Approach with Caution: Star Wars Geekery Ahead
So, I finally saw the animated Star Wars Clone Wars shorts this week, not having caught any of them on the Cartoon Network last year, and Netflix having had a wait on the DVD until now. In anticipation of the rapidly approaching release of Episode III, I've begun trying to whet my appetite by partaking in some of the ancillary materials that are out there. I started James Luceno's novel Star Wars: Labyrinth of Evil last night as well; it's billed as the "prequel" to Episode III (making it a prequel to a prequel, I suppose) and presumably sets up the beginning of the film well. Only a few chapters in there; I'll post a report when I finish.
As far as the cartoon, I was impressed, if not as impressed as I may have expected. Nearly every review I read of these shorts verily crowed that THESE were "real" Star Wars, and the kind of thing Lucas should have been doing all along. Don't misunderstand; I very much enjoyed them and loved the basic idea--that of getting many quick glimpses into what the Clone Wars were all about. I've never understood the argument, promulgated in many places, that Lucas not devoting much of the actual prequel films to the Clone Wars themselves was a large letdown. I never expected the prequels to be "war" films, and his tack of showing the outset of the Wars at the end of Episode II, and the climax of the Wars at the beginning of Episode III, makes perfect sense to me. That said, these shorts were fun, as I imagine the many novels that have been published in the last three years also depicting the Clone Wars themselves were. But what these shorts were lacking, even when taken all in sequence in one sitting, (and this is not really a criticism, as I don't think this was, or should have been, their mission) was the grand storytelling tradition of the films. These shorts provided quick glimpses of an epic battle, and in doing that they hit on all cylinders. But as "what the Star Wars films should have been"? I don't see it.