Well, have we all seen the first new THE CLONE WARS TV series CARTOON NETWORK promo? Terrific stuff, eh? It looks even better than the movie! It’s hard for me to personally believe that the first animated STAR WARS film, taking the saga into what I feel is a bold and colourful new era, from LUCASFILM, has received on the whole such critical disdain and so few people seeing it (how much of such unfriendly, LUCASFILM is really in it for the money critical reaction has prevented people from going to see it? Well, we won’t really know about the total fallout from it for a while yet)-is it possible that the general public just doesn’t want an animated STAR WARS film? How does this bode for the new series (and the future live action one as well!!), and what audience figures will it get on the US CARTOON NETWORK (which is not a major league audience channel in the same way that someone like SKY or FOX is) in that Friday night at 9pm slot (if I recall, didn’t the sixties Original STAR TREK TV series third season air in a slot similar to that and nobody saw it!!-the primary young audience either being out for the weekend or asleep!!).
Adding further fuel to the fire, said critics have complained that the animation looks dull and lifeless and not like the current trend in animation (oh critics, duh!!!, CLONE WARS has been made in a deliberate style opposite to the new wave of CGI animation!!), to the statement that it’s just all too much action, action, action. What do I think? Well, check out my review on the site, but I do get the impression the critics are really out to get George Lucas now. Yes, I know he’s a big boy, with a big corporation, and they can ignore the criticism, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it!! And there have been some deliberately snipey criticisms which make me think there is more going on with certain magazines/critics with their subtext than meets the eye as this commercial magazine readership age continues to wage its own fierce war bigger than the Republic versus the Separatists!! No one has done this more so, and most surprisingly, than ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY in its current Summer blockbuster issue (the one with the currently delayed HARRY POTTER film on the cover-nice one, WARNERS!! Another major franchise fan area pissed off!!) -they gave the film an F rating- an F for goodness sake!! It’s very rare that they give films such bad ratings and THE CLONE WARS gets it!!! That is normally reserved for the worst films ever made. Sorry EW, but THE CLONE WARS ain’t in that category and it doesn’t deserve that rating WHATSOEVER!! I couldn’t believe it when Ian Trussler told me at the weekend last that this was what the film had gotten from them. Reading the review, I sense a critic who either just doesn’t like STAR WARS and it’s bigger than most things commercialism, or has some kind of connected bitterness about it in general (whether they are hurt as a STAR WARS fan I don’t know?). Reading further between the lines, however, I wouldn’t be surprised if EW were taking a negative stand possibly because they didn’t have the kind of access to the movie and TV series behind the scenes that that they would have liked to have had in order to sell their own magazines. This rationale is a distinct possibility-I’ve always noticed that the magazines and newspapers who don’t get exclusive rights to material to boost their circulations often go on the warpath to try and muscle in on the competitors before they can do their features, or destroy their rivals critically (Weirdly, though, aren’t the EW magazine group actually owned by TIME WARNER!! Aren’t they biting their own hand a little bit?).
For all of you haven’t read the review, here’s the link:
Let’s not storm the EW building in New York just yet, though-they may now have seen the new TV series trailer, or opening episodes, and become excited. We can but hope that THE CLONE WARS TV series is a terrific populist and critical success, not only on CARTOON NETWORK but also in worldwide DVD sales as well. If it gets good reactions in those areas then we may yet be able to restore some of the sagas damaged pride away from such earlier negative critical notices. We can but hope...
With thanks to Ian Trussler for the above image.
UPDATE: 21/9/2008 Well, well, well.. it seems ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY have partially gone back on their negative review of THE CLONE WARS movie. They still stick to their F rating-they can't back down on that editorially for fear of losing face, but they have kinda said, reading between the lines, that as a smaller STAR WARS viewing experience, it's not that bad. Check out the comments made by Jeff Jensen at: www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20225033,00.html
Sounds to me like EW's parent company, TIME WARNER, who distribute THE CLONE WARS theatrically and own CARTOON NETWORK, gave EW a whoopin' for potentially damaging their new, continuing relationship with LUCASFILM (worth millions of dollars to both parties long term) and EW have had to respond with some thing a little more positive!!
Heh, heh, heh...