Send in the Clones – Star Wars: The Clone Wars in Cinemas Now

Today sees the release of the fully CGI animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars in UK cinemas, which we have to say is pretty good, despite initial misgivings, largely based on our opinion of the last film (Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith) particularly Hayden Christensen’s namby pamby depiction of the galaxy’s biggest badass, Darth Vader.

The Clone Wars is sort of like Star Wars Episode 2.5 in that its set in between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, and shows the beginning of events of the eponymous wars that were briefly mentioned by Obi-Wan Kenobi in the first ever Star Wars film waaaaay back in 1977.

The plot follows Anakin Skywalker (voiced by Matt Lanter, who played the drunk college jock Brody in the first series of Heroes) who has reluctantly been lumped with his overeager new disciple – sorry, Padawan – Ahsoka (Ashley Eckstein) who looks like Christina Aguilera in an Egyptian head dress and too much fake tan, as they attempt to rescue Jabba the Hutt’s son from a mysterious band of bounty hunters. Old favourites Obi-Wan and Yoda appear alongside Christopher Lee who reprises his role as Count Dooku the main villain of the piece, and Anthony Daniels, who once again camps it up as stuffy protocol droid C-3PO.

The film boasts an interesting look, and much has been made of the distinctly anime-esque designs of the characters, but the animation of the characters is unconvincing and jerky at the best of times, which makes it look like it’s a piece of cutscene material from an Xbox 360 game.

That said, the film is non-stop action, pure popcorn entertainment; the film opens up amid a raging battle, and the pace doesn’t let up for a second. The dialogue is disposable and throwaway, but it’s Star Wars, not Shakespeare. Crucially, the film evokes the spirit of those old Saturday Matinees that inspired George Lucas to do Star Wars in the first place, and whilst the visuals don’t boast the technical flair of the Final Fantasy movie, thankfully, The Clone Wars is nowhere as big a snooze fest at that movie.

The Clone Wars is much like the Sex and the City movie, in that it’s something that only true fans of the series can really appreciate – the average moviegoer won’t likely leave the cinemas truly feeling the Force, but Jedi converts and Sith Lords alike should love it.

Old Trilogy puritans who refuse to accept anything released beyond 1983 as canon, should instead stay at home and console themselves with the 4-disc Star Wars Trilogy box set; as well as containing all three of the first trilogy, that’s A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi, the box set also features a fourth disc crammed full of bonus material which is well worth checking out, particularly the revelaing 150-minute ‘making of’ doc Empire of Dreams.

Remember that ordering a box set – no matter how many discs – from a DVD Rental provider always counts as one choice, so if you fancy sitting through all six Star Wars films in a single sitting, then remember that you dont have to break the bank to do so.

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