Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones
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62 out of 111 people found the following review useful:

not up to par but worth seeing

Author: Roland E. Zwick (magneteach@aol.com) from United States
12 June 2002

*** 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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73 out of 133 people found the following review useful:

Mostly entertaining

7/10
Author: tomimt from Finland
22 February 2005

If you listen to some fans of the original Star Wars trilogy, the new one is crap. This is, I've found out, true only with the Phantom Menace, which was very poorly directed and edited piece of film.

Attack of the Clones in the other hand is in comparison a superior achievement from PM. But it does contain couple of unnecessary segments, which drag the speed of the film down. And some of the acting is, even in the standard of the Star Wars, pretty horrible. But happily all those under achievers are not in any important roles and seasoned actors like Christopher Lee (Count Dooku) do deliver what you expect of them. others deserving nomination here are Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu and Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine.

So, the plot. Obi Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), and Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) are told to watch over senator Padame (Natalie Portman) because of assassination attempts towards her life. This soon leads in Obi in discovery of secretly manufactured clone army. Who is behind all this? Will Padame and Anakin fall in love? When does Anakin fall in to the dark side? Will he become a Jedi before all this? Some of these questions are partly answered in AOTC, but some are left waiting for the third installment of the new trilogy.

But as said, this is much better film than Phantom Menace. It's not best film in the Star Wars saga, but in my opinion it does deliver. It's mostly fun to watch, action sequences are good, special effects are even better and despise some bad acting and some pretty horrible dialogs, it wasn't pain in the back side to watch.

So, my advise: don't listen to roaring Star Wars fans who claim this movie to be one of the worst things ever and don't listen to those, who claim this one to be best thing since sliced bread.

Attack of the Clones is above average, but not the greatest thing ever either.

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27 out of 43 people found the following review useful:

A plotless simple glimpse of some unimportant point in time

1/10
Author: Dan
6 December 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Am I mistaken or was Hayden Christensen just playing the same character fomr Life as a House? A rebellious son, independent and who doesn't need the help of anyone?

The film had no blatant plot. It appeared they rolled the dice and by chance this year of Star Wars history faced up. So they just cut at on end then the other coming up with a film that more a glimpse than anything with a story. It felt like a day in the life of type story. Just arrive film and leave. No reason or event to be there.

This then presents some issues. Episode III must be very long or the opening very long because we have only one film left for Anakin to change and become evil, reach high power, and appear as Darth Vader. Also he must marry the Queen have 2 kids and what were they thinking making Episode 3 so void of anything except (SPOILER) Jengos death.

A few action sequences that got the ticker pumpin' but yoda with a sabre was more funny than exciting. The corny: dialogue, avenge my mamma, romance and all other plot points ruined the film, embarrased the series. I am glad I am not a fan of the series its bad enough Im a religious follower of the Bond Tradition when something like DAD opens.

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46 out of 82 people found the following review useful:

Stunningly tedious

1/10
Author: Sam-280 from UK
29 May 2002

Easily the most tedious film of the year and of the series and of the genre. You'd find better action sequences on a cheap games console and better acting in a primary school production of the wizard of oz. And the blame lies squarely on Lucas' shoulders. This kind of dialogue would get you kicked out of film school. Dribbled with strained references to the original series and delivered with the verve of a George W. Bush speech on international trade agreements. The only people who come out relatively unscathed are the traditionally camped-up hammer-horror-style bad guys and Ewan McGregor's continuing pastiche of Alec Guinness. The "romantic" leads are like being forced to watch the world's least interesting high-school sweethearts pretending to have a squabble. Wait until it appears on DVD then at least you can edit it down to a three minute Natalie Portman fashion shoot and fifty seconds of yoda break-dancing.

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48 out of 86 people found the following review useful:

Terrible script & poor editing make this a poor clone

Author: xteve from Chicago, IL
26 November 2002

I just watched this on DVD last night, having seen it in the theatre. I was very disappointed when I watched the scenes that had been cut, as they fleshed out the story a lot more than the final cut. You learned more about the wasp creatures near the end of the film and why Dooku enlisted their help. Padme's character was a lot more established as well in visits to her parents house and in a confrontation with Dooku.

Many people have commented on the wooden acting of the two leads, which I somewhat agree with, but Christensen is not that bad an actor, and neither is Portman.

