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My comment about THE PHANTOM MENACE began thus: "This movie is so unbelievably bad, it is almost unwatchable." Upon returning from the theatre on opening day of this execrable fiasco, my friend asked me what I thought of it. I answered, "Remember when I said The Phantom Menace was the worst movie of all time? Well, we have a new champion." Lucas seems bent on redefining the movie-going experience as neither entertaining, thoughtful, uplifting nor fun. I have seen both of the first two "new" Star Wars movies, and could not tell you right now what the two sides are, or what they are fighting about. He has turned the battle for good and evil into a CGI version of a 3-hour John Kerry lecture about "nuance." This leads to the worst sin a movie (which is entertainment, after all) can commit - it is BORING. Where is the genius that brought us American Graffiti and the original STAR WARS trilogy? Gone, most likely gone forever. He will be missed.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Unfortunately, I had ruined this movie for myself long before seeing it.
Bored one summer, I started looking up a lot of "spoiler" information.
I was worried that regardless of how of the film was, I would not be very
impressed simply because it would be nothing surprising...
...but whoa, was I so unmistakably wrong! I have never been left speechless
by a film, ever. In fact, I figured that people saying that were simply
being dramatic. However, I was, in fact, speechless for about 20 minutes
after leaving the theatre. George Lucas has truly outdone
Attack of the Clones is the most emotionally complex Star Wars film Lucas has made. Its tone is not simply good vs. evil, like episodes IV-VI. Instead, it is good people and a good government becoming evil. Of course, this is embodied by the central figure in these films, Anakin Skywalker, played by Hayden Christensen, who, though somewhat awkward at times, gives an overall good performance (he's brilliant in Anakin's break-down scene). Natalie Portman returns with a solid performance, and the love story between Anakin and Padme is, for the most part, charming. The dialogue becomes a bit too much in one scene, but hey who's the more foolish: the screenwriter, or the person who goes to a Star Wars film expecting anything less than corny dialogue? Ewan McGregor, delivering the best performance in the film, is superb as Obi-Wan Kenobi! He is the consummate Jedi, the serious, straight-arrow center of the film. However, what makes the performance so excellent is the manner in which, through this stern exterior, he can be so perfectly comical. Most of the laughs in the film come from his witty one-liners.
This film sports a strong supporting cast. The two Sith lords, Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) and Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) provide much of the film's intrigue. These two are the puppet masters behind all the events of the film, with Palpatine serving as the supreme mastermind, as he did in Phantom Menace. However, the interesting nuance in Clones is that we see these two Sith lords attempting to betray each other! If any film demonstrates that being on the Dark Side is an uncomfortable position, it is this one. In Palpatine's scene with Anakin, and Obi-Wan's scene with Dooku, we see each of them attempting to find a new ally, each hoping that, though in league with the other at the time, he will eventually overthrow him. It is this brand of intrigue that makes this film, and the prequel trilogy in general, a richer, more fascinating story line.
Yoda (Frank Oz) and Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson) lead the Jedi entourage. They emerge as the generals in the film, the heroes who save the day. Jackson lends his usual "coolness" to Windu, making his action scenes all the more enjoyable. But Yoda is the real showstopper. We've loved Yoda since Empire Strikes Back, but in this film, he's in his prime. He is stern yet funny, as lovable as ever. He steals the show, though, as Yoda the action hero. His light saber battle, the film's climax, will have you cheering, a brilliant achievement of which Industrial Light & Magic should be proud.
Another notable aspect of this film is that Lucas seems to have become much more creative as a director. His visuals in this film, especially the rain planet Kamino, are beautiful as always, but it's his camera-work that is noticeable different in this film. As Steven Spielberg noted, Lucas does his best directing in this one. He captures the proper emotions of each scene, each close-up occurring at just the right time. Most interesting, though, is Lucas's "artsy" camera-work, which shines a bit in this film. There's an interesting scene in which he plays with the shadows of Anakin and Padme on Tatooine. Another scene between the two, a romantic shot of them silhouetted while moving into a sun-drenched arena to which the camera pans, is fairly breathtaking (thanks in part as well to the swell in John Williams's love theme). My favorite of these scenes, though, is the light saber battle between Anakin and Dooku. It's unlike any light saber battle ever seen in a Star Wars film. The two characters appear to be blending into one another, their faces illuminated by only by their light saber blades, the blue and red flashing across each of their faces. Perhaps this is George's way of linking these two characters, the Jedi fallen to the Dark Side (Dooku) and the one who will soon take his place (Anakin). Brilliant moment, brilliant.
