Saturday, August 23, 2008

Well, we enjoyed "The Clone Wars"

My son, Evan, and I had been very excited about the new Star Wars: The Clone Wars movie after seeing previews for it. We are big Star Wars fans and we're big animation fans so it seemed a natural for us. When it was finally released last week (August 15), we went to see it the next day. I decided to read a few reviews before we went so I could help Evan figure things that that might be confusing. I will never learn. If the reviews are glowing and build my hopes up too high, I can be disappointed by the movie because it doesn't meet my expectations. But if the reviewers pan the movie, I may not go to see the movie or just wait for it to come out on DVD where it is never as exciting as in the theater. But, in this case, we were going to see it no matter what. As Evan said, "I'm so excited. This is my first chance to see a Star Wars movie in the theater." He's had to see all the others at home on our standard definition 27" TV.

So we went on a Saturday afternoon and Evan got his usual small popcorn and a small drink. We settled back, enjoyed the previews and waited for the movie to begin. I was so worried that he wouldn't like it. The reviews talked about how this movie was too complex ("Where", they said, "was the simple joy of the first Star Wars.") or the animation was not as good as other recent movies (we'd just seen WALL-E) and some reviewers were complaining about the fact the animation director had been influenced by the old Thunderbirds marionettes. With the movie starting, I was very tense. Would this be a big disappointment for my son?

I didn't need to worry. The action started at the very beginning and rarely stopped. And yes, that was another complaint of the reviewers. Too much action? That sounds like the famous complaint from Amadeus where Mozart's rival complains, "Too many notes." These movies are all full of action and this one just has more of it. And, in my view, the action here is much better explained. They actually take the time to explain what they are trying to do and what they need to do to counter the enemy's moves. It makes the weapons they have seem more real - the weapons have advantages and limitations. Also, you learn much more about the Clone Troopers. We learn about the selfless devotion and the duty they feel. They are human but they are brave beyond measure (as opposed to the 'droids they are fighting who are just mindlessly following orders and programming). The plot is very intricate but my 12-year old son was able to follow it. While it didn't have the simple story of the original Episode 4 Star Wars, it was no more complex than the Episode 3 Star Wars. And how could this have been a complaint (and it was) of the reviewers? How many times have you heard reviewers complaining that movies today are too simplistic? How many times have you heard reviewers complaining that animation is just cartoons - that serious animations are lacking? As far as we're concerned, this is a fine movie and a really fine example of modern animation.

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