Ask any self-respecting Star Wars fan, and they will tell you that the prequels just weren’t very good.
Actually, ask some and they might say worse or deny the very existence of such movies.
But there was a 3D animated series set between a couple of those movies, and it’s leaving Netflix today. I managed to finish it. How was it?
That was actually extraordinarily good. This show got the spirit of Star Wars better than the prequels. You can maybe argue that isn’t hard, but it still happened.
Essentially, Clone Wars covered various adventures that various Jedi and other associated characters had between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. The initial few episodes were actually released theatrically, and they seemed a bit, well, childish. It was also perhaps the case where they opened with the worst possible opening, but them’s the breaks. The show grew over time, going from battledroids acting as comic relief to the really dark final season where a clone trooper was running around wondering about the “Order 66” chips in all the other clones’ heads and dying before he can convince anyone he’s telling the truth.
What made Clone Wars as good as it was were a few factors. Death was a real possibility. Clones and battledroids may die in large numbers, but the individual clones often got something in the way of personalities, and the show wasn’t afraid to kill a Jedi from time to time either. Besides, given how Revenge of the Sith turned out, maybe that isn’t too surprising. Watching Anakin Skywalker interact with Jedi he may help murder at some point in the future gives the show a dark undertone.
But as it turns out, Anakin comes off much better here. He and Padme actually have what looks like a real relationship in the episodes the two appear in together, and his friendship with Obi-Wan also seems more genuine (though I find Obi-Wan comes across as cocky most of the time). Actually, Padme doesn’t appear as often, so to make up for it, there’s Anakin’s own padawan, Ahsoka Tano, a spunky young lady who, it seems, did outlive Episode III.
A typical storyarc on Clone Wars will often consist of three or four episodes in a single storyarc with individual episodes often telling something of a complete story. Not every arc is a winner. A season five arc involving R2-D2 and some other droids going on an espionage missions comes across as particularly juvenile. But when the show was on, it was on. Another late season arc had Darth Maul turning up alive and forming a crime syndicate with his younger brother/Sith apprentice. Maul is essentially having his own way until he runs into his old master, and Palpatine/Sidious takes on and defeats both brothers with consummate ease. The action on Clone Wars is often excellently put together, where characters can truly move in a manner that no live actor possibly could.
Capturing the look and feel of Star Wars, Clone Wars managed to flesh out the wars and the characters involved in interesting ways, and it’ll be missed from Netflix’s line-up. Nine out of ten General Grievous retreats.