Thus, my hat's off to Lucas and company for this film. I love the others, all of them, but this one truly stands out. It is massive, emotionally and visually, and altogether satisfying.
While a very accomplished film technically, the film suffers from some
inconsistent performances from the lead actors leading to a lack of
audience involvement with the characters.
The story is set ten years after the events in Episode 1, and this affords Lucas the opportunity to make some changes to the characters. Anakin is now 19-20 years old, and he is now a 'rebelling against authority' type character. While in itself not a problem, the decision , for relative newcomer Hayden Christensen to play him as bratty is wrong and leads to the character coming across as unsympathetic , bland, and annoying. Also it seems that Christensen cannot seem to get a clear view of the character's trajectory within the story. As a result, his performance is uneven. In some scenes he is fine (primarily on the scenes set on Tatooine), but his performance seems unsubtle and broad,particularly when in more intimate romantic scenes with Natalie Portman. The decision for the Padme character to play a senator is a much better one, and in that regard Portman's performance is much better this timearound and draws an appropriate parallel with Carrie Fisher from the original trilogy. She comes off the much stronger of the two performances when up against Christensen. Unfortunately she is saddled with having to act in a very formal and constrained way, with overtly theatrical and clichéd dialogue that is similar to that of films from the 1930s and 1940s, though in some scenes Portman is clearly trying to bring a more natural take to her character. The decision to move away from the naturalistic acting style on the original trilogy was, in my view a major mistake and alienates an older audience from getting emotionally and viscerally involved in the film. Ewan McGregor's performance this time is less constrained than Episode I, and his character is more central to the story. While not as charismatic as Neeson's performance in Episode 1 it is nevertheless solid. Samuel Jackson has fun effectively playing Jedi Master Samuel Jackson, in a more important and involving role. Temuera Morrison is actually pretty good in a small part as bounty hunter Jango Fett. However, the most impressive human performances are of in two supporting roles, with veteran actor Christopher Lee as Count Dooku, and Australian actor Jack Thompson as Cliegg Lars.
It is a relief that Jar Jar Binks character is very much in the background, albeit some of his bungling antics seem to have been transferred to C3P0. Like episode 1, the best performances are digital characters. Andy Secombe is great as Watto again, albeit in a smaller role. However the best performance overall, is Frank Oz , in collaboration with Rob Coleman's ILM animation team in recreating Yoda, now as an entirely digital character. The character is well embedded in the story. His anxiety of what is happening to the galaxy around him is conveyed well, as is the character's growing frustration with not being able to accurate assess who or what is behind the collapsing of the republic. His character's insight in the heat of battle makes him part of the films exciting climax, and a confrontation with Count Dooku, while thrilling, is far too brief. If there is a flaw, is that Yoda looks a bit cartoony at the beginning of the film, though his character seems to become more photo-realistic as the story goes along.
In fact, while the visual effects are generally excellent, lead by Rob Coleman, Pablo Helman, John Knoll and Ben Snow, there are nevertheless some problems. The digital work in some scenes in my view, goes too far, with sets and whole environments created in the computer when a better balance of live action, models, well designed sets and real locations work best. Not surprisingly, some of the Naboo scenes in this film work better because of the balance between real locations (shot in Australia & Italy) and, as per Episode 1, the segment of the film set on Tatooine (shot in Tunisia), while shorter this time around feels more involving because the high quality visual fx, meshing with real locations feels stronger. Interestingly, this part of the story is well written and underpinned by the excellent supporting performances already mentioned, as well as being Christensen's strongest part of the film. Geonosis while impressive in parts, does feel too much like an animation in places. The feeling is that the film was being used more as a testing of new technology, with filming shot on digital cameras, and Lucas wanting to push the visual effects as far as they can go, rather than trying to optimise the visual effects as part of the overall storytelling experience.
As in keeping with the Star Wars films, sound design and effects are excellent, led by veteran Lucas collaborator Ben Burtt. Burtt also served as film editor, working with Lucas. While some of the action sequences are well edited, most of the dialogue sequences, and some other action sequences feel pedestrian and uninvolving and the pace of the film in these sequences, sadly and unexpectedly for a Star Wars film really drags.
Production design by Gavin Bouquet is excellent, even if the actual building of the sets is in a computer. As usual John Williams score is first rate, but this time is unable to fully distract or carry you through the slower and uninvolving sequences of the film. Overall, apart from some excellent individual sequences, such as Tatooine and a series of action sequences towards the end of the film, the film makes viewer feel distant and uninvolved in the proceedings, despite some clever plotting.