The problem with both this film and Phantom Menace is Lucas' dialogue. He writes lines which no actor, even in a fantasy movie, can say without sounding like they're reading them off of cue cards. This can be excused when the line is SF technobabble, but when it's supposed to be intimate romance it comes off as clumsy, forced, and utterly unbelievable. Considering that we KNOW the ultimate fate of each of these characters, these make scenes where they are put in peril uninteresting, since you already know they'll survive. Lucas really blew the chance at creating highly developed, memorable characters in my opinion.

In addition, both this and Phantom Menace sorely miss a solid supporting cast to the two cardboard character leads. Where is the Han Solo/Chewbacca/Lando of these movies? Watching the original trilogy, the chemistry between Han and Chewie gives the movies a much broader appeal than the soap opera Skywalker saga. Imagine the original trilogy with only Luke and Leia as the two main characters -- it'd be far less interesting!!!

Ewan McGregor is given a lot more to do in this film as Obi-Wan, and he acquits himself very well, although I think the scenes on the clone world would have been much better if he had been accompanied by Mace Windu. We almost always see Jedis travel in pairs, until Kenobi's solo visit. Christopher Lee does well in the limited screen time he's given. Samuel L. Jackson gives a one note performance as Mace Windu ... we're never convinced that he's as powerful a warrior as he's said to be. And when a CGI Yoda is the most expressive character in the film, you know something's just not right.

Lucas has really painted himself into a corner to deliver the goods in Episode III. In my opinion, to tie up all the loose ends he's created between Phantom Menace and this film, Episode III might have to be 4 hours long.

In summary, this is a decent film for fans of the Star Wars saga, and certainly better than Phantom Menace, but it still doesn't break much new ground. Compared to the colorful entertaining space opera of the first trilogy it's rather dull and predictable. Hopefully Episode III will give Star Wars fans a movie that can be held up to the high standards of the originals.

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66 out of 122 people found the following review useful:

Better than I expected

10/10
Author: beccaj_ilh from London, England
17 November 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Before seeing Attack of the clones I had seen neither the original star wars nor episode I and I didn't have any particularly strong ambitions to see them, I am a big cult fan but star wars just never really appealed to me.

I happened to come across the episode II DVD going cheap while browsing in my local library and thought I might as well buy it. And to my slight amazement, I really loved it. Many fans complain that the new ones are nothing compared with the originals, having never seen the originals to compare it with I thought it was brilliant. The action, the adventure, the love story, the lightsabres, C-3PO. The chase through the city near the beginning was fast and furious and had great special effects, as did the scene when Obi-Wan first sees the clones. The arena scene is a particular favourite of mine as it flows so well passing from one piece of action to another with such ease. The fights were amazing (particularly Obi-Wan's and Jango's) and very well choreographed. The film made me laugh (which is something I almost always look for) just little lines like 'I retransmitted it to Coruscant, just as you'd requested, Master. Then we decided to come and rescue you.' [Obi-Wan looks at his handcuffed hands] 'Good job'. The whole thoroughness of it all just made me wonder about the sheer immensity of George Lucas's imagination and it made me realize why all those boys in my class used to make lightsabre noises.

I admit that some of the Anakin/Padme dialogue was sickly sweet but being a typical teenage girl when it comes to love, I'm fine with that. Also overall the acting was slightly wooden but I admit that this did suit the Jedi style characters. Overall, it was my ideal film, action, adventure, romance, comedy and some nice epic not too drawn out battles. If this is bad compared to the originals, then I really should get round to seeing those originals.

9/10

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17 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Sad Sign of the Times

Author: charlie_bucket from 78º44`W, 42º46`N
14 May 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I always forgave George Lucas for the relative horror that was 'Return of the Jedi', because it did have some elements of greatness alongside some of the worst decisions about the franchise ever. I won't go into detail here. The new films I cannot forgive however, because they show so clearly what is wrong with the action-film industry today: artifice, shallowness, and the unfortunate demographic and marketing discovery that the dumber you make something nowadays, the more money there is to be made from it. (PT Barnum realized this a long time ago, of course, but even he didn't dumb things down *this* much)

George Lucas, if you read these reviews, please pay attention (semi-spoilers):

