George Lucas empire strikes out
By Matt Brunson
STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS
DIRECTED BY Dave Filoni
STARS Matt Lanter, Ashley Eckstein
Pop quiz, hotshot. Which line of dialogue does not appear in a Star Wars movie?
A) "May the Force be with you."
B) "Join me, and together we can rule the galaxy as father and son."
C) "So this is how liberty dies, with thunderous applause."
D) "Does sweet'um want some num-nums?"
I wish I could say that the correct answer is D), but actually all four lines appear in one installment or another, with that atrocious final snippet of dialogue appearing in the new animated feature Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The early word is that only Star Wars fanatics will enjoy this latest addition to the franchise, but that's grossly inaccurate: As someone who was 11 years old when the original film hit theaters back in the summer of 1977 and thus has always considered it a rite-of-passage milestone, I was nauseated upon stumbling out of George Lucas' latest sorry attempt to squeeze every last penny out of this franchise. Lucas produced the disastrous Howard the Duck back in the 1980s, but instead he should have set his sights on the avaricious Scrooge McDuck, given their shared lust for lucre.
Set in the period between Episodes II (Attack of the Clones) and III (Revenge of the Sith), this focuses on the war that helped the evil Empire take over the galaxy. The principal story strand concerns the efforts of Anakin Skywalker and his teenage apprentice, a sassy girl named Ahsoka Tano (Lucasfilm, meet the Disney Channel), to rescue Jabba the Hutt's kidnapped baby boy (nicknamed "Stinky" by Ahsoka) from Count Dooku and his posse. What sort of nonsense is this? And there's more: Jabba also has a swishy relative (Ziro the Hutt) who speaks exactly like Truman Capote(!). And while Jar Jar Binks is thankfully nowhere to be found, the battle droids prove to be every bit as idiotic and insufferable - and there are lots of them in the movie.
The CGI animation, which director Dave Filoni states was inspired by both Japanese anime and the puppets from the 1960s TV show Thunderbirds, is harsh on the eyes and proves to be aesthetically unpleasing. A couple of action sequences do manage to elevate this film out of the realm of utter despair, but for the most part, this is curdled cinema that even the fans will upchuck.