Star Wars: The Clone Wars


Review in a Hurry: This animated feature shows Obi-Wan Kenobi and a not-yet-evil Anakin Skywalker out to rescue the son of Jabba the Hutt. Die-hard Star Wars fans (are there any other kind?) will probably like it, but the violence is too much for little kids, and grown-ups are going to be bored.

The Bigger Picture: Anakin and Obi-Wan (voiced by Matt Lanter and James Arnold Taylor) are racing from one corner of the galaxy to the other for complicated reasons. (Nothing's ever simple in the Star Wars stories anymore.) Anakin is saddled with a little trainee Jedi of his own, a desperate play for the tween-girl market named Ashoka (Ashley Eckstein). She's supposed to teach the future Darth Vader patience, so you can probably guess how that works out.

Despite some impressive action sequences, this in-between glimpse at the franchise never really comes alive. Part of it is the marionette-like appearance of the CGI characters, but the banal dialogue and slack pacing don't help. It's as though the filmmakers, in trying to make a kid-friendly picture, dumbed down the plot but kept the point-blank shootings and decapitations for the supposedly more mature fans.

The result is just confused.

We saw this in a theater full of kids, and there wasn't a single moment that caused spontaneous cheering. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, there was a movie that ignited imaginations and redefined adventure. It's kind of sad that this generation only gets a retread.

The 180—a Second Opinion: The animated version of Anakin shows at least as much emotion and depth as Hayden Christensen did in the human role.

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