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Okay let me first reiterate, if you don’t want any spoilers do NOT read any further. You’ve been warned.
I was lucky enough to get to see an advanced screening this morning due to a collector club/501st connection. (Scans of the program and ticket to follow-for proof).
Now let me say this first as an overall impression of the movie:
Excellent, fantastic, I was thoroughly entertained. This IS the new direction of Star Wars and I love it. And I’m confident that many of you will too.
Okay, now to break this down.
There are some things about the movie that will at first unsettle some of us long time fans. To start, will the logo of the “Clone Wars” pops onto the screen, what follows is darn near blasphemy. NO SCRAWL! On top of that no familiar SW theme. Instead we get a sort of disjointed funky version of it. That just doesn’t jive with what we’ve all come to expect from the opening of a SW movie.
Now on top of this, we also do NOT get a space scene to start with some dramatic panning. Instead....and take a breathe folks...we get a scene that is VERY similar to Starship Troopers. It’s as if a reporter is giving the news and there are flashes of characters. I didn’t see him, but my wife swears she saw Greivous for all of 2 seconds in that sequence. If so, then that is the ONLY time he is in the movie. He’s absolutely not in it anywhere else. No doubts he will be in the show. The exact same we can state for Plo Koon and Kit Fisto. For those of you who have seen the trailer with them in it, that’s it. That’s ALL you get of those two venerable Jedi Masters.
Okay, so while I was taken aback by this style of beginning and exclaiming to myself “I’ve got a bad feeling about this” (and something I HOPE LFL changes before the general release of the movie, it’s over quickly. From there it jumps right into the Battle of Christophsis. There is a long 3 minute trailer out there. That covers the majority of this scene....or does it. Turns out it’s only the first part of that battle. There is MUCH more to come.
Let me say this, the action in this movie is FAR superior to any of the prequels and dare I say the OT as well. Now some of that is of course due to the constraints being lifted by using animation instead of live actors. But WOW, was it awesome. The battle just looks so good on the big screen. You get a much fuller feeling for the magnitude of the battle.
Also, we get closer to the clones and you start to actually feel for them a bit and their struggle to win the war. It’s during the lull in the battle that we meet Ahsoka Tano. She’s somewhat brash and very much impatient. Reminds you a lot of Anakin. So it was a good idea to create this character for Anakin to train. I’ll be following this interaction between them closely to see how it develops. I definitely think LFL got the “teenager” aspect down of Ahsoka. The bond she and Anakin make, start off awkwardly from a story point, but it’s supposed to. I enjoyed how their relationship progressed through the movie and it didn’t feel forced to me.
In fact nearly all of the relationships we see feel more real than the real life counterparts of the prequels strangely enough. Anakin and Obi-wan have a much deeper bond in this movie and aren’t bickering so much that it takes away from what we had heard was a great bond between them. Again, in this movie, the bond IS there and you start to actually care about these guys.
Let me turn to the clones for a moment. They were excellent and a character unto themselves, not to mention specific clone commanders. But since we are let’s go over them. Captain Rex is in the movie A LOT! And he’s a very good character. Cody has a much smaller role than Fox, but we do have a little interaction with him. Commander Rex on the other hand...practically nonexistent! If you’re buying the figures based on how they were seen in the movie, Rex is nearly a pass. Again no doubts he’ll be in the show. If not then Target got an exclusive of “blink and you miss him” kind of character. I’ll get to where he is in the movie shortly.
Since we talked about clones, let’s talk a minute about the Separatist forces. In this movie the battle droids account for much of the hokey humor and it WORKS! I enjoyed the banter between them. While ultimately we know that “really wouldn’t happen.” Take this movie at face value as a KIDS CARTOON MOVIE and you will enjoy it that much more. There are so many funny things the battle droids say that it’s hard to even focus on one and I think I’ll leave that for you folks to discover and enjoy for yourselves. Again, I think you’ll like them.
Okay so after the Battle of Christophsis with some small short scenes following, we find ourselves at the Battle of Teth (otherwise known as the B’Omarr Monk Monastery-NOT Jabba’s Palace). Anakin and Ahsoka are sent their to rescue Jabba’s son who’s been taken by “renegades” who we know all the time are really the Separatist. Asaaj is waiting for them there and another great battle ensues with the clones and Jedi making their way up the towering slender peak the monastery is atop of. Along the way Ahsoka challenges Anakin as to who will get to the top first. Through a series of events, Anakin and Ahsoka get away with Rota (for whom Ahsoka refers to as “Stinky,” but not after a short battle with Asaaj Ventress. In the meantime Obi-wan had gone to negotiate with Jabba. He gets a distress call from Anakin at the monastery so he takes off to help. While he goes to rescue Anakin, Dooku is waiting in the wings to talk with Jabba. He convinces Jabba that the Jedi have kidnapped Rota actually and plan to take over Hutt space.
