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I happen to be one of the folks who really has enjoyed these films in the
prequel trilogy. I also can see why people would not like the films and I
don't deny people the right to their opinion. What has been bothering me
has been some of the reasons people are giving for hating these new films...
they are childish, they have too many special-effects, the acting is bad,
the writing is bad, Lucas has sold out and has lost his touch... it makes me
wonder if people are actually remembering the original trilogy correctly.
Don't get me wrong, I love the original trilogy, but they weren't exactly
well-acted or well-written movies. We didn't love them because they were
these great Shakespearian works of art; we loved them because we were little
kids totally enraptured by this exciting fantastical world. It seems that
those same kids that loved the films 20 years ago have grown up into stuffy
old yuppies that have no idea how to have fun anymore. Our generation has
grown up and it seems that we wanted Star Wars to grow up with us, to morph
into some new R-rated grown up version to satisfy our more mature needs.
Well, we didn't like the original trilogy because it was all grown up and
serious. We liked it because it was silly and fun and awesome to look at.
I am personally glad that George Lucas did not make the prequels into a new
grown up version. I like the adventure and excitement and I challenge the
one major complaint that says that they do not live up to the originals.
Let's look at what people have complained about when comparing these to the
-The new movies are too childish and geared towards kids: So, somehow we're supposed to believe that the droids, aliens, spaceships swamp monsters, and warriors with mystical powers from the original trilogy were of the more mature variety.
-The new movies have too many special effects: We're forgetting that the original movies were also special effects laden. Lucas has always pushed the limits of technology, even inventing new technology all the way. He has not sold out or changed or just now relied on special effects, he has always concentrated on the effects. If he had digital technology 20 years ago, he would have done the same thing then that he has now. That's what he does; he makes up worlds that don't exist and then comes up with a way to put them on film.
-The writing has been bad on the new films: Does anybody recall Lucas ever receiving a Pulitzer Prize?
-The acting has been bad on the new films: Carrie Fisher??? Mark Hamill??? Harrison Ford??? We're not exactly talking about Academy Award winners here. Name me one of the original main actors who was actually a great actor (other than Sir Alec). Now, Harrison Ford has had a great career, but he's no Jack Nicholson. And where are Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill now?
-Anakin is just a whiny little brat: Does anybody also remember how whiny Luke was in the first two movies? I mean, he did nothing but whine and complain until Jedi. And how many times did they say that Luke was just like his father? Should anybody then be surprised that Anakin was a whiny adolescent?
I think my point here is that people from my generation have taken something they loved as a kid and put it up on a pedestal so high that they are confused as to why they liked it. They think the original movies were these serious Academy Award caliber pieces of art and that's why they liked them. In fact, we liked them because they were cool and had monsters and space battles and there were toys that we could play with and have fun. The new movies are of the same mold as the original, they are unchanged. WE have changed and we're having a hard time dealing with that fact. Some would argue that these movies are not true Star Wars movies. I say, they are exactly the same... that's why I love them. If I want a serious film, I'll go find somethings starring Daniel Day-Lewis. I like action and science fiction, so I'll stick to the childish, poorly acted stuff.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
First off, don't blame the actors or the special effects. It's not their
fault. Whenever someone knocks a bad movie, which Episode II qualifies as,
they immediately raise the pitchforks towards the actors.
If your going to lay some blame, lay it at the feet of George Lucas. It
his puerile script that brought the actors to their knees, and his lack of
direction that made them stay there. It was George's unholy fascination
all things digital that massacred the screen with billions of wasted
pixilated images, making the flesh and blood actors seem like they stepped
into the Twilight Zone.
This movie serves one purpose and one purpose only...to manually pleasure George Lucas' fanbase. The only things that seperate this wheelbarrow full of fertilizer from the average sci-fi schlock are the overinflated budget for Lucas' digital toys and the useless insertion of previous Star Wars characters.
(SPOILERS ABOUND BELOW)
The movie flows like a frozen sewage runoff. It goes from high speed, high altitude car chases, to boring, forced angst by the fireplace. To say that Christensen and Portman have no chemistry is to say that the Middle East might be facing some political problems. Their romance is about as believable as grass growing on the moon. Maybe they could have done better if the script hadn't been written with crayons.
