Star Wars: Clone Wars
May 29, 2015 12:00 PM   Subscribe

Looking for something to watch this weekend? Why not try the Star Wars: Clone Wars microseries-compiled-into-a-movie from 2003.
posted by curious nu (30 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
Oh geez, for a moment I thought you were saying "watch the Clone Wars movie" and I dove into the thread headfirst to stop a hate crime. Phew.

(2D Clone Wars: cool. 3D Clone Wars Movie: fucking TERRIBLE. 3D Clone Wars Show: Cool, just skip all the Jar Jar eps and most of the Amidala eps).
posted by selfnoise at 12:08 PM on May 29, 2015 [5 favorites]

Even the Jar Jar and Padme stuff is kind of watchable - the Clone Wars series is a Star Wars miracle.

But the Genndy Tartakovsky stuff, that's something again.
posted by Artw at 12:11 PM on May 29, 2015 [6 favorites]

Some details on this: Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky (of Dexter's Lab and Samurai Jack fame), these came out in 5-minute segments during the summer before Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith was released. They give the background for General Grevious, and introduce Asajj Ventress, among other things.

As far as I am concerned, the Star Wars Clone Wars micro series is the single best Star Wars Prequel media in existence. So of course it's been completely disavowed by Lucasfilm, to the point where the DVDs of these are highly sought-after and especially expensive. Seeing that these were produced in conjunction with Cartoon Network and Disney now owns Lucasfilm, it's likely there will never be an official rerelease of this stuff.

Best parts: Mace Windu's silent battle with a droid army, Yoda using the force to slam proto-star destroyers into each other.
posted by sleeping bear at 12:13 PM on May 29, 2015 [13 favorites]

The CGI Clone Wars movie was developed as the first three episodes of the TV show, and in that context it's not a bad start for something that improved a lot over time. But as a movie it was much too unfocused and low-quality to release in theaters. [insert Phantom Menace joke here]
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:13 PM on May 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

It's as bad as the series gets and still way better than the actual movies.
posted by Artw at 12:14 PM on May 29, 2015

I guess I should check in with Rebels and see how that's doing, though the first few did nothing for me.
posted by Artw at 12:16 PM on May 29, 2015

So of course it's been completely disavowed by Lucasfilm

What? That's terrible. This is the most good-without-caveats Star Wars thing to have come out since 1980.
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:18 PM on May 29, 2015 [3 favorites]

I love these so much. Watching them makes me giddy -- it's like I can imagine myself as a kid in my pyjamas watching them.

They're the main reason I've never watched the new Clone Wars series or movie. I know that a lot of people say they're great, but whenever I try to watch them, the visuals turn me off so hard. They look like a videogame cut scene or something.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:24 PM on May 29, 2015 [3 favorites]

I had my own compilation of these meticulously taped from our satellite service and then digitized much later and then assembled into a mini movie. I had no idea there were ever DVD releases of this or anything.

This post is excellent. Thank you!
posted by hippybear at 12:24 PM on May 29, 2015

I guess I should check in with Rebels and see how that's doing, though the first few did nothing for me.

Rebels has only gotten better; it's more or less Firefly set in the Star Wars universe.
posted by Jon_Evil at 12:24 PM on May 29, 2015 [4 favorites]

So of course it's been completely disavowed by Lucasfilm

Wow, really? The wheezy, athsmatic General Grevious in the movies makes zero sense if you haven't seen these.
posted by rifflesby at 12:43 PM on May 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

What are the chances of this staying up? This seems like the the kind of thing that disappears quickly. Just asking so I know if I need to so something preservationist.
posted by charred husk at 12:56 PM on May 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm not taking any chances.
posted by rifflesby at 1:00 PM on May 29, 2015

The CGI Clone Wars movie was developed as the first three episodes of the TV show, and in that context it's not a bad start for something that improved a lot over time. But as a movie it was much too unfocused and low-quality to release in theaters. [insert Phantom Menace joke here]

It's really the Truman Capote Hutt that I... I just can't. (I mean he does reappear in the show but only very briefly)

I get the sense that Lucas kind of glanced away after the CG movie and the rest of the staff were able to cobble a decent show with decent characters from the dross they started with while he wasn't looking.

