krpalmer: (europa)
[personal profile] krpalmer
Every once in a while, I can imagine an "alternative universe" where things were different enough to begin with so that George Lucas could become a famous animation director... and while it may be that the "dark side" of that idle speculation is the smirky comments about "making movies without actors," the way things have worked out made me interested in the possibilities of science fiction and other "fantastic" stories told through animation. I suppose I have come to acknowledge that "drawn animation" has its limitations in terms of how much scope it can present, but I've also accepted it and just kept watching.

The intersection between Star Wars and animation that does exist interests me, and when I first heard that some of the upcoming computer-animated "Clone Wars" series would get a theatrical release a familiar and fitting "three years" after the saga wrapped up, my attention was definitely caught... but it didn't seem to take that long before I was wondering about it being a "risk" of some sort as well. Still, if the only "safe" option is to never do anything... Of course, in some ways at first I might have also been wondering what my own reactions would be... it seems to have unfortunately crept up on me to wonder whether the first "drawn animation" Clone Wars "micro-series" in the end seemed to try a little too hard to present Anakin Skywalker as an angry individual who could be goaded all too easily into a fighting rage.

I was lucky enough to be able to go see the movie with my brother, although beforehand he did seem to have been dwelling to some extent but for a while on how General Grievous was able to buzzsaw through a whole group of Jedi at the end of the first Clone Wars series but wasn't nearly as successful fighting Obi-Wan in Revenge of the Sith. As things were just getting under way, though, it might have been that watching three trailers in a row for computer-animated comedies somehow had the wrong impression on me, regardless of how many times I've told myself there's nothing wrong with Star Wars having an "all-ages appeal" rather than having stepped into the potential trap of selling itself only to those who were around in 1977. Trailers for a Jim Carrey movie and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (still with the old, superseded release date) may have then somehow amounted to a slight reassurance... and then the movie itself was starting.

Things were a little different from the first logos (perhaps making the familiar "A long time ago" card feel a little out of place itself), but in a way that may have helped establish that things would be a little different from the live-action movies, as I had been trying to tell myself. (I suppose I was also a little amused that at long last, the title at the beginning matched the design on the posters...) The action seemed to pick up fast. Then, it seemed to stay at that high tempo. At times, I would start to get the feeling that the creators might be convinced at least some of the audience would start to get impatient or critical during moments of mere discussion, exposition, or (worse yet) character interaction, so that those moments would be allowed to just register on someone like me before a new crisis was flung at the heroes... and yet, all of this didn't overwhelm the characters. I found myself appreciating how they were presented.

I had followed enough of the advance promotional material about the new Clone Wars project to hear comments like "now that we've shown Anakin Skywalker's fall to the Dark Side, we can spare some time to show he was also a hero." At first, to be honest, I was a little ambiguous about implying that the new movies were somehow "incomplete" that way (and thought back to how I appreciated Anakin getting to be a star pilot and hero at the beginning of Revenge of the Sith), and then started wondering about those who might complain "it was perfectly clear to me in the three old movies that Darth Vader was once a good person, but I disagree with how that was presented in the end." Once I was seeing it, though, it seemed just fine to me.

It did, though, perhaps raise a thought or two about how it might be possible to understand why someone might not agree with the movie. For someone who saw the point of the prequels as "Anakin Skywalker turns into Darth Vader, as he was fated to do," and don't spare much thought to the possibility that he might have been something other than threatening from the start, the movie might indeed feel inconsequential and not seem to accomplish anything. In delving into that thought, I did begin to wonder if the movie could hold a subtler message, presenting a hero who we know is doomed not just through flying out of control one time too many but through what seems an understandable desire... and a desire on display in this very computer-animated movie. Of course, that might be too subtle for some.

I suppose there's still one small point where the original animated "micro-series" fit a little better with me, and that's in being able to be "read" as suggesting that Asajj Ventress is being "disposed of" by the Count and Darth Sidious by aiming her at Anakin, the better to not have the Sith turn on each other two against one. It seems somehow a small point, though, and I'll be interested in seeing how the series continues on television.

Date: 2008-08-18 01:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lazypadawan.livejournal.com
Hmm, interesting thoughts.

Date: 2008-08-18 09:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] krpalmer.livejournal.com
One other thought that I did have but either forgot to include or just thought "I've been typing long enough already" was to admit that at times my advance speculation about the character of Ahsoka included some worried thoughts along the lines of imagining certain people declaring that "since Padme's character has been damaged by her death, the creators need a new female character to sell"... and while I can understand the observations of some that Padme first showing up late in the movie demonstrates how it's been put together from fairly self-contained television episodes (and she wound up in a fairly action-oriented subplot, right down to wearing another set of her Attack of the Clones "action togs"), I sort of appreciated the surprise myself. (And, of course, I liked Ahsoka on her own merits too.)

Date: 2008-08-19 12:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lazypadawan.livejournal.com
It was cool that Padmé ends up saving the day. I was worried Padmé wasn't even in the theatrical release, so I'm very, very pleased with how it turned out.

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