Attack of the spin-offs

Latest Star Wars for indiscriminate fans only

Do you still or did you ever read Star Wars novelizations?

Full disclosure is essential for judging The Clone Wars a 3D animated movie that is set between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith and (perhaps more importantly) just before a spin-off animated series of the same name launches in the fall. If for example you believe that a forest-levelling volume of pulpy novelizations and billions of dollars in other licensed products are all proof that George Lucas’s universe simply can’t do wrong you’re in for a treat. R2-D2’s in it! C-3PO makes a cameo! Lightsabers!

Your ticket could even make a handsome bookmark for your next Legacy of the Force novel!

If on the other hand no amount of high-tech CGI can distract you from dialogue that’s half overwrought hyperbole half awkwardly written banter with generous dollops of generic Saturday morning cartoon stupidity The Clone Wars is a product aimed at a demographic you don’t belong to. If the prequel trilogy and re-issued original movies split Star Wars supporters down the middle with “updated” effects trouncing fond memories it’s telling that The Clone Wars is created completely through CGI.

After a voiceover introduces a premise that’s equal parts banal cliché and middle-aged Lucas-style cloying — Jabba the Hutt’s mewling cutesy son is kidnapped — The Clone Wars launches into a furious battle in an alien city between the titular clone Republic Army and the separatist Confederation droid army. Lasers lightsabers and forcefields abound until the secondary plot is introduced — Anakin Skywalker the future Darth Vader is given a sass-talking padawan apprentice. From there a random text generator could have filled in the resulting filler dialogue. With lines like “I have a bad feeling about this!” and “Here we go again” in all likelihood one did.

Ironically the Clone Wars franchise began with a critically acclaimed and popular 2D series created by Samurai Jack ’s Genndy Tartakovsky whose sharp visual style inspires the newest incarnation’s simple graphical lines. The tragedy of the franchise’s latest incarnation then isn’t that all things Star Wars automatically play to the lowest common denominator but that for remaining fans it’s simply not important whether they do.