Strangely some of the Jar Jar stuff is actually semi OK, while Amidala seems like the one character they can't seem to ever do anything with. She just doesn't have a personality to develop.
posted by selfnoise at 1:21 PM on May 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

Anakin/Padme are a more convincing couple than they are in the movies, but they do the whole thing better with Obi-Wan/Satine.
posted by Artw at 1:44 PM on May 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

Like others, I enjoy the Star Wars animated stuff (though I hated the look of whatever the new one is called so I have no idea about that one) far more than the films, particularly after The Empire Strikes Back. Both animated Clone Wars series are nice adventures.

I always thought that Dune could be properly adapted in an animated format. I don't think it will happen in my life time.
posted by juiceCake at 1:50 PM on May 29, 2015 [3 favorites]

Glarg, I need to watch these if they're presently available in such a nice format. It's the only true gap in Star Wars animation that I feel terrible for having (I regret nothing for not having watched the entirety of Droids or Ewoks). I was a big fan of Samurai Jack.

As someone who really enjoyed the show that the CG Clone Wars turned out to be, I've always been curious of this series due to the overwhelmingly high regard it's held in.

Rebels starts off a bit weak, as if the former Clone Wars group were going through the motions of offering a show much closer to the alleged intended age for Disney, then pretty soon took their foot off the brakes and started heading straight back to where they left their last show: a sometimes light, sometimes dark, and almost always entertaining vision of the Star Wars universe. It's pretty awesome seeing so much of Ralph McQuarrie's vision unfold in animation and particularly, the moment Moff Tarkin arises, things get real. Dave Filoni, who got his big directing start on Avatar: The Last Airbender has a great eye for those classic Star Wars shots, be it a Star Destroyer appearing on screen or nice open frames.

Season two starts up either at the end of June or the end of July, and introduces Darth Vader to the mix. Also, for fans of the CG Clone Wars, in the last episode or so, they made a direct link back to the previous show, basically tying the two together as a continuing story with a 20 year gap or so. For those interested, here's the Fanfare page for Rebels.

They give the background for General Grevious, and introduce Asajj Ventress, among other things.

Yes, please. While both have plenty of screen time in the CG Clone Wars Grevious, in particular, I recall being of the mind watching Revenge of the Sith, "This dude came out of nowhere...."
posted by Atreides at 2:07 PM on May 29, 2015 [3 favorites]

Ventress is of course a big deal in CGI Clone Wars, which has explicitly not been shitcanned as EU cruft, so between her and Grevious I'm doubting the non-Canonicity.
posted by Artw at 2:33 PM on May 29, 2015

Artw, I don't think that it's non-canon, I just think that it's fallen into the Lucasfilm memory hole. According to Wookieepedia, George Lucas LOVED IT and it won an Emmy Award. But it's still not available officially anywhere that's currently in print.
posted by sleeping bear at 3:33 PM on May 29, 2015

Oh, that's certainly true- it's a bugger to get hold of without dropping $70 on DVDs.
posted by Artw at 3:34 PM on May 29, 2015

For me, the amazing thing about this is how Tartakovsky makes the fighting in this seem a bit like the American Civil War, or perhaps early in WWI- a situation where the tactics don't necessarily match the technology.

In the case of the Clone Wars, you have to imagine that both the scale and the type of conflict are unprecedented in the galaxy. There has never been a war involving droid armies of this size, nor has there ever been a war involving clone armies at all. One can imagine this contributing to both sides using massed formations marching against each other in open terrain, and one suspects the resulting slaughter to be horrific. Tartakovsky captures this as much as one can in what is ostensibly a children's cartoon. Even the big floaty stompy thing seems a bit like the Petersburg crater.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:44 PM on May 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

Lucas was supposedly pretty involved with the 3D series, though I don't know if he slowly withdrew by the end of it. It took a bit to grow on me, as I wasn't fond of some of the more "fantastic" elements, and some of the cartoony (for lack of a better word) villains. But it can be serious without being grim and dour, and it ultimately makes for a great show. Even the lighter moments are done decently.

