The first order of business was to watch an episode of the animated 2-D cartoon series Star Wars: The Clone Wars before I watched the 3-D movie. The episode was about Anakin and Obi-Wan leading clone forces against the separtist army of the banking clan secretly led by General Grevious. The 2-D animation of the cartoon episode was as clunky as the storyline was dull. It was made with a limited budget and a low opinion of what children can handle and will accept. Undoubtedly, many kids have enjoyed this series, but, if this episode was any indication, it could have been much better, and the kids could have been enthralled.
Enthralling also does not apply to the movie.
But before I get into that, let me say that, regardless of 3-D rendering, the animation simply was far more improved over that of the series, and the animation flowed a lot better, too. The storyline was also much better than the cartoon. Jabba the Hutt's nephew is kidnapped, and the Jedi forces must save him to win Jabba's permission to move freely across his corner of the universe, while Count Dooku's forces weave a sinister trap for the Jedi. Mind you, I watched SW: TCW the movie after watching the cartoon series, so my expectations had already been set low. I imagine anyone else watching the movie uninitiated would be bored out of their skulls. There's something to be said about numbing one's mind with something worse before seeing something bad.
However, no amount of watching mind-numbing cartoons could help one overlook how hilariously badly the movie crashes to smithereens with the introduction of just one character -- Jabba the Hutt's treacherous uncle, Ziro. Pronounced "zero," the character's name aptly describes the quality of the rest of the movie simply because of how this character speaks and behaves. Yes, as it has been said before, he talks like Truman Capote, and he talks in English, with a lot of whine with his cheese for good measure. When he talks in Hutt, he's fine, but when he whines in English, oh, man. . . .
Ziro the Hutt makes Jar-Jar Binks look like a great idea.
What's more, he is supposed to be a gangster on Coruscant?! Where the Jedis are the police?! Coruscant is not lawless Tatooine!
But this isn't the only inconsistency in either the cartoon series or the movie. Count Dooku has not one, but two students. General Grevious, of course, who is not in the movie, and also a new character, Asajj Ventress, who is featured in the movie. She's a cool character, but there's a basic problem. What did we learn about the Sith from The Phantom Menace? There are only two, for a very good reason.
I know, it's George Lucas' world, and he can do with it as he pleases. There's going to be a second season of The Clone Wars on the Cartoon Network. But after awhile, all this going back on what was said and all this cashing out on what people had come to love just makes people jaded. If you're going to make money off a tried-and-true franchise, you need to do it right and well, with both the humor and the edge-of-the-seat drama that gripped us and drew us in with The New Hope. It wasn't there with any of the three prequels, and it certainly isn't there with The Clone Wars, series or movie.
I will say this; I did like the smart alecky, impetuous Ahsoka Tano being the paduan of Anakin Skywalker. I also like taking one of the clones, Captain Rex, and making him real and likable. But the rest of the story seems dull, especially Obi-Wan never being able to show up until Anakin has already moved on to the next conflict. Obi-Wan doesn't need a light sabre; give him a mop instead. All he does is clean up.
Sad to say, but the Force is no longer with George Lucas. The only thing he shows us any longer is the Forced.
Note: Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Lee and Anthony "C3PO" Daniels are the only original voices featured in the movie; the rest of the voices are done by others.
Worst Actor: Corey Burton, voice actor for Ziro the Hutt.
Worst Director: Dave Filoni, for allowing Ziro the Hutt anywhere near the movie.
Worst Screenplay: Henry Gilroy, Steve Melcing and Scott Murphy, for creating the worst character in the Star Wars storyline.
Worst Oversight: George Lucas, for allowing a calamity that not even the Force can balance.