Monday, 11 January 2016

Star Wars; The Clone Wars: Who needs a cast when you have CGI?

A common complaint people have with the prequels is the amount of CGI in use, barely any of the movie was actually on set. So a few years after the prequels had come out, and news of a new Star Wars movie was on the way excited people... until they herd that it was going to be all CG, and it was a prequel for a show by the same name, and that it was still during the prequels. Yeah, that went over well... Well, speaking from a more outsider perspective, as my knowledge of Star Wars is limited to the films, current shows, and The Force Awakens games, this was the first Star Wars movie I ever saw at the cinema, and at the time, I enjoyed it. Does it hold up? Well one way to find out. The focus of this review is the movie, however a lot of it can be applied to the show, and I will be covering aspects of the show, just not in as much detail.

So what's the plot? It's the Clone Wars, as this is set in between episodes 2 and 3. Among the chaos, Jabba the Hut's son (who will never show up again in terms of the movies) has been kidnapped by the Separatists, and it's up to Anakin Skywalker and his new Padawan, Ahsoka Tano, to return Jabba's son. What's that? You thought this would be more complicated? Well to you good reader, I say you're thankfully wrong. Rejoice in your error. Right off the bat, this movie does one thing better then the last two did. It focuses on one story, like the TV show. It has it's twists and turns, but it's all arc based. You don't have things like Attack of the Clones, which is just a mess of plot threads. Is the plot kinda empty for a movie? Yes, but I'd still take "Rescue a kid" over the mess that was Attack of the Clones.
The only real times it gets close to exposition, and yet still feels natural

With a simple plot, and a 98 minute run time, making this the shortest Star Wars film. What's there? Well for one thing, some of the best writing I've seen in this marathon. With a short running time, there's next to no padding, and best of all, next to no exposition. The only bit of forced exposition is at the very start, serving as a replacement for the title scroll found in the other movies. As a result, this movie, and the show it comes from, has some of the best characters I've seen in the Star Wars universe, only backed by excellent, to even perfect voice acting. While the more minor characters like Zero The Hutt aren't that good. The main cast is spot on. To put it in comparison, I said in my review of the Flash Animation Clone Wars series that the voice for Anakin was absolutely awful, and I'm intentionally witholding my views of the actor for him in the live action movies for Friday. But when I think of a voice for Anakin Skywalker, I think of Matt Lanter, who voices him in The Clone Wars. This is perfect for the character, and I say teh same for James Arnold Taylor for Obi-Wan, Ashley Eckstein for newcomer Ahsoka Tano, but so far she's the only voice I've herd for the character, Dee Bradley Baker for the Clone Troopers and pretty much all the major characters in the movie, including reprising roles like Samuel Jackson for Mace Windu, Anthoney Daniels for C-3PO and the late Christopher Lee for Count Dooku. The full cast for the movie is here: with them having the same roles, to my knowledge, for the show. Because most of the exposition's been cut out, the characters can be characters, not just vessels for explanation. That alone greatly improves the characters.
"Just fire right there" Short, sharp, to the point, and what makes this good for Battle droids

Art style wise, I'm not completely singing its praises. It looks fine, but it's not something that will be enjoyed by everyone. The major problem being the fact that the characters look like claymation. They look fine, and unlike other animated works I've covered, there isn't any jarring animation mistakes, but at the same time there isn't anything spectacular. It's unique, but that's about it. It's a case of "you'll either love it, or you'll hate it" but to me, I think it works. For what it's trying to do, it's fine. It does improve as the series goes on, but it does go to show how bad the movie looks in comparison if you're looking at the finer details. I can't however say the same thing for the music. While it keeps to the Star Wars tradition of knowing when to show itself, and when to let the animation shine, it's not something I expect in a Star Wars movie, and it stands out like a sore thumb as a result. It's something that does improve in the show, but again it comes down to personal preferences and in this case, I'm more on the against side rather then for.
"Have you been shot down again?!"

I'm apparently in the minority for this one, as to me, this is one of the best Star Wars films, and hands down the best in the prequels, though when looking at it's competition, it's not a hard one to win. Is it perfect? No, as the plot, at the end of the day, is just rescuing a kid, and as a result, is very samey and predictable. On top of the animation and music, that could be enough to turn people off, and has. I can live with the flaws, as to me it's solid and a much needed breath of fresh air for the prequels. But for now, rejoice, as come Friday, we will be done with the prequels. But between then, there's some patreon videos that will be going public, with replacements to fill that void, and another review, so stay tuned for those.

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