Generally, I quite enjoy Genndy Tartakovsky’s stuff, even though his now tried and tested formula has become more than just a little tiresome right now, but after bringing us legendary cartoon greats like Dexter’s Laboratory, Powerpuff Girls and Samurai Jack, you can’t help but feel that the man simply can’t put a single foot wrong. Or rather that was the case until I attempted to watch his 2003 Star Wars: Clone Wars animated shorts TV series on Saturday. What a disaster.
I didn’t make it through more than three or four of the shorts before turning it off and wiping the file (thank goodness I didn’t pay for this one!), bringing only one word to my mind: “icky”.
For those that are into this sort of thing, the series chronicles the Clone Wars between the Galactic Republic under Chancellor Palpatine, and the Confederacy of Independent Systems (CIS) under Count Dooku. Chronologically, the series takes place during the three-year time period between the films Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.
The first season generally chronicles the Jedi in their exploits fighting the Separatist movement against the Galactic Republic, with each episode being typically composed of a single, energetic set-piece battle, featuring either main characters from the Star Wars feature films or minor characters from the Expanded Universe. Of course, this means that non-stop action sequences are the name of the game and as such, any larger series storyline or plot kind of gets shoved on the back-burner for the most part.
Outside of this, I can’t actually enlighten you much more because simply put, I didn’t watch too much further. The problem for me is that what makes Tartakovsky’s uniquely colourful and simple animated drawings work so well is that they are always attached to loads of humour in the story, something which Clone Wars primarily does not aim for, even in the slightest unfortunately. So there is this huge dissonance, for lack of a better word, between the friendly animated visuals and the more serious battles and conquests raging on all around you, and unhappily, the serious, classic over-the-top Star Wars musical score certainly doesn’t help to close this rather gigantic rift.
All I can say then is that the show is nothing more than an experiment that surely only the most hardened of Star Wars fans can truly enjoy and now that I’ve sampled it, I’m pretty glad to have missed it first time around! One with the Force I am most definitely not…
Related link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Wars:_Clone_Wars_(2003_TV_series)