Star Wars: Clone Wars



Frantic, noisy 'toon shorts from Skywalker saga.
  • Review Date: August 12, 2008
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Release Year: 2003
  • Running Time: 69 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Very little room for shading in the Star Wars universe. Characters are either all good or all evil, with the exception of Annakin Skywalker, whose anger and violence turn him into Darth Vader. Multiculturalism to the max, as the Galactic Republic (and the Jedi Order) are here composed of practically every race and alien species. Every culture seems to be respected.

Violence & scariness

It's "cartoon violence" sure, but it goes on for loooong stretches; robots, war machines, spacecraft, and even some people are spectacularly destroyed by light saber, blaster fire, bombs, concussion blasts, impalement, bashing, beheading, etc. No blood shown, even when the victims are human clones (encased in battle armor).

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable

Hard to escape the marketing division of the Force, and this DVD was but one of an Imperial legion of LucasFilm toys. Some books and (especially) video games were direct spinoffs from Clone Wars and the DVDs carry promo featurettes and gameplay levels.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that these volumes of cartoons are not the same as the 2008 Star Wars: The Clone Wars computer-generated animated feature, released to theaters (though they certainly cover the same territory). There is much action-violence -- pretty much nonstop in Vol. 1 -- mostly under battleground conditions, committed against spaceships, aliens, robot troops, monsters, etc. No (human) blood shown, but death and dismemberment get pretty intense. Young Jedi hero Annakin shows off his bravado by eating live insects (a don't-try-this-at-home moment as far as a lot of parents will be concerned).

What's the story?

STAR WARS: CLONE WARS is a DVD set that puts together a serialized bunch of George Lucas-authorized animated shorts that originally aired on the Cartoon Network in 2003 as a run-up to the opening of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. Done by the animators of Dexter's Laboratory, they cover the Clone Wars so much referenced throughout Lucas' blockbuster live-action sci-fi/fantasy features. A noble Galactic Republic is under attack from separatists and droid robot soldiers under the control of a shadowy mystic order called the Sith. Leading the Republic's offensive are the righteous, swashbuckling Jedi Knights, chiefly the valiant Obi-Wan Kenobi and his impatient apprentice Annakin Skywalker. They and other Jedi skip from one planetary system to another fighting a gallery of marauders, mechanical monsters, and machines.

Is it any good?


Animated with simplistic, clean-line art (it avoids looking like cheaply Xeroxed Saturday-morning stuff of yesteryear), Star Wars: Clone Wars seems to have been made for viewers who thought the Star Wars series didn't deliver enough on the "wars" part of the title. The first set of adventures is practically nonstop combat and explosions. Boom! Whoosh! Whew! Titanic battles unfold between high-tech armies and space pilots, while good and evil knights duel one-on-one with light-sabers. Many of these setpieces are spectacular in concept and scope -- but pretty deadening in large doses.

The voiceover actors (nearly none of whom carried over from the movies) speak so infrequently you wonder if they were being paid by the word. Not until Vol. 2 do we get some actual dialog and relatively meaningful dramatic plotlines, with hints of ill-fated Annakin Skywalker's emotional turmoil as he ascends prematurely to the rank of Jedi, gives in to fits of violence and vengeance, and hides his taboo romance with Princess Padme Amidala. Viewers unfamiliar with the Star Wars universe (unlikely they'll even be watching) may be hopelessly confused about the reason for the wars, the clones, etc. But the young and the hardcore LucasFans will enjoy cameo appearances by many of the non-human creatures who flickered through the past features. Yes, there are wookiees. No, there is no Jar-Jar Binks.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the Star Wars series. Ask kids if they like this animation as much as the live-action ones. Do Clone Wars segments help you understand the heroic character of Annakin Skywalker any better, and why he changed into the evil Darth Vader? When Star Wars movies and DVDs come out, do you notice all the toys and themed fast-food for sale? Do the movies make you want these things or not?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 3, 2003
DVD release date:March 5, 2005
Cast:Anthony Daniels, Kevin Michael Richardson, Tom Kane
Director:Genndy Tartakovsky
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Genre:Science Fiction
Run time:69 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of Star Wars: Clone Wars was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent Written byFeliciaC21 January 2, 2016

Jar Jar actually (sadly) is part of the series (but why?)

TV show is completely appropriate for young kids. My only concern is that Anakin's padawan Ahsoka Tano is only supposed to be in her early teens and she wears a belly button tube top the entire time.
Adult Written byrebma97 December 30, 2015

Nostalgic shorts

I remember watching this on Boomerang when I was a kid. They're definitely not as in-depth as the 2008 Clone Wars series, but they're fun little shorts. Violence: Lots of action, but it's bloodless, and as far as I remember, no major characters die. It's nowhere near as violent as The Clone Wars.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much consumerism
Teen, 15 years old Written byMitchell Charleston May 11, 2013

Crazy good.

I'm a Star Wars fan. This movie had awesome graphics and action. This is one of those movies that I can watch over and over again.


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Star Wars Guide