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Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Reviewed by Matthew Bey, © 2008

Format: Movie
By:   Dave Filoni, Henry Gilroy and George Lucas
Genre:   Science Fiction
Review Date:   August 23, 2008
Audience Rating:   PG
RevSF Rating:   1/10 (What Is This?)

It's hard to find anything about this movie that isn't horrid.

The Clone Wars ends the process that Phantom Menace began. By replacing the characters with CGI animations, the Star Wars franchise has finally removed the last traces of humanity from the story. The only thing remaining is the marketing tie-ins.

So much has been written about the creative bankruptcy at the heart of the Star Wars legacy that there's no point in assigning blame and naming names. Let's just say that we all used to have a sense of wonder and nostalgia for a certain trilogy. Since 1999 those feelings have been raped like a wildlife refuge on an oil field.

As a kid, I had heard rumors of a Clone War that preceded the story I had grown to love. I had no idea what a clone war would entail, but in my fourteen-year-old head it was epic and mythic beyond imagining.

Who would have thought it could be so dull. Somewhere in the galaxy, on a war-ravaged planet, a mechanically inhuman army of droids faces off against a marginally less mechanical army of clones. Why are they fighting? Who the hell can tell. Haven't clones and robots always hated each other?

The script is so arbitrary and nonsensical, one can only assume that it was written by the same computer that did the animation.

Faces are rendered in cartoonish swoops, no doubt to side-step the whole uncanny valley issue. The result looks like a creepy hybrid between department store mannequins and Max Headroom, only with less personality than either.

The Roger-Roger droids are the most likable characters, and they get slaughtered with heart-breaking brutality. Likewise, the Jango clones are mercilessly dismembered and blown apart in virtually every scene. It's as if the writers thought that because they're clones that violence against them doesn't count. I can tell you right now that decapitated clones have no place in a kid's movie.

The jedis burn through clones like dollar bills at the Yellow Rose. No wonder the clones decided to frag those jedi bastards.

Some marketing executive somewhere decided to team Darth Vader with a wisecracking teen girl. He calls her "Snips" and she calls him "Skyguy." There's nothing about the two of them together that isn't annoying.

There's a point where they're trekking through the Tatooine desert (the only desert in the galaxy) when the teen asks Anakin about growing up there. And you know why he doesn't want to talk about it? It's the only part of the Star Wars chronology that rivals this flick for sheer stupidity.

Ostensibly Anakin and the kid need to rescue Jabba the Hutt's son because Jabba controls the space-lanes that the Republic needs to ferry troops around in the Clone War (which they happened to be fighting for some reason or other).

If the Hutts could limit the movements of an entire space navy, wouldn't they be less like gangsters and more like a sovereign state?

Jabba's Uncle Ziro shows up, and he is easily the most appalling and offensive character to spring into the Star Wars universe. Worse than Jar-Jar, worse than Grandpa Itchy, worse than Bea Arthur, worse than a certain blaster-wielding rabbit. Honestly, the less said the better.

Okay, I want to try and find something nice to say. There was a scene where the teen padawan rides on top of a cliff-climbing walker that was pretty neat. And then I wondered what sort of an inhuman monster puts an inexperienced thirteen-year-old girl on the front line of a war?

Yoda, apparently.

But not to worry, there's no real sense of danger, or narrative tension, for even a moment.

So, something nice to say? Even in CGI, Amidala's got a big ol' booty. That's kinda nice.


Matthew Bey was mercilessly dismembered and blown apart in every scene.

 
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