Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Star Wars: Clone Wars


I love Star Wars and I love the cartooning style of Genndy Tartakovsky(The creator of Samurai Jack). However an amalgamation of the two! I was not sure of that one. In fact, to be completely frank, I was quite apprehensive about it. Anyways rest assured true believers - the result is worthy!!!

The short review - The Clone Wars is a must watch. It is FANTABULOUS. Now go on surf away;)

The longer version.

Before I go into the review itself I thought I would first take on the people who have issues with watching their favourite stuff as cartoons. After all Clone Wars was shown on Cartoon Networks and the general attitude is that no, I repeat no, adult watches Cartoon Network unless it is to give company to a youngling. Furthermore even Cartoon Network India officials think the same due to which they kept this series at 6pm rather than a more accessible slot of 8 -10 pm. I strongly oppose this attitude. None of this ignoramuses seem to know about how much progress ahs happened in animation from the days of Hanna-Barbera and Early Disney work. Serious characterizations, gripping stories, emotional depth - all of this can be found in today's animation. You want proof - check out any episode of "Batman - the Animated Series" or "Samurai X". Check out one of the most fantastic and underrated material connected to the Matrix - "Animatrix" (Material so good that many Matrix fanatics believe that this is the only material, alongwith the first movie, which should have ever existed. I personally like all the Matrix movies but that is another story.)

Anyways the point is that the cartoon medium is as legitimate a medium as 70 mm cinema and the work done in this medium is of equal calibre. So please, please do not go around slagging it!!! It is best put by Kamal Hassan in an old interview. He said that he sees himself as a storyteller and in today's world a storyteller cannot be narrow and see only cinema as a medium. The storytellers medium is the whole Audio-Visual space and he has to play with it seeing what fits best.

Now let us come to the matter at hand - The Clone Wars!

This series has been given the treatment and styling of the Samurai Jack series. The treatment is an amalgamation of the manga style of the east and the more fluider cartooning of the west. The key point is that it works. It worked for Samurai Jack and boy, does it work for Clone wars. I saw it in one go and it was a gripping tale one, one with the same underlying theme, tone and treatment expected of any Star Wars story. It has managed to capture a war of galactic proportions beautifully. Yes, it is true - I was well and truly bowled over.

It is a must see. The reasons follow:

1. It is canonical. In layman terms it connects the movie "Attack of the Clones" to "Revenge of the Sith". We left AOTC with the beginning of the Clone wars and enter ROTS with the climax of the war coming up. What happened in the interim - the answer is in the Clone Wars. Hence to completely appreciate the cinematic saga that is Star Wars, one HAS to see Clone Wars.

2. It is a very well made piece of work in it's own right. Well written, well drawn and well acted. The characterizations are strong with lots of emotional depth. Especially noticeably (a plus point of using this style of cartooning) is the great emotions shown by simple gestures and facial expressions. I repeat - the expressions are so great that in many places dialogues are unimportant. In other words the acting by the cartoon characters is superlative. Why am I labouring this point? Come back after you read my next review to fully appreciate this point.

3. The lightsaber action is out of this world. Beautifully fluid and operatic. It is so accurate that we even come to know the different styles used. I am already salivating over the fact that once the DVD comes out I will be able to see it in slow motion.

4. The depiction of the squad-based movements of the Clone Troopers were out of this world. Reminds of cool SWAT games and Navy Seal movies. Too Cool!!!
So all - in- all I give Clone Wars 9/10 {My English teacher always used to say that one can never give an artistic piece 10/10 :)}

6 comments:

Sarat said...

Pray, who was that English teacher, and what's she/he doing now? :)

Sujith said...

brij, did Star World show the complete series or only season 1?
I have season 1 and 2 with me now (dnlded, of course) and am hunting desperately for season 3. If Star World managed to show all 3 seasons, then I am (very) interested.

brijwhiz said...

Hey Sarat, on deeper reflection it was not the English Teacher it was Mrs. Khanapurkar - your favourite teacher:)

Sujith I think it was complete as the end of the Clone Wars showed Anakin and Obi-WQan Kenobi being called back to Coruscant becuase the Palpatine had been "kidnapped"

Sujith said...

Genndy Tartakovsky was also the creator of Dexter's Lab :)
More than Samurai Jack, it was Dexter's Labs' slick editing, suspense buildup, and action sequences that made me sure that Clone Wars would be GREAT :)

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