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  Star Wars: The Clone Wars That's Enough
Year: 2008
Director: Dave Filoni
Stars: Matt Lanter, Ashley Eckstein, James Arnold Taylor, Dee Bradley Baker, Tom Kane, Nika Futterman, Ian Abercrombie, Corey Burton, Catherine Taber, Matthew Wood, Kevin Michael Richardson, David Acord, Samuel L. Jackson, Anthony Daniels, Christopher Lee
Genre: Action, Animated, Science Fiction, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Jedi knight Obi-Wan Kenobi (voiced by James Arnold Taylor) and his pupil, Anakin Skywalker (Matt Lanter) are caught in a sticky situation as the battle between the Separatists and the Galactic Republic is intensifying on the Outer Rim, the antagonists being led by Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) who is tightening his grip on the galaxy. What Kenobi and Skywalker don't know is that powerful gangster boss Jabba the Hutt (Kevin Michael Richardson) has suffered the kidnapping of his son which he is not aware is an attempt to force him to join the Separatists...

Are you following this? What happened to the nice, clear plotlines of the original Star Wars films? They were crushed under the need to set up a cartoon series, that's what, in this big screen adventure which doubled as a pilot for the animation plotlines that played out on television in yet another broadening, but not deepening, of the franchise. This resulted in the first flop Star Wars movie, disappointing at the box office although the kids who were new to the intergalactic shenaigans were presumably more attuned to its overinvolved narrative.

This was mainly because it resembled the kind of thing any six-year-old with a supply of the action figures could have come up with at play, and with about the same level of emotional investment for anyone looking on. It didn't help that the animation was stiff and stodgy, with little of the elegance that even the prequels trilogy enjoyed in its computer-generated stylings, and many of the older fans had to reconcile their disappointment with the fact that their beloved, nay, sacred stories of childhood that George Lucas conjured up for them had been sacrificed at the altar of making money out of a now-tired concept.

You could argue that the other big science fiction franchise, Star Trek, could quite happily churn out new tales and still please the adherents, but Star Wars had always been a self-contained story and The Clone Wars looked less like fleshing out much needed explanations than needless doodling in the margins of what anyone who had kept an eye on the previous productions would agree had been pretty much wrapped up. There are new characters as well as old, the main one being a pupil for Anakin called Ahsoka (Ashley Eckstein) who provides someone for light-hearted banter and kidding arguments, but never rises above the sidekick role.

A few of the originals were back to voice their characters, notably Samuel L. Jackson getting about three lines as Mace Windu, and Christopher Lee doing rather better as Dooku, but for all the gigantic action, there was much of the small scale about the actual thrills they evoked. Anakin and Ahsoka head off on the mission to save the little baby Hutt, and Dooku presents the Jedi as conspirators in the kidnap to turn Jabba against them, but as with much of this it all seems so unnecessary that you want to say, all right, we get the idea with this fictional universe, stop adding to it and leave it be, it was fine before you lot started your tinkering. Such tinkering including Jabba's uncle Ziro, supposedly based on Truman Capote but actually more reminiscent of Pizza the Hutt from Spaceballs. And when you can all too easily make those comparisons, maybe it's time to leave Star Wars to the kids. Music by Kevin Kiner.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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