Thursday, September 4, 2008

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

I usually don't buy tickets for movies I know will be bad, but I was bored, and I still kinda like Star Wars. Unfortunately, there just isn't much left here of the charm and wonder that makes Star Wars fun. I think the problem with all of the new movies is that George Lucas has too much control. Obviously he should have a lot of say; it's his series and his money that lets it continue. He's had a lot of good ideas in his life. He's also had a lot of fucking stupid ideas too. When they were making the original trilogy, he had friends like Stephen Spielberg helping him keep it on the right track, and the latter two movies weren't even directed by him. But now, he's more or less completely in charge, and nobody's telling him his ideas are fucking stupid anymore. He was still getting some help on the live-action prequels, but at this time all he has left are people that do whatever he says. Case in point: Ziro the Hutt, also known as the worst character ever created. A slimy Hutt cooperator isn't a terrible idea, but making him not only speak English, but sound like Truman Capote too is. If this had just stayed as a bad idea, it wouldn't be an issue. But no one slapped Lucas in the face and said "George, that's a fucking stupid idea. The fact that Hutts clearly understand English (Basic, whatever) since they don't need a translator but still don't speak it obviously suggests there's some reason for this, and you're just throwing that away. Also, Truman Capote? Are you fucking serious?" Instead, they just said "Whatever you say, George!" and went about hiring someone who could do a Capote impression to do the voice and animating Ziro to look like he was saying the lines. This breakdown in the proper course of events is the perfect example of why Star Wars sucks now.

But the movie wasn't just bad because of Ziro, it was generally boring and childish. I realize Star Wars is made with kids in mind, but with that being the case they should at least stop trying to pretend it's for adults too by throwing in all the conspiracy and war stuff. Not that the conspiracy makes any sense. As far as I could grasp from the prequel movies, Palpatine hired Dooku and the Trade Federation to start a separatist movement against the Republic, so the Senate would give him total power over the military, allowing him to use it to take it all over for himself. He and Dooku used another Jedi to commission the Clone Army and then killed him, although you wouldn't know this unless you were a huge Star Wars nerd or looked it up like I just did, because the Jedi in question only warrants a passing mention in the films despite this part being pretty important to the plot making sense. Still, it makes some sense. A convoluted plan, but it works. What doesn't make sense is why Palpatine and Dooku actually seem to care whether their fake droid army does well. Which they clearly do in this movie and probably will throughout the upcoming series that this movie kicks off. The whole plot of the movie is about the bad guys trying to trick the Hutts into thinking the Jedi are out to get them and win their allegiance, giving them a significant advantage in the war. But why are they trying to get an advantage at all? Why did they let this war go on for THREE FUCKING YEARS before calling in Order 66 and killing off the Jedi?

Ignoring the fact that the Clone Wars property is a huge collection of toys, comics, books and tv shows built on nonsense, the movie just isn't that well put together. It really does feel like an extremely long episode of a show instead of a movie, and the entire third act had me waiting for it to end. The action scenes weren't really exciting. We've seen a whole lot of clones and robots shooting at each other, and they haven't figured out how to make a lightsaber duel work yet with this animation style. The cheeky sniping between Anakin and his new, fairly irritating apprentice does nothing for me. Did they really think it would be clever for her to call him Skyguy or something? Also, the battle droid dialogue is getting out of control. They were kind of silly in Episode 1, but at this point you have to wonder why they programmed their soldiers to be retarded. They got a laugh out of me once, when one screamed a mournful "Why?" after an ally threw him off a cliff to his doom, but other than that they were painful to watch. The kids behind me in the theater were laughing it up, though. And I don't really feel the need to take that away from them. What was I expecting, when Lucas himself called putting this in the theaters "almost an afterthought"? He says he's going to produce 100 episodes of the series, regardless of ratings. It's that kind of insanity that makes me respect the guy for just doing what he wants, regardless of his success. I might check out the show when it airs, because there are worse things in the world than a half hour of cartoon violence.

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