Run, Jedi run! You have only prolonged the inevitable.
With strong animation by Tartakovsky, the Star Wars world has been able to open up even further while also implanting more doors that we (the lowly nerd) could easily escape to and spend hours upon hours exploring. I am talking about the sheer brilliance of Star Wars: Clone Wars released by the Cartoon Network. I walked away from the first two prequels wondering if we were ever going to see any decent action or adventure. While there was some in the films, it was nothing like what I experienced here in the animated versions. Finally, we have gripping Jedi battles, lightsaber moments that will have you grimacing from your couch, and our first glimpse into the dark cloud that will surely begin to cover the third and final episode of this gripping mythology. This was exactly what I needed to bring a stronger feeling as to what these Clone Wars were going to be like. Now, I know that I haven't seen Episode III yet, and I know that more of my questions will be answered, but this was the PERFECT segway. These animated cartoons are for the most avid fans, as well as those just looking to catch up before entering into the doorway of nerdom that opening weekend. It is powerful and visually beautiful, just how Mr. Lucas would have wanted it.
I will be honest, I am one of those poor saps that had never seen a full episode of Dexter's Laboratory or Samurai Jack due to having no cable at the house, but after a viewing of what Tartakovsky has done with this simple task, I cannot wait to get my hands on more of his work. To say that his work was visually beautiful would be a dark understatement. His work on this project fully embodied the feel and emotion of the Jedi's during these battles. A "war" does take place between more than one person, and I gobbled up the idea of watching the smaller battles being won by the smaller heroes (if there is such a thing). The Windu battle is one of my favorite, as the battle between the female Sith and Anakin will flashback you to early Star Wars moments. Lucas did right by placing his stamp of approval on this project, which shows that this war is more than just his imagination, but that of thousands.
While I will agree with most critics that there was very little character development, I do not see this as a negative towards the film. In the first two episodes, we have enough to familiarize ourselves with the characters as well as understand their purpose in life. We do not need that here, this animated film is designed to give us a great range of the war, the impact that it has on more than just our "popular Jedi". This opened up that proverbial "door" that I mentioned before that literally opens several hundred different stories and adventures. It pulled this war from the mere shadows of the bigger films and gave us these haunting images that may seem rather poignant in today's culture. It is sad, exciting, and intense all at the same time.
Finally, I would like to say that I cannot wait to see where these artists take this series. I know that there is already a "Volume II" preparing to be released, and I will be very excited to get my hands on that to see where our next battle will take place, or whose lives in the Star Wars universe it will effect. It is like a Pandora's box that is going to release some darkness on the world, and it is up to us to open it. I cannot wait, and again, suggest it to anyone that has kept this galactic story close to his or her heart.
Overall, if you couldn't tell already, I loved this "short" film. While I remember watching them on my computer when they were first released, I felt that the three minutes they were handed were not enough, I wanted more and I didn't want to wait. Thankfully, this is released in a full 65 minute run which will give you the full effect of the power behind this universe. I am a Star Wars fan, and I am not afraid to admit it. I thought that this disc did a great job of blending the episodes together and giving this ultimate war, the Clone Wars, some depth and humanity (if you can call it that). I suggest it to anyone looking to get a leg up on the recently released episode, while constantly impressing your friends and loved ones at a party. Don't worry, I do it all the time!
Grade: ***** out of *****
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