What's it all About? So, after the 'luke' warm reception to the 2008 feature length animated Clone Wars movie, Lucasfilm thought it would be a good idea to launch a new animated series. Hhmm. I made the decision to avoid this and plodded on with my 'clone free' star wars existence. It was around one month ago that I decided it was time to give the three prequel films, The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith (it's understandable if you've wiped their names form your memory) another shot at glory. Sadly they still left a bad taste in my mouth. However, it was around this time that I also remembered there was an animated series that was still being made. I donned my protective gear and made the brave decision to have a peek-a-boo. It was one of the best decisions I've ever made.
Best Episodes? Any eps directed by Dave Filoni or Brian Kalin O'Connell are very solid. Tresspass is set on an ice planet that evokes memories of Hoth and we even see some clones wearing what will one day become Snow Trooper outfits. Very cool.
In Cloak of Darkness we get to see the deadly assassin Asajj Ventress in all her dual lightsaber wielding glory.
So, is this a good show or what? From the outset the show attempts to impart 'character' to the varied personalities on display and as far as characters go, there are many. Jedi, clones, senators, civilians, assassins, droid commanders, crazy aliens and the usual wretched hive of scum and villainy are all represented and all justify their inclusion. In particular, the clone troopers who all have the same facial features are made unique by their nicknames, differing hair cuts, scars, and markings. This helps to show a human side to the republic army when compared to the standardised swarm of the droid army.
The series start off quite episodic with little or no connection from tale to tale. There is however the over arching theme of the republic and the separatists fighting a long drawn out conflict across the galaxy. Most episodes revolve around a small outpost or planet under attack from General Grevious and his 'clankers'. A relief effort is then co-ordinated with Anakin and Obi-Wan taking centre stage. The good news here is that, unlike the movies, Anakin is actually a likeable character and not some stuck up brat with a superiority complex. Obi-Wan is pure gold. Staunch, stuffy and with excellent comic timing he steals most of the scenes he is in.
|'Anakin & Obi Wan on top form shocker'|
Animation wise it's a mash up between traditional and computer generated with a splash of manga for good measure and it works a treat. The action is fluid and swift and packs a real punch. The show is not for the faint hearted though and those thinking this is purely a kids 'toon are sorely mistaken. Political intrigue, corruption, back stabbing and all the horrors of war on up on the screen and in your face. People die and the good guys don't always win.
Overall the main thing it does right is that it feels 'Star Wars-y' which was always going to be the biggest challenge.
Would you watch it again? Absolutely. When I'm done with series 5 I'll go back and re-watch them all to pick out my favourite ever episodes.
Rating (out of 100%): This show is a revelation. It's everything I want in a 22 minute cartoon and it does the impossible by making me care about the clone war period, a feeling I thought I'd never have after the detestable prequels. I give season 1 of Star Wars The Clone Wars a more than justified 91%. Right, I've got a couple of eps to go before I finish season 2 and I can say it's even better. Watch this space.
|This show, watch you should|