Star Wars: The Clone Wars is a surprising treat for animation and Star Wars fans alike.


After I finished watching “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” I went back to my computer to check the credits of the film.   George Lucas, the creative mastermind behind the Star Wars franchise, has a “character and universe by” credit on this exciting cartoon feature, set after Episodes One and Two in the official Star Wars storyline.   Not many stories give out the judicious “universe by” credit, but George Lucas deserves every enunciation uttered in the name of his epic Star Wars universe.


I was born in 1977, in October.   That means, for my entire life, I have always had Star Wars there to support my intergalactic fantasies. (The original Star Wars opened on May 25th, 1977.)   While the second trilogy produced in Earth’s timeline received somewhat less than universal praise, with only the third film considered truly worthy of comparison to the first three, “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” bravely follows “Revenge of the Sith” along that same path, an even harder feat considering it is completely rendered in CGI animation.   (Although I have recently revisited the first two films and found that they have improved with age, but are still is a far cry from the first three)


It has been years since I have been in a geek mindset, but once a geek, always a geek.   And by geek, I mean the courageous few who dedicate their lives to remembering the intricacies of any given commercially available product.   The Star Wars universe is a product I “geeked” out about during my formative years (I saw Episode 4 at the age of 4 sitting on my aunt’s lap in a packed theatre, and have seen all of the theatrical releases to date since then) and I certainly like to revisit it when I have the chance as a functioning adult.   You won’t see me at Comic-Con in Storm Trooper armor, but I’m there in spirit.


When the opportunity to review “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” for LA Splash Online Magazine presented itself, I was excited.   A cartoon rendering of my childhood fantasies has worked before with the 25 episode run of “The Clone Wars” and the animation style has been kept intact for the CGI big screen edition of the series.   All the characters from “The Phantom Menace” and "Attack of the Clones" are drawn from renditions of their live action counterparts, providing a fun surrealism to the experience.   If you are not a fan of animation but are a fan of Star Wars, I urge you to check it out.   If you are a fan of animation, but not Star Wars, the call is up to you, but this is a good film, so take a chance.


They chose not to recast the enormous talent that they brought to the live action movies for the voices, but a few fan favorites make vocal appearances.   Samuel Jackson revives his role as Mace Windu for a handful of scenes and Christopher Lee is back as Count Dooku. (Dooku was the one character I thought didn’t look much like his live action visage)   Perhaps their characters used their force powers to sense that they wouldn’t be around much longer (spoiler alert but if you haven’t seen them yet, you probably don’t care) since they both perish in “Revenge of the Sith”.


For the film itself, it is a beautifully imagined tale of intergalactic politics, without the heavy handed exposition of Episodes I and II.   The actions sequences are creative and entertaining.   The story is simple, but effective.   The sound, of course, was amazing.   Even if this film didn’t have the burden of positioning itself as a tie-in for a brand new cartoon TV series, it still would provide seriously fun entertainment for the geek in all of us.


I have one issue, which has a mild spoiler element to it, so be warned.   The story centers around Count Dooku and his dangerous assassin apprentice Asajj Ventress kidnapping Jabba the Hutt’s son to manipulate the Hutt family resources into siding with the Federation army.   As a result, somewhere along the way, a new Hutt character is introduced.


I’m all for the Jar-Jar-Binks type of characters where they try to match a strange dialect with a strange alien life form.   Jabba the Hutt is impressive because he is one of the stranger species in this universe and his voice matches the visual impression.


So why they decided to make Jabba the Hutt’s uncle resemble a voice inflected New Orleans Creole transvestite, I will never know.   Don’t believe me in my assumptive prose?  

Imagine the disgusting slug known as Jabba the Hutt talking like T-Bag, the Lousiana child molester from Prison Break.   It is cinematic surrealism at its finest.  

Still don’t believe me?   Then witness as the new Hutt character speaks Mardi Gras accented English while sporting stylish neon body paint stripes and a fun and decorative purple feather sticking out from under his droopy, slime covered eyelids.   You make the call.


All in all, this was a very entertaining flick.   I may have personal bias, but I happen to belong to a large group of fans that won’t mind.   If you like the Star Wars universe, you will enjoy this movie.   It fits in very well with the “universe” that our lord and geek savior, George Lucas created for the kid in all of us, which is really what these movies are all about.


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