Clearly the least impressive of the six films.
Wow, I went into this movie thinking it would be okay but I was sorely mistaken. This movie was incredibly boring, oh my gosh. About an hour into and I really really wanted to leave, or at least fall asleep. I thought all the other movies were just fine but this was just bad. Even the scene between Yoda and the bad guy was just dumb. I also think they shouldn't have had the love thing going on 'cuz that just seemed like it took away from the movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The second prequel to the original Star Wars trilogy takes place ten
years after the events depicted in Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom
Menace.Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones is an epic space
opera film directed by George Lucas and written by Lucas and Jonathan
Hales. It is the fifth film to be released in the Star Wars saga and
the second in terms of the series' internal chronology.
Now 20, young Anakin Skywalker is an apprentice to respected Jedi knight Obi-Wan Kenobi. Unusually powerful in the Force, Anakin is also impatient, arrogant, and headstrong -- causing his mentor a great deal of concern. The pair are ordered to protect Padme Amidala, the former queen of the planet Naboo, now representing her world in the Galactic Senate. Someone is trying to assassinate her on the eve of a vote enabling Supreme Chancellor Palpatine to build a military force that will safeguard against a growing separatist movement led by mysterious former Jedi Count Dooku. After another attempt on Padme's life, Obi-Wan and Anakin separate. The young Jedi and Padme fall in love as he escorts her first to the security of Naboo and then to his home world of Tatooine, where the fate of his mother leads him to commit an ominous atrocity. Meanwhile, Obi-Wan travels to the secretive planet Kamino and the asteroid-ringed world of Geonosis, following bounty hunter Jango Fett and his son, Boba, who are involved in an operation to create a massive army of clones. A vicious battle ensues between the clones and Jedi on one side and Dooku's droids on the other, but who is really pulling the strings in this galactic conflict?
Clones is far from perfect, but when it clicks, it revives the old spirit that made a generation become so obsessed with all things Star Wars in the first place.While it lacks the quality of Empire's script and performances, it is the most visually enthralling of the series so far.It is certainly better than the childish Phantom Menace and the magic has definitely been recaptured.The acting was good as Christensen is a winning mix of sultry and sulky as the now older Anakin, while McGregor is finally beginning to relax as the mentor who understandably refuses to treat his moody pupil like a grown-up.But they all end up being upstaged by the jaw-dropping skills of a CGI creation: Yoda. Lucas has never been able to conjure another Han Solo, a character who could, with simply a wink, remind us that this was just an overgrown Saturday afternoon serial and worse a sort of movie we once loved and then outgrew. Although the scale of it is thrilling,it's too bad the movie is so muddled on so many different levels.But nevertheless,it was an improvement over The Phantom Menace.
Unless you're a diehard Star Wars fan don't waste your time. The movie is nice to look at. But the acting is wooden and stale. And things just happen to characters that one really has no emotional attachment to. This may be mediocre as a Star Wars movie but as a regular movie its barely tolerable.
What was it that set Darth Vader off to join the dark side of the
force? This film suggests several possibilities: 1) The killing of his
mother by Tusken Raiders caused him to channel John Wayne in 'The
Searchers.' 2) Getting passed over during the N' Sync tryouts. 3)
Discovering the woman of his dreams, upon closer inspection, is a
carbonite mannequin. 4) Excess pressure on the back of his head from
the so-'90s rattail he wears. 5) The shock of learning his father was
evil guy Cole from "Bachelor Party."
Hayden Christensen reminds me a lot of the character Robert Prescott played in "Bachelor Party," and that's not a good thing. Prescott's supposed to be comically over-the-top in his smugness and arrogance. As I understand the story of "Attack Of The Clones," young Anakin Skywalker is not comic relief. He is challenged by forces within him he can't control, and a sense of outrage at the way things are. He doesn't like being an apprentice, and he doesn't understand why his love for Princess (oops, now Senator) Amidala is not returned. It's a tough part, not Hamlet, but requires a more nuanced delivery than Christensen seems able to provide. Instead he sort of throws up a series of Tiger Beat poses. He sneers. He smirks. He seethes. Petulance is not a trait that makes one like a character. Before this film was over, I felt like yelling "Hurry up and turn to the dark side so I can feel better about hating you!"
Christensen is just one actor, but he is required to carry "Attack of the Clones" in a way no actor has before in the "Star Wars" series. So it's impossible to look past him and say something akin to "Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?" Here Christensen is the play.