I thought these prequels were about Anakin's spiral downward from the path of balance into the Darkside. Is that ever going to happen or are we going to be forced to watch a third episode of video game previews for the Game Cube? We were given a lackluster hint with the slaughter of the Sand People but that barely cuts it. It wasn't even shown, thereby castrating the power of the scene. We just have to hear Anakin whine about it for about three seconds. Usually, when someone butchers a whole village of men, women, and children there's a whole lot more soul searching going on afterward. Of course, Lucas goes the pansy route and glosses over the whole thing. Most people I've talked to didn't even remember the scene until it was brought up to them.
I'm probably one of the few people completely disgusted witht the Yoda fight at the end with the unimpressive Darth Sarumon (Lee plays the exact same character in LOTR: former wizard turned evil lackey=former jedi turned evil lackey). It's almost as if instead of a hand being up Yoda's posterior they've inserted a heroin suppository. Lucas has, in a brief half-minute, meaningless fight scene, destroyed the mystery of Yoda. The entire fight was unwarranted. If Yoda can raise ships from swamps and hold big chunks of pillar in the air, why can't he just pick up Count Poopoo and bang him against the wall a few times, soften him up a little, so to speak. Why? Because Lucas has toys he must abuse, that's why.
The real star of this movie is the CGI. And CGI doesn't make good film. CGI is a support for a movie, that's it.
There were far too many real world references, as well. Death sticks=cigarettes. Lame. Fifties diner in a galaxy far, far away, complete with sassy robo-waitress. Lame. This is supposed to be far removed from our world in the aforementioned galaxy far away. All I missed was the Fonz. Where the Hell was he? It might have been an improvement.
In closing..Lucas needs to stop writing, directing and editing. Let a grown up handle these things. All that crap about these movies being for kids is a lark. These movies are for the nerds of the late seventies and early eighties who can't seem to move on in the world. The charm of Star Wars was gone before Lucas unveiled his uber-deluxe, special treatment of the films for the third time. And now he's doing it again. Maybe he'll go the Spielburg route and replace all the blasters with peace symbols.
Rating 1 out of 10. I'd rate it lower, but I was never good with fractions.
This episode of the Star wars saga was criticized by some when it came
out for having wooden dialogue and too much digital landscaping to be
any good. I wasn't overly impressed with it myself, but having seen all
6 films now, AOTC is actually a very important and well done section of
the overall series.
Lucas has said time and again that this movies are meant to be seen as one long film, not to be taken as 6 individual movies. This particular installment features so much that affects every other episode. The discovery of the clones, the immaturity and arrogance of Annakin, the beginning of the clone wars. All of these events happen in this one movie, which is actually a lot more than what happens in some of the other films. I don't consider this to be the best of all 6 by any means, but it is certainly not nearly as bad as some people make it out to be.
It seems as though there is no way to dispel negative atmosphere once
it has been started. George Lucas's STAR WARS trilogy was well-loved by
audiences (even though critics were split) but for some reason (and I
can't figure it out), the first entry in the prequels, THE PHANTOM
MENACE, earned a HUGE onslaught of critically divided posts just about
everywhere in the world, from the press to the internet to fans in real
life. While I do agree that the original trilogy is a tough act to
follow, I wasn't as grossly let down by this movie as some were.
The same thing has happened to the second of the STAR WARS prequels, ATTACK OF THE CLONES, released in 2002. Many predicted that this movie would satisfy those who disliked Episode I with a vengeance, but alas, such was not the case. Once again, critics damned the movie for one reason or another, and the heated debate on whether Lucas "trashed the original trilogy" or not is still going on. I find it very sad that Lucas would still receive unfair critical attack, even after making a much darker, somber, and ominous movie in ATTACK OF THE CLONES. I'm guessing that such naysayers will continue to say nay to Lucas no matter what just like rabid fans of Anime would continue to slam-dunk dubs... even if a lot of them have recently proved to be excellent.
