Thanks to my young son, I was given the chance to attend a special advance screening of Star Wars: The Clone Wars this morning. My understanding is that this movie will be spun-off into a cartoon sometime in the not-too-distant future.
As movies go, there are lots of battles, lots of explosions, and a few lightsaber fights. None of them were as good as the Maul vs. Kenobi & Jinn in Episode I or Anakin vs. Kenobi in Episode III, but I digress. In terms of quality, I'd say it's better than Episode I for sure but overall isn't all that spectacular. It's a good diversion, certainly fun to watch, but it was just okay.
Part of the problem is that I kept wondering about some of the characters they introduce. For example, there's the puzzle of Ashoka Tano, Anakin's new padawan apprentice.
Now it figures that at some point, Anakin would have been assigned a padawan. That makes sense. But my problem is how Ashoka fits into the overall story. Obviously she doesn't show up in Episode III. Does that mean she was killed at some point in the War? If so, great premise for a kid's show. While scrappy and a bit funny, Ashoka bugged me thanks to two nicknames she saddled on main characters. Just did not like those at all.
I also wondered about introducing Asajj Ventress into the larger Star Wars universe. Sure, she's been a staple of the Extended Universe for a while now (featuring in the first part of the animated Clone Wars series on Cartoon Network and in the Clone Wars series of comic books), but she's thrown into this movie without much of an introduction. She's just called "Dooku's assassin" and we're told that she wants revenge on Skywalker. Why? It's never explained. A little research might help there.
The plot between the Republic and the Separatists is pretty mundane, nothing noteworthy.
There are a few gripes that I have with the movie, starting with the music. By and large, the score put together by Kevin Kiner was okay. But in the opening, he decided to "update" the Star Wars theme a little. Nothing too drastic, but I was disappointed. It would have been better to stick with the classic in my opinion. And when Kiner tries to evoke a certain noir feeling for one scene, I knew things were going downhill fast.
Speaking of which, pay attention for that noir music. That's the signal that you're about to cross into some really ridiculous territory. But I won't say much more than that. Just think about the character you meet and ask yourself, "How and why is he different?" Really poor.
So how does it all add up? If you're a kid or have one, it should be a good time. If you're a Star Wars purist like me, maybe go to a matinee. Otherwise wait for the DVD.