Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones
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10 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

If only they could have cloned Episode V

3/10
Author: Bill Slocum (bill.slocum@gmail.com) from Greenwich, CT United States
13 December 2003

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?

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11 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Blah

Author: zepher_blue from Minnesota
11 November 2005

I consider myself a patient person, I can sit through a lot. This movie, however, was too much. I was at a friend's house and I had not yet seen Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. I was somewhat afraid because I love the original Star Wars movies, and I even enjoyed the third one (though it was not nearly as good as the originals). However, I hated Star Wars: Episode I. As I sat on the couch waiting for the movie to begin, I wondered if I would like it. Little did I know, I would have much rather been in Uganda doing manual labor than having to sit through that awful movie. Here are my reasons:

1) The dialog was terrible (I know George Lucas has never been known for great dialog...but this was just unfathomable)

2) Mr. Lucas tried to make the movie into some sort of drama (I'm speaking for Episodes I and III also) rather than sticking to the fun originals.

3) He tried to make the audience feel Anakin's "deep inner struggles" but it turned into a flop because the dialog was such as: "I...I...I just can't breathe without you." and "Where I come from it is so rocky, but here it's so soft and smooth."

4) George Lucas had an interesting idea of dwelling on how Anikan became Darth Vader, but he didn't have enough to go on so he tried filling the rest in with bits and scraps that made the movie look poorly put together.

After I watched the movie (barely being able sit through it at all) I went and did something productive like renting the "The Grapes of Wrath" which is actually good. I understand that if you're some sort of Star Wars fanatic you'll think me an idiot and you'll say this is the best movie that' s been made in the past 10 years. That's why I didn't aim this review at people like you because you're just stubborn mules with no taste and you take offense much too easily. I aimed this review at those of you who aren't Star Wars fanatics, because if you haven't already seen it...just skip it.

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12 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

When CGI goes berserk!

1/10
Author: hnt_dnl from United States
6 August 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Not even an argument as far as I'm concerned, STAR WARS, EPISODE TWO: ATTACK OF THE CLONES is the absolute WORST of all 6 STAR WARS films! And, given it's budget, some of the actors in it, and just the fact that it is part of the STAR WARS saga itself, perhaps a contender for one of the worst films of all time, at least worst big-budget films.....Wow! And I remember when this first came out that a significant number of fans thought THIS was better than PHANTOM MENANCE...Nope! Not even close, actually.

While MENACE has its share of sorry dialogue and characters (Jar Jar Binks!), it mostly benefited from mimicking the fast pacing of the original A NEW HOPE and has some exciting set pieces and moments (fast-paced opening, the pod race, climactic battle). The acting and dialogue in MENACE certainly wasn't spectacular, but it was way better than what we were served with in this clunker! But most importantly, the CGI effects of MENACE essentially did not detract from the film the way it does in CLONES.

CLONES begins with the former Naboo Queen, now Senator, Padme Amidala (played by Natalie Portman) being transported to the planet city Coruscant and and an assassination attempt occurs. Her stand-in is killed and so Senator Palpatine (Ian McDarmid) "suggests" a Jedi escort/bodyguard for her protection. Of course, the duty goes to teenage Jedi-in-training Anakin Skywalker (played by Hayden Christensen). Another attack occurs and so Anakin accompanies Padme to Naboo where the Senate and Jedi feel she will be safer. And thus, the Anakin-Padme romance begins! And that ain't good! A terribly realized, cringe-inducing set of interactions ensues and takes up a large portion of the film. I really don't blame the actors. The dialogue is atrocious. I don't think Meryl Streep and Robert DeNiro could have looked better in this!

Other stories include Anakin's Jedi Master Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) investigating the creation of a clone army on the faraway Kamino star system, and Jedi Masters/Council members Yoda and Mace Windu (Samuel Jackson) sensing a dark, ominous disturbance in the Force. All stories converge to a climactic battle on Geonosis, where the Jedi must battle a droid army led by Count Dooku (Christopher Lee), who is responsible for the attack on Padme's life.

