STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS – Complete Season One Review

CW Complete - 3D DVD

“General Kenobi you served my father in the Clone wars and now he begs you to  help him again.”

Ok I may have gotten that quote slightly wrong but as a kid when I first heard that line delivered by a desperate Princess Leia my fascination with the answer to one question began – “What were the Clone Wars?”.

Fast forward decades later and after watching the new trilogy I had my answer. Although the idea of the Clone Wars shown on the movie screen was cool it never really lived up to the epic scope of the war that the younger me had built in his mind.

To be fair to George Lucas I don’t think anything he put on screen regarding the Clone Wars was going to meet my expectations. I then saw the cartoon Clone Wars that the Cartoon Network were putting out by Genndy Tartakovsky and used a similar animation style to Tartakovsky’s Samurai Jack (still one my all time fave cartoons) and Dexter’s Laboratory. My problem was that depsite the episodes being criminally short they did a far superior job at conveying one the must turbulent moments in the this history of the Old Republic than their movie counterpart.

When it was announced Cartoon Network were going to do a full series  of 22 minute episodes and I thought great and then they announced the animation style I had come to love was going to be dropped in favour of a CGI style and my heart sank.

Even after I saw the first trailer for this new Clone Wars CGI series I just kept saying to myself  “Why mess with the cartoon? It was great.  All it needed to be was longer” but after watching all of this first season I was glad to be proven wrong.

What I love about this version of the Clone Wars is how much I love the Clone Troopers themselves and the amount of effort that has been taken in their development . Every so often I have to remind myself who these guys become. It’s an unseasy feeling as suddenly I begin to sympathise with characters, who before this show, I just saw as standard bad guys for Han Solo or Luke to gun down. This cartoon goes a long way to show that not everything is as clear cut as we might like.

I found that my favourite episodes didn’t even have Obi -Wan or Anakin in them and tended to focus on the Clone Troopers ( my stand out faves Ambush and Rookies). How the makers are able to create characters who,  in look and speech, are identical but are able to allow the viewer to empathise with them as individuals is a skill not to be taken lightly. Even Anakin’s apprentice who I thought would annoy the hell out of me has had some good standout moments and has developed as the season has drawn on. Speaking of Anakin one of the aspects of the show that is so much better than the new films is how they’ve actually made me believe that Anakin and Obi-Wan are actually these great friends. An even bigger feat is giving me a version of Anakin I can actually root for.

There’s also some kick ass action in this series (esp any episode featuring the Bald headed female Sith Assassin) which is handled very well and seems more grounded than the previous cartoon series.

The makers must also be commended in their decision to stretch out their single story to two or three part arcs as it gives the plot and characters and chance to breathe rather than trying to wrap everything up in a neat little bow in the first episode.

One of my worries for the show was that I’d spend every episode thinking “This is great and all but I know how it ends I’ve seen the movies”. The thing is the characters and situations are so good at pulling you into the story that you just don’t care that you already know the outcome of the Clone Wars.

My one small gripe is I do find the announcer who gives a recap of the previous story pretty annoying ( I did  say it was a small gripe).

I actually think using this CGI style this would be a cool way to expand the Star Wars mythology and maybe do a series set after the fall of the Empire in Return of the Jedi. I’d pay good money to see a series like that.

I think when the much talked about Star Wars Live action show hits out TV screens it’s going to have some Bantha sized shoes to fill.

To round up there were  some episodes that were much stronger than others but overall I loved this series.  If you’re a Star Wars fan and especially a fan of the prequel trilogy then this is a must buy.

GS Reviewer: Nuge

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