This is not to say that ATTACK OF THE CLONES is a flawless film. It actually has its share of problems that THE PHANTOM MENACE didn't have. The dialogue, although nowhere nearly as bad as critics and some disgruntled fans say, lacks the spark of the original trilogy. My biggest gripe with the movie is that it moves at a leisurely pace, with lots of weak, unsatisfying sequences that last too long. Most of these scenes consist of a love subplot involving Anakin Skywalker and Amidala Padme. When not interacting with each other, Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman are fine in their respective roles. (Christensen's monologue about his slaughtering of not only Tusken Raiders but--horrors!--women and children is frightening.) But there is a sense of awkwardness when they contribute to scenes which involve schmaltzy lines and screen kisses. I'm guessing that they both felt uncomfortable doing these scenes, hence why the chemistry between them isn't as interesting as, say, Han and Leia's from the original trilogy.
Only when the movie is in action does ATTACK OF THE CLONES become worthwhile--there's a dizzying chase through Coruscant on floating cars, maneuvering through a dangerous asteroid field near a planet, and a half-hour long showdown that showcases a lot of amazing CG work. Actually, what also make Episode II worth watching are the fantastic set designs. Every location in the movie, from the metropolis skyscrapers of Coruscant to the water planet where prototypes of Stormtroopers are being constructed literally bursts with imagination and eye candy.
Of the performers I liked Ewan McGregor (Obi-Wan) the best; his acting is still a little shaky at times, but here he seems more comfortable with the role. Christopher Lee makes a surprise appearance as the new villain, Count Dooku, and once again he delivers first-rate evil with this character. And it's great to see C-3PO and R2-D2 up to their usual banter again (although sometimes some gags occur when not necessary). Ultimately, however, the film belongs to Jedi Master Yoda, played to perfection by Frank Oz. His appearances in THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and RETURN OF THE JEDI featured him as a rubber puppet (and a delightful creation), but in this movie he really comes alive, thanks to first-rate CG effects. His mouth is perfectly in sync with every word he says, and the final showdown between him and Dooku is an absolute highlight.
While ATTACK OF THE CLONES is, in some ways, a lesser entry in the STAR WARS franchise, its assets outweigh its weaknesses; most of the questions I had from the first episode seem to be addressed a little bit in this chapter, and, frustratingly enough, provides more questions for Episode III. Flawless or not, this is still a STAR WARS movie, and for what it is, it's still worth a look.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Although I'm not a Star Wars fanatic (I certainly don't read the books or
anything), I love the old Star Wars movies. In fact, when I was littler,
The Empire Strikes Back was my favorite film. Now that I'm older, I
them for what they are: incredibly creative, exciting and touching films.
have yet to see Episode 1. My friend recommended Episode 2 to me, telling
that it was better than its predecessor, but warning me "don't see it if
expect anything more than a Star Wars movie."
Maybe I just have a nostalgic love for the first trilogy, but I would never
think that they were anywhere near as poor, in any way, as this new
I can't think of a high budget movie that I've seen that has such bad
directing, bad acting, bad casting, bad special effects (or lack thereof),
bad music, bad dialogue and bad plot, as ATTACK OF THE CLONES (bad title
too). The reviewers on this site giving this movie positive reviews must
all be brainwashed. Maybe they're all just excited that it's better than
Episode One, which I can only assume must be the worst movie ever made,
considering this one definitely belongs in the bottom 100.
Let's begin with the directing. WHAT THE HELL DID GEORGE LUKAS TELL HIS ACTORS? My only guess that the conversations went something like this... LUKAS: Hey Sam, sit in that chair and say your line. S.JACKSON: How do you want me to deliver it? LUKAS: Don't worry about that. It doesn't really matter. All the animated creatures don't really show any emotion anyway. In general, you should just say your line like you're reading it. Oh, but if you're supposed to be angry or upset, just screw up your face a little bit.
S.JACKSON: Okay. I guess...
I can't begin to describe how boring the non-action sequences are in this film. The actors aren't interacting at all. It's astounding.
