The latest Star Wars movie, Clone Wars, opens this Friday. We've done our homework on the new movie, and it actually looks pretty good. As the seventh movie in the epic series, we turned up seven reasons why Clone Wars will be worth seeing.
1. No More Hayden Christensen!
Many Star Wars fans found Hayden Christensen's portrayal of Anakin at turns wooden and whiny. In Clone Wars, the voice of Anakin is taken over by Matt Lanter (probably best known for his role as the evil quarterback Brody from TV's Heroes). Familiar returning voices include Samuel L. Jackson (as Mace), Christopher Lee (as Dooku), and good old Anthony Daniels (as C3PO). Unfortunately we don't get to hear from Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan -- he's been replaced by James Arnold Taylor, a voice actor with a resume a mile long, including the voice of Obi-Wan in the Clone Wars animated shorts, and the voice of Ratchet from the Ratchet & Clank games.
As far as I'm concerned, less Hayden Christensen means more awesome.
2. Awesome Anime-Inspired Art
The full animation look also frees up moviemakers to invent some insane battle sequences, including one in which the Jedi warriors and AT-TE walkers walk up a cliff during the fight. Another epic (though brief) battle scene has Anakin jumping from speeder to speeder in mid-air, cutting down droids.
3. Clone/Droid Carnage Galore
The Clone Wars are unique in Star Wars mythology because they were fought by the eponymous clones, versus a bunch of strangely fragile droids (probably shoulda up-armored those guys, eh?). Although the clones are portrayed as super-soldiers (they're all Jango Fetts, after all), we get to see legions of them cut down by droids -- and vice versa. And who doesn't love a little droid-on-clone violence? Part of the fun of Clone Wars is in seeing how many clones and droids we can blow away in each battle.
Kids take note: you can get tips on drawing "Captain Rex" from Star Wars illustrator Grant Gould. Check it out. (Seriously.)
4. Jabba's Southern Uncle
Starting out as a loan shark on Sleheyron, Ziro moved to Coruscant to pursue a bigger career. He eventually became a vigo of the criminal organization Black Sun, and had a tattoo of its symbol. He used a rundown tower that used to belong to the Lantillian Spacers' Brotherhood as his personal base. The tower was transformed into a gaudy-looking pleasure palace.
All I'm gonna say is, I have to see Truman Capote's Pleasure Palace at least once in my life. After that, I'm cool with finding a new definition of pain and suffering as I'm slowly digested over a thousand years.
5. It's Actually Funny
6. A Female Main Character Who Fights
In many ways Ahsoka is standing in for the previous Star Wars Padawans (Luke in the early films, then Anakin in the prequels), so there are bound to be a few Padawan Moments -- which in the world of Star Wars means some kiddy whining followed by Important Lessons -- but it's encouraging to see a female warrior taking the stage after thirty years of male-dominated action sequences.
7. George Lucas Didn't Write, Direct, or Produce It
To Find Out More...
Watch the trailer in HD or check out the official site -- the latter actually has a bunch of good videos, although watching director Dave Filoni introduce the videos while wearing his Indiana Jones hat is a little disconcerting.
To whet your appetite, starting Friday you can grab a Clone Wars themed Happy Meal from McDonald's (the toy is -- no kidding -- a Clone Wars Bobble Head with a character's head attached to a vehicle). If you need something now, pick up some of the new toys and other merchandise. Unfortunately you'll have to wait until November before the Nintendo games (Lightsaber Duels for Wii and Jedi Alliance for DS) are released.
Did we leave something out? Share your hopes, fears, and critiques in the comments.