Getting another actor would have improved things a little, but not too much. The acting in "Attack of the Clones" is across-the-board abysmal. We lose the best in 'Phantom Menace,' Liam Neeson and (except for an embarrassingly clichéd death scene) Pernilla August. The remaining actors, Ewan MacGregor and especially Natalie Portman, slide into a state of near-catatonia. Portman's tight white lycra skinsuit means she's not only sexy but unencumbered by the ornate regalia that limited her projection in "Phantom Menace." So how come she's more wooden than ever? Obviously the direction was a problem. Lucas is legendarily weak at providing acting direction, but every one of the "Star Wars" films until this had at least serviceable performances. This was one of the worst-acted films I have seen, and I saw "Manos: Hands Of Fate."
The annoying trait Lucas has of connecting everything with everything else finally comes a cropper here, after threatening to do so in "Phantom Menace." The Imperial Stormtroopers, it turns out, are cloned knock-offs of the father of one Boba Fett, future bounty hunter supreme. Why him? And why is the guy moonlighting as an assassin and not telling his boss about his sideline activity? We discover Anakin's mother was sold to some moisture farmers on Tatoonie with a suspiciously familiar love of blue milk. So why does someone get the bright idea of stashing away Darth Vader's offspring with the Evil One's own stepbrother, on Darth's home planet? The problem was the first time Lucas threw a connection at us, in 'Empire Strikes Back,' it was undeniably cool, maybe the best thing in the series. Now he can't resist four or five more trips to the well with each new picture. Meanwhile, his galaxy is becoming more inbred than a kennel of pugs.
The story is more a series of set pieces than any in the saga, with no solid "through line" as screenwriters call it. Everyone runs off in different directions, and characters act with sudden bursts of motivation ascribed to strange feelings or catch-what-can. Christopher Lee's Count Dooku (or was that Duke Countoo) shows up as an interesting character that Lucas seems to want to make us wonder about, in a scene where he warns an imprisoned Obi-Wan about the influence of the Dark Side at the helm of the Republic and promises to help get him free. In that scene, he sounds like a renegade, even an ally. But then Dooku drops the charade and just sends Obi-Wan off to die. What was the point of having the scene in the first place? And also, if Dooku is a Jedi of such great skill, shouldn't he or someone in his great army have their sensors on when an armada of starships appears in the sky overhead?
I like some things in the movie. As video wallpaper, it's kind of neat. The Stormtrooper arrival is fun, and Yoda's light saber battle. But the 'Star Wars' fan in me was bitterly disappointed.
I'm sure Episode 3 will explain all these things away, and bring cohesion to Lucas' epic storyline. There's a better way for Lucas to have pulled that off: Stopping the series at "Empire Strikes Back." Am I the only one who wishes he did?
* Terrible * * Below Par * * * Not Bad * * * * Good * * * * *
Last year did not see many, if not any really good summer blockbuster movies. The usual clutch of commercial popcorn movies were hurled at us from those big wigs at Hollywood and one that stuck in my mind was this effort. Not because it was the best. Oh, no. Because it was undeniably in my opinion the biggest load of garbage since 'The Phantom Menace' three years previously.
Over the years George Lucas has released wave upon wave of movie as a producer that was not as big as the good yet over rated star wars movies(Apart from the Indiana Jones movies). The 1986 effort of Howard: A New breed of Hero was a huge turkey of a movie that flopped big time at the box office. The fantasy adventure movie he produced which Ron Howard directed, called 'Willow' with Val Kilmer was a better effort but also failed to bring in the audiences.
So why people went to see this drivel is any one's guess.Personally I believe they were hoping for an improvement. Don't get me wrong. I was one of them. Having seen both trailers for Episode II for free(I work in a cinema)I was quite hopeful from the look of them. Boy, was I wrong.
This segment in the Star Wars saga concerns the young Anakin Skywalker (Played here by new comer Hayden Christiensen). No longer the little boy we saw in Episode I: The Phantom menace, but a nineteen year old Padawan apprentice to now, Master Jedi Obi-Wan-Kenobi(Ewan MacGregor reprising the roll).
Ten years have passed since the battle of Naboo and the two Jedi are given the task by the Jedi high council of protecting Padme Amidala (Nathalie Portman), once ruler of Naboo she has now become a senator to her home world. Her life is being threatened by a separatist movement lead by the enigmatic Count Dooku,(Christopher Lee) a former Jedi Master who detests the ever growing corruption in the galactic senate and plans to put a stop to it by what ever means he sees fit.
