While I discussed the ongoing 3-D animated series in detail, I mentioned that the artistic influence came from the 2003 2-D micro-series directed by Genndy Tartakovsky. For those not in the know, like the ongoing 3-D series, the episodes take place between the prequel films Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith.
Many fans of the micro-series may know Tartakovsky from his great work on Samurai Jack (2001). Samurai Jack possesses a very stylized sense of design and animation, as well as mastery the use of various senses. Sound, minimal dialog (on occasion), color, and precise action are but a taste of what one can find in the various episodes. Samurai Jack is quite the visual feast that seduces the eyes and ears.
Tartakovsky brings those skills to Clone Wars.
In 2-D the character and mechanical designs look good, and one can see its influence of the micro series on the 3-D program. Many of my animation friends make a distinction here. They feel that sharp, geometrical elements of the artwork fit perfectly in the 2-D world. By contrast they suggest that the 3-D world makes them images jarring.
There is a lot of fun to be had with 2-D animation. For me, it’s a style I’ve grown up watching. It’s a form that lends itself to exaggeration. The medium itself is brilliant, and in the right hands (like any medium) we can see art and a quality level that some live action film/TV can only dream about.
We do follow Anakin through the micro series, as he matures from Padawan to Jedi Knight. His immaturity is brought into play as well as his skill level. He does his best to be a better warrior, but his failings are set in stone.
2-D allows for greater exaggeration of events. For example, Mace Windu’s single handed assault on an army of Droids, and their latest death machine. The battle’s quite sublime. It’s hard to imagine Windu’s defeat in the Revenge of the Sith film, as the man is literally a one man army. Does he even need the clones?
Clone Wars even manages to use quieter moments, like when Master Luminara Unduli and her Padawan Barriss Offee are trapped beneath rubble. The Jedi master kneels, meditates to command the force to keep from crushing her and Offee.
General Grievous’ debut and attack on the Jedi also is sublime as he shows that he is a creature formidable enough to fight and kill multiple Jedi at once.
The Clones are seen as crack commandoes, who are efficient and well trained. By contrast to the live action films, we do not see the effectiveness of these characters. In fact, Both Jango and Boba Fett pale in comparison to the skills the Clones possess.
There is no sacrifice of action, as we get plenty of it. We get to see several of the characters (Jedi, Clone Troopers, and Count Dooku) make some impressive feats of their skill.
This may explain how some see the 3-D art style as a more realistic approach to animation. By borrowing the art style from the 2-D program, the 3-D show infuses a part of the 2-D that was distinctly Tartakovski.
Sound is so prevalent in this micro series (something you would also see in Samurai Jack). Some scenes appear quite, and we are allowed to hear drapery rustle in the winds. Sometimes simply the running engine of a vehicle is all you hear. The fight between Asajj Ventress and Anakin contains minimal dialog. Mace Windu doesn’t speak a word in his fight. He simply takes down the army
Several notable voice actresses here as well. Cree Summer voices Luminara Unduli. Ventress is portrayed by Grey DeLisle. Summer gives Luminara an enlightened and strong voice. DeLisle makes Ventress raspy and creepy. Corey Burton makes an impressive Count Dooku (he also VA’s in the current 3-D series).