(2008)2.5Jeremy WheelerThe Star Wars theatrical experience gets a sloppy kick in the ribs with the arrival of Star Wars: The Clone Wars -- a subpar three-episode arc from Lucasfilm's upcoming lackluster animated series of the same name. Undeservedly pushed to the big screen to cash in a quick buck, the computer-generated kiddie flick is exactly what fandom has been dreading, and the youngest of their kin are sure to eat it up -- an annoying and utterly boring version of the prequel universe, all presented with an idiot panache that only an eight-year-old could appreciate. Make no mistake, this is a far cry from the vibrant and exciting days of Samurai Jack creator Genndy Tartakovsky's time with the material. This take on the Clone Wars adapts more of a Kids' WB attitude as it relays the untold days of Anakin Skywalker's obnoxious preteen Padawan, as bland politics force ridiculous plotlines such as the Jedis helping Jabba the Hutt find his farting tadpole kid, "Stinky." Yes, it has really come to that.
If Clone Wars is one thing, it's ugly. With clunky character designs and stiff animation, this is one George Lucas series that does not seem to benefit from the massive amounts of money behind it. If that weren't enough, director Dave Filoni (Avatar: The Last Airbender) seems forever held back from trying anything remotely creative; whether it be in presenting the countless battles that explode across the screen or otherwise, the feature underwhelms at every turn, thus calling into question the warranting of this sort of theatrical rollout. While this certainly isn't the first kid-slanted Star Wars product to the hit the masses (Ewoks, Droids), this is the first to specifically try to hit both the franchise's younger and older target demographics at the same time (though that esteemed honor could arguably go to Phantom Menace). By pandering to Lucas' poor taste in childish humor and not even coming close to a heightened sense of adventure that the series can provide, audiences are stuck with a ho-hum hybrid that embraces the same things that didn't work in the Prequels, while continually coming short of its own promise. Audiences will have to measure their own constitution if they are to dip their toes in these dangerous waters -- anyone who doesn't is cruising for a Jar Jar-style bruising.