Sci-Fi / Animation
Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Season One
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
I am a Star Wars nut. I love all things Star Wars and, although you wonít find me first in line at a new Star Wars film wearing a Princess Leia slave costume, I will find my way to the movie theater for every Star Wars film that hits the big screen. Thatís why I saw Star Wars: The Clone Wars when it first hit theaters and thatís why I knew that this movie was a prelude to the new cartoon that premiered on October 3, 2008 on Cartoon Network. And thatís definitely why I had my television set to Cartoon Network at 9PM on that fateful day.
The Star Wars: The Clone Wars television series is a 3D CGI animated series Lucasfilm Animation and CGCG Inc. Each episode in the series is approximately 22 minutes in length (plus commercials). Some of the episodes are linked in three and four part miniseries and others are one shot tales all taking place during the epic battle between The Republic and The Separatist Army known as The Clone Wars. On March 20, 2009, we reached the final episode of Season One of The Clone Wars television series and I thought it would be a good idea to review the series as a whole before everyone rushes off to the stores to by the Season One DVD.
I have to say that, despite my worries about the animated series, I truly enjoyed it. Each and every storyline was well thought out and offered more insight into what went on during the Clone Wars. While many stories featured Anakin Skywalker and his new Padawan Ahsoka Tano, others focused on different characters in the Clone Wars saga. While I expected to see episodes featuring other important Jedi, I was surprised and actually happy to see episodes focused almost completely on the Clone Troopers themselves. Viewers will get very clear insight as to what the troopers were like and how, although they saw each other as brothers, they strove to find some sense of individuality in themselves.
Viewers will also get a very different look at the heroism of Anakin Skywalker. Up until now, fans of the Star Wars movies have seen an Anakin Skywalker that tries to be a hero, but often finds himself in heroic situations for personal reasons. We have seen an Anakin Skywalker who is poised on the brink of the Dark Side. In the Star Wars: Clone Wars television series, we see a different side of Anakin Ė the truly heroic warrior that Obi-Wan Kenobi once described to Luke Skywalker.
A great many of the episodes dealt with serious subject matter Ė after all, war is a very serious thing. However, there were a few episodes that offered some levity in the form of antics by Jar Jar Binks, C-3P0 and R2D2. George Lucas has always seen the need to add some comic relief in each movie as a means of breaking up the drama and this tradition seems to have found its way into the animated television series as well with enjoyable results. Witty banter between characters is an added plus, reminding us of the various witticisms between characters in movies like A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, etc.
The storylines were so well thought out and so engaging that one often forgot they were watching an animated series. Even when you remembered that this was all CGI and digital animation, you still felt impelled to continue watching with as much interest as if this was a live action drama unfolding before your eyes. I marveled at the lightsaber battles, space fights and ground battles. The amount of time and attention needed to create such intricate battles must have seemed daunting to the creators of this adventure, but the results are spectacular and offer up something for every type of Star Wars fan.
I enjoyed every single episode Ė some more than others Ė but Iím sorry to say that I wasnít pleased with the first seasonís ending and the introduction of the bounty hunter named Bane. When I had heard a character named Bane was going to be in the series, I immediately thought of Darth Bane, although I would have thought him long dead before the Clone Wars ever began. I now see that I was wrong to assume that there could be only one Bane in the Star Wars galaxy, but I am sure Iím not the only confused Star Wars fan out there. The ending (I wonít give it away in case you havenít seen the last episode) left something to be desired, but I assume that was done purposely to set the tone for the next season which is scheduled to air in the Fall of 2009.
Thatís a long time to wait for an animated series that I found myself looking forward to week after week. I hope that Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Season One (2008/2009) makes its way to DVD soon so I can snatch up a copy of my very own. Otherwise, Iíll be forced to watch reruns on Cartoon Network or CartoonNetwork.com. At least I can play the Path of the Jedi game until the seriesí return in the fall. Star Wars fans out there may cringe at the idea of an animated Star Wars television series, but I have to say that this series follows the traditions of the movies rather nicely. Donít cringe Ė check it out. You may discover yourself enjoying the concept despite yourself.