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Saturday, 17 August 2013

AFICIONADO CLASSIC REVIEW: 'THE CLONE WARS' MOVIE - DVD 2008


STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS (Theatrical movie)

Directed by Dave Filoni

REGION ONE (U.S.) DVD REVIEW (WARNER BROS. HOME VIDEO)


By Scott Weller

For me, Xmas is all about colour, excitement and fun for all the family. And when it comes to DVD releases during this all important Holiday Season, the newly released THE CLONE WARS movie more than fulfils that criteria and brings additional warmth to my STAR WARS fan heart. Overall it's been a great, successful year for LUCASFILM with INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL, and now 2008 comes to a fine close for STAR WARS fans of all ages with this quick release that will hopefully capitalize on the success of the new weekly animated TV series it has emerged from.
 
▶ Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Movie Trailer - YouTube


I've already reviewed THE CLONE WARS film upon its original release in August this year, and my opinions of it still stand, though I would like to re-stress that the film does improve with repeated viewing even more so now that the weekly animated TV series has hit the ground running with such amazing strength and imagination. This film makes a lovely taster introduction to the TV series-it’s ultimate aim after all- and its lack of theatrical success on premiere release with both fans and the family audiences out there still baffles me, but I'm hoping the film will be re-discovered by generations of kids in the years to come, especially in the wake of, we hope, five seasons (100 episodes) of the weekly series.

Strike a pose! Obi-Wan is ready for Ventress!

The film on Disc One is almost as good, both visually and on an entertainment ratio, as it was when seen digitally in movie theatres of August this year-well, for all of us fans who actualbothered to go and see it at the cinemas at least. I applaud you if you did. Those who didn't... well, you missed a BIG screen cinematic treat and you’ll probably never get a chance to see it again now, either. Despite my disappointment to those AWOL fans, the tremendous picture and sound quality on DVD and BLU-RAY will have to do, and it will do it well. And of course, with the LUCASFILM quality control trademark, you know you’re going to get the best state of the art transfer/viewing experience that’s possible. Its just that, if you've got that state of the art home cinema and projection screen, then that’s fine, but if not, the standard 32 inch TV screen really doesn't do the first (and now probably last, sadly) CLONE WARS movie the justice I feel it deserves, especially if you're seeing it for it's debut time. You just had to have been at the cinema, man!

Past the quality film presentation, for me, it’s the goodies on the second disc that keenly whetted my appetite. When said and done, it’s a solid but not overly substantial collection of material. They are obviously saving all the best stuff for the eventual, inevitable season one box set in spring/summer 2009. Until then, this is an enjoyable, mouth watering taster that'll just about keep us happy.

On the deleted scenes front, all are very good, the standout being the Rancor pit-I'm quiet surprised this was cut out as I thought it was a nicely done sequence-I liked Anakin and Ventress fighting on the beast at one point. The Vulture Droid stand-off scene between it, Anakin and Ahsoka was also pretty good- perhaps the producers thought that there was just too much action going on in the middle part of the film. Ahsoka's brief cargo bay scene, however, did prove un-necessary.

Of all the extras, the discs highlight for me was the section talking about the upcoming episodes of Season One. By the time this DVD has been released six or seven of these will have been shown for fans, but the rest not yet seen look a real treat-those Ryloth episodes in particular look particularly dark and stunning, and the Jar Jar (hesa back-YAAYY!)/ Threepio installment looks great fun-I agree with series head writer Henry Gilroy-I think Jar Jar will work much better in this new animation medium (and who knows it may gets more kids buying up the last of the unwanted PHANTOM MENACE soft toy stock that LUCASFILM probably still has in its warehouses!!). It's clear from the preview documentary that the makers of the show truly care about STAR WARS and the audience, and as we can see from the opening episodes they've been living up to their promises of quality way beyond what I expected. I can't wait to see how the whole season plays out and what different directions they'll be taking the show in later seasons (can we expect more character driven stories in Season Two?). This twenty-five minute composition is so nicely put together with important contributions from the TV series crew that it warrants repeated viewing-and it’s just so nice to watch the new clips again and again!

The short but sweet doc on the voice cast is also of interest-fun to see all of them assembling for each episode, with the nice insert of Sam the Man working on his film's voicing. Again, this doco is another great example of the talented people working on the show-a great team who are clearly enjoying bringing their roles to life, especially the enthusiastic and chirpy Ashley Eckstein, Matt Lanter (who brings much needed strong heroic tones to the animated Anakin), and James Arnold Taylor (who also looks much younger than I thought he would!!)-who effortlessly slips into the character of Obi-Wan Kenobi-in such an amazing job that he sounds so much like Ewan McGregor it’s unreal at times-I'd love to see a shot of him and Ewan photographed together and I'd love to know what the latter thinks of the animated series (I'm probably being a complete fantasist here-now that his work on the films is over, he probably doesn't give all that much thought to STAR WARS or it’s adult fans).

The other little section on composer Kevin Kiner is also intriguing and its interesting to see how heavily involved Lucas was on the movie and his suggestions for it’s score tonally- there's a nice moment where we discover he was behind the inspired use of Japanese music for Tatooine. An experienced TV score veteran, Kiner seems absolutely thrilled to be involved in this massive project and I think his love and enthusiasm is clear to see. The attempt to do something bold with the TV series music, mostly different but trying to honour 
John Williams at the same time, should be applauded and I think the viewers are now starting to get used to it.

The mini web docs are the same as the ones already seen on STARWARS.COM
, though its interesting to note that the villains ones was obviously put together nearer towards the films Post Production, as Christopher Lee voice as Dooku is used in clips, whereas in earlier docs, Corey Burton could be heard instead from when the story was planned for TV.

Capping it all off there is the additional trailers (again previously seen on STARWARS.COM
, but it’s always nice to be completist), and the games trailer.There's the option of doing a digital copy (but only until November 11th in the U.S.) and the DVD sleeve comes with a nice holgraphic cover too!


Only one major negative: the image gallery is sadly way too small to look at the pre-production/conceptual art properly, and the amount on display is sadly lacking for full visual devouring-again, the best materials are being saved for later, bigger releases we assume.

So, all in all, another worthy entry of the STAR WARS cannon on DVD and one that I’d urge fans to see if they haven’t already. If they’ve seen the TV series and liked it then the idea of the bigger film launcher may be more agreeable and appealing to them now. And let’s hope, with some good advertising and cross-promotion, that it’ll finally be successful in attracting the generic buying public, too.


AFCIONADO RATING: MOVIE: 4 out of 5  DISC EXTRAS: 3 out of 5

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