You know those video games you had on your Playstation 2 that forced you to watch backstory between levels? If you were like my friends and me, you tried to push all the buttons on your controller in hopes of skipping through these forced moments of narrative. The dialogue was awkward; the voice-overs were lame; the graphics were hardly inspiring. Some games let you skip the backstory, but some forced you to sit through seemingly endless minutes of watching video-game-polygon-characters as if it were a mini-movie.
At least, though, when the dreaded mini-movie moments were over, you were freed to go back to controlling the characters and killing zombies, saving the world, whatever. Unfortunately, "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" at no time lets you take over the characters with a controller.
Instead, it's 98 consecutive minutes of watching video-game-polygon-characters run around with light sabers.
So, if you loved the moments of your PS2 game-playing when you were forced to watch mini-movies, you'll love "Star Wars: The Clone Wars." Otherwise, you'll find yourself wondering how much trouble you'd actually get in for yelling, "Bomb!"
Non-video game players, um, just don't bother. Simply put, if you spend the next hour and a half of your life just staring at a wall in your living room, you'll have more fun than I did last weekend at the movie theater.
For fans obsessed with the "Star Wars" franchise, there is probably some level of automatic satisfaction in seeing a cartoon version. Although, judging from the sparse crowd I saw it with, even they are mostly staying away. Apparently a story about Anakin Skywalker and a new young Jedi named Ahsoka trying to rescue the kidnapped son of Jabba the Hutt isn't interesting enough to overcome the abundance of things that suck about "The Clone Wars."
It's 2008, and animation has come a long way. So, either the makers of "The Clone Wars" made a conscious decision to make the movie look like a 1990s video game, or they simply decided to save money on graphics. Every jagged polygon that makes up these characters is visible at all times. They move through space in herky-jerky style, although it's less noticeable when there's fighting going on. Walking? Let's just say if you or I walked like the characters in "The Clone Wars" do, we'd immediately get jumped on principle.
Ironically enough, my hope that the absence of Hayden "I need Jessica Alba opposite me in order to create the illusion I have talent" Christensen would mean there wouldn't be embarrassingly bad acting was dashed by Anakin Skywalker (voiced by Matt Lanter). I don't think it was necessarily Lanter's fault. Rather, the dialogue in "The Clone Wars" is so glaringly awful that even Morgan Freeman's soothing pipes would have sounded stupid. The conversation between Skywalker and Ahsoka (voiced by Ashley Eckstein) is literally painful. (This might be because I was trying to fit my whole fist into my mouth just to entertain myself.)
More than anything else, though, what kills "The Clone Wars" is that every single minute of its running time is mind-numbingly dull. That action sequences are boring; the characters are flat (unless you count their polygon-physical existence); the story is monotonous.
The only brief moments of entertainment come from trying to figure out if Obi-Wan is voiced by Ewan McGregor (he's not) and wondering if Samuel L. Jackson ever says "No" to a project (that is him voicing the dude that looks just like him). Oh, and maybe trying to figure out if you can fit your fist into your mouth. I could not.
Read Carson's movie blog at www.juneaublogger.com/movies.