Star dreck

Lu­cas milks the cash cow with an ef­fi­cient but unin­spired car­toon, writes Don­ald Clarke STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS Di­rected by Dave Filoni. Voices of Matt Lan­ter, Ian Aber­crom­bie, An­thony Daniels, Samuel L Jack­son, Christo­pher Lee, Tom Kane

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Filmreviews -

PG cert, gen re­lease, 98 min AS THE Star Wars pre­quels even­tu­ally ground slug­gishly to a wel­come halt, as­tute TV view­ers looked to­wards a con­sid­er­ably live­lier and more imag­i­na­tive re­tool­ing of Ge­orge Lu­cas’s worn myths. Gen­ndy Tar­takovsky’s Star Wars: Clone Wars, run­ning from 2003 un­til 2005, used in­no­va­tively bold an­i­ma­tion to tell lean tales of events pre­ced­ing Re­venge of the Sith.

De­spite the sim­i­lar­i­ties of its ti­tle, this latest emis­sion from Sky­walker Ranch is a dif­fer­ent beast al­to­gether. In­tended as the pilot for an­other new TV se­ries, the film ditches Tar­takovsky’s thick lines and manga fram­ing for ef­fi­cient, but sin­gu­larly unin­spir­ing, 3-D an­i­ma­tion.

The good news is that, un­like the sto­ries in those te­diously overe­lab­o­rate pre­quels, the script re­mains rea­son­ably lu­cid and grat­i­fy­ingly nippy. As cyn­i­cal pro­mo­tional tools for un­nec­es­sary prod­ucts go, Star Wars: The Clone Wars (don’t for­get the def­i­nite ar­ti­cle) will do nicely enough un­til the Ter­mi­na­tor 4 base­ball hats come along.

Aware that many Star Wars nuts were put off by the pre­quels’ fo­cus on ar­cane leg­isla­tive and diplo­matic de­tail, the writ­ers have per­mit­ted only one sig­nif­i­cant al­lu­sion to the greater po­lit­i­cal do­main – but they’ve made sure the char­ac­ters re­peat it over and over (and over) again.

Ea­ger to se­cure Jabba the Hutt’s good­will in mat­ters re­lat­ing to trade routes in the Outer Rim, Anakin Sky­walker and Obi-Wan Kenobi set out to res­cue the gi­ant slug’s in­fant son from kid­nap­pers. Why would they help Jabba? Be­cause he has in­flu­ence in the Outer Rim. In the Outer Rim! I’ll say it a few thou­sand more times in case you are still con­fused.

The bizarre de­ci­sion to give Jabba’s un­cle the voice of Tru­man Capote only em­pha­sises how rou­tine the rest of the voice-work and an­i­ma­tion has turned out. Still, for all its or­di­nar­i­ness, The Clone Wars passes the time quite ef­fec­tively and is cer­tainly less te­dious than ei­ther The Phan­tom Men­ace or At­tack of the Clones. But the force is not quite with it.

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