Star Wars: The Clone Wars - A Galaxy Divided

Star Wars: The Clone Wars - A Galaxy Divided


Reviewed by: Daniel Hooper

Following the release of Star Wars Episode 2 - Attack Of The Clones came Genndy Tartakovsky's (creator of Dexter’s Laboratory and Samurai Jack) animated spin off Clone Wars, a bridge of sorts between the action of Episodes 2 and 3. The mini-series was popular with fans as its focus was on battles between the Empire and Republic instead of the sappy love story, and Tartakovsky's Clone Wars remains one of the better by-products of the new trilogy.

Fast-forward six years and two Star Wars cinema releases later to now, with the release of an all-new Star Wars animated spin-off, also called The Clone Wars, made under the supervision of Dave Filoni and the team responsible for last year's maligned film of same name (wait a minute, I can see a theme here). Presented here on this DVD are the first four episodes of the series – each episode is approximately 22 minutes long - and they act as a good showcase for The Clone Wars.

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The first impressions you get of the episodes is how high the production values are - the CG animation, though not great cinematically, feels right for series, with otherworldly landscapes that are awe-inspiring, a level of detail which needs to be watched on a high definition TV to be fully appreciated, and characters that look unique and heavily stylised. The score and sound-design, too, are very atmospheric, while the voice acting is so bang on you’d be hard pressed to notice the difference between the actors in the series and the films.

Opening episode Ambush feels like the odd-one-out on this DVD, as the other episodes are linked by an on-going storyline. Nonetheless, Ambush is an enjoyable introduction, with Yoda going loco on armies of Droids sent by the Empire to ambush the Jedi Master.

Episodes two, three, and four are all based around the rise and fall of the Empire’s bad-ass new ship the Malevolence and the narrative arc between these episodes is satisfying, with storyline working well both together and as stand alone episodes. Rising Malevolence follows Anakin and Ahsoko searching through debris for survivors, after a brutal attack by the Malevolence, while in Shadow Of Malevolence Anakin and his team of clones hunt down the ship, and Destroy Malevolence sees Anakin and Obi-Wan saving Padme after she’s taken hostage aboard the ship.

The fluid CG animation works wonders for the series, with space dogfights and lightsabre battles that are as explosive as their cinematic counterparts. The episodes exhibit a light-hearted humour not seen in the series since the original trilogy – in particular, listen out for the dumb one-liners from the Battle Droids who come out with some gems, often before they are killed. Even the Anakin-Padme moment here is enjoyable and, thus far, there has been no sight of Jar-Jar.

The Clone Wars probably won’t appeal to the unconverted and some people may not be enamoured with the distinct animation style but, as a Star Wars fan jaded by the New Trilogy, it is a pleasure to see a return to what made Star Wars enjoyable – namely, the war between the Empire and Republic, the space battles and the sense of fun. That the worst criticism I can think of is about the bastardised theme music (the classic John Williams opening, mixed with tribal drums) is high praise for a series that has fallen in recent times.

Reviewed on: 16 Apr 2009
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Star Wars: The Clone Wars - A Galaxy Divided packshot
The first four episodes from The Clone Wars animated series.
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Director: Dave Filoni

Writer: Stephen Melching, George Lucas, Dave Filoni, Tim Burns

Starring: Dee Bradley Baker, Mathew Wood, Matt Lanter, Ashley Eckstein, James Arnold Taylor

Year: 2008

Runtime: 88 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: US


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Star Wars: The Clone Wars