Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008) - Two-Disc Special Edition

Genre(s): Action / Animation / Science Fiction
Warner Brothers || PG - 98 minutes - $34.98 || November 11, 2008
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2008-11-09


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Dave Filoni
Writer(s): George Lucas (characters), Henry Gilroy & Steven Melching & Scott Murphy (screenplay)
Cast: Matt Lanter, Ashley Eckstein, James Arnold Taylor, Dee Bradley Baker, Tom Kane, Nika Futterman, Ian Abercrombie, Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Lee


Theatrical Release Date: August 15, 2008


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • The Clone Wars: The Untold Stories
  • The Voices of the Clone Wars
  • A New Score
  • Concept and Production Art Gallery
  • 6 Webisodes
  • Deleted Scenes


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (2.40)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1 EX), French (Dolby Digital 5.1 EX), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1 EX)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

No other franchise is more enduring and more forgiving than Star Wars. After an amazing original trilogy, though less than stellar prequels, George Lucas’ franchise still goes strong after all these years. Lucas has also taken Star Wars onto television with cartoons and numerous video games (and even some spoofs with “Robot Chicken” and “Family Guy”) and now he’s taking new animation with Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Although the movies opened to mediocre reviews and even diehard fans stayed at home, I actually didn’t think this was too bad of a movie. Granted, it’s basically the pilot episode to a television series (on Cartoon Network), but in spite of cardboard characters and so-so voice acting, I was somewhat entertained.

Clone Wars takes place between episodes 2 and 3 as Anakin and Master Obi-Wan Kenobi are in a fierce battle with the Galactic Republic as the dark side gains more and more control around the galaxy. In this installment, crime lord Jabba the Hutt’s son has been kidnapped and he asks the Jedi Knights to help get him back. The Jedi Knights’, wary of Jabba, agree as if they succeed, they can sign a treaty that will allow the Scenarists to use Jabba’s shipping lanes.

Anakin also takes on, reluctantly, a Padawan learner named Ahsoka Tano and with Ob-Wan and Master Yoda, they fight many battle fronts while also uncovering a plot by Count Dooku and Darth Sidious. I liked the inclusion of the Tano character as it helps flesh out Anakin before he turns to the dark side and sets up an interesting dynamic for when that time comes.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars isn’t some kind of masterpiece in animation. In fact, the style may turn off some people, but for all its flaws with the story and characters, I actually kind of enjoyed the movie on the whole. Yes, the dialogue and some humor are aimed squarely at kids, which is why the story is fairly simple in terms of the main plot (rescuing Jabba the Hutt’s son), but I went in with no/little expectations.

I think the problem some people have with The Clone Wars is it has the name Star Wars in it. If this were any other animated movie (first, it would’ve gone direct-to-DVD), it would’ve gotten decent reviews and probably a better score (IMDb – 5.1/10). I say if you’re only a casual fan of the franchise, like me, give it a shot, this may surprise you.

Note: Samuel L. Jackson and Christopher Lee both reprise their roles of Mace Windu and Count Dooku respectively (another voice actor takes over for the series).



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

The first disc on this “Two-Disc Special Edition” has a feature commentary with Director Dave Filoni, Producer Catherine Winder, Writer Henry Gilroy and Editor Jason W. A. Tucker. The track is heavy on technical information and really not all that interesting to a non-Star Wars fan.

The rest of the features are on disc two:

The Clone Wars: The Untold Stories (24:51) is basically a rundown on the TV series and the stories told in each episode over the first season. George Lucas and others explain how much story there is during this period and how in-depth they can delve into the characters.

The Voices of the Clone Wars (10:00) is, for me, one of the more interesting featurettes on this DVD. I guess I’ve always been curious how certain animated movies/series recorded the voice actors, whether they’re in the same room together, hand/body motions, etc.

A New Score (10:44) just examines how composer Kevin Kiner used what John Williams brought to the franchise but still make it unique to this animated addition to the Star Wars family.

Webisodes – 6 Making-of Featurettes (20:25) were made, obviously, for the Net, each taking a look at various aspects of making the series. First is an “Introduction to Star Wars: The Clone Wars”, “Epic Battles”, “The Clones are Coming”, “Heroes”, “Villains” and “Anakin’s Padawan”. They run around 3-4 minutes each and, like “The Untold Stories” gives almost a preview of the series but also makes comparisons to the movies as well.

There are four deleted scenes (10:49) and a Concept and Production Art Gallery. Warner also includes a digital copy for use on a PC/Mac or your iPod.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

It’s tough to judge an animated movie as you’re not going to have imperfections with film, so for The Clone Wars I can only say it looks like a good transfer. The movie is presented in its OAR (2.4:1) which gives it a scope not often seen in animated movies.

The audio is good, but not great. Warner Brothers provides a Dolby Digital 5.1 EX track that sounds decent, but will not overpower your system. It’s fairly adequate but at the same time, it’s also a little disappointing.



.::OVERALL::.

The Clone Wars isn’t as bad as the critics and some fans make it out to be. The animation style is a little wonky and the writing isn’t the greatest, but when it was over, I found it to be entertaining, flawed... but entertaining. This “Two-Disc Special Edition” is OK and at least they didn’t put features in made for kids (see: Shrek the Halls), but it also doesn’t compare to the other Star Wars DVD releases.