Windu into Battle

There are a large number of fans counting the days till the release of Star Wars ep 3: Revenge of the Sith (19th May 05), and this release should more that sate any fans apatite.

In the last Star Wars instalment, #2: Attack of the Clones, we saw the long awaited beginning of the Clone Wars. Long awaited? Yes – since 1977 when Obi-Wan told Luke about how his dad Anikin fought alongside him in the Clone Wars. The richness of the name sparked a lot of people’s imagination. Clone Wars?

In that last film these wars began, and Lucas has said that in ep#3 we will see the end of the wars…so where are the wars? In this DVD release!
The Little Green TerrorUnlike other Star Wars spin-offs which were somewhat immature (like the Ewok movies and the Droids cartoons) and sat outside the accepted timeline, this series plays an integral part in the tale. Using the major characters from the prequel films, this series of 20 three minute cartoons picks up sometime between the second and third films, and relates the battles that make up the war.

There are a number of things that make these stories important for the series. They are not just officially part of the series, but are endorsed through the proper sound effects as well as some character voices from the “official movies”. This endorsement is taken to the point of at least one major character being introduced in the cartoon (yes, I know – Bobba Fett was introduced in the 1977 Holiday Special, but Lucas doesn’t like to talk about that one any more).
This series also has the benefit of being no more than it is. In the ever more technologically advanced, (at the expense of acting and plot), “official films”, I find that the introduction of an obviously computer generated scene doesn’t so much fill me with excitement, but rather destroys the sense of suspended disbelief that fantasy cinema requires, and I instead may marvel at the character design or processing power needed to prompt this “how did they do that” moment. The tension of the film is destroyed. Not so in the cartoon, because you accept it as a cartoon from the outset, and it always remains one, you can marvel at the character designs, the faultless mix of 2D and 3D techniques, but never be disturbed enough to be taken away from the story.

There is the concern that after the two previous cartoon series (Droids and Ewoks) having been aimed at the children’s market, these cartoons would be at a similar level. They are not. These are nicely sophisticated stories, even if they are predominantly one fight scene after another. There is a sense of plot and design running through most of them, and intrigue as we see explored some of the lesser Jedi’s in their own adventures, as well as expanding the story in ways that Lucas has not, in returning to some worlds and introducing others. Some of these three-minute tales go almost dialogue-less, and are so well animated and plotted that it isn’t really noticeable.

These are quite mature cartoons, and should please any Star Wars fan, possibly more than some of the prequel films.