I'll be honest here. I love Star Wars. I missed Clone Wars in the theaters, but loved the original short Clone Wars installments that aired on Cartoon Network. And even though I'd read the less-than-favorable reviews of this film, I kinda have a soft spot for the too-cute characters that Lucas is famed for (Ewoks!) and the annoying ones with weird accents (Jar-Jar -- he's grown on me, what can I say?). So I was optimistic about watching the 2-Disc Special Edition DVD.
Maybe my expectations were too high. I mostly found this kinda dull, with stilted dialogue interspersed between elaborately animated fight scenes. Though good on them for making Anakin slightly less wooden than he was in the films. And the characters I thought I'd enjoy -- Rotta the baby Hutt, Ziro the "Truman Capote" Hutt -- drove me bananas. Especially Ziro. I'm just not sure what they were thinking. Plus, there's a girl Jedi, which I was beyond excited about. But while Padawan Ahsoka Tano has the skills, there are moments where she was a little too bratty. And it probably needlessly annoyed me that for most of the film she's saddled with taking care of the baby Hutt. Finally we get to see a lot of a female Jedi and she's stuck in the mom role? Sure, she's a caregiver who kicks ass, but she gets too mushy when the baby Hutt is sick and it kind of made me angry. The only truly awesome female in the film is the villain Asajj Ventress. What is up with that?
But this isn't supposed to be about why I liked/didn't like the film, or how this film treats its female characters. It's supposed to be about the Extras, and since it is something with the Lucasfilm stamp on it, you can bet your bottom dollar that it's got a heck of a lot of those.
On the first disc, aside from the film itself, there's the commentary, by the director and creative crew behind this release. If you aren't aware already, this takes place between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. But instead of a the big wordy crawl explaining what has happened and where we're at in the story, it's done by a narrator in a strange newsy voice that is really irksome. The creative people say this is a choice, and it replaces the scrolling text into space with visuals. I think that was a bad idea. People might not read much, but I'd rather read this instead of hearing the odd voice over. That just doesn't say "Star Wars" to me. Anyway, ranting again. I tried listening to most of the commentary, but it meant having to watch the movie again, and I'm just not ready for that again. I'm sure the true devotees will delight in pouring over this for all the little nuggets of nerdy detail.
Disc 2: All Special Features, All the Time
"The Clone Wars: The Untold Stories" is a preview of the TV season, which tackles topics that were skipped over in what Lucas calls "The Skywalker Saga." It actually looks kind of good... maybe I'd like Clone Wars in installments instead of in movie form? I'd have less time to be bored and/or annoyed. Then there's "Voices of the Clone Wars," which is kinda fun. I like that they film all of the characters together in the same room. It seems a switch from so much of the animation now, which seems like they do one voice at a time. This has a goofy hanging-out vibe, like they're enjoying making this movie. And it's cool to see the side-by-sides of the voices with the animation, especially when it's a performer who does multiple voices going back and forth. The guy who does General Grievous does some amazing electronic things vocally to play a droid. There's also the voice of Obi-Wan doing a faux commentary on how he looks in a given scene, which is a good laugh.
There's a long tedious feature about the new score. It's not John Williams, but it sure does sound like him. There's a gallery of concept and production art, which is a lot of digital landscapes. There's making-of webisodes, which feature the creative people talking about how this came about, and how the new characters were developed and the look and feel. It's like commentary, but in little chunks and far more fascinating than having to sit through the movie again. Just what I always wanted. There's also Deleted Scenes, including one in a Rancor pit that ends with Anakin taking "Stinky," who nearly pukes on him, which I appreciated. And another scene of Anakin fighting with "the slug" on his back in a little Yoda-like pouch. There's also the original trailers for the film, if you really care to watch them when you've already got the entire DVD.
For the true Star Wars devotees, you can buy it now.