I just finished watching Star Wars – The Clone Wars. Similarly to what I did with DS9, I thought I’d just write a little rambling piece with my thoughts and impressions. I really enjoyed the series. While it won’t knock the Simpsons off its pedestal, it was fun, engaging and had characters that I really cared about. You can’t ask for much more than that.
I’ll get the bad out of the way first. The biggest mistake in the show’s run was making the pilot into a movie. Like most television shows, the pilot was among the worst episodes. Releasing it theatrically heightened expectations which caused a letdown. Also, from time to time, it couldn’t decide if it wanted to be a kids show or a grown up show and it got caught in no man’s land. That’s really all the bad, though.
I love the animation. It was beautiful, interesting and different. I’m a fan of stylization, and this series didn’t shy away from it.
The action scenes were great. They were thrillingly drawn and there was real tension. They weren’t afraid to kill characters, so anyone who didn’t appear in Episode III was fair game. I don’t need a high body count, but knowing it was a possibility enhanced the action.
The layout of a TV series allowed them to explore deeper ideas. They looked at questions of identity, duty, loyalty, and values in a way the movies couldn’t. Turning the clones into real characters, showing the conflict within the senate and Jedi order, and showing noble separatists all helped create that depth.
I loved the fact that there were force sensitive people who were neither Jedi nor Sith.
Ahsoka Tano was a great addition to the Star Wars universe. She was a good foil for Anakin and Obi-wan. And since she wasn’t in the movies, she had a character arc that could really grow. We all knew where Anakin was going. Ahsoka, on the other hand, was able to surprise me.
I liked the way they tried to give each planet and species a distinct look and feel. I know it was always important to Lucas that this universe seem lived in. The fact that the architecture and art work and music changed from setting to setting really enhanced the lived in feeling.
This series accepted the ambiguities that were forced on it. It came out after Episode III, so any fan knew that the Sith were controlling everything. The Republic couldn’t be simply good and the Separatists couldn’t be simply bad. The Jedi were consistently uncomfortable with everything that happened. Many people recognized the inherent injustice of using clones. Many of the best stories involved people struggling to stay neutral in the conflict. They always regretted getting involved, whichever side that involvement was on.
I know the prequels left a lot of fans cold. I just hope that they didn’t skip The Clone Wars as a result.