Obi-wan arrives a little before Anakin and Ahsoka escape and in time to have a very cool battle with Asaaj, in which he calls her “darling.” Don’t read anything into it...it was just a comment and I thought it was appropriate for the banter.
With Anakin and Ahsoka on their way to Tatooine to deliver Rota, we get to a scene with Padme talking with Palpatine. She knows of Jabba’s “Uncle” Ziro (pronounced ZERO) the Hutt and how he may be able to help. THIS is where I got BIG disappointment. Not only does Ziro speak english-which we all know is “basic” in SW language, but instead of sounding like a powerful Hutt, he sounds (and this part is going to sound BAD, but please take it in the context it is written) like either he is a bit flamboyant gay or is an african american diva. Not at all like a Hut SHOULD sound. For one, Hutts to NOT speak basic even though they know it and know how to. They don’t speak it because they feel they are ABOVE speaking basic. LFL, NO excuses please about how this particular Hutt has been away from HuttSpace for so long or how he’s eccentric because he’s been on Coruscant. That’s just an excuse in my book to make it easier to understand him since he speaks english. But to the nature of his character SOUNDING like he does, I’m baffled. This is not to say there is anything wrong with being gay or being a diva, it’s just not at all my interpretation of what a Hutt Crimelord should be like. So take that for what it’s worth. I was disappointed Ziro wasn’t like Jabba. You may like the new take on a Hutt though, so that is up to you to decide.
Padme meets with Ziro and he throws her out. Before she leaves, she sees that the IG droid Ziro has in his employ sports a battle droid blaster and realizes something is amiss. She escapes the clutches of the IG droid and sneaks back to Ziro’s chamber to overhear a discussion between him and Dooku.
Turns out that Dooku conspired with Ziro to take Jabbas son and promised Ziro Jabbas territory in exchange for his help, along with the death of certain Jedi. Padme is about to escape when she is caught and imprisoned by Ziro. She does manage to get a message off to C-3PO for help. After a couple of intertwined scenes with Anakin/Ahsoka and Obi-wan’s story arcs, we find C-3PO has indeed come to Padme’s rescue and brought with him the Senate Clones. THIS is where we see Commander Fox, but he’s not names and only seen on the screen a VERY short time.
On Tatooine, Anakin has crashed landed. So he and Ahsoka start their trek over the Dune Sea (he even mentions it). Along the way they feel a presence. They split up. Anakin eventually faces Dooku, while Ahsoka faces 3 Magnadroids. They battle their way to Jabba’s palace to save Rota and clear the Jedi.
They make it there but Jabba decides to kill them anyway. Just before that happens a priority call comes in from Ziro’s palace. It’s Padme and she explains Ziro’s treachery and even has Ziro confessing it all. Jabba is outraged at Dooku and doesn’t kill the Jedi.
So the story ends.
No Armored Y-wings as I had hoped for.
Scant appearances by Jedi we though might have a larger role in the movie.
Big Battle scenes though.
One somewhat troubling scene is that of some bounty hunters heads on a platter being shown. Other than that and all of the battles, it’s a great kids movie. That being said, I still would not recommend this for kids under 10. Pushing that to MAYBE 8 depending on how mature a kid is.
On a scale from 1-5 stars with 5 the best, I’d give this a 4.5 stars. The animation is pretty good, though the walking of the characters could be improved. The opening sequence and my take on Ziro’s character were the only real shortcomings for me. Other than that as I mentioned near the beginning of this post, this IS the direction for SW to take. Texturing of the animation was stellar. We often get closeups of the clone armor for instance and we see the pits and divots in their armor. Oh new Camo scouts are in this and I REALLY dig their armor.
I REALLY hope Hasbro decides to give us realistic versions of these characters as well.
I do have to say that I’m nearly convinced to collect the animated line after seeing the movie. I think I’m going to buy battle packs and other types of multipacks though and avoid single carded figs since I open them anyway and can save money on the battle packs. Except I KNOW I’m getting an Ahsoka figure-with her being alien, I think I can integrate her into the collection and she’ll still somewhat appear to be in place with the realistic figures.
Okay, so please if you have ANY questions about the movie, fire away and I’ll answer them all as best I can. I didn’t cover everything about the movie and can’t remember it all, so I’m definitely still going to see it again on premiere night!
Scans of the ticket and program to follow!