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Ten years after the 'Phantom Menace' threatened the planet Naboo, Padmé Amidala is now a Senator representing her homeworld. A faction of political separatists, led by Count Dooku, attempts to assassinate her. There are not enough Jedi to defend the Republic against the threat, so Chancellor Palpatine enlists the aid of Jango Fett, who promises that his army of clones will handle the situation. Meanwhile, Obi-Wan Kenobi continues to train the young Jedi Anakin Skywalker, who fears that the Jedi code will forbid his growing romance with Amidala. Written by
When Obi-Wan talks to Yoda about who might have erased Kamino from the Jedi Archives, Yoda is instructing Younglings in sabre technique. In one shot an alien Youngling appears in the back of the class, in the next, he's in front of the class. When the shot re-establishes, the alien is once again in the back of the class. See more »
There used to be a time when Star Wars was the best thing since sliced bread. Of course I was about 7 then but nonetheless it was the ultimate for many people of my generation, and then we grew up but perhaps it is that I have grown up that I didn't enjoy this one wanting a film for adults. I entered the cinema expecting some good old fashioned galatic action despite the let down of the Phantom Menace but instead what I got was two hours of largely tedium.
At base level all the ingredients were there but there was nothing else, this film was completely empty at heart. What the original movies had in charm, in script and in the endearing performance of their cast (even Mark Hamill pulled it off in the end) was largely lacking here. The two leads of Christensen and Portman cannot act to save their lives, sadly in this movie their lives were saved and we'll have to experience more of their slushy badly scripted romance in the third. They have all the physical chemistry onscreen of a couple of neutered dogs.
The depth of their romance which is one of the central planks of the movie is comparable to an infants swimming pool, clearly George Lucas has been reading too much Mills and Boon and spent way too long on his special effects computers to remember just how humans work.
The supporting cast headed by Macgregor are patchy too though Macgregor is head and shoulders above the two teenage leads and at times manage to act with some gusto. Much has been said about Christopher Lee and Samuel L Jackson but they are just playing themselves being competent enough actors to just turn up for work and perform regardless of what he director says. Compared to their past performances they are both underwhelming too.
I've already mentioned the love aspect of the story, this was also supposed to be a dark plot with plenty of evil and of course Anakin turning to the dark-side. For what is supposed to be the defining moment of the entire series we get a whole three minutes of screentime where he kills people. As to get a PG rating the slaughter is glossed over and barely shown on camera it's left to the actor to communicate what happened but the evil growing in him is completely skirted around with a little bit of sobby stuff that simply isn't convincing - at no time do we see someone being corrupted by power which is really a lost opportunity.
Lost opportunities is what this film is full of though, inside is a really good story struggling to get out but the issues are dumbed down to make them suitable for children to understand. The lack of invention in it is also stunning, why introduce Jango Fett at all except to cash in on the popularity of Boba Fett, why have Kenobi hide behind an asteroid like Han Solo does in Empire Strikes Back with a star destroyer? Why did we get those terrible C3PO puns and what was it with Yoda ever having a walking stick if he can fight like a whirling dervish on speed? Why does a changeling keep it's face and not get a new one then try to kill Kenobi.
The only part of the script I did appreciate was the ever annoying Jar Jar being the cause of the rise of the Empire, ooh the irony. Script aside Star Wars has always been something of an effects movie but these days it's simply not impressive enough when compared to Lord of the Rings. The saturation of the colours throughout the film make it all look cartoony, and the CGI does look like CGI although it is much improved on the previous film with Yoda at last looking real. I imagine this is where the majority of the work went on the film but it's just not good enough. I do wish that Lucas would get back to the gritty colour tones used in the first two films, they certainly added to the realism but the Disney look seems to have infected the franchise too deeply.
Not only are many of the effects lacking any believability but Lucas can't direct action, something that is a major flaw in a film that has perhaps half of it as action scenes. We get lasers zapping everywhere but there is no coherence with the editing and it all ends up a bit confusing with none of the excitement that should be there.
The problem with editing recurs throughout the film with the love story intercut with the discovery of the clone army badly done, why do we keep coming back from an interesting story to one that just turns people off, something that was obvious in the cinema as you could hear people groan everytime the teenage lovers were on.
The sound though is superb, watching at home on my Dolby 5:1 did make it a bit more of an experience but if you are relying on technical details to carry a film then you really shouldn't be making it to start with. Anyone can buy a decent sound engineer for a movie, and just be limited by budget but not anyone can get a good performance out of an actor, then the limit is talent.
Let's face it that George Lucas is nothing more than a glorified technician being way past his limits is trading on the goodwill of fans from movies he did 25 years ago. He's no great director or writer and should leave that to others, perhaps then we can get the Star Wars movies that we all want, and perhaps he can come to rival the grosses of the old films again but I fear the magic will have gone by then. score - 4/10 for sentimental reasons.
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