SFX Issue 113 review


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January 2004

TV Review:

The Clone Wars

Cartoon Star Wars . And it rocks!

2003 Dir: Genndy Tartakovsky
Starring: Cartoon Star Wars heroes
Running time: Three mins each
Reviewer: Guy Haley

Genndy Tartakovsky is a hero. Not only can the Russian-born dude draw, but he’s also a fantastic writer. His Samurai Jack was ace, and Clone Wars is too.

The term “micro-series” does the show little justice. Tartakovsky packs a fair old amount of story into each three-minute segment. Much of the series, but not all, concerns Obi-Wan and Anakin taking on the banking clan of Muunilist. One of the main players in the separatist movement, the banking clan… oh, bollocks to it. We don’t want all that political guff, we want WARS IN SPACE! And that is what we get, by the spade load.

There are tons of fan-pleasers here. There’s the “Sith Witch” Asaaj Ventriss, who was intended to be the villain in Episode II ; IG robots, one of whose number is an assassin in Episode V ; the Mon Calamari versus Quarren conflict on Mon Calamari; and amphibious Jedi master Kit Fisto. Enough to lather up most Wars geeks.

Even better, the cartoon is liberally salted with numerous hints about Episode III .

Tartakovsky also does a top job of capturing the essence of the characters and Star Wars action. But he still finds a place for his own ideas: the underwater battle on Mon Calamari is pure toon ballet, while the villainous Durge is one of Tartakovsky’s trademark baddies. Unstoppable and powerful, only the cunning and pluck of Samurai Jack... oops, I mean Obi-Wan Kenobi, can bring him down.

The cartoons more than succeed as throwaway bursts of Star Wars . They are the best tie-in we’ve seen for a long time.

But as great as they are, you have to wonder why the Clone Wars, long the realm of schoolyard debate, have been relegated to the Expanded Universe, Star Wars ’ second division. Why did we have the kid and the frog and the trade dispute when we could have had more spaceships and robots? Think on this. They made Clone Wars as a cartoon because it is cool. Can you imagine them doing the same with the politics that fill the bigger screen? Your honour, I rest my case.

Dave Golder
Freelance Writer

Dave is a TV and film journalist who specializes in the science fiction and fantasy genres. He's written books about film posters and post-apocalypses, alongside writing for SFX Magazine for many years.