Star Wars: Clone Wars is easily the most underrated piece of Star Wars history out there. The 2D cartoon which aired on Cartoon Network was groundbreaking and it set the tone and opened the doors for the later 3D cartoon. This original "microseries" was a series of 3-5 minute cartoons depicting the War and the many adventures of the Jedi, as well as introducing new villains. It takes place from shortly after Attack of the Clones to the very opening scene of Revenge of the Sith. Let's get into it!
The opening shot pulls me in immediately with Yoda riding across the plains igniting his lightsaber. His narration explains the effect of the wars on not only the republic but on Anakin as well. This leads to Anakin being promoted to a commander (obviously a callback to Luke being a commander in Empire Strikes Back) and the question of his maturity that Obi-Wan mentions. There is a nice scene with Anakin reaching out to Padme as she watches him fly away on his mission. That basically is the first chapter, as they were called. I remember being so furious at how short it was but I was ready to keep watching nonetheless. There ended up being 25 chapters, with the last 5 lasting 12 to 15 minutes each, allowing for more dialog and story to be told. Chapters 1-20 were released as Volume 1 on DVD and chapters 21-25 were released as Volume 25.
The series is enjoyed much more when viewed as a whole on DVD and altogether it amounts to the equal of a 2 hour movie. Volume 1 flows like a series of shorts and there is very minimal dialog, allowing for the music and visuals to take prominence and it really works here. Because of the short length it jumps from short to short quickly, making it feel really disjointed but there is a running plot throughout. The highlights for me are Obi-Wan versus Durge, Mace Windu's silent action sequence, the introduction of both Asajj Ventress and General Grievous, and the duel between Anakin and Asajj Ventress.
The fight is very well choreographed and it has some beautiful visuals especially with the scene in the rain. Even the scene before that, with Ventress killing the troopers with the force was so suspenseful to me when I first saw it. It was a scene that not only detailed Anakin's growth as a Jedi but also the growing darkness inside him as you see him using the dark side to defeat her. Volume 1 ends with the introduction to General Grievous and I must say, it's outstanding. He seemed like a legitimate threat to the jedi and I am saddened he is not as threatening in Revenge of the Sith, but truth be told, a character like his works better in the animation world than his movie counterpart.
Volume 2 showcases Anakin's transition into a Jedi Knight and the following montage really shows how great of a Jedi Anakin was. It also showcases the shift in Obi-Wan and Anakin's relationship from father and son to a more brotherly bond. Obi-Wan becomes a funnier character as he is now able to sarcastically joke with Anakin, having some fun one-liners, with a few lines being callbacks to the original trilogy. There is also a subplot with the kidnapping of the chancellor and there is some great action there as well. But Volume 2 is all about Anakin's journey and he becomes such a talented and brave knight that I wondered how they would make him evil in the next movie.
All in all, I think Clone Wars is a wonderful addition to anyone's Star Wars collection and it did its job of making me excited for Revenge of the Sith. Overall, I'm gonna give Star Wars: Clone Wars a B.