TV Review: 'Clone' more intense than film
Yoda is among the familiar "Star Wars" characters to appear in the new Cartoon Network series "Star Wars: The Clone Wars."
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The computer-animated movie "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" was a dud at the box office (less than $40 million in domestic gross) and was lambasted by critics, but the Cartoon Network series of the same name may fare better.
The first two half-hour episodes, airing at 9 and 9:30 p.m. Friday, are less raucous and seemingly more adult than the film. There's more attention to character development; Jabba the Hutt's flamboyant uncle isn't anywhere to be found.
In "Ambush," Yoda travels to the planet Toydaria to forge a treaty when he's ambushed by forces loyal to evil Count Dooku. Yoda gets to wield his lightsaber when battling robots but he also has quieter moments giving a pep talk to clone troopers in a scene that explores the notion of clone identity in a way that was never seen even in the live-action "Star Wars" films.
- When: 9 and 9:30 p.m. Friday, Cartoon Network.
The second episode at 9:30, "Rising Malevolence," features Anakin and Ahsoka on a mission to rescue Jedi Master Plo Koon after his ship is attacked by Separtists, whose droids slaughter survivors by carving holes in the sides of escape pods. It's more intense storytelling with darker themes than audiences saw in the "Clone Wars" movie.
The series' supervising director, Dave Filoni, said he wasn't surprised by negative reaction to the film.
"As a fan of 'Star Wars' for so long, I always knew there was going to be debate," he said in a phone interview late last month. "No matter what you do with 'Star Wars,' there's a huge debate about it. Part of the fun of being a fan is having arguments over it."
Filoni, a 1992 graduate of Mt. Lebanon High School, said the 22-episode first season of "Clone Wars" will have a greater variety of stories. He acknowledged the series will probably hold more appeal for older "Star Wars" fans.
"Just as there's a drastic difference between 'Return of the Jedi' and 'The Empire Strikes Back,' each 'Star Wars' film has its own feeling and the series has its own type of feeling by episode," he said.
The "Clone Wars" movie, set between events in "Attack of the Clones" and "Revenge of the Sith," introduced the character of Ahsoka Tano, a Jedi apprentice under Anakin Skywalker. They clearly have a close relationship but the character is neither seen nor mentioned in "Revenge of the Sith." Can viewers expect Ahsoka to die in the new cartoon series, fueling Anakin's hate that drives him to the Dark Side?
"Well, I can't really talk about that," Filoni said in August. "I have a plan for her. ... I like that we don't know what happens to her yet. People online have killed her off in several different ways already, all imagining her end in different ways. We'll see what happens. I never thought when I was a kid that Luke [would turn out to be] Darth Vader's son. There's always good surprises in 'Star Wars,' so we'll have to engineer that carefully."
First Published October 2, 2008 12:00 am