One war, Two stories (The Clone Wars)

There has been an ongoing debate about both clone wars series for years now. Recently the old series was brought to my attention again and I thought I would revisit it and try to compare it to the new series which I watched religiously as each episode came out. I would quickly though like to point out that I appreciate both series and this in no way is supposed to be a hate post on either one of the series. I thought it would be unfair to review the 2003 edition as a whole so I will cut it up into sections and compare certain aspects that grabbed my attention with the new series.

One of the very first things I noticed while re-watching the first season was how little dialogue there was. The makers of this series focused much more on the continuous and direct action rather than dialogue between characters and so let the animation explain the situation. A scene where I thought this was executed very well was where the clone troopers join Obi-Wan Kenobi in an assault on Muunilist. The clones communicate completely through hand signals. I thought this portrayed very well how unified they are and have trained together for years. I really liked this because this is the same feeling I got from watching the new series of the clone wars. In the new series the bond between the clones is shown in many ways but mainly through the use of dialogue between the clones giving them a brother-like relationship. However as much as I liked the continuous action scenes I felt like personal feel that the new series has was really lacking here. Something I noticed while watching the third season was that much more dialogue was added and a lot of humour as well. I really enjoyed this and thought it improved the series a lot as it added some more personality to the characters in my opinion and showed a bit more of a relationship between the clones and Anakin and Obi-Wan which is also vital in the 2008 series and Revenge of the Sith.

Something else that really caught my attention was the use of music and especially themes. The 2003 series mostly uses music and a lot of the themes found in the prequels. However I thought that the application of the music in a lot of scenes was done quite poorly. Some of the very well known themes like the force theme and across the stars were used in very random scenes. To me this caused a lot of confusion while watching as those themes to me relate to certain characters or actions. The 2008 series has created a lot of original soundtrack and new themes to go with the new scenes and arcs created. I also found a lot of the music had no built up but suddenly started and ended again. This continued into season 3 especially at romantic moments between Padme and Anakin like when he was called to the council for his final test to become a knight.

Obi-Wan and Anakin:
The relationship between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin has been interpreted very differently in both series. In the 2003 series there’s much more the aspect of master and padawan while in the 2008 series there’s a much more personal connection between the two and they seem more like brothers to me. I enjoyed that in the 2003 series it seemed that Obi-Wan was still teaching Anakin the ways of the force and was trying to guide him through the training while in the 2008 series Anakin is already much more separate from Obi-Wan’s training. However I found that Anakin to me was portrayed incredibly insensitive and rude in the 2003 series. He continuously disobeys Obi-Wan’s orders and seems to have no remorse whatsoever afterwards. One scene where I thought this was particularly strong was when Anakin was led to Yavin to fight Asajj Ventress. As he comes back he seems to show remorse for disobeying Obi-Wan’s orders but then swiftly becomes very macho and seems proud of the fact he defeated her even though this cost the lives of many clones. This to me not only is not the way I interpret their relationship but also seems very out of character for the Anakin that is portrayed in the prequels. To me this continues into season 3 as Anakin is put forward by Obi-Wan Kenobi to become a Jedi Knight. To me this came as a surprise as all that we have seen previous to this is Anakin refusing to take orders and really show any maturity at all. Therefore it made no sense to me that Obi-Wan suddenly thought he was ready to become a knight, especially as Anakin shows up late to the test once again showing disrespect to Obi-Wan and the council. However I did like that the 2003 series took the time to show how Anakin becomes a Knight and explains this more than the 2008 series.
Obi-Wan Kenobi’s character is quite different in both series. Obi-Wan is much more assertive in the 2003 series and takes charge much quicker. I did enjoy this as I thought it created more room to show off his skills and really show that he at this point is still Anakin’s master and more powerful. However I felt that in certain scenes this was taken too far and went against not just his character but even the Jedi way.