The worst offense of CLONES is the CGI! This film is at present the worst example of CGI use in today's movies. It is completely overdone and really cheesy-looking in a lot of places. I mean, it dominates the film! Yoda is CGI! Not good. The original trilogy demonstrated that you have to have a story. EMPIRE STRIKES BACK had the best story, and A NEW HOPE had an footloose, tongue-in-cheek appeal that more than made up for its minimal plot and story. RETURN OF THE JEDI, actually the weakest of the original 3, by plain default, feels like a masterpiece to CLONES! At least the characters were established from HOPE and EMPIRE by the time of JEDI and we could forgive the rather juvenile nature with which they concluded the original trilogy. The characters in CLONES, however, had never really been established in the fast-paced MENACE. And CGI so dominates CLONES, with no character development whatsoever, yet the film has exposition and dialogue all over the place! And in the end, the climactic battle is deathly boring and confusing. A bunch of Jedi fighting a bunch of battle Droids with a moment that made me cringe more than the Anakin-Padme scenes: when that worm-headed Jedi used his powers to knock C3PO down so he didn't have to participate in the fight and then gave him that weird smile (really eerie!). Trust me, it's a goofy moment! Then Yoda and the Clone army swoops in. And we are "treated" to a terrible lightsaber duel where Obi-Wan and Anakin get their ass handed to them by a 100-year old Count Dooku! So CGI Yoda must save their young butts!

Essentially, the same way that MENACE tried to mimic HOPE, so does CLONES try to mimic EMPIRE: Jedi-in-training Anakin gets trumped by the more powerful former-Jedi-turned-Sith Lord Dooku the way that Jedi-in-training Luke got beat by more powerful Darth Vader and both Anakin and Luke lost one of their hands in the battle (Anakin even lost a whole arm!). Anakin and Padme joined at the end of CLONES (with a noticeably pregnant Padme) the way their offspring Luke and Leia stood together at the end of EMPIRE. Also Anakin and Padme's budding romance in CLONES doubling for Han and Leia's romance in EMPIRE. Obi-Wan off by himself investigating Kamino the way Luke went off by himself to discover Yoda in the Dagobah system in EMPIRE. And of course, the ominous, open ending where we know a sequel is to come! Difference? We looked forward to the EMPIRE sequel wanting more, but with CLONES, we wished the entire movie experience could be taken back! Do-over, please!

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14 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

well, it's a bit better than "The Phantom Menace", but that isn't saying a whole lot

6/10
Author: TheUnknown837-1 from United States
12 February 2010

"Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace" was one of the most colossally disappointing films I've ever seen in my life. Now comes the second installment in George Lucas's prequel trilogy to the epic narrative that broke box office records and set standards for generations to come. The second movie detailing the past of Darth Vader, "Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones" is a little bit better, but that's not quite enough to make it a recommendable movie. It's close, but not quite. If it only they had thrown out Jar-Jar Binks (yes, I still cringe every time I think of that bumbling, frog-like freak), patched up some mediocre dialogue, reworked this sappy love story, and captured a better sense of the magic that we require for a Star Wars movie, it would have worked.

In this one, Anakin Skywalker is grown up to a young Jedi and played by Hayden Christianson. Since Qui-Gon's dead, he is being taught by Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor). While Obi-Wan's out fighting evil, Anakin begins a forbidden romance with Padme (Natalie Portman) and of course, well, trouble begins and lasers are blasting and...yeah....

Now, I have nothing against a love story. Some of my all-time favorite movies are love stories. But I require two things: a good story and a conviction that the lovers are in deed, in love. I got neither of those from this. The 'romance' between Christianson and Portman is very shallow with utterly ridiculous and hammy dialogue such as "to me, you will always be that little boy on Tatooine." Thus, in the end, this subplot is boring, tiresome, and sappy. Not a good combination and not what we want to see in any element of a Star Wars movie. I thought Jack Lloyd was not a very good young Anakin Skywalker in "The Phantom Menace" and Hayden Christianson is awkward and wasted here in a miscast role. Again, with this, we need to have that daunting feeling that Anakin, young, innocent, and loyal to the Jedi will one day betray them and become a cold-blooded killer. We don't get that feeling. Because the original narrative and this new one don't seem to be related beyond plot. The original trilogy was artistic, imaginative, and realized good characters and stories. This new one is just like a hokey video game.

Unfortunately, the screenplay entire is crippled by bad dialogue and unnecessary characters. However, I am not going to trash on this movie too much, because I must admit, it was very close for me. There was more of an adventurous sense to the picture, which was absent in "The Phantom Menace", and I really enjoyed some parts including a scene where Anakin, Padme, and Obi-Wan have to fight with three alien monsters in a ring very much like the gladiatorial fights of Ancient Rome. And thankfully, Jar-Jar Binks has a much smaller part in this picture. That's always a relief. Overall, it's not too bad of a picture. It's tolerable, but it doesn't quite deserve to bear the words Star Wars in its title. Thankfully, by the third prequel, "Revenge of the Sith", things would improve.