Furthermore, talk about a classic example of bad acting, Ewan McGregor spends the entire movie doing a really bad impression of the actor who played Obi Wan in the original series...uuuugh, yuck. Whoever cast this movie needs to get their head examined. I've always learned that one of the prime objectives in film, especially a drama, like this one, is to suspend the audience's disbelief (perhaps George Lukas was striving to suspend belief with this one). How could anyone accept Samuel L. Jackson, one of the most prolific actors in Hollywood, as "Mace Windu" and Jimmy Smits, another instantly recognizable household name, as Senator "Bail Organa". My God, Lukas could have at least picked actors who haven't reached idol status yet, but no, he had to make his budget LARGER. The majority of people who liked this casting probably just liked seeing Sam Jackson meditating next to a poorly animated Yoda (SHAFT AND YODA TOGETHER IN THE SAME ROOM, MEDITATING LIKE BUDDHISTS! AWESOME!).
The digital special effects were disappointing and not convincing. I prefer people in elaborate costumes to the digitally animated, and amazingly generic looking, critters that Lukas used here. You've seen 'em in the fifth element, in the trailer for men in black II (before the film started) and here they are again, a long time ago in a galaxy far far away. Go figure. Furthermore, juxtaposing digitally composed fantasy settings/landscapes(as ridiculous as they are on their own), with a real, easily recognizable, famous swiss tourist attraction was appalling.
The music as a whole sounded like a parody of the original score (in other words, it was fitting). The dialogue was laughably atrocious. Probably my favorite line *POSSIBLE SPOILER* was when Anakin (or little Ann(ie?,y?,e??) as the Senator calls him) tells the senator, "I didn't just kill the men...but the WOMEN...and the CHILDREN TOO!" "Ooh am I a bad guy. I'm such an evil dude that I use cliches to describe my horrible deeds." *NO MORE SPOILERS* The plot is so delightfully convoluted that thousands of viewers at home will be able to watch this movie in less than half it's running time when it comes out on VHS. They can all simply fast-forward to the action sequences and not miss anything important in the film. In fact they might as well fast-forward through the whole thing, given that the ending credits are by far the movie's finest sequence.
I'm getting tired of writing, so I'll just say that there are so many problems with this movie that this review hasn't even nearly given it justice. PLEASE, DON'T DISMISS THIS REVIEW JUST BECAUSE IT'S NEGATIVE. IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE MOVIE YET, PLEASE, WAIT TILL COMES OUT ON VIDEO. AT LEAST THEN YOU CAN GET THE PLEASURE OF TAKING THE TAPE OUT OF THE MACHINE AND SMASHING IT TO BITS IN FRUSTRATION.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a film that took three of the most beloved films of all time
and sold their souls to CGI. The original Star Wars Trilogy were not
labelled as the greatest films ever made because of Light Sabres, or
Storm Troopers, or groundbreaking motion capture special effects, but
because of the human side. The quality of the acting from Sir Alec
Guinness, the chemistry between Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, the
excellent dialogue that made every line a memorable quote and the
context of faith and religion are what made them so everlasting. In
this film Ewan McGregor's acting is surprisingly wooden for such a
talented actor, Hayden Christensen has less chemistry with Natalie
Portman than a 12 year old student's test tube, the dialogue is boring,
the lines are cheesy and clichéd, there does not seem to be any actual
emphasis on plot, it just being an excuse to glue one over-long action
set piece to another, so the intrigue disappears fast and the themes
and contexts are given a back seat to (admittedly impressive) CGI. It
seems that George Lucas thought that what made a good film was as much
soulless eye candy as possible.
Star wars was once a trailblazer in Science fiction and its originality gave most of the future Blockbusters the templates for their scenes, and what was originally Star Wars innovation became cliché at the hands of other films. Now it is Star Wars using the same plot lines we have seen over and over again, copying others and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 in a lazy attempt to seem interesting.