Padme, Asajj Ventress and General Grievous:
There are some major differences between the series for these characters. First let’s look at padme’s evolution through the 2003 series. I really enjoyed that Padme had a bit more action in this series especially when she accompanies Yoda to Ilum. The final scenes in Attack of the Clones showed that Padme has a lot to offer even in battle situations. I thought that this take on the Clone wars really continued with that and showed that off more than the 2008 series did. Even though the 2003 series did not show much of Padme the parts they did show reflected really how badass she is. General Grievous is heavily discussed in a lot of comments on the 2003 clone wars series. Many prefer the General Grievous displayed in this series and I must say that to an extent I agree. The first time Grievous is introduced to the audience is one of my favourite scenes in the entire series. The build up to his appearance is great and once he fights the jedis you are not let down. The series really shows how much of a machine he is and how difficult it is to stop him. This is also shown in the training scenes between him and Count Dooku which I enjoyed as it did not only show how Grievous does in fact have to train for these skills (which in Revenge of the Sith to me seemed as if he just had them due to his build) but also how powerful and strong Count Dooku is which I feel the 2008 series did not.
Finally Asajj Ventress. She was one of my favourite characters in the 2008 series as she really does evolve throughout the series and her journey changes constantly and takes unexpected turns at all times. The first time she is introduced in the 2003 series she immediately shows really how powerful she is, which I loved, and especially how passionate she is. However to me there was one major flaw in her story line in the 2003 series. While fighting Anakin in Yavin it is quite apparent she is much stronger and smarter than him. Therefore when Anakin gets in touch with the dark side inside him and kills her I was really quite disappointed and confused. She is such a strong character and to me deserves a much better death scene than the one she got in the 2003 series.

General Points:
One of the main things I enjoyed in the 2003 series was how much more of the force we got to see. While watching I felt like I saw the Jedi and Sith use the force in many more ways than we see in the 2008 series. I enjoyed this as of course in Revenge of the Sith we see the duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan where they both are incredibly skilled and I thought that this series really showed how they progress in the years between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith in using the Force.
One final big difference between the two series is the amount of time put into the background animation. This is partly due to the type of animation used in both series however in the 2003 series really anything that is not in the front hardly moves or does anything. This is especially seen when Mace Windu fights the droids on Dantooine. In the 2008 series much more is going on in the background and so to me completes the scenes more as it really all feels like more of a big scale battle.

There were a lot of things I haven’t been able to talk about as otherwise the post really would be too long like the scenes on Nelvaan where Anakin really battles with who he is and what he could become. I wonder what you guys think about both series and whether you agree with some points made or completely disagree?


4 thoughts on “One war, Two stories (The Clone Wars)

  1. I liked them both. I really don’t think they ‘clash’ all that much. I know on the surface it looks that way, but then in the 2003 Clone Wars we are only catching glimpses. My primary gripe with TCW was that I felt they pushed Anakin’s knighthood back to close to AOTC, when Obi-Wan said he was too immature. The 2003 worked, and 2008 would’ve made a bit more sense if Anakin had been knighted just a bit later. Even off screen it allows for a little bit more growth which he certainly needed.

    To me,in the 2003 one we are catching the glimpses of Anakin and Obi-Wan, at various points early in the war. And of course, there wasn’t much context due to lack of time, to reveal the character growth going on, unlike the of course 2008 series. (Or for that matter the Karen Miller books based on it. LOVED that duology with Anakin and Obi Wan. I could see the TV version of it in my head).
    The 2003 Nelvaan bit was very clever, having Obi-Wan worried and Anakin seeing his baffling (to him) vision. I loved how he got to be a hero while at the same time (judging from his expressions) seeing that he was doing the right thing the wrong way was clearly going to cost him in the long run. (It also gave us a really cool Anakin with blue Nelvaan warrior markings action figure. After so many ordinary versions, that one is a treat. After all, one only needs so many ‘movie versions’ you got the slave, the padawan, the knight and Vader. Not much outfit variety there for the Anakin fan.)

    I think Ventress lost at Yavin due to sheer overconfidence. They didn’t technically ‘kill’ Ventress in the death scene. Since they were all part of the same continuity as the comic books, they actually had her ‘apparently’ die at least 2x before she showed up in Obsession (rather the worse for wear but obviously resilient). That was a very convenient method of ‘killing her off’ for TV only viewers, or comic only readers, while tying them together for those who enjoyed both.
    I was rather sorry they didn’t have time to line the 2008 series with those comics. Obsession had a decent ‘wrap up’ to Obi-Wan and Ventress feuding that had shifted nicely from comic to screen. It would only have taken a few minor timeline tweaks to the comic to leave Obsession nicely in place, since they’d sort of finished their feud but Ventress was still around to for onscreen adventure.

    Grievous was certainly best in the early 2003 one since it showed him at his worst and how he ended up ‘wheezy’. I wouldn’t call him a push over in the 2008 one (look what happened to Kit’s padawan) though being beaten by gungans didn’t help his reputation.

    For Padme I really have to appreciate them both. She didn’t get nearly enough ‘action’ in the last movie. Being not-yet pregnant (as far as we know) gave her time for some fun action and even some Anakin/Padme scenes in both. It also gave her time to show where Leia inherited those diplomatic skills while still being handy with a blaster!

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