Star Wars: The Clone Wars movie review: a wretched animated spinoff


A wretched animated spinoff of George Lucas’ popular franchise, Star Wars: The Clone Wars does its best to alienate fans of the series by explicitly pandering to a younger audience. 

And yet, the film remains so pretentious – with a backstory so political and needlessly complicated – that I cannot imagine a younger audience embracing this, not unless they’ve seen all the previous films, played the video games, read the novels and comic books, bought the action figures, and slept in the printed bed sheets. And if they’ve done all that, they’ll be disappointed as well.

The Clone Wars takes place in-between these the last two live-action Star Wars films, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, as Jedi Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi are leading an army of clones against the Dark Side’s army of droids. 

More than half of this movie consists of battle scenes, and if you haven’t seen or don’t remember the last two movies you’ll be left in awe as mindless action scene follows mindless action scene; there’s no beginning or end to this war in the film and the reasons for it are never sufficiently delved into. 

But the war is merely an oppressive background to the ridiculous story at the heart of this film that introduces three new characters to the Star Wars universe that, like Jar Jar Binks, you’ll never want to see again. 

First off, there’s cloying young Padawan apprentice Ahsoka Tano, who joins Anakin in the film’s main story thrust: rescuing Jabba the Hutt’s son, who has been kidnapped by dark forces. 

Then there’s Jabba’s son, a little blob with big puppy-dog eyes named Stinky (to be fair, I’m not sure if this is his real name or a nickname given by Ahsoka, but that’s what he’s called for the duration). 

There’s some espionage and double-crossing, and other familiar characters like Yoda, Padmé, Mace Windu and Count Dooku (Samuel L. Jackson and Christopher Lee are two of the few returning cast members to lend their voices to the film), and then there’s Jabba’s uncle, Ziro the Hutt: an effeminate, crossdressing blob who speaks like Truman Capote. No, really.

All the politics are fine for an ambitious epic like Dune, but this is a kiddie film that gets more complicated than the original trilogy ever dreamed of. Add to this the endless battle sequences, a tedious number of scenes featuring droids and clones blasting away at each other devoid of any wartime strategy, and the film is truly a chore to sit through.

Animation is a mess: sub-par fluid 3-D computer graphics and a wooden, stilted character design that recalls marionette puppetry and the old Thunderbirds TV show fight with each other for control of the screen. While I appreciate the attempt at something original – any worse and this is standard Saturday morning fare – it just doesn’t work as intended. 

I didn’t see much of Geddy Tartakovsky’s 2-D Star Wars: Clone Wars, which ran in brief segments on the Cartoon Network from 2003-2005, but from what I did see, there was style to spare.

I didn’t much care for the last two Star Wars films, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, so I wasn’t expecting much from this animated spinoff. But Clone Wars is quite a jarring departure from the previous entries. It’s not the first time the Star Wars franchise has plumbed these depths (see: The Star Wars Holiday Special), but it’s a real wonder this one made it into cinemas.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars


Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky has been writing about the Prague film scene and reviewing films in print and online media since 2005. A member of the Online Film Critics Society, you can also catch his musings on life in Prague at and tips on mindfulness sourced from ancient principles at

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