1. (also a fault of Episode 1) - did they go to Mitsubishi or something for the designs of the spacecraft and various machinery for these new films? One thing about episodes 4-6: *almost* everything follows combinations of the fundamental shapes - the triangle, the rectangle and the circle. This general emphasis on angularity looked great, and really signified the basic look of things in the Star Wars universe, while still managing to look sleek. Now, however, we see things that are more often based on the teardrop or beetle shape, and other flowing, unusually curved designs that are so significant to today's automotive design. And all of this technological finesse is supposed to presage the designs of the original trilogy. In our own history, we see varying degrees of aerodynamic shaping in cars and airplanes, chronologically going from box-like to curved. Lucas should have made note of this and followed suit. As is, the curvy fighter ship designs look more aerodynamic than the "later" design of the x-wing, as an example. And yes, I *did* notice the Boeing-like transport plane in the beginning of the film. It still doesn't qualify, not even with the artificial propeller sounds, and it doesn't look like a "star wars" design at all. None of it does.

2. On that note, the über-busy CGI that densely dominates every scene of the film is distracting and unnecessary. It is impressive that the ILM computers can render so much at once, but it doesn't mean that they should. Craft dictates that the denseness of a Mahler symphony gives way to the appropriateness of a Beethoven one. I don't want to bring out the modern proverb that "less is more" really, because I don't really believe it is true of all things. But! Some discretion, some restraint please.

3. Why pander so obviously to earth-inspired architecture? We see typical Roman columns and vaulted ceilings in one scene, a horrible 1950's diner in the next (Edward Hopper would be rolling in his grave), and finally, a nod to the Gladiatorial arena in the finale. Even with his limited budget in the original "Star Wars", Lucas managed to create environments that looked unlike anything on earth. One might recall the cantina and say, "Ha! That's unquestionably a bar!" The point is, it's a 'star wars' bar, and it fit the look of Mos-Eisely very well. Whereas that new diner looked just like any diner anywhere on earth, right down to the salt and pepper shakers. One thing: it's ok to borrow from earth sources to make the architecture look unusual, just make sure that the sources themselves have nothing to do with architecture! The oval patterns all over the interior walls of the Death Star were plainly based on the cooling holes of a WWI-era Spandau machine gun, for example. When shifted over to architecture, this earth-based design became one of the most recognizable "Star Wars" patterns, and nobody batted an eyelash over it.

4. CGI characters vs. muppets/CGI spacecraft vs. models: I'm not going to elaborate here, but, some of the CGI characters look horrible, and should be shelved until they know how to make these sorts of things look even remotely organic - and it affects entirely the interaction of real characters and non-real... As for the spacecraft, I still prefer the look of the models over CGI designs. Again, even with non-organic forms, it just looks more realistic.

5. Yes, Natalie Portman is beautiful. "Hot" even...but, in the future, if you're going to give her Britney Spears fashions with no midriff to show off her lovely abdomen, please just do so - make it part of her costume to begin with. Don't have a 1000-toothed monster tear the cloth away - it looked ridiculous, and betrayed entirely what you were trying to do, but in an artificial and ridiculous way.

6. It's too late now, but...the casting for the human look of Darth Vader has been bad since Return of the Jedi. First, we see the Humpty Dumpty, living soft-boiled egg man when Luke takes Vader's mask off in RotJ; next, we're treated to a typical American soccer kid in Ep. I, who looked like Nicholas from "Eight is Enough" and betrayed no super-intellect that we're told makes him special; and finally, we get the raver-era, n-synch-style whining weinie of "Clones". Two out of these three couldn't act at all - I'll leave you to guess who. How can any of these people live up to the physical stature of David Prowse (the man underneath the Vader suit) or the authority of James Earl Jones' voice? Who was in charge of casting here? What were they thinking?

7. It's not the fault of the actors really, but...the dialogue between Anakin and the princess/senator was *really* bad. It essentially boils down to Anakin hitting on Amidala every chance he gets until she relents - and he didn't even need to give her any alcohol! Then we're treated to interspersed lines of trite pseudo-poetry and cliche. WE're in the age of the anti-romantic, to be sure, but you can still do better than this. It was worse than bad. It made me wonder if the writer ever got any himself.

8. It's all been stated before, but...please never throw in the side-scroller video game cliche of characters having to dodge mashing machinery on an assembly line again.

