Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Year: 2008
Production Co: Lucasfilm
Studio: Warner Bros
Director: Dave Filoni
Producer: George Lucas
Writer: Steven Melching/Scott Murphy/Henry Gilroy
Cast: Samuel L Jackson, Christopher Lee, Anthony Daniels

We were long promised something tantalising that would bridge the gap between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. Was a kids cartoon really what we expected? And I don't mean it was for kids just because it was a cartoon, I mean the sentiment was so tween friendly, with the Hilary Duff-alike teen heroine Ashoka getting close to the object of all the girls' heart's desires in Anakin Skywalker. The dialogue is also cutesy, not just risible like much of what George Lucas writes, but still directed squarely at the toy-buying market.

But the action is great, the visuals imaginative, the movement immersive, the world-building appropriately grandiose and the set pieces exciting. Along with the hokey story, characters and dialogue, it's actually perfectly placed in the Star Wars universe.

Although the story is action packed and full of fun, the premise is political. With the clone wars in full swing, the Jedi need an alliance with Jabba the Hutt so they can use his trade routes to move troops. The Sith, led by Dooku and the fearsome Ventress, hatch a plot to kidnap Jabba's infant son (who looks like a cross between a cabbage and a turd and provides much of the cute humanity as Anakin and Ashoka ferry him around) and make it look like the Jedi were behind it. So it's up to Anakin and new Padawan Ashoka (who we saw cop it during order 66 near the end of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith ) to protect him.

Christopher Lee, Samuel L Jackson and Anthony Daniels were the only original cast to lend their voices for the film, and Emperor George outsourced the film not just to an entirely unknown crew of filmmakers but a different studio than had handled his entire magnum opus. It appears now that despite protestations he was glad  Star Wars  was over so he could go back to making small arthouse movies, he's going to sit back in his throne aboard the Lucasfilm control room and oversee the breadth of his merchandising realm for years yet.

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