Lucas hasn't been involved with Rebels, yet it starts out way too family sitcom-ish, with the kind of cute slapstick that passes for humor in Phantom Menace. All the characters feel like how the original trilogy characters could've been if Fox had insisted the series be decidedly kid-friendly. I find myself wishing Zeb and Chopper got killed off, and it kind of bums me out that this will probably have more of a lasting legacy than Clone Wars (which seems unlikely to be televised again because of the Turner partnership). It felt like fans looked past the weaknesses because of Lucas's absence, and the ties to the original trilogy.

I hope it got better as everyone says, but I'm already looking forward to a subsequent animated series.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 10:38 PM on May 29, 2015

I have a weird relationship with Genndy Tartakovsky Clone Wars.

Reading everyone's comments, it seems that I'm not alone in my belief that this was the best thing that came out of the post-ROTJ era.

I saw first two of the prequel films as they were released, and I was... not really a happy camper. Yeah, there were all the pieces, and Jedi, but... There just wasn't the FUN and so many missteps..

Then Genndy Tartakovsky's Clone Wars was on Cartoon Network, and I watched them when originally broadcast. And they were glorious.

They were everything the the first two movies weren't. Agreed, Mace Windu being the baddest motherfucking Jedi Ever. It was amazing. And introducing Grievous was a masterwork. Shaak-ti and Palpatine... Just fucking amazing. And it ended on the cliffhanger that lead into Revenge...

So, on opening night, I went, and man, did that turn out to be a serious disappointment. A SERIOUS Disappointment.
posted by mikelieman at 2:31 AM on May 30, 2015

I'm going to go watch my rips again right now...
posted by mikelieman at 2:31 AM on May 30, 2015

Halfway through. And I can't help but admire the amazing use of scoring and lack of dialogue. Most of the most powerful scenes have nothing more than score and efx.
posted by mikelieman at 6:02 AM on May 31, 2015 [1 favorite]

I guess a main question I have is, this series was produced in 2003, which was not a time when much programming was being created in 16:9 format.

I can't remember whether this series was originally done in 4:3 format or not. So has this been cropped down to give the widescreen effect?
posted by hippybear at 6:25 AM on May 31, 2015

I absolutely loved these when they came out, to the point that I made sure to be home when they aired. Not only did they make Mace Windu look truly fierce, they reclaimed Kit Fisto from being a joke (well, okay, sort of), finally gave Anakin some pathos and reason for his actions, and made Grievous genuinely terrifying. The whole idea that his use of fear could disrupt a jedi's connection to the force was horribly unexplored, and wasn't helped by Obi Wan essentially smirking him to death in the live action film. The portrayal of Palpatine as sarcastic, but not too sarcastic to be utterly obvious when he's being rescued by the Jedi is fantastic as well. Yeah, best of the prequels by far.
posted by Ghidorah at 10:03 AM on May 31, 2015 [1 favorite]

It's still ridiculous that they don't pin him as a Sith from the start just based on his wiggly villain fingers.
posted by Artw at 10:21 AM on May 31, 2015

I finally completed it and definitely enjoyed it. I also came to the conclusion that it and the CG Clone Wars cannot be compared because they are radically different things. One is designed as a series of short vignettes to connect one movie to the other, filling in important back story elements, and the other while intended to do the same thing, does it much more gradually. It's hard to explain, but the underlying weakness of the shorter version, which it cannot help, is that Anakin's development toward the Dark Side is so much more defined and explored in the setting with more time to do it.

I will say, the voice actor/script for Anakin actually did too good a job. I actually kind of hated this Anakin for the same reasons I don't care much for the cinematic portrayal. The CG Clone Wars Anakin actually offers you a version of the character you enjoy and sympathize with.
posted by Atreides at 12:13 PM on May 31, 2015

That was my impression too. This Clone Wars starts off with the whiny, petulant Anakin. I don't like him, but I am glad he isn't just thrust aside in favor of bad-ass Anakin.

7-year old Small Seamus loved this. Maybe more than me. He loved CGI Clone Wars too.
posted by Seamus at 7:55 PM on May 31, 2015 [1 favorite]

« Older These Chimps Helped Save Human Lives: Now We've...   |   Filming everyday life near the end of the Soviet... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments