A short time ago in a galaxy right in your own back yard….(cue music)
Star Wars Episode XXCV: The Clone Wars: A Galaxy Divided DVD Release:
It’s 2009 and the Emperor Lucas has come up with a new plan to extricate spending dollars from the public. With the defeat of his latest trilogy at the hands of the rebellion, he has turned his attention to a new kind of presentation. The first attempt was rather simple and not widely effective. The Clone Wars animated series was overly stylish and had little in the way of dialog. While it did create revenue for the Lucas Empire, it was not as widely beloved as he had hoped. Now through the use of new technology and sophisticated computer animation, the Emperor has unleashed a new threat. At first the project was released in theaters as a box office pilot to the new animated television series. The film scored a very modest $35 million at the box office, not the deadly blow the Emperor had hoped for. Undaunted, the Emperor pushed on with the animated series, gaining only minimal attention from the fan base. It seemed that the rebels might have him in retreat. Finally, we see the first four episodes released on a single DVD to the general public. What will become of the rebellion now? We join the battle, at a crucial moment…
This release gives you the first 4 half hour episodes in the new Clone Wars CG animated series. I’m not exactly sure of the point. It seems that Lucas is convinced that you fanboys out there are so desperate for more Star Wars that you’ll buy these 4 episodes, even though you’ve just seen them on television, and likely recorded them to watch as you like. Ah, you say. He must have included some spectacular extra stuff in there to fill our insatiable appetites for more. You would be mistaken. There’s nothing else here. Why not just release a set with all 22 episodes on it at once? As much as I hate to use the words Lucas and money grab in the same sentence…just a joke, kids, this is one of the most blatant attempts at cashing in I’ve seen in some time.
Okay, but how is the show? Put simply, it makes The Phantom Menace look like a classic. The writing is so juvenile that it bears little resemblance to even the final three films. If you want to try and compare this with the original trilogy, you’ll end up pulling out your hair. None of the voices from the films will be found here. The series is strictly intended as mindless entertainment for the little kids. That’s fine, but as shows like The Simpsons and Futurama have shown us, you can appeal to the kids but give the adults some meat, as well. There’s little attempt to satisfy the Star Wars fan here at all. It appears that Lucas has lost touch with his own fan base. Hey, George, give me a call, maybe I can help you find your way back from the dark side of the Force.
Each episode is presented in its original broadcast aspect ratio of 1.85:1. But bear in mind this is cropped down from the 2.35:1 theater aspect ratio. Right from the start I’m incredibly surprised and disappointed that this is a non-anamorphic presentation. What happened to the Lucas state of the art tradition here? I have to say that this thing looks a lot like a PS3 game cut scene. I sit by eagerly awaiting my chance to command one of the ships or engage in a light saber fight. The colors are actually pretty good, coming through quite bright at times. The definition is solid, allowing for very clean animation lines. Still, one has to just be taken aback at how sloppy this release really is.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is actually pretty darn good. Here my expectations were finally met. Battle scenes offer a wonderfully immersive effect. Ships and laser blasts come from anywhere and everywhere. The score, although not quite up to the film standards, allows for some solid listening pleasure. Dialog is always easy to hear.
I just don’t get it, and honestly neither should you… get this DVD, I mean. I can’t believe most of you haven’t already seen it and likely have it at home. This is no upgrade to your Tivo copy. I’d wait until the entire run is put into a collection. I hope by then someone’s decided to give us a better and true to the original production image. Don’t blame me, “I’m only the messenger”.