My thoughts are under the cut, organized and bullet-pointed for your reading pleasure. ;) SPOILERS, obviously, so common sense, people - if you haven't seen it, don't click.
Don't let the cut tag fool you, I definitely enjoyed the film, and I do think most SW fans would. It's a popcorn movie, to be sure, and perhaps not your cup of tea if you're looking for the substance of even the prequels. It's different, too, although there is still enough pure Star Wars in there that it seems recognizable as belonging to the genre. A good romp, basically, if you don't take it too seriously.
- Anakin. I was really surprised by how much I liked him in this movie. It's not that I dislike Anakin - I am an Obi-Wan fangirl through and through, yes, but I recognize that Anakin has a rather significant place in the SW universe and on the whole I find him a very compelling character to write. He's not my favourite as a matter of course, is all. But in TCW, there was just something so damned ... likeable about the dude. I'm not sure if that has to do with characterization, and in fact am fairly certain it doesn't given that there were some little gaps that drove me nuts. Other aspects of him were spot-on, though, and he really turned into the anchor of the movie for me. Makes sense, as he's supposed to be, but we all know that Lucas sometimes, er, goofs. Heh.
- Supporting characters. Dooku, Mace Windu, Yoda, all were awesome, and the only complaint I really have is that there wasn't enough of them in the movie. Palpatine I wasn't so sure about at first and still am not, really - I thought he was better/more believable as Sidious than as Palpatine. But he certainly wasn't bad.
- The cinematography. Is that still what you call it in an animated film? Meh, whatever. The landscapes were incredible, with some even looking painted, and it was great to see such realistic looking sand, water, trees etc. I loved the way the planets were coloured, too. Different from what we see in a live-action SW movie, but again, the colours they created for each planet and each planet's atmosphere were stunning. The purple planet (I forget what it's actually named right now, so I'm just calling it the purple planet) where Anakin and Ahsoka rescued Jabba's son was really cool, with the clouds and the dense forests. Great environments.
- The music. Although it was jarring not to hear the familiar SW theme after "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away ..." as was the lack of text crawl, the overall musical score was awesome. I think I'm going to buy the soundtrack, something I hadn't originally planned on doing. I loved the stuff during the battle scenes in particular. It's funny because even though I know it's there, I don't tend to pay a lot of attention to the score when I'm watching a Star Wars movie. In TCW I actually consciously noticed the music, and I'm glad I did.
- The dialogue. Yes, it belongs in the Good category, but possibly only because I went in with expectations so low you'd have to dig for them, plus the knowledge that George Lucas did not write the script. Of the reviews I've read online thus far, most fans don't appear to agree, but whatever. I'm used to holding unpopular opinions. ;) It was noticeable by not being its usual mediocre self, I guess.
- The humour. Kinda fits in with the dialogue, but I'm sticking it in a separate category just 'cause I can. XD There were several times when I laughed out loud, particularly at the antics of the battle droids and Obi-Wan's little tea party. Hey, maybe I'm just easily amused!
- "My darling." Oh wow, did I ever squee when Obi-Wan uttered that line, and my brother turned and looked at me strangely. ;) I was pleased not necessarily because I ship Obi-Wan/Asajj, but because I KNEW that if Obi-Wan were to use a term of endearment, he'd go for some variation of "darling." It's what I have him call Padmé in my Obidala fics, and so I am glad to finally be somewhat vindicated. Other people have said that they can't picture him saying it, but since it's been part of my personal canon for so long, I was really pleased to see it included in the movie. :D
- The clones. I was really pleased that we got a little more background on them, even if it wasn't as much as I'd expected. We see the relationships that both Obi-Wan and Anakin have with the soldiers and there's a nifty little bit of foreshadowing on the purple planet when Anakin promises Rex he'll go help them and then later has to renegue on that promise. It sets up Anakin's "saving-people-thing" (thank you, Harry Potter) quite nicely in my opinion. And Rex is love. XD
- The plot. Not exactly what I expected, and perhaps not as good or engaging as I had expected. But hey, it's a Star Wars movie. You don't go to it for the plot.
- Padmé. You have no idea how much I wanted to handwave the crappy stuff and stick her in the Good category (or, if you know me well, you actually probably do). But I just couldn't. I was pleased with her actions in the movie and how she essentially ended up resolving the main conflict, though almost by accident. She was somewhat back to her kickass self, which after the debacle that was Revenge of the Sith, is probably all I had a right to hope for when it comes to my girlfriend. Inasmuch as I was pleased by how she actually acted, I was displeased by how little screen time she had. I hesitate to say this, but it's almost as though Lucas had a checklist during the movie as to which characters he wanted to put in and said something like: "Okay, let's see. Yoda, check. Dooku, check. Mace Windu, check. Obi-Wan, Anakin, bunch of random clones, check, check check. Padmé, che-oops! Shit! I forgot to put Padmé in the movie! I know, I'll stick her on in the last twenty minutes and, ooh! I'll have her resolve the entire conflict. That ought to keep the haters happy." Unfortunately, it showed. Her role was just so tacked-on and probably could have gone to anyone really, except for the fact that Lucas got to twenty minutes of film left and realized he hadn't put her in yet. Then he figured he could make up for it by giving her a bunch of kickass action scenes. Well, yes, they were kickass ... but they didn't satisfy me. Sigh.
