I’ve been gradually working my way through the Star Wars Clone Wars animated series, and am deep enough into it that I’m starting to see characters and situations that have been referenced in some of the live-action works, so the pieces of the puzzle are coming together.
However, I still have a bit of a problem with the animation. There’s something really weird about the way the people look. I mostly listen to this show while doing something else, almost treating it as a radio drama, rather than watching it because the look of it bothers me so much, and I finally figured out what it reminds me of. The people all look like action figures, with their hair and clothes molded out of plastic. It’s like the action figure version of what they do in the Lego animated pieces. Or it’s computer-generated animation that looks like someone made a stop-motion animated movie using their Star Wars action figures.
And that got me started pondering … is this series the Toy Story of Star Wars? Is this what the Star Wars action figures get up to when we’re not looking? Or is it the drama that’s playing out when the kid who owns the action figures is playing with them (like the action sequence at the beginning of one of the Toy Story movies that turned out to be the kid playing with his toys, and this was the scenario he was imagining). Maybe this is some kid filling in all the plot holes of the prequels by playing out stories with his action figures.
It’s a pity that the animation is so weak in this series because the stories are actually pretty good and flesh out the characters rather well. There are occasional moments when it seems like the writers remember that this was originally supposed to be aimed at kids and they throw in a more kid-friendly episode, but most of it is pretty heavy and complex. I kind of wish we could have seen some of these storylines in live action, in at least an hour-long episode, though I think the special effects might have been complicated. Some of these things could only be done in animation. I’m getting used to most of the voice casting that’s different from the movies, and I’m no longer hearing the guy from Timeless when Anakin talks (that was disconcerting at first until this role became more familiar).
It still blows my mind that there’s so much Star Wars content now that at any time I want to watch something Star Wars, I can just turn on the TV and watch it — and I still have a few seasons of this series plus the Bad Batch that I haven’t even seen yet. I remember when I was a kid and the only thing that existed was the first movie. They didn’t do action figures until nearly a year later, so we couldn’t even make up new stories with those. We had to rely on pretending our bicycles were X-Wings or TIE fighters when we rode around the neighborhood. I actually liked the infamous holiday special because it may have been bad and confusing, but it was new Star Wars content while we waited three years for the sequel. Now it would take ages to get through every Star Wars movie or show, even if you watched something every night. Nine-year-old me would have been overwhelmed.