All is not well in a galaxy far, far away.
The Jedi Order and the Republic are no more. Billions cry out in suffering as the Empire tightens its hold. On the small planet of Lothal, a young boy Ezra (Taylor Gray) struggles on a daily basis to simply find food. After a routine street theft, Ezra finds himself thrown into a conflict far larger than he could possibly comprehend.
All of that sounds very engaging and exciting. Unfortunately, Spark of Rebellion ends up being 45 minutes worth of mediocre voice acting and tired clichés.
From the moment we meet Ezra, we’re presented with a kid who’s basically Aladdin from the planet Lothal; they even call him a street rat at one point.
Enter the crew of a ship called the Ghost. Captain Kanan (Freddie Prinze Jr.), pilot Hera (Vanessa Marshall), bounty hunter Sabine (Tiya Sircar), and muscle Zeb (Steve Blum) fit together as well as the crew of the Millennium Falcon.
Complications with a snatch-and-grab mean a run-in with obligatory British-sounding bad-guy Agent Kallus. This is where things start to fall apart.
Spark of Rebellion’s story might be easier to get through if everything else wasn’t so mediocre.
Character models for the Storm Troopers look great, but make the lackluster character models of everyone else look even more terrible by comparison.
This is to say nothing of the Wookies, who look like something straight out of a child’s nightmares. Hair moves in cake-mold chunks that give characters an almost “claymation” appearance.
Even facial expressions either end up being almost non-existent, exaggerated bordering on comical, or just confusingly inaccurate.
The voice acting doesn’t save the day either. Lines are delivered half-heartedly, with too little emotion, too much emotion, or no emotion at all.
Only “explosives-tech-meets-graffiti-artist” Sabine and the bat-like muscle Zeb deliver noteworthy performances, but it’s just not enough.
The irony here is that the Storm Troopers, who still can’t hit the broadside of a tauntaun, manage to hit their mark more than anyone else when delivering their lines.
Expositional dialogue and sighs abound in a story full of overused clichés.
The captain: whose gruff exterior hides a heroic past and his warm-hearted partner who can still keep him in check.
Sabine, the young female crew member who will undoubtedly be a love-interest for newcomer Ezra.
Agent Kallus, the bad guy who seems to hate everyone for no reason at all.
Even Zeb, who starts off hating Ezra to the core, but 30 minutes in, is already clearly showing affection for the kid he was so intent on “ending.”
Spark of Rebellion is clearly meant for a younger audience. Most kids aren’t going to notice the forced exposition, clichés, and poor voice acting.
Children will likely enjoy this movie very much. Adults, on the other hand, will likely find it tolerable, if only just.
Perhaps, with more effort in the animation and voice performances, the movie may have been more enjoyable. For now, just know this is not the Star Wars film you’re looking for.
Final Score: 4 out of 10 Midichlorians