Clone Wars (season 1)

George Lucas’s prequel trilogy to Star Wars received mixed reviews. Dealing more with politics than space battles, there’s a lot of ‘history’ and story to pack into three movies. With so much left off-screen, there’s ample room for a series or seven to fill in – enter Clone Wars, the animated series set between episodes 2 and 3.

Episode II aka Attack of the Clones shows the events leading up to the Clone Wars. The Galactic Republic, newly endowed with a somewhat mysterious clone army, is battling the droid army of the Separatists. At this point there’s no confusion between good and bad, with the Jedi and the Senate up against Sith Lords such as Count Dooku, and any number of unpleasant dark allies.

There’s a lot to like about this series, especially for those who found the prequel trilogy a bit dull. It’s high on Saturday morning cartoon adventures, complete with a cheesy announcer at the start of each episode, given us a recap of where the overarching story is up to. Not that it matters too much, with each episode being a fairly self-contained mini-mission.

It all very definitely adds to the film series, giving us more time with characters that are perhaps not given quite enough development otherwise. In particular, we get to see Anakin Skywalker as a Jedi hero, glimpses of what we know is ahead but still very much a good guy, albeit impetuous. His relationship with Padme is allowed more space, too, taking away a bit of the creepy factor from the swift presentation of meeting-as-a-child, unwelcome declaration of love, through to sudden marriage.

We also get to see a lot more of Obi-Wan Kenobi, again as a Jedi general in his prime, as well as many other familiar faces, including Mace Windu, Yoda, and Jar Jar Binks. And it’s hugely interesting to see the Clones as individuals, not just the faceless Stormtroopers we’ll become more familiar with.

Each episode is just the right length to tell a sliver of story, and the animation is pretty good, highly stylised but fitting the material. In tone it’s far more like the original trilogy (so, eps 4-6) than the more po-faced 1-3 or dark angst of 7-9 (I assume, haven’t seen the last one yet!), full of joy of just telling pew pew stories across a galaxy full of different species and mechs and all sorts of things more interesting than trade blockades or emo bad guys. Ymmv, but I’m all for the fun 🙂

First broadcast: 2008
Series: 7
Episodes: 22 @ ~23 mins each

My rating: 7.5/10

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