- Directed by Dave Filoni
- August 10, 2008 (Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre) / August 15, 2008 (US)
- Anakin Skywalker-Matt Lanter
- Ahsoka Tano-Ashley Eckstein
- Obi-Wan Kenobi, 4A-7-James Arnold Taylor
- Yoda, Admiral Yularen, Narrator-Tom Kane
- Clone Troopers, Captain Rex, Commander Cody-Dee Bradley Baker
- Count Dooku / Darth Tyranus-Christopher Lee
- Mace Windu-Samuel L. Jackson
- C-3PO-Anthony Daniels
- Asajj Ventress, TC-70-Nika Futterman
- Supreme Chancellor Palpatine / Darth Sidious-Ian Abercrombie
- Senator Padmé Amidala-Catherine Taber
- Ziro the Hutt, Whorm Loathsom, KRONOS-327-Corey Burton
- Jabba the Hutt-Kevin Michael Richardson
- Rotta the Huttlet-David Acord
- Separatist Battle Droids-Matthew Wood
After fending off an invasion of Christophsis, Anakin and Obi-Wan must save Jabba the Hutt’s son from the Separatists lead by Count Dooku and General Grievous.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars was the theatrically released animated pilot film for Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series. I saw this film in theaters and for me it was a perfect Star Wars cinematic experience that still holds up today.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars captures the edge of your seat action and skin of their teeth character escapes and epic feel of the original films. It was a promising start to what turned out to be a great television series.
One thing this movie did was introduce Star Wars fandom to Ahsoka Tano. While she would go on and mature as a character, here she was just too much smarty-pants kid. Just an unwelcome sidekick in the adventure. And I hated that “Sky Guy” thing her character came up with. This was not a promising start for the character.
Anakin is portrayed as a nice midpoint between what we get had in Attack of the Clones and what would eventually come up in Revenge of the Sith. His anger at the death of his mother and what he did is hinted at affecting him psychologically. There are hints of the move towards the Dark Side.
This is the first few episodes of the series or what would’ve been the first few episodes of the series edited into a single film so what we essentially get are two stories here. The first is an introduction to the character of Ahsoka Tano and the second half is a much more interesting story where Jabba the Hutt’s son Rotta has been kidnapped and the Separatists are making Jabba think it’s a plot by the Jedi to kill his son.
Jabba plays a much more important role in this animated feature than he did in The Phantom Menace which was little more than a token cameo for the character. His involvement in the story here hints at extended universe stories and information about his existence prior to his appearance in Jedi or his mention by Han Solo in any of the films.
Normally I am against previously unseen children or siblings showing up. If a character is around long enough they should’ve mentioned other family members but given Jabba’s actual presence in Star Wars was small I can get past it here.
This movie came out after the three prequel films, but it borrows elements here and there from those movies and mixes them all together. Certain visual elements or characters interact and play off of one another. While Dooku and General Grievous were mentioned as having known each other there is nothing that actually has shown a connection in those films. Here Dooku is clearly in charge with Grievous taking his orders. This move expands upon canonical material without contradicting it.
And we get a very good use of Asajj Ventress who to the best of my knowledge only previously appeared in the Genndy Tartakovsky Clone Wars microseries. I loved her as a character. Her introduction in the previous series was a nice tease but it was never satisfying enough for me. Her use here brought her to a whole next level. She isn’t just blindly evil but comes off as truly dangerous. It was also neat to see that even Sith apprentices have apprentices. Like a Sith pyramid scheme.
Despite being a pilot film, it doesn’t feel like a pilot film. It feels like a film unto itself. One thing I always thought the Star Wars movies did well was that while they were all connected they were also all separate. For example you don’t need to watch A New Hope to get the full impact of Empire or the full impact of Jedi. You could be in the mood for Return of the Jedi and pop that in and get a complete story.
This accomplishes that as well. All the important points are recapped without slowing up the narrative. Despite essentially being two stories, the narrative still is strongly connected. One story feeds into the other making things go rather seamlessly.
My major complaint is the animation. It holds up well enough, but I certainly would’ve preferred something hand drawn. Some computer assistance with some hand drawn work done by one of the more significant Japanese animation companies would’ve been something truly special. The CGI still works but it’s beginning to push its age limit. Hand-drawn is eternal.
Star Wars at its best serious business yet family friendly. It doesn’t talk down to the audience but doesn’t show stuff just because it can show it. This movie held the same tone as all of the previous films. It’s not simplistic even though it was a cartoon.
The music takes its cues from John Williams yet is a distinct style unto itself. The score uses erhus, duduks and ouds which were instruments not previously used in Star Wars music.
Aside from a few of the prequel film actors returning for their roles nobody else shows up. The replacements do a fantastic job of emulating the voices of the originators of the parts which I am grateful for. Having grown up in a time when numerous live action films got turned into family friendly children shows I was always bothered that the people that did the voices often did not sound like the people they supposed to be.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars is a strong beginning to what turned out to be a strong animated series. It’s got as much exciting action and great visuals as any other Star Wars film along with a story that keeps ahold of you. If you didn’t see this in the theaters you certainly missed out on something very good.