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Movie Review

Star Wars: The Clone Wars a.k.a. “Star Wars: Die Klonkriege,” “La Guerra de los clones”

MPAA Rating: PG for sci-fi action violence throughout, brief language and momentary smoking.

Reviewed by: Stacy Braswell
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Kids, Family, Teens, Adults
Genre:
Sci-Fi Animation Action Adventure
Length:
1 hr. 38 min.
Year of Release:
2008
USA Release:
August 15, 2008
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures / Lucasfilm Animation Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures / Lucasfilm Animation Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures / Lucasfilm Animation Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures / Lucasfilm Animation Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures / Lucasfilm Animation Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures / Lucasfilm Animation Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures / Lucasfilm Animation Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures / Lucasfilm Animation Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures / Lucasfilm Animation Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures / Lucasfilm Animation Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures / Lucasfilm Animation
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures / Lucasfilm Animation
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Featuring: Samuel L. Jackson, Matt Lanter, Christopher Lee, Ian Abercrombie, Anthony Daniels, Tom Kane, Ashley Drane, Matthew Wood
Director: Dave Filoni
Producer: George Lucas, Catherine Winder
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures / Lucasfilm Animation

In this installation of the Lucas legacy (which is to be the kick off of a 100 episode television cartoon show) Anakin Skywalker gets a female padiwan, Ashoka Tano. She is willful, sarcastic and disrespectful which doesn't seem to flow with what we have been taught about how Jedi's in training should act. She is, however, except for one thing (mentioned later), quite likable and skillful. It does make sense however that Anakin would get a difficult padiwan considering he was also a difficult padiwan. She is chosen for him by Obi Wan.

Anakin and Ashoka are on a mission to rescue Jabba the Hut's son who turns out to be a quite cute baby hutlet. Most of the film follows Anakin, Ashoka, R2D2 and the hutlet. Yoda shows up a few times with Mace Windu as does Padme towards the end who lends a hand in saving the day. Some other old favorites who show up are Chancellor Palpatine, Darth Sideous, Count Dooku and C3PO.

Overall, the story flows very well. It is interesting enough to keep adults engaged but not so detailed the kids are looking at you going 'what?'.

The effects were… well… effective. One of my pet peeves with cartoons these days is the editing is so fast I can't understand what is going on and it ends up giving me a headache. The editing in this film was spot on, very engaging but not so fast you got lost in the hustle and bustle of it all.

Anakin, Obi Wan and even Ashoka are all rockin in their Jedi skills!

The worker droids are very funny in this and provide the humor in it all.

There is quite a bit of violence but most of the casualties are non human. No blood or guts just sparks and droid pieces. There is one scene where the decapitated heads of non human characters are presented. Padme is pushed around a little but not hurt.

There is a new evil female character called Ventress who fares to be quite scary and may scare smaller children. She wears a low cut blouse or halter in some of the scenes.

The extent of profanity in the movie is one “damn.” Other than that the worst is “scum” which is uttered a few times and they call the hutlet “stinky.” Twice you hear Anakin say “I hate the huts.”

There is a female alien who dances in front of Jabba. She is dressed in what seems to be either skin with no details or a full body suit. I think she is there for his enjoyment but didn't seem sexual.

There are two things that bothered me the most. Ashoka is very pretty and likable. (I personally am glad to finally see a female Jedi.) But she is dressed in a tank top (no straps, belly showing) and mini skirt. Her skin is orange, so it doesn't come off sexual, but it is still disturbing and not necessary to me (I have two young boys). She wears white tights, red knee high boots, black and white striped hair and bears an uncanny resemblance to Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen.

The other is Jabba the Hut's “uncle” Zero. Many times they refer to him as “uncle,” but he is purple, talks like a woman (a southern woman), wears what looks like feathers on his head and has his entire body tattooed. Both of my boys looked at me with confusion when he showed up, looking like a cross between Nathan Lane in The Birdcage and Ouiser (Shirley McLaine) in Steel Magnolias.

