Star Wars Clone Wars (2003)
I am a great lover of puns, so naturally, I have no problem with people using today’s date, May The Fourth, as an excuse to make sneaky little Star Wars references to each other. It’s also pretty fun that others wave their geek flag around by throwing in other sci-fi references , random quotes and the like1. So really, I should talk about Star Wars again.
As I’ve stated before, I don’t think the movies are anything terribly special. To me, it’s the shared universe and the fact that it’s given various arty types an excuse to produce epic, space fantasy style tales that matter. One fantastic example is Genndy Tartakovsky’s Star Wars: Clone Wars2. Set between Attack of The Clones and Revenge of The Sith, this is short cartoon series produced by the same guy who brought us Dexter’s Laboratory, The PowerPuff Girls and of course Samurai Jack.
Of these, the Star Wars cartoon most resembles Samurai Jack; itself a series about a swordsman fighting futuristic creatures. In Star Wars: Clone Wars, we get a series of short stories, each one a snap-shot of an epic inter-galactic war. The focus of many of these tales are the Jedi. The animation resembles Tartakovsky’s previous work, whilst maintaining the iconic Star Wars look. So for example, Padmé Amidala looks both cute and exotic, whilst also cool and deadly. Emotion is conveyed in a very simple, easy to comprehend style, and because it looks so simple, we accept it, move on and thus allow the story to draw us in deeper. (It would be unkind to point out that the cartoon version of Anakin Skywalker is more expressive than the live action version. It’s also true, sadly.) It’s also filled with visual reference to previous Star Wars cartoons, and lovingly crafted cues and homages to the broader franchise.
As Star Wars is so ingrained into the culture I’m a part of, I have no idea if it works out of context. I think it would; warriors doing cool things are a pretty easy idea to get a handle on and enjoy, after all. Star Wars: Clone Wars, really is the best thing to come out of the prequels, and is the closest thing to the promise of a War in the Stars that the Lucas franchise has come up with thus far.
1: It’s also a little dull, which is a sad and inevitable consequence of something becoming part of the background culture. For some, there’s a fine line between liking something because it’s fun, and liking something because everyone else does. Once the line is crossed, there’s a chance people will simply repeat the same lines and make the same noises simply to have something to say, rather than out of a sense of joy. Inevitably, the thing becomes mundane.
2: Not to be confused with the CGI series of a similar name, which came later.