Monday, March 30, 2009

Clones (We All Are)

It's the law of diminishing returns. The more copies you make, the lesser the quality can be. Even so, sometimes there are surprises out there.

I was drinking when I wrote this, forgive me if it goes astray. A long time ago in a childhood far far away, one of the greatest movies of all time was made. Star Wars changed history and the face of mankind was changed forever. So powerful was Star Wars that it spawned a second set of sorry sequels years after the first series of sequels ended. Collectively, the prequel series of Star Wars movies were weak and tainted the brand as a whole. But bad product has never stopped a brand name before, not as long as it keeps selling. And as a result we have a new splinter to add to the Star Wars universe, the CGI animated Clone Wars.

It started with the movie that I got the DVD for in December. All I can say is that I'm glad I waited until DVD to watch this. On TV it's as impressive as the Cartoon Network series, the animation is pretty good, the characters are more lifelike than the live action films and the story telling somewhat plausible (at least not everyone is someone else's uncle, aunt or parent anymore). Star Wars: The Clone Wars is better than say The Phantom Menace or Attack of the Clones yet that's not saying much. The story to Clone Wars is a little insipid, some nonsense about Jabba the Hutt's baby and kidnapping and what not. In a movie theater this would have been disappointing, at home on DVD it's not bad. On celluloid it would suck to see the start of a tv series on screen without any enhanced graphics or events to make it special as a stand alone item. So good thing I saw it at home.

This movie was a lead in to Cartoon Network's series of half hour weekly episodes. The series is very good, it fleshes out the Star Wars Republic era and many times surpasses the quality of the prequel films in terms of story. At its peak, the Star Wars tv series picks up the zippy sense of fun the original trilogy had. The storm troopers aren't misfiring dolts even (makes me wonder what happened to that gene pool by the time you get to Luke Skywalker's time) My opinion hasn't changed much from the last time I reviewed it, the series is worthwhile and in the words of young Anakin and his friend, pretty "Wizard".

Branded alongside the DVD and TV series is a video game for the Wii, Star Wars: The Clone Wars Lightsaber Duels. The chance to swing a light saber with a Wii remote is mighty tempting. After playing this a bit, Lightsaber Duels is pretty good. There is some matching with the remote motion to give you a little Jedi juice, though it falls a little short for me. You're limited to five remote direction movement and have to memorize complex move patterns to do combo attacks (never a favorite video game feature of mine. After a year of playing Mortal Kombat I only got down one finishing move half way, where Scorpion eats the opponent's head). I was hoping for omnidirectional control of the saber since the Wii seemed to be up to it control wise. Despite these set backs, I still find playing the game enjoyable even as I flail crazily to try to trigger half the movements I'm supposed to while playing. The Force is with me.

The Clone Wars series is a decent, respectable extension of the Star Wars brand. It's not perfect and maybe it gets a little good will from the prequel trilogy's low standards. Still, on episodes like the hostage crisis at the senate or the prison break of a trade group informant the show brings back the excitement lacking from a lot of the product. And that makes it worthwhile.


Jeannie said...

As you know, I was watching it with you for a while, but then I kind of got bored with it. That same sort of theme seems to repeat with each episode. I do think that overall, this series has some of the movies beat.

P.S. You were drunk after 1/2 a beer- ROFL!!! :D

Mr. Mike said...

Hey honey, I waz verryy drunker