The reason for the threat on Padme's life is the fact that she plans to put a vote in the senate that will enable the senate to build a grand army of the republic to combat against the seperatists. The Jedi's number are not strong enough to cope against the many that are out there. As Jedi Master Mace Windu states, 'We are keepers of the peace. Not soldiers.'
Of course as always things are not quite as they seem and the events of the movie will lead Anakin back to his home planet of Tataooine and the grim realisation of what has become of his mother. Not only that but we witness the first unsubtle steps he will take to joining the Darkside.
Sadly however, the promise that the movie had is compeletly lost in a badly written script with characters who are never well enough drawn out. Anakin who is so woodenly portrayed by Canadian new comer Hayden Christiensen does not come across as a idealistic young apprentice coping with the enormity incredible powers, so much as a spoiled brat who forever has a hissy fit when he doesn't get his own way. You constantly wonder why Obi-Wan as he states in the previous trilogy, loved him so much.
Ewan Macgregor does a slightly better job as Anakin's supposed friend and Master Obi-Wan Kenobi.Now no longer the rebellious apprentice he was in the Phantom Menace he is a wiser more medetive man. However Macgregor can't seem to fully convince as the younger Obi-Wan.He is unable to harness Alec Guinesse's mannerism's voice and the character is so different. Too different from the older man he becomes. Never the less Macgregor does apear to have fun in the roll.
Nathalie Portman like Christiensen is undeniably flat in her portrayal. She lacks the charisma to make Padme the fully memorable character that Princess Leia was in the earlier film's. But then that's probably down more to the writing of the script than her boring performance.
The rest of the supporting cast with the exception of maybe Christopher lee is absoleutly terrible. A normally reliable Samuel L. Jackson tries bravely to cope with the script but sadly fails while Ian Mcdiarmid as the future Emperor, Chancellor Palpatine fall short of expectations.
One of the few wise moves that Lucas makes his decreasing the screen time of one of the most unpopular characters from the first movie. That of Jar-Jar Binks. It's good to see that he at least listened to the fans when it came to this irritating character. Shame he couldn't erase him completly.
In surmising Episode II has very slight redeeming features but none to prevent it from being possibly just as bad as 'The Phantom Menace'. Lucas has tried telling a story in at two hours and twenty minutes is just not quite long enough and feels a bit rushed. If you do really want to see this film rent it out. But don't make the mistake of buying it. Robs Rating: *
I seriously cannot stand it when reviewers comment on how childish the
new trilogy is, the original trilogy was rated a 'U', as in 'viewable
for all'. They were never intended to be as gruesome as the 'Alien'
films or as dark and twisty as 'Terminator'. Star wars has always been
aimed at the younger audience, with a number of adults enjoying it too
because it's not so complicated.
Attack of the Clones is rated '12', and that does fit. The cast are actually relatively good actors, and i see no need to hate them so much. Hayden makes such a great portrayal of 'Anakin' as he himself can appear as quite dark and troubled, and so he fits the 'Darth Vader' thing perfectly well. The story isn't much of a wow factor in this film, but we're still presented with the epic fight scenes between opposing alien groups and the film is packed with dumb Droids that can be easily swiped down by a light saber. This film, along with the other criticised prequels, is getting too much hate. Some people are just forgetting that they are 'prequels' for a reason. They're not meant to be like the others. This film is somewhat a lot more dark and the CGI is actually quite good. Does it really matter that much that a lot of this film is animated? Look at what Avatar accomplished, the CGI in that film was incredible and it received a lot of both negative and positive reviews. Everything has it's downsides, so this film is really good! You should watch it, it's gripping, action packed, full of light sabers and jedis, everything a Star Wars film should be!
I also saw this Star Wars movie when it came out in theaters, and I
really liked it. Why did I like this? Because it is really great,
that's why. Before I really get into details, I am going to say that I
am going to give some good things and bad things about this movie.
Bad things: The major let down was Hayden Christensen's rather poor acting, and also, I thought that some of the dialogue was a little forced.
Good things: Apart from Hayden Christensen's poor action and the rather forced dialogue, this movie is great, it is filled with action, laughs, thrills, suspense, and adventure! If you really are a huge fan of Star Wars like I am, you should see this, but if you aren't, then don't see it.
Although I found a few things wrong with it, I was really into the film and I was filled with suspense and anticipation.
I also noticed that this movie won two Golden Raspberry Awards, Worst Supporting Actor and Worst Screenplay, it was also nominated for Worst Picture and Worst Director. I agree with Hayden Christensen winning Worst Supporting Actor, but I do not agree with the other win and the nominations it got, because I think that they were to harsh on it.
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