Reviewed by John Perrodin
Star Wars The Clone Wars
"If you have a free afternoon, take in Clone Wars with your children."
If you, like me, have a 9- to
12-year-old begging to see Star Wars: The Clone Wars, give in to that
force. They’ll have a lot of fun, especially
if they’ve seen the series on the Cartoon Network. Just keep in mind
that “cartoon” is the operative word. This is not Pixar. Fortunately,
it’s also not live-action like the first two numbingly dull Star
Wars prequels. Matt Lanter, the actor who voices for Anakin Skywalker (Luke
and Leia’s pop), can deliver a line and snap out a quip with far
more aplomb than the stunningly stiff Hayden Christensen. As long as you
accept the fact that Clone Wars is a 98-minute commercial for an upcoming
TV program, enjoy your popcorn and let your kids take a harmless thrill
Perhaps your children will pick up a life lesson or two. First, is the idea that everything we want/wish/hope won’t be as easy to achieve as it might look. That’s what Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein) learns when she becomes Anakin’s padawan – or student. Teenaged Ahsoka finds out that being a hero takes a lot of work. And listening to those who know more than she does helps at times. She and Anakin make jokes that are decidedly juvenile. Though the interplay is light-weight, thankfully it’s not nearly as crude as many films offered up as family fare today.
The plot involves the rescue of Jabba the Hutt’s kidnapped toddler son (no mention of where Mom is) by the Jedi. If they accomplish this, Jabba, a monstrous slug being, promises to open his trade routes to those who trust the Force. He also agrees to stand up against the delightfully growly Count Dooku who is voiced perfectly by Christopher Lee. Obi-wan Kenobi, Yoda, and Padme Amidala all have minor roles, but this is essentially a “shoot-em-up” western set in space, pulling us back to the roots of the Star Wars franchise.
A word must be said about the look and feel of the characters. The droids are droids, but the humans and creatures have a unique “carved” look to them. That means that Obi-wan and Anakin literally wear hair “helmets” and sport beard “helmets.” In other words, they don’t have moving, flowing features. Emotions, for the most part, are also kept hidden. Despite this, the filmmakers somehow managed to make Rotta the Huttlet, the baby, agreeable, if not cute. In this comes the most welcome feature of the film – a decidedly pro-life approach to those children who don’t fit the standard Gerber Baby mold.
Anakin’s young assistant Ahsoka risks her life to keep the sick, squalling mini-Jabba safe. Though she nicknames him “Stinky,” the girl is affectionate toward the little one. She worries over his health and shows sincere kindness to a being who certainly seems “less worthy” of love and care, at least by society’s cold standards.
Finally, when Anakin says “Old sins cast long shadows” he gives viewers a meaty thought to ponder. This nugget of wisdom is worth discussing with a child. The decisions we make today have a powerful impact on our future. Escape from wrong choices can be difficult especially if we continue to give in to darkness.
Clone Wars is rated PG for one “d--n”, beheaded robots (the bad guys), kablooied Clone Troopers (the good guys in this movie), lots of comic-book-looking explosions, and some strange, yoga-like dancing around Jabba the Hutt. All in all, the presentation is surprisingly clean. Another slight caution is the bizarre Ziro the Hutt, Jabba’s uncle. He sounds like Truman Capote as he slurps his words. However, this makes him more laughable than villainous, and children watching probably won’t grasp the oddity of an effeminate blob wearing a Zorro mask.
If you have a free afternoon, take in Clone Wars with your children. If you can’t spare the funds or the time, wait a while. This one is guaranteed to make it to the small screen soon.
Watch the Trailer:
John Perrodin is the Senior Editor for the Christian Writers Guild. He co-authored the Renegade Spirit Trilogy with Jerry B. Jenkins. The latest release in that series is Seclusion Point (Thomas Nelson). His book, Simple Little Words: What You Say Can Change a Life, written with Michelle Cox, releases in April 2008 from David C. Cook. Please visit www.simplelittlewords.com to find out more about the book, and visit John's website www.johnperrodin.com to find out more about his writing.