After the dismal reviews of the animated film Star Wars – The Clone Wars, fans didn’t expect much from the TV show spun off from the movie. While billed for kids, The Clone Wars was almost too childish, from Jabba’s son being called “Stinky” to Anakin Skywalker being called “Sky Guy” (both courtesy of Anakin’s do-no-wrong Padawan Ashoka Tano) to Anakin calling Ashoka “Snips.” Even the excellent animation couldn’t save the movie from its lame plot and horrid (even by Star Wars standards) dialogue. And while the movie featured some of the big name actors from the live-action films reprising their roles (Samuel Jackson and Christopher Lee in particular), the TV show would use voice actors instead, save for Anthony Daniels as C-3PO. So with all this against it, the show was bound to be bad, right?
Wrong. The Clone Wars TV series brings back the fun of the original trilogy with good stories and excellent animation. So much of the live-action films are CGI anyhow that many of the space scenes in the TV show don’t look all that different. While Hayden Christensen was often stiff and lifeless as Anakin in Episodes II and III, Matt Lanter brings likability to the character in the TV show. Even Ashoka has been toned down and is far less annoying than in the animated movie. The battle droids take on a comic-relief role, uttering one groaner after another, but they are never as annoying as say Jar Jar Binks.
In season one, Republic and Separatist armies vie for the allegiance of the neutral planets. Meanwhile, Yoda wants to build a Republic supply base in the system of Tedoria. Count Dooku gets word of this and send his apprentice Asajj Ventress and an army of battle droids after him. Yoda and Ventress work out a deal with King Katuunko with the winner getting the right to defend him and his people.
Other episodes find Anakin searching for General Grievous’ secret weapon as well as Jedi Plo Koon, who was thought to be lost in battle to Grievous. Anakin later goes after Grievous with a squadron of ships as he has kidnapped Senator Amidala from Naboo. The four episodes are fast-paced and filled with action. The problem is that there are only four episodes.
It seems that Star Wars – The Clone Wars: A Galaxy Divided is merely a teaser for a full-season DVD release to come later. It is as bare bones as it gets with no extras, save for language tracks. That’s disappointing as it mars what could be a fine release from a fine show. One can hope that after season one is released properly that this practice doesn’t continue for season two.