9. Surrogate Senator Jar Jar. I don't even need to say anything else about this.

10. The concept of cute. In the original, untarnished Star Wars, the cuteness factor was relegated to jawas and the two lovable droid protagonists. This was fine, because you never knew what the jawas really looked like - they could have been hideous beasties underneath the cloaks - and the droids were relegated to an anthropomorphic, pompous, effeminate robot who happened to look very cool, and a little save-the-day useful robot who talked in chirps and moog synth sounds who also looked really cool. The mechanical nature of the droids made up for their cuteness factor, as did the efficacy in which C-3PO spoke and the non-speech of R2. Nowadays, well...stop it please. Kids aren't that stupid, and you don't need to Disney the franchise to death like you have since RotJ.

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45 out of 81 people found the following review useful:

Riight... What happened?

3/10
Author: ramshot from Helsinki, Finland
4 December 2002

I liked Ep I more than most, and had high hopes for this one. When I looked at imdb after the first few nights in theaters, read about Jar-Jar being almost totally gone and how much better this part was, I was really excited. I so wanted to like this movie.

But OUCH. Now first of all, the directing was utterly horrid. It was the worst part of Ep I as well, but Lucas really lost it here. The movie seemed to jump from scene to scene in the most illogical places, action scenes got interrupted, and just when you were getting into a better scene, you get hit with yet another boring "but I love you, but I am Jedi, oh no, boohoo"-scene. Excuse me, but since when has Star Wars been a soap opera instead of an adventure?

Furthermore, Haydensen was horrible, and even the old actors from Ep 1 seemed to have lost some of their interest. Most action scenes were either boring, badly directed or the effects really didn't look too good. I especially was opening my own wrists in the Arena shootout scene, looking at the princess just standing still and shooting around, without a hint of any kind of battle tactics or trying to take cover.

One scene, above all others, basically made me hurt, bad. The one with the princess and "Darth" on the meadow, riding a fat (bad CGI) blob, rolling around, laughing, jumping, kissing... God, me and my friends couldn't believe our eyes, how did that get into the film. Laughter was the only way to go.

Only in the very ending did the movie manage to create some of that good old star wars feeling, leaving some hope for a better Ep 3. I just wish lucas would give the directors seat to someone else...

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18 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

Attack of the Clones: Not as bad as people make it out to be

10/10
Author: Gelatart from United States
14 July 2010

I am a huge fan of Star Wars. I am also not the best critic, so I don't usually give things low ratings unless they really were bad. But I don't believe that Attack of the Clones was that terrible. Allow me to explain.

I loved the original series. I think those movies were great. The Characters were amazing! The movies were action-packed and dramatic, yet hilarious too, and the action and comic moments didn't interfere! The Models looked so real, if you told me when I first saw it when I was 6 that they were CGI, I would have believed you! Everyone did their best. Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Darth Vader, etc. They were all so great!

Now the new series is not nearly as good as the old series, but I believe that the prequel trilogy is SERIOUSLY underrated. They aren't as good as the old movies, but they are still amazing movies! It shows a new side of things. It brings something new to the plate. It shows how Anakin was able to turn from an innocent boy to the menacing Darth Vader. It showed how Palpatine set up the trap that destroyed the Republic and created the Empire. It dug deeper into what it meant to be a Jedi, and how we can be easily led astray if we let our guard down. It gives us 2 paths. The Path of Luke, and the Path of Anakin.

Now that I have done some explaining, it's time to do what I wrote this review for. To review Attack of the Clones. I do agree it did have many flaws. I do agree that there was a lot of CGI in this movie. However, I do not think it was just to advertise its special effects. If you want a movie that does just that, go see "2012" or "At World's End." This was one of the weaker movies, but it was still amazing.

If you look closely, you see a lot of parallelism in the trilogies. "Phantom Menace" and "A New Hope" both introduced to us the characters. A major character has a major loss (Obi- Wan/Luke). The main character destroys the ship that is causing all the trouble (Anakin/Luke). The main character comes from humble origins (Anakin/Luke). The same thing happened in "Revenge of the Sith" and "Return of the Jedi" (my 2 favorites of the series). Except there are some opposites. Anakin and Luke choose different paths. But they each fight someone close to them (Obi-Wan the mentor/Darth Vader the father). Palpatine has set his plan in order. But the results are different (Destruction of the Republic/Destruction of the Empire). In one we see great sadness (Padme's funeral and Creation of Darth Vader) and in the other we see great joy (Celebrations throughout the galaxy). We also see parallelism in "Attack of the Clones" and "Empire Strikes Back." We see the characters evolve from what they were in the first movie into what they will be in the third.

