A Wanker’s Literary Reaction: The Clone Wars
So, I don’t think I’ve ever written much about Star Wars on this blog, and that’s pretty shocking when you consider how much of my brainspace the sci-fi series usually takes up.
The very first movie I ever remember seeing was The Phantom Menace (which I still contend is a really good movie, and by far the best of the prequel trilogy), and my obsession blossomed from there on. And I’m serious about that obsession: I’ve read a bunch of the extended universe novels, I’ve played all the Star Wars games I can get my hands on, and I’ve marathoned the movies three times. Which doesn’t sound like a lot, but if you’ve actually tried to marathon them yourself, you’ll know how horrifyingly time stretches out in front of you when you’re half an hour into Attack of the Clones (A FILM IN WHICH CLONES NEVER ATTACK). I would not be exagerrating in the least if I said that I have found myself seriously tearing up over every new Star Wars trailer that’s been released in the last year. I fucking love Star Wars, and will happily take to task anyone who dares suggest otherwise.
And recently, I’ve started watching The Clone Wars. Well, I tried it a few years back when I first got Netflix, but soon drifted off it because my willpower is pathetic in the face of all the shitty b-movie horrors that Netflix is home to. But I’ve properly taken it on in anticipation of the release of The Force Awakens, and man, have I been missing out.
I was initially kind of put off by the fact that this was ostensibly a kids series, but seriously, don’t let that stop you from knuckling down and absorbing five seasons of this shit if you’re a real Star Wars fan. There’s no doubt in my mind that the series is better than Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith combined, which isn’t really saying much-
-but seriously, this is where all the action you wanted from those movies vanished to. The Clone Wars is basically an anthology show with all the disparate threads tying back into the story of the war between the Republic and the Imperial troops, and lavishes the viewer with new characters, plot arcs, and locations- basically, a chance to properly explore the Star Wars universe.
And there are so many things to love about this show. Firstly, the characters that made the jump from the movies- such as Yoda, Obi-Wan, Anakin and Padme- are all at the very least as good as their big screen counterparts, and often loads better. Anakin actually has all the charm and rogueishness that Hayden Christensen’s solid oak performance surgically removed from the character in the films, and his banter and companionship with Obi-Wan makes the end-up of their relationship even more poignant.And, of course, any character that you thought looked interesting wandering about in the background of a random scene in the films gets their own episode, a conceit that helps open up the universe and create a giant, sprawling ensemble that can fit around almost any story.
The villains from the movies, most notably General Grievous and Count Dooku, get some back story that actually makes them, you know, threatening and interesting and ruthless. Anakin also gets a padawan, in the form of the wise-cracking Asohka, that stops him from descending into critically brooding territory.
And that’s another thing about the series that I love. Much as I will contend that both Amidala and Leia are fantastic characters and badass heroines in their own ways, it still stands that there are only two really significant female characters out of the six Star Wars movies. In The Clone Wars, there are more than I can count- Asohka is excellent and far more charming than her description makes her sound, and then there’s temperamental Sith warrior Asajj Ventress, not to mention a bunch of cool female Jedi side characters who get just as many awesome action sequences as their male counterparts. There’s a particular episode in season one that revolves around a showdown between two female Jedi and a female Sith, and it feels wrong that it’s staggeringly new and different.
There really aren’t enough good things to say about this series- the animation is gorgeous, the voice acting is excellent (David Tennant won an Emmy was his work on the series), the action is thrilling, and the whole thing is basically an invitation that no Star Wars fan could turn down. What are you waiting for?