Friday, July 11, 2008

Staaaaaar Waaaaaars... if they should baaaaarrrr waaaarrs...

One of the more interesting panels of the day was for Cartoon Network's latest "Star Wars: Clone Wars" animated series, in which they opened the session by screening an entire episode of the show. I put that in italics not in "Hey, aren't I cool? I got to see it before the rest of you!" way, but to emphasize the fact that that simply isn't done at tour. Either we've seen the show in advance or we haven't, and at most we'll see a few minutes of clips before the session begins.

But "Clone Wars" producer David Filoni was really excited to be able to discuss the show with people who had watched it -- "It's really relieving for me," he said at one point -- and the folks at Turner got approval from TCA leadership to do it, so screen the whole 22-minute episode they did. And... did not rape my childhood memories in the way that the live-action prequel movies did, but I'm also not sure I prefer it to the 2003 "Clone Wars" series from "Samurai Jack" creator Genndy Tartakovsky, you know?

The new "Clone Wars" looks wonderful (I believe they screened it for us in HD), not just with the robot and alien characters like Yoda -- who was the star of this episode -- but even the more obvious humanoids like the Stormtroopers/clones without their helmets. The action was slick, and there were some cheers in the room (though they may have come from Turner employees; it was dark) as Yoda started cutting through a horde of Count Dooku's droids.

But the show is, like the prequel movies, pitched pretty directly at kids. The droids are now goofy comic relief, even when they're supposed to be threatening Yoda's life. Yoda's backwards syntax has been dramatically simplified from the way he spoke in "Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi," and the episode's plot -- in which one of Count Dooku's henchwomen underestimates Yoda's ability to kick ass and take names in sing-song fashion -- felt very thin.

But this show isn't aimed at 34-year-old Alan any more than the prequels were, and I have to admit I still got a fanboy rush when the "Star Wars" logo appeared and John Williams' fanfare played on the big screen of a darkened room. So it's got that going for it... which, as we know, is nice.


Matthew said...

Are you sure about the date for the original Clone Wars series? Episode 2 wasn't released until 2002, and I'm sure the series was made in-between Episodes 2 and 3, released in 2005.

I'll admit to having not seen the original Clone Wars series - I must look into finding it somewhere.

Doesn't sound like the show's too bad, should be worth keeping an eye out for.

afoglia said...

He has it wrong. Wikipedia says 2003, which makes much more sense.

I didn't like the first season of Clone Wars. There were too many episodes and they were too short. The second season, where the episodes were more than just fight sequences, was much better.

Mo Ryan said...

There's a digitally animated project about robots and other outer-space characters that really captured my imagination and heart.

It ain't Clone Wars. It's Wall*E.

I felt entirely emotionally uninvolved in the episode they showed. It's totally for 6 year olds and hard core SW fanboys who didn't mind the newer SW flicks that Lucas made.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like it's perfect for my nine year old SW fanatic son. And really, that's not such a bad thing, though it would be great if it could also be perfect for my 40 y/o SW fanatic husband, too. As it is, he can enjoy watching eps IV-VI with him, at least.

Anonymous said...

I have wasted enough of my adulthood watching Lucasfilms squander the good will it generated with me in my youth.

Alan Sepinwall said...

You guys are right. 2001 was a typo; it was 2003. Fixed.

Anonymous said...

The prequel trilogy didn't just rape childhoods, it raped the concepts of good taste, story logic, and human interaction.

Me, I fail to see what this show will accomplish that the hundreds upon hundreds of tie-in novels and Dark Horse comics books haven't already.

Nicole said...

I think this catches an audience that would not be familiar with the tie in novels and comic books. I have never bothered with novels and comic books based on movies that I have already seen, especially with sci-fi. I prefer original ideas than rehashing what has already been done with SW or Trek and while some of it may be good, this stuff has always seemed a little too fan fiction for me.

This on the other hand will at least provide a bit of an explanation for the events between Episode 2 and 3 for those of us who just stuck with the movies, as painful as that was.

Anonymous said...

Well, if we need this stuff to fill in the blanks, it's just more evidence that a) Lucas didn't do his job or b) he intentionally half-assed the scripts to sell more tie-in stuff.

Either way, fuck him, and fuck Star Wars.