- Ahsoka. I wanted to like her. I know some other fans have liked her. I tried to like her. But in the end ... I just didn't feel it. There were too many things "off" about her for me to truly appreciate her as a character. And yes, sadly, she still seems a lot like a Mary Sue. I've seen it pointed out that she seemed awfully out of character for a Jedi who'd been raised in the Temple all her life, and I'm afraid I'm going to have to agree. Lucas really seemed inclined to treat her as a mini-Anakin, and while I like Anakin, isn't one sort of enough? It got pretty repetitive after awhile. So why is she in the "Mixed" category instead of the "Annoyingly Bad"? Because she is female and she is kickass and if I can't have those qualities in my girlfriend, then maybe I can grit my teeth and find them in her. That's the theory, anyway.
- The action. Sometimes there was too much of it, so much that I had difficulty keeping up, and sometimes I just loved it. And there were some scenes I felt included too little action, which is kind of strange but true.
- Anakin/Padmé. On one hand I'm glad that there wasn't much of it in the movie except an eye-frak, because there is so much potential to mess it up à la Episode II. But on the other ... I do ship Anakin/Padmé, if not perhaps as an OTP, and seeing them at least meet face-to-face would've done my shipper soul good. Granted, it would've meant a gigantic issue for plot consistency and believability, and so I'm sort of glad Lucas left it off his laundry list of stuff to include. I guess I'll have to keep holding out hope for the TV series. ;)
The Annoyingly Bad
- Obi-Wan. If you can imagine that it pained me to put my girlfriend Padmé in the "Mixed" category, then picture how difficult it is for me, the consummate Obi-Wan fangirl, to place him "Bad"! But, alas, I am also an honest fangirl, and so that's what I must do. The first moment he appeared on the screen and spoke I sighed to myself and muttered, "This will not end well." I was right. I don't necessarily want to judge any character in this movie by their voice actor, because that isn't really fair. And besides, I have a rant about the voice actors below. But a large part of Obi-Wan Kenobi, for me, is Ewan McGregor, and I'm not sure if any other actor could measure up. The TCW Obi-Wan, to quote Bugs Bunny, was for me "an unreasonable facsimile thereof." He was eye candy, for sure, but the believability ended as soon as he opened his mouth. Oddly, I found I was most able to believe in TCW Obi-Wan during his battle with Ventress. I'm not too sure what that says about me, heh. >.> Anyway, overall I went in with at least semi-high expectations, and I wound up being quite disappointed.
- The voices. I alluded to this before, but it's probably what bothered me most about the movie. NOT necessarily that the original actors didn't perform, although of course that would have been awesome. The voice actors just seemed extremely stilted at times, like they were reading their lines off a piece of paper. And yeah, okay, they probably were, but a good voiceover actor won't let on that they are reading off the paper. They'll lend depth to the character. The vibe I got off some of the voice actors, particularly those portraying Obi-Wan and Anakin, was: "OMG, I'd rather be watching paint peel, I'll just read these lines as quickly as I can and then hopefully we'll get a lunch break." Not inspiring at all, and it really took me out of the movie in parts.
- Jabba's kid. That was just a gigantic WTF moment for me. It's an instance of retconning that doesn't work, almost moreso than any other time I can think of. In fact I could've bought it more in later movies if the son had gotten killed off, because it would at least have given Jabba a hugeass reason not to trust Luke in Return of the Jedi. But no, he is visibly alive by the end of the film, and even killing him in the series won't work as well, I don't think. Not that I know what's going to happen - I definitely don't. But it would seem too much "second verse, same as the first" for me. Why would they return to the plot when they did the whole TCW movie about it? But without Jabba's son somehow dying at the hands of the Jedi, nothing makes sense. If the kid is still alive in RotJ, then there's no reason to assume anything would be changed by Luke killing Jabba. Huge, huge plothole, and one that really annoyed me.
- Dooku's evil laugh. MY EARS!!!!!!! HIS DIGNITY!!!!
- Anakin's and Ahsoka's nicknames for each other. I'm not sure why this seemed out of character to me, but it did. I kind of snickered when she called him "Skyguy" but that snicker became a wince at "Snips." Yeeeeesh. I just can't really see Anakin using a nickname like that. Now, of course, I may be being completely hypocritical here since I often have him refer to Padmé as "Angel" in my fics, but that at least seems to ring more plausibly and true to me. Snips is just ... well, you don't hear Obi-Wan wandering around calling Anakin "Ani," do you?
- Ahsoka is NOT too young to be a Padawan. End. Of. Story. lumy12 kind of reminded me about this in her review, and now that I think about it, it really bugs me. Up until now we've been led to believe that most Jedi are taken as Padawans by the time they're 12, and Ahsoka is supposed to be what ... 14? Does this just ignore the whole part of The Phantom Menace where the Jedi Council is afraid to take Anakin on because he's too old at age 9? By all rights, Ahsoka should've been shipped out to the AgriCorps long ago, since no Master apparently took her on. Unless they're not doing that anymore because they need every youngling who shows even a hint of Force powers. But if that's the case, would it have killed Yoda or Mace Windu or somebody to mention this fact? I enjoy some nice continuity with my morning coffee, thanks.
All of the above sounds like I didn't like it much, but that's really not the case. I just counted up my good points vs. bad points and there are eight good points to six bad points. Will you like it? Well, I can't say, that's more a matter of personal preference than anything else. But, if you like SW and if you call yourself a fan, I would go. You can grit your teeth and you can complain and you can say, "But it's only a cartoon, it doesn't maaaaaatter!" Just try not to take it too seriously, and you'll probably have a ball. I say probably cause hey, there's no pleasing everybody. ;)
I for one enjoyed myself, and I shall look eagerly forward to the TV series when it debuts in the fall. ^_^