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Arts and Entertainment

Star Wars: The Only Slightly Interesting Wars

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Submitted and Authored by Andrew Seely

I’m going to start this with the preface that I for the most part consider myself a Star Wars fanboy. Which means either I’m going to be more critical of everything Star Wars or every thing attached to Star Wars is the best thing that can happen. Star Wars holds a very special place in my life, maybe it’s all nostalgic feelings of wanting to take part in a run down the trenches of the Death Star or the fact that I actually think I have Force Powers. But there’s something about the Star Wars universe that makes me giddy inside.

Let’s start talking about the movie this way. I think the large appeal about the Clone Wars was how little information we had about it. Really before the animated series and now the feature length, it was mentioned in passing at best. Obi Wan in episode 4, only refers to it as something in the past, something that almost desires to be forgotten. It’s mysterious, yet we know it completely shapes the direction of the galaxy. Even leading up to the start of the Clone Wars in episodes 2 & 3 we wonder what events ultimately lead to the destruction of the republic and the demolishing of the Jedi.

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What we know about the Clone Wars is that they are vast in scope, enveloping the entire galaxy and dividing races and systems. So to try and encapsulate such a large is definitely a monumental task. Not to mention the continuity issues that arise in inserting material into a pre-existing timeline and cannon. As much as I am curious about the events of the Clone Wars it is not a task that I would touch with a 10 foot poll. Yet, that road is being walked down as we currently wait for the saga to be fully completed. Which begs the question, I'm starting to wonder if it will ever be completed. Yes there is the expanded universe, but more specifically wondering if the Skywalker Saga will be put to rest.

We know that's not going to happen anytime soon, with a full 100 episode animated series following up the movie and the live action series in the chute, we'll have at least 5 more years of new Star Wars content to fuel the inner Jedi. The question remains, will the franchise be able to regain the trust and enthusiasm of those still reeling over the disappointment of episodes 1-3?

I'm not sure if this movie is going to help the case. At times VERY campy (even for a Star Wars film), it tries wayyy to hard. From the missing preface crawl, to the 40's news reel sounding intro, the film doesn't exactly start by grabbing you by the balls and not letting go.

As with the previous animated series, the Clone Wars feels very disjointed, much of the time you feel as if a patchwork worth of stories and ideas have been pasted together in some feeble attempt to create a semblance of a storyline. Honestly I've seen better clipshows with better story lines, especially with the expectation that this movie was going to fill in the gaps left by our imagination about the Clone Wars. At the times when I was left wanting more story, more depth, I just got flopped right into something else. And those times where it seemed like the writing was trying to give some exposition and character development, it was always about someone I didn't care about or again fell short of really defining and deepening our understanding of the inner workings of characters.

Part of the problem was that the movie couldn't decide if it was a cartoon, a kid's movie, or a Star Wars movie, so everything suffered. If it could have picked one avenue to go down, I think it might have stood a chance. Even though the previous animated series isn't one of my favorites, it clearly took the point of making things about Star Wars and only Star Wars. Yes it was in cartoon form, but its purpose was to tell a story. Here in movie form I am left trying to find the positives (which there are a few, but we'll get to them later).

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I was glad to see an attempt to bring the Sith into focus, but instead of giving us great insight into the Sith's plans for disrupting the galaxy and destroying the Jedi, we are left with new characters and no new insight into the ultimate plan. Or why the Sith do anything they do. Not to say we're expecting an open book into the Sith mind, but with the knowledge that the Sith ultimately come out of the Clone Wars as the victors, it would have been nice to learn more.

Granted this is just the beginning to the fuller Clone Wars storyline, it left me unfulfilled in almost every way. The dialogue is sub episode 2 and the (re)introduction of Anakin's padawan Ahsoka Tano is almost as bad as Jar Jar. From the pet nicknames for almost everyone, and the annoying droid comments, went from a little comic timing that usually is reserved for R2 and CPO, to just plain cringing. Again trying to cater to the kid audience instead of holding a standard, a compromise that cost.

If you are a fanboy (or girl) of Star Wars you'll see the movie. It's part of the cannon and you'll feel left out if you can't name every 2nd and 3rd tier character and tell their back stories, but for those casual Star War fans, I'd almost say sit it out. Granted the fan boy in me wants everyone to be as informed as I am, but I want people to have a good Star Wars experience, and sadly I think that some people may be more disappointed than I was. If you want to save a few bucks wait for the DVD release (which I can only assume will be by Xmas time) and enjoy it at home and then return your Netflix.

There were some really great things. The visuals at times were nothing less than you would come to expect from a Star Wars movie. Simply stunning, like think back to the time you saw episode 1 in the theatres for the first time, stunning. Once scene in particular stands out, it's a shot of Anakin and Ahsoka walking along the Tatooine desert at sunset, the reds and silhouettes were breathtaking. There are some really good space and air battles (amongst some that go on too long) but there is plenty of times when the animation shines and you get near CGI brilliance that can only truly be appreciated on the big screen.

Anakin's character is far less annoying and childish than Hayden Christensen's portrayal, which is a nice change. But in terms of character achievement, more and more I seem to have a boy crush on Obi Wan. The writing and development of this character holds true to what Alec Guiness started and Ewan McGregor so daftly carried on. Any Star Wars fan will delight in the consistency in which Obi Wan is revered as such a wise and at times smarmy in his undercuffed manner, from tricking Anakin to taking complete control of a battle when all hope seems to be lost, this man always knows what he is doing, even if that means he's getting struck down by Vadar himself.

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The film runs a full two hours, at many times it feels long, and just as you are at the point where you want more, it abruptly ends, which was a disappointment. If you plan on going, I'll suggest low expectations. Hope to be surprised and at the least sit back and enjoy the visuals. Ignore the wayyy overly campy dialogue and relish in your love for all things Star Wars. And if all else fails go home, pop in episode 4 and queue up the trench run and get ready to yell "You're all clear kid. Now let's blow this thing and go home!!"

May the force be with the future of Star Wars and let's hope the Rebels can save the day. That or wait til "Fanboys" comes out next month.