Great stuff... but not for little kids
The hand drawn CLONE WARS shorts in this collection preceded the digitally animated CLONE WARS television show by five years. Originally commissioned by Cartoon Network, they were meant to be very brief, action-oriented shorts featuring characters from the STAR WARS prequels, in advance of the release of Episode III. The work in the Tartovsky style (SAMURAI JACK, POWER PUFF GIRLS) is terrific and beautiful. The shorts are thin on plot, and heavy on action and violence. Two important characters in the STAR WARS saga were introduced here for the first time: General Grevious (who, unlike his Episode III depiction, is rendered as genuinely terrifying) and Assaj Ventress. There is no blood, per se, but there is a lot of violence and grotesque imagery. In one sequence, Ventress dispatches a clone battalion by using the force to throw their bodies around like rag dolls, smashing them on rocks and trees and crushing them under objects. Obi-Wan defeats a bounty hunter called Durge by exploding him from the inside, coating the room with his pink, alien innards. In the 2nd volume, Anakin helps a race of peaceful aliens that the Separatists have multilated and tranformed into hulking, deformed monsters theough medical experiments. He is able to rescue them but not to transform them back, and they remain disturbingly deformed when he returns them to their village. The final sequence, in which Grevious kidnaps Palpatine, leads immediately into Episode III and is genuinely thrilling, but several Jedi are cut down in the process. My kids are all under 8 and kind of sensitive, so we have watched some vignettes, but have skipped most of this. I think it's fine for anybody over the age of 10. Families can talk about Anakin's penchant for emotionalism and rage, and the bad outcomes that result. Also, the bravery of the Jedi knights facing overwhelming odds in battle for a just cause. I think discussing the way that the Nelvaanians welcome their family members home, their horribly-mutilated bodies notwithstanding, is worthwhile too.