Saturday, August 16, 2008

Star Wars adds a new episode....kind of

Warner Bros. Pictures' Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Star Wars : The Clone Wars is today's movie of choice....
In a galaxy far, far away on the front lines of an intergalactic struggle between good and evil, fans young and old joined such favorite characters as Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Padme Amidala, along with brand-new heroes like Anakin's padawan learner, Ahsoka. Sinister vilians--led by Palpatine, Count Dooku, and General Grievous--are poised to rule the galaxy. Stakes are high, and the fate of the Star Wars universe rests in the hands of the daring Jedi Knights. Their exploits lead to the action-packed battles and astonishing new revelations.

But this Clone Wars big-screen preview of the new fall TV series is actually better than expected. Action-packed computer animation with long, lean, gaunt characters, it brings familiar characters (Anakin, Obi Wan, Jabba, Count Dooku, Padme, Mace, Yoda) into the middle of the wars that earlier movies and a TV series touched on -- the war between the Clone soldiers of the Republic and the Droid soldiers of the Sith. Jabba the Hutt's slimy little larvae (his son) has been larvae-napped. And since he is the "all wise and powerful Jabba" who controls the trade routes to the outer rim of the galaxy "far far away," both the Jedi and the Sith want to be the ones to rescue the kid. This well-financed rebellion is able to mount major space battles, enlist (or enslave) new star systems and stage planet-by-planet invasions, which the Republic and its Jedi generals fend off one by one. The combat animation here is vivid, and the animation in general is almost lifelike at times. New grace notes to the series? For the first time in memory, the shootouts show soldiers actually running out of electronic laser blast ammo. Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Lee and Anthony Daniels reprise their roles, as voices. The rest? Impersonators of Ewan McGregor, Frank Oz et al. And some of the dialogue they utter is clunky in the extreme.

"Have her meet with an accident with extreme prejudice." Harrison Ford's insult to Lucas while shooting the first Star Wars movie still applies:

"Who talks like this, man?"

But what kid won't root for Ahsoka Tano, the tube-topped, tight-skirt teen padewan that Anakin must bicker with and train for her days as a Jedi? A solid 3 on my "Go See" scale.

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