Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

posted by Nell Minow
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for sci-fi action violence throughout, brief language and momentary smoking.
Nudity/Sex:Mild gross-out humor
Alcohol/Drugs:Nightclub scenes
Violence/Scariness:constant science fiction battles, mostly involving robots but human and humanoid characters are in peril, many fight scenes, guns, light sabers, and martial arts fighting
Diversity Issues:Diverse characters, strong, brave, capable minorities and women
Movie Release Date:August 13, 2008
DVD Release Date:November 11, 2008

Oh, George Lucas. Please stop diluting the franchise.

This latest all-animated iteration of “Star Wars” has a relationship to the original somewhere along the lines of the relationship of a homeopathic ingredient to the ultimate concoction. It has been diluted so that its atoms are barely detectable. The saga suffers in part because so many have taken what Lucas did in the 1970’s and 80’s and taken it further in terms of technology as well as story. All that remains here is from the weakest part of the original trilogy, especially the cardboard dialogue, without the screen charisma and acting ability of Harrison Ford and some of the others to make it work. The animation is below the level of most video games.

Worst of all, the movie diminishes the story arc of the original trilogies by taking the key character of Anakin Skywalker in a direction unrelated to everything we knew about him. What should enrich and expand on the stories just erodes further our sense of the original characters.

  • jestrfyl

    It is as I feared – the Force has little presence here.
    O’ well, it will be a fun treat for the little kids either as school begins (a first week reward) or as a last thing to do before school buses fire up and the bells ring again.
    For the rest of us – a Marathon, a glut, a veritable feast on the Force — O to have the time to watch all six in one day!

  • Scoke

    “Oh, George Lucas. Please stop diluting the franchise.”
    It always baffles me when people say this. Why should he stop doing what he created? He has every right to do what he wants to his franchise. Yes, this movie may be bad, but that doesn’t mean his rights should be stripped.

  • Alicia

    The pans of this movie just keep coming. Lucas should have quit making Star Wars films while he was ahead – after “The Empire Strikes Back.” “Return of the Jedi” filled out the first trilogy, but it was light-years behind the other two as entertainment.
    Check out the following article “By George, Give Up! One critic begs and pleads for George Lucas to PLEASE stop already …”
    on MSN:

  • Vince Lugo

    Reality check people: Lucas doesn’t care what anyone thinks of him. He’s doing exactly what he wants to do, just like he always has. I admire him for that, really. I enjoyed the new Indy film and I enjoyed the Star Wars prequels. Any true fan did, and that’s the point. That’s all I have to say about that.

  • Mark Magee

    …wouldn’t it be great if George decided to make a small, low-budget film with unknowns simply dealing with a well-written story about relationships…oh wait…he did do that 4 years before ‘Star Wars’ and it was called ‘American Graffiti’. Maybe the ability to make that type of film has been taken over by the Star Wars universe, but it sure would be cool to see a glimpse of that again in a film not located in ‘a galaxy far far away’…

  • dan

    I am fine with your opinion about the movie but what gets me is the comment about the animation. It is not supposed to be realistic!! It is supposed to be a 3-D cartoon and thats what it is.

  • Nell Minow

    Thanks, Dan! I’m glad you liked the animation. I didn’t want it to look realistic. i don’t know what “realistic” means when the movie takes place on other planets and in “a galaxy far, far away.” I just didn’t think it was very imaginative or up to the quality of the live-action special effects.

  • Marc

    Whoa … this is supposed to be a website exploring spirituality and faith, among other things? So, why all the animosity toward a CARTOON? Kids I know absolutely adore “Clone Wars,” and rightly so — we had “our” “Star Wars,” now they get theirs. There are so many great lessons in here, not the least of which (and kids I know actually do discuss this, which is much more than can be said for when I was growing up) is, “Why is there a war in the first place?” Anakin’s new padawan is a big hit with the kids in my life. There’s so much to love here — just because it’s not “Star Wars” the way YOU wanted it, doesn’t mean kids aren’t loving it!

  • Marc

    Oh, one other question — how is this taking Anakin in a direction different than we knew about him? We knew he was a great hero. We knew he was a great pilot. We just never saw that side of him in action before now. It IS possible for a great hero to grow older and become consumed by the dark side. Just look at American politics … and I’m not joking! I don’t know a single kid who can’t reconcile “good” Anakin and “bad” Anakin/Darth Vader. Funny, it’s actually only the adults I know who have a problem with this!

  • Nell Minow

    If this series gave any hint of the “good” and “bad” sides of Anakin that were clear even in “Phantom Menace,” I would not have a problem with it. Reconciling that duality is one of the key themes of the films and an essential part of its enduring appeal. But this character is so completely different from the way he was portrayed in the live-action films that it seems like a cynical exploitation of the franchise instead of a deepening exploration of the themes. So what is left is more “Power Rangers” than “Star Wars.”
    I’m always glad when someone sees more in a movie than I do and I am really glad that this series is one you and your family enjoy. But for me, it was a disappointment.

  • jestrfyl

    I am willing to give Lucas the benefit of my doubt, but I am not willing to surrender $7-10 for a ticket or even the $3 for a rental. I’ll wait until I can see it for free. I appreciate what he is trying to do with this film. But I am afraid he may dilute the entire effort, as has happened with the Dune series by Frank Herbert and son and others.
    Now, I wonder if he ever thought of doing a collection of short films, using animation or live-action as a sort of Star Wars midrash, filling in some of the other story lines, like “Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” does for Shakespeare. These could be collected and shown as one feature.
    And please let us know if this little annoying secret code thing below works. I have my doubts, but if there is a real use, I would like to know how and how well it works. We dyslexics get very frustrated filling these things in.

  • Robert

    I just watched this on DVD last night. At one point I thought the movie was moving toward the end, then there was a plot twist that showed it was going to last longer and I felt a sense of dread.
    This movie has tons of action sequences, and some of the visuals show a fine sense of motion and scale (big things really are big). But I had little or no interest in the plot or characters. There was nothing there that made me want to know what happened next. When the action stops for a moment to let characters talk the dialog is cliched and stilted. I thought I had heard almost every line before in some other stupidly written show. Much of the voice work was of a quality to match the rotten lines they were given.
    This amazing ability to take such imaginative settings and characters and wrap them in a plot that leaves you bored and indifferent was also displayed in Star Wars 1 and 2 (I never saw 3, couldn’t bring myself to do it). I don’t know how Lucas and his writers accomplish this. It is like serving a doughnut that turns out to be all hole underneath the pile of sprinkles and glaze.

  • Nell Minow

    Thanks so much, Robert — I liked your review better than mine! Your comments are astute and well-stated. I really appreciate your taking the time to write and hope you will continue to post comments about the movies you see.

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