You do not need spectacle to create a good film you need drama and humanity both of which this film sorely lacks. In my opinion the best Light Sabre Fight of the series was the Showdown between Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi. The fight didn't have any flipping or flopping or any fancy kung-fu, but it did have the enormous tension of the concept of the final fight between Master and Pupil. That made for a great scene, and the elements of drama are completely void from this movie. This is a cheap CGI fest that misses the point entirely.
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
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
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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I gave this film 1 out of 10 because it is honestly one of the worst films I have ever seen. *****SPOILERS***** The log-fire scene where Anakin Skywalker woodenly tells Natalie Portman about his intense "pain" and "suffering" was fortunately drowned out by the sound of the entire audience failing to suppress their giggles and guffaws. We know how you feel, Anakin. Am I the only one who thought this was actually worse than the Phantom Menace? I don't remember anything about the plot of that film but I remember feeling mildly entertained. This was just plain boring. From the high-speed chase in the city to the weird tall thin aliens to the political assassination attempt it all felt like a TV spin-off of the Fifth Element without the famous actors, the beautiful models, the slick direction, the humour, the dialogue or the fun. The waterfalls in the background on Naboo looked like the tongue-in-cheek idyllic backdrop on a Kraftwerk CD. The gladiatorial scene was straight out of your first Dungeons & Dragons game. The big battle at the end was SO BORING people were leaving their seats and returning ten minutes later... they'd probably gone outside for a cigarette. The acting and the dialogue would, by and large, not have passed muster on a Mexican soap opera; the most interesting part of Natalie Portman's performance was the surprise appearance of her nipples. On the plus side: Yoda drew some genuine laughs with his "kung fu" stance, although high-speed Yoda was a bit too fanciful for my liking. Ewan McGregor's effort was good considering the material, and his fight with Jango Fett should put him in the running for a role as 007. But what this franchise really needs to do is bring back Harrison Ford... perhaps Han Solo was a clone?
The fundamental flaws in Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones are
pretty much summed up in a single scene in this film. Anakin Skywalker and
Padme Amidala are sitting at a dinner table (?), and decide to share a piece
of fruit. And during this entire scene, the piece of fruit is completely
computer generated, and it shows. It's horribly obvious when Anakin slices
it in half, and becomes downright inexcusable when Padme takes a bite of it.
We can see the actors are just miming the motions. God has killed a kitten
because of this.
That piece of fruit symbolizes everything unholy about this film.
It symbolizes the hollow acting Lucas deliberately set out to draw from each performer. We have talented actors here, we know they can do better than this because we've seen them do better than this. Well, except Hayden Christensen. A friend's mother really gave an accurate assessment of him when she said that he was really good at what he did: going berserk and then crying about it later. "I don't wanna fight." His performance was as forced as everything else in the film.
The script? Don't even get me started. People who defend this film from its detractors as saying "Star Wars never had good dialogue, that's not the point" are certainly semi-justified, but what they aren't realizing is that there was at least a small standard of quality in the first trilogy. There's a reason The Empire Strikes Back is actually considered a good film. No, the dialogue and acting were never really that great, but they were tolerable, and light years ahead of this dreck. Every plot development seems forced, every line cliche. The worst part is that this is even a step backward from Episode I, and is liberally sprinkled with painful one-liners that are supposed to be witty exchanges. Folks, when I want one-liners, I'll watch Army of Darkness. If this is going to be a serious film, they need to take a hiatus.
Perhaps the piece of fruit is most symbolic of the film overall in that the film, like the fruit, looks beautiful but somehow horribly false and impossible to believe (the CG looks like a step DOWN from Phantom Menace, I swear), and is ultimately nothing but air. It's hollow, there's no substance here. The sense of fun present in the original trilogy, and even a little in Phantom Menace, is totally gone. It looks and feels like it was a chore for everyone involved to make, including Lucas himself.
