DIRECTOR: Dave Bullock
May contain spoilers!
The first episode of the hit Cartoon Network series, The Clone Wars, not to be confused with the earlier 2003-2005 Genndy Tartakovsky Micro Series Star Wars: Clone Wars which tells the story of the titular conflict between Episodes II and III much more succinctly, focuses on Yoda and his efforts to win over the support of the Toydarians, Watto’s race from Episode I.
He is challenged to prove the Jedi’s strength and prowess in battle by single handedly taking down a Droid army on the planet by Count Dooku and his apprentice, Asajj Ventress.
This is Yoda so he of course succeeds, though with a little help from three Clone Troopers who have accompanied him to the surface. Delving in to concept that there is more to the Clones than meets the eyes, something which I know from later episode will be a major theme of the series and the importance of proper, motivational leadership, there is in fact more to this series than you may expect from a Cartoon about Star Wars.
Whilst still action packed, there is a concerted effort to flesh out the universe, focusing on characters in away not seen properly since Episodes IV and V.
I also like the fact that this has been filmed in 2.35:1, though I understand that it was shown on TV in some cases in 1.77:1 but still, the commitment to the theatrical scale of the project is appreciated, as is the high quality of the production on the whole.
The music, whilst not being composed by John Williams, the series’ composer, Kevin Kilner manages to work the classic themes in when necessary and Ben Burtt’s sound design is till present too.
Overall, reviewing the opening episode alone, I would say that it was a bold choice to focus on Yoda rather not Anakin or Kenobi and whilst it sets the tone for the series well, it was not as enthralling as I would have liked.
It felt more for fans than casual viewers. I am a Star Wars fan but I am not someone who follows the franchise 24/7 and in fact it is only now, after the show has finished and seven years after this episode first aired that I have taken to time to sit down at what it properly.
I have seen later episode casually and the opening feature film but again, only recently. This animated series just did not appeal to me as much as I wanted it to and maybe it is because yet again, we are in the prequel era. I was raised with the original trilogy and it seems that this time period is left solely to the theatrical films.
But so far so good and on the back of this I will certainly be watching more so in that sense, “Ambush” was a success.