Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Star Wars Episode 2 1/2

I really wanted to write about SPACE (the Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo) today, as it's now just under a month away, but there is a quote that I'd like to use that I have to look up so that topic shall have to wait for another day. I've been undecided all day on whether to write some more about Star Wars or about the comedic appeal of giant carrots. Since we did Revenge of the Sith yesterday, I figure I'll stick with Star Wars for now and save the essay on giant carrots in comedy for another day. (No, I am by no means kidding. Trust me, my loyal and long suffering fans, it will be a groundbreaking piece of opinion journalism that will set the blogosphere on its ear.)
As you probably guessed, I'm not really a Star Wars fan, though I do enjoy the first trilogy, especially A New Hope, and there is really only one SW film made since Return of the Jedi that I have really liked. I'm speaking of Star Wars: Clone Wars, which consists of two "seasons" of serialized animated adventures which aired on Cartoon Network in five and fifteen minute installments shortly before the release of Sith and chronicle the events that take place between Attack of the and Sith.
Star Wars has always been at its best when favoring straightforward action over endless exposition, semi-mystical pseudo-philosophy, or High School civics class political intrigue and Clone Wars delivers this in spades. Due to the short length of each installment, especially in the first batch of episodes, this serves to make the series easier to follow as there's no need for a lot of plot recapping from episode to episode. However, when collected on DVD and watched all at one sitting, all this endless fighting does get a little tedious.
The second set of episodes, collected on the Volume II DVD, were longer and had a bit more of a plot, as the animators began to set up the events of Sith, which picks up right where Clone Wars ends. Thus, when viewed all at once, the second season actually works as a movie of its own; let's call it Episode 2 1/2.
The animation on the Clone Wars 'toons is extremely well done and fluid and the drawings are simply beautiful. The characters don't look exactly like their flesh and blood counterparts but do manage to capture the essence of the characters. Furthermore, the blending of traditional hand drawn animation on the characters and computer animation on the ships is nearly seamless. In films like Disney's Tarzan, the contrast of hand drawn and computer animation is a bit jarring, but not here. I was almost unable to discern at times where the pen and ink and paint gave way to pixels.
So, Star Wars geek or not, I think you'll like Clone Wars. Rays says "Check It Out!" (Yeah, it's cheesy, but sometimes I have trouble ending these pieces.)


thebigcurve said...

is clone wars available at the columbus public library?

Ray "!!" Tomczak said...

Of course it is, Eric. Do you think I've got the money to rent all these DVDs I'm watching?