I suspect Star Wars fans will finally wake up to this one like they did to Episode I and it will plummet off the top 250 here. The reality of it is that the only true Star Wars films are the original trilogy, and this senseless new trilogy will probably ultimately be disowned like Alien 3, RoboCop 3, Halloween III (noticing a pattern?), and other poor sequels. ...all in a piece of fruit.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Say what you will about George Lucas, you have to give the guy credit for
setting himself a difficult task in `Star Wars: Attack of the Clones' (and I
do mean beyond trying to deliver a film that will meet the almost impossibly
high expectations of his millions of fanatical followers). By choosing to
place Anakin Skywalker front and center as the story's main focal point,
Lucas does what few others in this business are willing to do which is to
risk making a crowd-pleasing epic without a likable central `hero.' After
all, since this film is a prequel and not a sequel to the original trilogy,
we all know that this brooding young man will end up turning into the
irredeemably evil Darth Vader. Of course, Luke Skywalker fulfilled the
requirements of conventional hero for the original series and even Han Solo,
though he was a bit of a rogue and a scoundrel, always allowed his virtuous
side to break through when the chips were down. Anakin, though, for all his
internal struggles in this film, is predestined to go over to the Dark Side
(certainly in the next installment). The pre-knowledge the audience is
privy to from our acquaintance with the later chapters gives the film a kind
of poignant sadness at times - or at least it would if Lucas had done a
better job as both writer and director in bringing it out. Unfortunately,
the dialogue is so poorly written that Anakin comes across as little more
than a petulant, peevish, moony-eyed schoolboy most of the time hardly
either the `greatest Jedi knight' we keep being told he has the potential to
become nor the future Hitlerian dictator we know he will one day be. His
romantic, puppy-love interludes with Senator (former Queen) Padme Amidala
are embarrassing at best. We have indeed come a long way from the fun love
triangle involving Luke, Han and the feisty Princess Leia.
In fact, that seems to be the basic trouble with this film, as it was with the previous installment, `The Phantom Menace.' Somewhere along the way, someone drained all the FUN out of `Star Wars.' The first three films seemed so fresh, so adroit, so light on their feet. The prequels, though they are not without interest, feel bloated, top heavy and devoid of any real conviction or excitement. One cannot fault Lucas, I guess, for becoming overly fascinated with his matted backgrounds, computer graphics and special effects, but it does no one any good to have all that hardware whirling by in the background when the action in the foreground is so banal and uninteresting. Even the set pieces here a flying car chase through a crowded city that defies all known laws of physics, a cluttered battle scene that takes place in a gladiatorial stadium don't get the adrenalin pumping in the same way that the space battles in the original `Star Wars,' the race through the forest in `Return of the Jedi' or even the pod race in `The Phantom Menace' did. And I will reiterate a comment I made three years ago about that last film. Why is it that, in a movie with `Star Wars' in its title, are there virtually no outer space battle scenes in this picture? Is that really too much to ask?
A few other problems plague the picture. R2D2 and C-3PO, whose one-sided bantering lent such charm to the original films, have become virtual extras in the story by this time. And since the rest of the script is so entirely witless, the few moments they have together stick out too much as obvious (and not very effective) attempts at comic relief. No longer do these two uniquely nonhuman characters feel like an integral part of the action. Even worse, the once endearing Yoda, with his annoyingly inverted sentences and his never-ending string of sanctimonious pearls of wisdom, has, quite literally, become this movie's Jar-Jar Binks (who does appear but in a much more limited role). The acting by Hayden Christensen (Anakin), Natalie Portman , Samuel L. Jackson and Ewan McGregor (a young Obi-Wan Kenobi, and who is going to believe that McGregor will mature to become the distinguished Alec Guiness?) is serviceable at best, as the performers have been put there basically to deliver the stilted dialogue and serve as foreground for the upstaging special effects.
So, after all these complaints, is `Attack of the Clones' worth seeing? Surprisingly, the answer is `yes' and it really has nothing to do with the special effects. The reason this film is worth seeing is because Lucas has undertaken to pull off something virtually unique and unprecedented in modern cinema. He is attempting to tell a complete story over the span of six different movies. Even when we can see how the film isn't coming together the way it should, we can't help but plug into the narrative development itself. Because we know how it will all end up, we want to see how the missing pieces of the puzzle will fall in to place to give us the complete, total picture. So even if each individual installment doesn't exactly carry us away, there's enough interest in the vision itself to keep us coming back for more.
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