Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Clone Wars: Amidala needs to eat a sandwich.

Andrew Leon at StrangePegs and The Armchair Squid are running "The Clone Wars Project," blogging about each episode of The Clone Wars' animated TV series.  They're way ahead of me; I'm only up to Episode 4. 

Episode 4: "Destroy Malevolence." I think the thing that stood out most for me in this episode is how much I'm beginning to dislike this animation.  It was Padme Amidala that did it for me.  Amidala looks like this in the movies:

But like this in The Clone Wars:

I get that it's an animation style, and a style it is, but not one I like.  I haven't yet gotten used to Obi Wan's weird beard:

Looking like it's made of wood, but this episode was the worst: Amidala looks skeletal, anorexic, sickly.  And weird.  It's like a walking stick put on human skin and then was animated.  It really bothered me throughout the episode, to a distracting degree.

The story itself was what I think of now as a prototypical Star Wars story: The Empire has a giant death machine of some sort, and Alliance has to destroy it, but first there are some adventures to get there, and then there's some sort of personal excursion into the death machine.  Star Wars has perfected that formula, and this episode hits all the marks.  It almost felt like it was a Star Wars knock off or mashup:  Instead of Han Solo having to fly through an asteroid field and avoid a giant space worm, Anakin must fly through a nebula filled with giant sting-ray-ish things.  Instead of the Death Star, there's the giant Star Destroyer Malevolence.  Obi Wan, Anakin, and the two droids sneak onto the ship while it's temporarily destroyed, reminiscent of the Death Star raid in the first movie.  Where A New Hope had Darth Vader bearing down on Luke at the climactic scene, General Grievous was bearing down on Anakin here at the end. 

Mostly, this episode felt lazy. It wasn't terrible but there was nothing too compelling about it, either. There wasn't any real character development, the action felt been there done that (and a bit of a foregone conclusion; for some reason, I never really doubted that they would destroy Malevolence. Hmmm.

Anyway, it wasn't boring enough to make me quit, but it was the weakest episode so far.  And to harp on it some more, I do wish they'd change the animation.  Bad artistry is too distracting from the storyline.  While I was watching it, I kept thinking back to the few comic book artists whose styles I knew by sight.  There was George Perez, who was my favorite:

I always favored the more realistic-ish artists, who didn't overly bulk their superheroes but also made them more or less lifelike.

But I could handle the more stylized art of Jack Kirby:

Which while not as realistic, at least wasn't distracting, and for certain comics (like Thor) the style worked really well.

Then there was the one I hated: Keith Giffen.  Giffen started out okay:

But as his style got simpler and more stylized, I liked it less and less:

 to the point where eventually I wouldn't buy comics drawn by Giffen. 

The art in The Clone Wars isn't that bad, but it's awfully close.

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