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Star Wars: The Clone Wars

6/10

Stars: Voices: Matt Lanter, Ashley Eckstein, James Arnold Taylor, Dee Bradley Baker, Tom Kane, Nika Futterman, Ian Abercrombie, Anthony Daniels, Christopher Lee, Samuel L Jackson

Director: Dave Filoni

At the start, John Williams' celebrated theme welcomes the audience to this CGI animated sequel although it is not so much a sequel as a riff, since its genesis springs from a mention of the eponymous Clone Wars in the first Star Wars movie over 30 years ago. Which leaves creator Lucas and screenwriters Henry Gilroy, Steven Melching and Scott Murphy to come up with a new storyline involving old favourites Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda, as the Jedi Knights fight to maintain order and keep the peace in the galaxy after Jabba the Hutt seeks violent vengeance for the kidnapping of his young son. And since the crime has falsely been attributed to the Jedi, only Anakin and his rather irritating new female Padewan Ahsoka can save the day by rescuing the infant....

Youngsters unused to the unique glory of the special effects-decorated cinema originals will be delighted with the plentiful noisy action, spectacular visuals, impressive robot and 'droid armies and soaring spaceships that fill 'Clone Wars'. But while the CGI animation is state-of-the-art and stunning to look at, the film ultimately lacks the grandeur of the live action movies. The voicing, too Matt Lanter as Anakin, James Arnold Taylor speaking for Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Tom Kane for Yoda - is unlikely to appeal to purists, although they do have Samuel L Jackson, Anthony Daniels as fey robot C-3PO, and Christopher Lee at his dramatically sonorous best reprising the villainous Count Dooku for consolation. This is 'Star Wars' lite for a new generation and as such, it works pretty well - if only as the 'trailer' for a television series

Alan Frank

USA 2008. UK Distributor: Warner Bros. Colour.
98 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: U.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 12 Aug 2008