Star Wars: The Clone Wars 

A long time ago, in a Greg that seems far, far away, I camped outside a Lexington, Kentucky, theater for three days to buy tickets to a Star Wars movie. Yeah, I used to be excited by the prospect of a new Star Wars movie. But, then again, I also used to vote Republican. Time makes fools of us all.

Which is why I viewed the release of the new Star Wars film, The Clone Wars, with minor apathetic annoyance. Haven't we all agreed that George Lucas shouldn't play with his Star Wars toys anymore? So color me a little surprised and mildly entertained with the actual movie, which fits in nicely with the series from the last decade: stilted dialogue and broad-brush characterization, but generally satisfying action.

The Clone Wars is animated, which distinguishes it from the other Star Wars prequels in that, now, even the human characters are conjured on a laptop. The Clone Wars will go on to be a TV series on Cartoon Network. The animation is very good by television standards but a little weak to carry the silver screen. Of note: Anakin Skywalker, played by Hayden Christensen in the live-action movies, is no less wooden as a cartoon.

Two things, in particular, threaten to derail the whole train. One is Jabba's son, a little baby Hutt that's, at least, no worse than the Ewoks or Jar Jar. The other is Jabba's uncle, Ziro the Hutt, a jazz-club proprietor whose voice is, I swear, the most screamingly funny thing I've experienced at a theater in years: Imagine Strother Martin from Cool Hand Luke, maybe a twist more effeminate, crossed with Cartman from South Park. Add the character visual to the voice: a big fat slug with purple makeup and a feather on its head. Once the idea was in my head, I couldn't stop laughing. I'm laughing right now.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars opens Friday, August 15th, at multiple locations

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