In "Attack of the Clones," we see many things. We see how Anakin struggles with the loss of his mother (Luke struggled for his friends who were in danger). We see how Palpatine sets up the plan that will slowly destroy the Republic. We see what started the Clone Wars, which Palpatine used to his advantage. We see the Jedi Order starting to crumble. It wasn't the best Star Wars, but it was still Star Wars.

People criticize its flaws. They say that Anakin acts like a selfish brat. That is exactly what a young Darth Vader would be like! Anakin's anger got the best of him, and consumed him. We see that he has always struggled between good and evil (just as Luke did, on the Second Death Star). They say that there was too many special effects. I feel like the special effects didn't detract from the story. It's not like they animated all those battle scenes for no reason. They needed to show the intensity of the fight. The plot was a little confusing at first, and I feel it could've been better, but it was still better than other major series installments (such as Kingdom of the Crystal Skull).

All in all, it wasn't as strong as the other Star Wars movies, but it was still Star Wars, and I thought it was amazing! 9/10, because it had some flaws.

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43 out of 79 people found the following review useful:

Great Big Steaming Pile of Dooku

1/10
Author: Todd of the Greater Mid-Atlantic Metropolitan Region
2 June 2002

Can you follow moving objects with your eyes? If that's all it takes to thrill you, then watching "Attack of the Clones" may well be the most titillating experience of your life! The barrage of mobile things on the screen just doesn't cease. There's even something here for the audio buffs...plenty of those signature rumbling ships, whizzing lasers, and humming lightsabers. Pair up those noises with the visuals, and you have a summer blockbuster!

George Lucas is back, all right...with the second worthless Star Wars movie in a row. I can't understand the ridiculously effusive praise that the majority of reviewers here seem to be heaping upon this stinker. I can only hope that most of the people who hated it felt no inclination to review it at all. I especially love the masterminds who proclaim, "If you don't like it, don't go see it." Yeah, thanks. So we're supposed to walk into the theater with a pre-formed positive opinion? Morons!

If I plunk down $10 for a widget that I soon discover doesn't work, am I not entitled to get a refund or at least a replacement? Of course! Warranties and the Better Business Bureau were created for precisely this purpose! Well, I paid money to see Episode II, and I was extremely disappointed. So why is it that I'm somehow not entitled to criticize Lucas?

George Lucas is just plain lazy...a lazy director and a lazy storyteller. And audiences are lazy for letting him off the hook so easily. Incidentally, Lucas himself deserves absolutely no credit for the "incredible" CGI. His studio paid other people to do that. You will probably never know their names. And I'm positive that Lucas is profiting far more from this venture than all of them combined.

Look, Lucas has countless millions at his disposal. He damn well should shoot for an Oscar-caliber film! Or maybe he's just too afraid of the challenge, so he rests on his laurels and hides behind the brand-name of this movie franchise. And when the critics come out of the woodwork, he can babble on about how it's "not supposed to be great filmmaking" or some other lame excuse. Lazy, lazy, lazy.

A few others here have panned the lifeless acting, glaring plot inconsistencies, and general lack of true Star Wars atmosphere more eloquently than I could, so feel free to comb through the effluvium of laudation below to find the few precious gems of honest criticism.

Never mind the absurd Yoda fight scene, which will only appeal to those who can't let well enough alone and who demand that every movie character be proficient in some martial art. Why, why, why must every big budget sci-fi or action movie nowadays give a nod to "The Matrix"? Can't Yoda just remain a gentle, wizened teacher?

The only thing I really liked about this movie was the Tusken Raider encampment. It wasn't overdone or garish, just very Star-Wars-ian. Of course, it was quickly ruined by Schmi's hilarious death scene. In reference to Anakin, a little boy sitting behind me in the theater said, without a trace of irony, "What's he so sad about?" From the mouths of babes!

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