STAR WARS: CLONE WARS
Rating: NOT RATED
Film Length: 64 minutes
Aspect Ratio:[*] 1.78:1 enhanced widescreen
Audio:[*] English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround[*] English Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround[*] Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround[*] French Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround
Closed Captioned: Yes
SLP: US $19.98
Release Date: December 06, 2005.
Entertainment Rating: /
Voices of: Corey Burton, Anthony Daniels, John DiMaggio, Nick Jameson, Tom Kane, Mat Lucas
Directed by: Genndy Tartakovsky
This is the second volume of the Emmy Award-winning animated shorts that help bridge the story between Star Wars: Episodes 2 & 3. The first volume featured more shorts at a 3-minute length and focussed mainly on the Clones Wars. Extensive war footage not included in the theatrical film can be viewed in animated form on this first collection. When watching them all at once, there is little storyline to follow and it can be slightly fatiguing after 30 minutes.
Volume 2 takes a different approach. These shorts are now much longer; anywhere from 12-15 minutes each and present a story that resembles watching an entirely new Star Wars story. When watching these in a “play all” scenario, this is a mini-movie.
I forgot that I was watching animation. I watched the story of how General Grievous gains power among the Separatists, the kidnapping of Senator Palpatine, how General Grievous got his cough, and, most importantly, the moment Anakin Skywalker is knighted a Jedi.
These moments in Volume 2 provide necessary background information that we just had to take word for during the opening credits of Episode III. These shorts are good, despite being slightly “cartoonish” in it’s themes and presentation, but highly recommended for viewing as a bridge story between Episodes II & III.
VIDEO QUALITY /
The colourful image is outstanding on this disc but falls short in quality from Volume 1. On this THX-approved transfer, compression artefacts are noticeable and distracting during the scenes in outer space. Aside from that, the image is impressive in contrast and colour. The aspect ratio is 1.78:1.
AUDIO QUALITY /
WOW! These shorts are now upgraded to 5.1 surround sound in comparison to the previous volume’s 2.0 surround soundtrack. There are MANY improvements in the audio. First: there is bass – and lots of it (and in EACH channel including the surrounds!!) The previous volume had virtually none and made it disappointing. You WILL NOT be disappointed here.
But bass isn’t everything, is it? In each episode you’ll experience a wide soundstage and full use of the 5 full-range channels in your system. The audio is always spread and panned around the soundstage making for great direct and phantom imaging.
The dialogue is forward and doesn’t integrate well all of the time, but at least it doesn’t suffer from the nasty distortion that plagued the first volume. Dynamics, overall, feel compressed too.
SPECIAL FEATURES /
The one feature that will be of interest to most people is the Connecting the Dots featurette. The director and some of the crew talk about the approach taken with this second volume of shorts during the story design. They worked with information received from LucasFilm about Episode III and was left with the creative options for making the story (and that shocks me considering the iron-fist control Lucas loves to have on Star Wars projects). At about 20 minutes, it’s worth the watch.
Also included is an audio commentary from Tartakovsky and his crew, two art & storyboard/sketches galleries, plus trailers for LucasArts videogames and a playable Xbox demo of two levels of Star Wars: Battlefront II. I would have loved to give it a try, but for some reason my Xbox games are making me feel very nauseous leaving me with a headache for hours. Weird.
Also, be sure the check out the trailer for LEGO’s Revenge of the Brick. It’s a 5-minute Star Wars short as LEGO if you haven’t guessed yet.
IN THE END…
In short: I recommend Volume II of Star Wars: Clone Wars. It answers most of the questions you may have about Star Wars: Episode III and I found it entertaining. Don’t be fooled, I think this is more of a movie then a bunch of shorts. For this Christmas season, this will make a great gift for a friend in the office or a stocking stuffer for your Star Wars obsessed kids – or yourself!