So, what’s the worst Star Wars movie in existence?
Many people will have their views. A lot will tell you it’s ‘The Phantom Menace‘ and they might have a point. Others will tell you it’s ‘The Last Jedi’ and, although they are entitled to their opinions, they would be wrong, because ‘The Last Jedi’ is great.
Some of us, those of us who count the two stand-alone Ewok movies as Star Wars movies, would point out that they aren’t great.
And if you include 1978’s ‘Star Wars: Holiday Special’ then one would imagine that you would have to believe that is the worst of the worst.
Fortunately we no longer need to rely on our own opinions because there are websites that tell us what to think.
Probably the best known of these websites is Rotten Tomatoes and although they don’t have a score for the 1986 Droids feature length special ‘The Great Heep’ (presumably because no-one ever actually watched it in the first place, let alone reviewed it), they do have scores for every other Star Wars ‘movie’. And I’ve collated them into a handy little table below:
|Star Wars Movie||Rotten Tomatoes Score|
|The Empire Strikes Back||94%|
|The Force Awakens||93%|
|A New Hope||92%|
|The Last Jedi||90%|
|Return of the Jedi||82%|
|Revenge of the Sith||80%|
|Attack of the Clones||65%|
|The Phantom Menace||53%|
|The Rise of Skywalker||52%|
|Ewoks: The Battle for Endor||51%|
|Star Wars: Holiday Special||27%|
|Ewoks: Caravan of Courage||23%|
|Star Wars : The Clone Wars||18%|
Which should leave us in no doubt that 2008’s ‘The Clone Wars’ is officially the worst Star Wars movie ever.
Now, I’ll be honest, I don’t necessarily agree with the Rotten Tomatoes scores, but that is because opinion is subjective, and frankly if websites could think, there’d be none of here…
Nonetheless, Rotten Tomatoes is an attempt to be objective by collating lots of reviews and extrapolating ‘meta’ scores from those reviews. In that context, although my favourite Star Wars movie is the original, I’m not surprised to see ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ topping the list. And while I personally feel that ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ was ultimately a better movie than some that are listed above it, I know it wasn’t well-received by a lot of critics and so it’s not a huge surprise to see it score as low as it did.
But to see ‘The Clone Wars’ score below ‘The Holiday Special’ and both Ewok movies is definitely a surprise.
Because it is in no way as bad as any of those.
And I actually quite like it.
Before I get into that though, here is a spoiler alert:
Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t seen this then you might be put off watching it based on the ‘data’ I’ve shared with you. And frankly this is only something you should watch if you are a completist (as I apparently am) because it isn’t a brilliant movie. But it’s not the worst thing ever made by any stretch of the imagination and it is definitely better than the ‘Star Wars: Holiday Special’. By some distance…
This movie has nothing to do with the similarly named 2003 TV show that I wrote about yesterday, but it was a forerunner for the identically-named 2008 TV show and could be viewed as an extended episode of that series.
But this movie did come out before the TV show and it was released in cinemas so it’s reasonable to view it as a separate entity too.
Indeed, until recently, I hadn’t seen the TV show, but I did see this movie quite soon after it was released. I don’t think I saw it in the cinema, but I’m pretty sure I rented it on DVD, because I think renting DVDs was still a thing back in 2008.
And I definitely didn’t hate it.
But obviously I didn’t love it enough to bother with the subsequent TV series.
Which was my mistake, because the TV show is excellent. Or what I’ve seen of it is, because I’m watching it on Disney Plus at the moment. Well not at this exact moment because I’m writing this. But when I’m not writing blog posts and not working and not looking after a toddler, I’m watching ‘The Clone Wars’ series. It’s slow going. I don’t know if I’ll finish watching it in time to write about it because there are a lot of episodes.
But what I’ve seen of the TV show is really good.
So why is the movie so hated?
I think there are a few reasons.
One reason would have to be that, when viewed as an extended episode of the TV show, this is one of the weaker episodes. The storyline is about the kidnapping of Jabba the Hutt’s son. Who even knew Jabba had a son? But the underlying rationale behind the kidnapping is that the bad guys want Jabba to agree to give them access to his ‘trade routes’ and the good guys try and rescue Jabba’s son because they also want access to those ‘trade routes’. And there is something about ‘trade routes’ that makes any Star Wars offering seem a bit more boring than it should be. It was the curse of the prequel trilogy and it’s here again too.
Also ‘The Clone Wars’ TV show, and by extension this movie, are all about what happens between two of the prequel movies. So it’s heavily linked with the prequel trilogy and, as we all know, people didn’t really love those movies. And even though the subsequent TV series is generally beloved by fans, when this movie came out there was still a fair bit of animosity towards those movies, so it would have needed to be excellent to overcome the negative preconceptions. And it isn’t excellent, it’s only OK.
The main thing would probably be that, because this came before the TV show, it asked a lot of its audience. The character of Ahsoka Tano was introduced for the first time in this film and, although she is now fairly firmly established as a fan favourite, she was an unknown quantity in this movie and for a major character to be introduced (as Anakin Skywalker’s padawan learner no less) was a bit of a stretch for audiences. You were either going to hate her (in which case you would have to hate the movie because she’s in it a lot) or you’re going to quite like her but be constantly troubled by the fact that, given her absence from ‘Revenge of the Sith’ she’s probably going to die at some point.
And while (double-spoiler alert) she doesn’t die and indeed pops up in subsequent Star Wars shows (and is due, I believe, to make her live-action debut in series 2 of ‘The Mandalorian’) back in 2008 her inevitable death was the only reasonable conclusion you could reach.
Also, if you were unfamiliar with the unrelated 2003 Clone Wars cartoon, then Asajj Ventress, one of the principal antagonists in this movie, would also be a character that you’d never met before. Because she also isn’t in the movies (although to be fair [triple spoiler alert] she does die prior to ‘Revenge of the Sith’), and while, again, she is now very much a fan favourite, to give her so much weight in this film when no-one really knew who she was, perhaps didn’t help people warm to this movie.
Ultimately it is not a great stand alone movie. It’s an ok episode of a TV show that no-one had seen yet.
It’s still way better than the ‘Holiday Special’ though.
Best character – Anakin Skywalker
Finally an Anakin that is actually pretty good. Every inch the hero, but with subtle hints of the darkness that would eventually lead to him becoming everyone’s favourite Sith Lord.
Inexplicable. Doesn’t get better in the TV show. Fortunately he’s only in a few episodes and then he gets killed off.
Unsung hero – Captain Rex
If you’re unfamiliar with the TV show then he might seem like just another clone trooper. Which he is. But despite the regular and somewhat unceremonious deaths of lots of clones throughout the series, the clones do have their own distinct personalities and none more so than Captain Rex. But even though a lot of that character development hasn’t taken place at this point in the narrative, he is still, hands down, the hardest clone out there and single-handedly takes on a lot of the bad guys.
And that’s in for the most critically panned (but definitely not the worst) movie in the Star Wars back catalogue. Why not come back tomorrow and see if I’ve written about something else Star Wars related?