Animated versions of the Star Wars universe have been a cheap and effective way of continuing the franchise for the less demanding.

Those keener Star Wars fans will no doubt already have realized that an animated version of the Clone Wars (the galaxy-wide battle between good and evil that takes place roughly between Episodes II and III of the film series) has already been seen on the small screen running for 25 short episodes between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith from 2003 to 2005.

But never fear; this isn’t just that TV version re-edited into a film to make a quick buck, but a whole new storyline featuring many of the characters from the films, including Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi.

With a funky new Japanese-inspired animation style, this movie is a big screen, big budget introduction to a whole new animated TV series, set to kick off later this year (in the States, at least).

But is it any good?

Well, yes, actually. Stylish and slick, it greatly heightens expectations for the TV series.

Not taking itself too seriously while still treating the Star Wars universe with respect, this could actually prove to be just the thing to win back the old fans who were so disappointed by the live action prequels.

Don’t let Jar-Jar Binks put you off.

If you’ve ever been a fan, this could be for you.