Star Wars: The Clone Wars is one of my favorite TV shows of all-time, as I binged the show after the final season was released this spring. After watching Star Wars Rebels, I hit a dry spell when it came to Star Wars content. Because of this I decided to watch The Clone Wars animated movie, a film that many people said was terrible. Upon viewing it, I think it is an average movie that is fun when watching it after viewing the entirety of the show.
The Clone Wars movie takes place chronologically between Season 1 Episode 16, “The Hidden Enemy” and Season 3 Episode 1, “Clone Cadets.” During the first year of the Clone Wars that is raging across the galaxy, Jedi Generals Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi are leading a battalion of Republic Clone Troopers against the Separatist Droid Army on Christophsis.
The Jedi Council sent reinforcements in the form of Jedi Padawan Ahsoka Tano. Yoda and Obi-Wan assigned her to be Anakin’s apprentice. Initially, Anakin refuses but agrees to train her eventually. After escaping Christophsis, the two must bring back Jabba the Hutt’s son after he was kidnapped by the Separatists. Whether they succeed will determine who controls important hyperspace lanes in the war.
The two biggest aspects to discuss from the movie are the low-quality art style and animation and its place in the overall saga.
The animation for this film is not good. While it is animated and most of the show aired on cartoon network, the movie feels more like a Saturday-morning cartoon than an animated movie. The action scenes looked bloated and the characters’ motions are choppy. However, this was mostly due to it being Lucasfilm’s first attempt at 3-D animation.
The first couple seasons of the show do not look much better either. The quality of the animation improves dramatically over the course of the show, culminating in the “Siege of Mandalore” arc which felt cinematic. This movie was the starting point, making the improvements satisfying.
When the movie came out, it was ripped to shreds and understandably so. It was nothing special and the lack of spectacular animation did not help matters. While most of the voice actors were the same from the show, the writing does not give them much to work with. There are fun moments but overall the writing is subpar.
Although, I enjoyed watching this movie due to how it set up the story and giving a great TV show a foundation to build from. This movie is Ahsoka’s introduction and it is amazing seeing how far she comes in the later seasons. It made me appreciate her character even more than I already did.
Alas, when the movie first came out, I can understand why she wasn’t received well. She was whiny and annoying at times, ruining potentially good moments in the movie. I am so happy her character expanded into a legendarily great Star Wars character.
A great comparison is The Fast and the Furious, the first film in the Fast and Furious franchise. The first film is the worst of the franchise simply because it was the foundation that future movies built from. Watching it again after viewing the whole franchise elevates the enjoyment of the movie more as you see where the characters started.
Overall, the movie Star Wars: The Clone Wars was enjoyable but it was not good. The animation and writing are lacking. However, I can appreciate it looking back as the show built on its foundation, creating a masterpiece in the process. I recommend checking out this movie AFTER watching the show.