I know I have not been the only one to be critical of the all-hallowed George Lucas and his nuclear missile-proof franchise. One cannot deny, though, the man is a juggernaut, a veritable 800 pound gorilla. And where does an 800 pound gorilla sit? Wherever he wants. Mr. Lucas inspires toadyism! I swear, when he sneezes surely all the Star Wars sycophants eagerly snarl and bark to catch his snot as if there was something magical about it. The man simply does nothing wrong and no one has the stones to tell him, “Uh, George, bad idea.”
Take, for instance, his last run through the theaters in August with the Clone Wars animated movie. The story was drab and completely disconnected from the franchise we have all come to scratch our heads over. Honestly, Anakin with a learner? Help me out here but wouldn’t that have come up somehow in the nightmare that was Episode III?
Continuity aside, we all accept Lucas was simply using the movie as a springboard to debut his new love child, the beloved weekly animated series on Cartoon Network. Inspired by the manga traditions of Japanimation, Lucas wedded manga to digital and gave us The Clone Wars, an amalgamation of Genndy Tartakovsk’ys brilliantly geometric animation style seen so perfectly in the original Clone Wars micro-series with a digital twist.
Does it work? Not in the movie. The characters feel stiff and arthritic, and, in typical Lucas fashion, the acting is wooden as well. The combat sequences show no dazzle, no danger. Sure a clone bites it here and there and the emotional banter is punctuated by desperate warnings of “Here they come!” In short the story offered nothing Star Wars! Lightsabers and droids do not a Star Wars movie make. With this movie, though, we can be certain our Jedi Master George knew exactly what he was doing and has unfortunately gone to the dark side. Rubbing his hands with glee, Emperor George cemented Star Wars into the next generation’s psyche.
The master plan was to build a battle station no one could stop. It’s called a cartoon and it runs once a week with the occasional marathons here and there. Children would be Emperor George’s new stormtrooper cadre. And why not? The marketing campaign was slick. Live action clones run through the streets, past kids playing soccer. Droids pop up and skirmishes ensue. (For some serious fun, though, check out the cartoon at the skate park!) The geek in me cheered along with my kids and we all fantasized about wearing clone armor. We waited, my kids and I, for the debut of The Clone Wars animated series. I held my geek breath and braced myself for the Clone Wars underwear, cereal, and action figures that would soon become my world. (Remember, I DID mention I have kids!)