Overall, I loved this movie and will be buying it when it comes out. My children will be sure to enjoy it over and over as they memorize the lines and continue on in their own Jedi skills.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Mild

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—Very good. Repeatedly, in the movie, the soldier express willingness to die to protect others, at which point parents can talk about how there are soldiers who are willing, and have already, paid such a high price for them. I might be a bit biased, seeing as I am a soldier myself, it's kinda nice to see kids talking about how cool it is defend one's contry, or space republic.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Travis, age 21 (USA)
Comments from young people
Neutral—Unfortunately, this is the first “Star Wars” film in which I recall the use of the Lord's name taken in vain. We aren't told in the review, but when a droid (of all characters) falls off a ledge, it shouts “Oh my ***!” Besides that, the majority of moral issues seemed fine, it's still unfortunate.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Chris, age 16 (USA)
Neutral—I'm a huge “Star Wars” fan. I own and regularly watch all six films, and I have nearly fifty books and counting. So, naturally, I was quite excited when I heard that the “Star Wars” saga would continue as a television show. I wasn't quite so excited when I heard they'd decided to kick it off with a theatrical release.

My concern was that the movie would basically just be three episodes of a TV series strapped end on end and released in film format. Unfortunately, I was right. The movie is very obviously three TV show episodes released in one package. For starters, the animation is done quite poorly by today's standards, with most of the characters moving and behaving like marionettes. It looks great on TV, but not so much on the big screen. Also, like a TV show, it climaxes exactly three times. Just when you think the movie's about to end, BAM!, new subplot. The film is also basically a constant action sequence. TV shows are basically condensed films, which means the hook and the conclusion are close together and need to be filled with excitement in between. This works on TV, but as a movie, it equates to an hour and a half of nonstop action. This leaves little room for character development. On TV, the characters are accepted for what they are, simply because it's a quicker, more condensed, more harmless medium. But again, with a movie, it's hard to stick with these guys for too long.

I also greatly dislike the addition of Ahsoka Tano as a character. She's quite annoying, especially with the ridiculous nicknames she insists on giving to everyone. Her relationship with Anakin also leaves something to be desired. She's introduced as an apprentice, but plays out more like a sidekick—an annoying, back-sassing sidekick.

The dialogue's a bit stiff, too. Many scenes play out something like this:
“This guy is evil and has a big weapon to destroy us.”
“We have to stop him.” “Indeed we must. Now, let's go.”

It gets a bit irritating after a while. This movie assumes that kids are very stupid. They could've followed something a bit more complex. Certain scenes (particularly the first communication between villainous Count Dooku and lackey Asajj Ventress, which plays out in typical villain form) have a so-bad-it's-good quality, which can actually be amusing.

The soundtrack also caught me a bit off guard. It features some entertaining variants of classic Star Wars themes, and it also has a few good new themes (Admiral Yularen's comes to mind). However, it's like they tried to include every musical style in the book in this film. There's this weird Middle Eastern stuff, some techno, some pseudo-classical, some seedy jazz, and even some rock. It's a very strange mixture that only occasionally works.

Now, don't get me wrong—as a three-part TV show pilot, I would've loved this. It's a great hook for the series. But they went wrong in releasing it as a movie, because it's not a movie and should not be referred to as such. Diehard “Star Wars” fans will want this in their collection, but others need not apply.

CHRISTIAN CONTENT—Like I said, the movie's in constant climax and has lots of people being shot/killed with lightsabers/blown up. Most of the violence is inflicted on droids, which lessens it a bit, but it's still there. It lacks intensity though, which may be part of the film's problem. Additionally, there is one mild profanity (odd, considering that the dialogue up until that point had been extraordinarily child-directed), and Ahsoka wears what amounts to an abbreviated tube top.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Matt Triponey, age 17 (USA)
Negative—This movie was just plain awful. I couldn't stand it. The story was awful and interfered with the story line of the originals. The animation was terrible. The acting was terrible. There was a freaking homosexual hutt. AWFUL!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: ½
—Sam, age 13 (USA)