Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Opens Friday at San Francisco theaters.
George Lucas, that greedy visionary, is now in the infomercial manufacturing business — the pitchman forever selling rehashed product to successive generations of younger and younger Star Wars fans raised on fond memories further curdling with each new entry in a sagging saga that peaked in 1980. As Star Wars movies go, The Clone Wars is minor to the point of irrelevance, nothing more than a stylized direct-to-DVD shrug projected onto a big screen while Lucas launches two more TV series filling in prequel blanks better left empty. Lucas, this time working with director Dave Filoni and writer Henry Gilroy (two cartoon veterans), revisits the gap between Episodes II and III — the so-called Clone Wars to which a passing reference was made in Star Wars, laying the groundwork for a franchise within a franchise starring the cloned offspring of bounty hunter Jango Fett and the Jedi Knights for whom they're cannon fodder. In this installment, Anakin Skywalker (now a wisecracking hero stripped entirely of the Dark Side) and Obi-Wan Kenobi must rescue the kidnapped pupa of Jabba the Hutt, while Anakin takes on his own apprentice, headstrong teenybopper Ahsoka Tano — kind of Hannah Montana with orange skin and a lightsaber. Only Sam Jackson, Anthony Daniels, and, go figure, Christopher Lee reprise their roles from the live-action series; most of the other cast members are videogame vets, appropriate considering the movie looks like a time-killing interstitial you'd normally skip through in order to get to the good stuff. Repeat after me: This is not the Star Wars movie you were looking for.