Monday, October 20, 2008

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

I found the Clone Wars theatrical feature to be surprisingly enjoyable. While the animation could not possibly compete on a technical level with legitimate theatrical productions, the film combined a clean and consistent look with some impressive stunts that were in keeping with the distinctive Star Wars aesthetic of lightsabers and Force-powered acrobatics. Of particular note, the first act provided an exciting new look at ground combat in a world of Jedi and droids. True, the unrelenting action had become exhausting by the third act, whereupon it took some questionable turns, but, overall, it was a good sight better than the reviews would have suggested.

Four episodes in, the television series is more of the same. The first episode, a Yoda-centric story, was fairly worthless, and I personally find Yoda intolerable in anything but the smallest doses. The three-episode "Malevolence" arc, however, made good use of the show's short running time and weekly format to provide tightly-focused stories that tied together but were probably best digested with breaks in between.

More than anything, the show reminds me of the action cartoons that I watched as a kid--programs like G.I. Joe and Transformers, which were so characteristic of television animation from the '80s through the early '90s. I haven't actually seen any of those shows again since watching them as a young child, so I hesitate to defend their quality too fervently based on vague rose-tinted memories, but, while such mercenary productions might make for suspect models, I have often found myself yearning for a return to those times in the face of today's distressingly irreverent and, in my opinion, equally unambitious kids' programming. Even as they were motivated by the overriding mandate to peddle toys to their young viewers, they managed to provide stories of heroism and virtue in a wink-free manner scarcely found among cartoons these days.

I can't say I go the whole week looking forward to the next episode, but, when it does arrive, it provides an expectedly breezy half-hour of mild thrills that takes me back to my childhood.


Riyuu said...

You would rather watch an episode about that stupid Anakin as compared to the awesome that is Yoda?


Czardoz said...

What about the awesome that is my emoticons?





"That face you make. Look I so old to your eyes?"

Yoda-man is the awesome!

Sam Kahn said...

How does the movie and new show compare to the older 2d animated shorts? Those were awesome.