The 10th anniversary for the Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008) animated film is here, and it’s quite easy to wrap up my experience of watching it recently for the first time.
It was great!
As a geeky parent, I’ve tried to think about how to break down this animated film, which preceded the blockbuster television series that will be making a triumphant return. How would I describe this to other parents, friends, or my own kids? If you love Star Wars – whether it be the original trilogy, the prequels, or other media iterations of the universe – or even if you’ve never watched a single second of the beloved franchise, this is your gateway to a whole new world of wonderful characters and delightful storytelling.
Not only does this film set up the TV series for its own six-year run (2008-14), but this film stands on its own, and I’m already looking forward to watching it again. If you, your kids, or your friends are interested in a well-structured story, Star Wars: The Clone Wars goes from point A to B to C seamlessly, as it keeps viewers’ attention with tense action sequences and witty banter back and forth between characters. As far as storytelling goes, this story starts off perfectly.
After the classic opening of the Star Wars logo and music blasts onto the screen, this movie goes into what feels like a classic radio or TV production, where you get a dose of “What’s been happening in the Republic?” This makes it abundantly clear to anyone watching that this is appropriate for all ages, and that’s huge for a parent that has a four and five-year old. Also, this movie did not lose my attention once. This was my first time watching this animated film, and, frankly, the only times I generally watch anything cartoon-like is to watch something before or with my kids to make sure they’re comfortable with the content.
Even though I’m quite familiar with Star Wars and its live-action films, this first-time experience provided me with renewed vigor for the franchise as a whole. With any movie experience, there are always those that love it, think it’s okay, or absolutely loathe the completed product. In the Star Wars universe, there have been mixed feelings over the past year with the release of The Last Jedi, and unfortunately, in some cases, the film has been engaged with ferocity. Star Wars: The Clone Wars provides everyone, whether you’ve seen it or not, a chance to sit down with other fans of Star Wars, regardless of what their favorite film is, and take in the wonderful experience that comes with great storytelling.
The premise of Star Wars is to find one’s path and bring peace to a galaxy filled with corrupt individuals who only want to wield power and destroy anyone that gets in their path.
This movie follows three Jedi – Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and a new apprentice, Ahsoka Tano – and they must defend a city against a droid army until reinforcements arrive. If you haven’t seen the film, there are additional plot points later in the film, but this opening gives its audience a detailed look at what it takes to be a leader and to build trust. Obi-Wan and Anakin must depend on each other, while Ahsoka has to deal with the reality that Anakin does not want to be her Jedi Master. This represents a genuine reality in our daily lives, great for pointing out to our kids or to remind ourselves that life is full of opportunities that we might not readily see as a positive path.
Anakin likes doing things his way and on his own, despite the fact that Obi-Wan is his Jedi Master. This will provide a lesson for anyone, because Anakin must decide whether to take on this new challenge – otherwise, Ahsoka might be unable to complete her training. Despite his first instincts to say, “No,” he begrudgingly takes Ahsoka by his side as they dive head first into a pivotal strategic mission to save their defensive position within the city. Obi-Wan’s leadership definitely plays an important role in this matter, since he believes Anakin is capable of going beyond his comfort zone to share his skills with another person.
As for Ahsoka, everyone will be able to see the disappointment or frustration that comes from seeing her supposed mentor openly dismiss the role he’s supposed to play in her growth as a Jedi. Despite this hurdle, Ahsoka pushes forward with enthusiasm that’s encouraging to see, because, for all of us, perhaps even adults more than kids, it might be easy to feel distraught after being cast aside, despite it having nothing to do with her abilities as a potential Jedi.
The relationship that forms between these two characters sets the stage perfectly for The Clone Wars series, as they must learn to work together to defend the city. Anakin and Ahsoka are literally going behind enemy lines, risking their lives, and they must quickly learn to trust each other – despite being uncertain of each other’s skills within the framework of a battlefield. Trust is paramount in the Star Wars world, as Jedi must constantly depend on others in their attempts to win a war. That level of trust can be seen throughout this film, which lends a positive example for all viewers, especially a younger audience.
Being able to depend on someone else is a huge lesson for children to learn. Yes, it is important to be self-sufficient and thrive on our own talents, but connecting with others provides an outlet that helps us to move forward with our personal and professional goals. If your kids are up for seeing a PG-rated movie, Star Wars: The Clone Wars represents that level of trust we all seek in our lives. It’s important for everyone to grow up and know they have family and friends to lean on, during positive and difficult situations, whether it be to feel comfortable enough to talk about our feelings about anything, celebrate a new job or seek career advice, or even when you just need someone to make a decision about where you’re going to eat lunch – because you’re too tired and you know your friend knows what you need.
This film is a proof positive example of an A+ movie for all ages. Note that there are violent action sequences, so always take that into consideration if you feel your children are too young.
–> PG Rating, via Motion Picture Association of America: “Some Material May Not Be Suitable for Children – Parents urged to give ‘parental guidance.’ May contain some material parents might not like for their young children.”
If you think you’ll enjoy Star Wars: The Clone Wars or you’re also interested in the animated TV series, stay tuned for the next episode of the Geeky Parent Guide where we’ll take a look at Season 1, discuss the importance of its content, and why that’s a very good thing for parents and their kiddos.
Until next time, happy parenting and happy geeking.