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Star Wars: The Clone Wars (DVD Review)

9 Nov, 2008 By: John Latchem

Star Wars Clone Wars

Street 11/11/08
Animated Sci-Fi
Box Office $35.1 million

$28.98 DVD, $34.99 two-DVD set, $35.99 Blu-ray’
Rated ‘PG’ for sci-fi action violence throughout, brief language and momentary smoking.
Voices of Matt Lanter, Ashley Eckstein, Tom Kane, Ian Abercrombie, Corey Burton.

Is it possible to overcommercialize “Star Wars”? After six live-action films, DVDs, books, comics, video games and merchandise lines that include countless action figures, the latest addition to George Lucas’ cash cow is the animated movie The Clone Wars.

That it was released in theaters implies it’s at a similar level in status to the six blockbuster live-action epics. It isn’t. The under-promoted theatrical exhibition didn’t amount to much more than a marketing tool for Cartoon Network’s excellent new animated “Clone Wars” cartoon series. The movie is really little more than a pilot for the show, and plays like a marathon of several episodes. The pacing is reminiscent of similar projects such as the direct-to-video “Futurama” movies that are clearly intended to be broken into episodes. The Clone Wars will probably meet a similar fate.

The home video release continues that marketing push. The special-edition set offers several featurettes that are basically commercials for the TV series, as the behind-the-scenes focus is spread over the making of several episodes.

All the home video versions also include commentary with the film’s creators, who discuss at length their thrill of working on a “Star Wars” movie and receiving input from Lucas.

The movie (and show) takes place during the famed Clone Wars set between Episode II and Episode III, territory briefly covered in the earlier “Clone Wars” cartoon shorts produced by Genndy Tartakovsky, and also in several books and comics. In fact, the movie has the feeling of such spinoff material, offering several sly references to established “Star Wars” mythology that often originate from creators more observant of and reverential toward the “Star Wars” universe than Lucas seems to be.

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