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Star Wars: The Clone Wars

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In the Star Wars universe, the Clone Wars were a three-year skirmish involving the Republic and the burgeoning Empire that filled the gap between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. Back in 2003, Dexter's Laboratory mastermind Genndy Tartakovsky created a 25-episode series that became a cult hit and remains a more satisfying experience than any of the later Star Wars movies. The new Clone Wars isn't quite that stellar. Tartakovsky's anime-style drawings are replaced by sleek CGI videogame-like images. Characters are rail thin, with heads too big for their bodies, but the terrific battle scenes benefit from the angular design. The story sidetracks to smaller adventures featuring Anakin Skywalker, his protégé and a dual-lightsaber-wielding female baddie named Asajj Ventress, while many old faves appear throughout the movie. Like the live-action films, The Clone Wars doesn't really offer a tidy ending. Some of that has to do with the lack of narrative; some of that has to do with the fact that a new TV series based on the movie will be launching in the fall. Still, fans will have fun spotting all the new droids, ships and characters that buzz through the action, but George Lucas' knack for finding ways to milk a series peaked a long, long time ago. **1/2

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