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15 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

"Lost a Movie George Lucas has, how embarrassing!!!"

Author: (jimmykoy@hotmail.com) from NJ
13 March 2003

Existing among Star Wars non-apologists are subdivisions who realized at different moments that this film was beyond repair. For some, it was immediately, upon witnessing Padme Amidala's courageous bout with danger and learning that female planetary monarchs are subject to term limits! Another faction of viewers might take issue with Anakin Skywalker's evolution from a bratty little eight-year-old to a whining, spoiled teenager (as I'm sure Lucas intended all along). Nevertheless, few can contradict that the clear point of no return was Yoda, now reduced to a CGI. Decently portrayed in The Empire Strikes Back as a wise teacher, the little green guy here is everything and everywhere at once. First he presides over the Jedi Council (ok, I think the whole council thing has been played out about a thousand times over in science fiction). Next we see him teaching Jedi nursery school, going so far as having his pupils greet Ewan MacGregor with "Helll ohhhh Mass Terrrr Obeeeeee Wannnnn" as pronounced in younglingspeak. Later on, he appears as a George Patton-like General in the heat of battle, uttering what will surely be the century's most ridiculous line: "Around the survivors a perimeter create!!!" erasing any remaining doubt of Lucas's incompetence in writing dialogue. After such horrible silliness, the average cinema patron is not even phased by the so-called Jedi Master's swordfight, which is so fast that it looks like Kermit the Frog working late in a meth lab without a mask.

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20 out of 38 people found the following review useful:

Note to George Lucas: Hire some actors.

1/10
Author: mikemandel from Toronto
14 June 2002

Painful to watch. A truly dreadful film. A drillion dollars in special effects cannot compensate for two-dimensional, wooden characters and stilted dialogue. Whenever Keanu Reeves finally dies, Hayden Christenson will be the worst actor in the universe. Samuel L. Jackson repeated the role he's used to great success in every film he's ever been in; he takes himself far too seriously. And why haven't these brilliant Jedi Knights ever figured out that if they just put wrist-straps on their light sabers they won't drop them just out of reach every 15 seconds? Yes, the fight scenes and graphics were outstanding. Unfortunately, that's not enough to make a great film. Sorry George, but Elian Gonzales could have done a better job. The money would have been better spent renting the space shuttle and launching Hayden Christenson to a distant galaxy.

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23 out of 44 people found the following review useful:

Special Effects Ahoy

5/10
Author: Sam Lowry (amazon@bigar.co.uk) from United Kingdom
15 November 2003

Well, the very disappointing Episode I really got me off wanting to see more new Star Wars, but as I had some free time I watched it on television when it was on.

This movie does not show any promise in the beginning, and after the ridiculous chase sequence I already gave up hope. The things that happen in this chase are totally preposterous: after the 'shortcut' Anakin jumps out of his craft and drops a mile and still ends up to catch the one they chased; moments later he loses his lightsaber. But no fear, Obi Wan incredibly has caught up to them and can catch the saber with two fingers. OK, the force is great, but this is stretching it a bit, isn't it?.

The movie then splits in two stories (as Empire did): One follows Anakin and Amidala and as the two young ones just need to fall in love, no one bothered to write any interesting dialogue. Anakin turns into a sissy for a while and whines a lot as Amidala wants to stretch the running time of the movie and holds of falling in love proper. Anakin then wants to prove he's not a sissy and decides to go off and rescue his mother, never forgetting that he needs to fall in love by the end of the movie. To makes sure this happens Amidala just tags along not doing anything really.

The other story then: Obi Wan leaves the two kids and promptly goes off visiting a lot of special effects. After walking around in corridors for about ten minutes, talking to a few CGI characters, he decides to fall of a roof and then chases Fett Senior and Junior around some more special effects. In the planet he's lead to he then discovers Christopher Lee, also talking to CGI characters. He then gets caught by some more special effects and needs to be rescued

Meanwhile Anakin is getting quite desperate and decides to take Amidala and go and rescue Obi Wan from all the special effects. After being captured and being reunited with Obi Wan, they decide to all fight the same special effects for once. After a while they temporarily turn into CGI characters themselves.

Finally, The Jedi and a huge army show up and save the day long enough to warrant a sequel.

Oh yes, almost forgot to mention: Anakin an Amadila get married at the end of this part. So do R2 and 3PO in he same ceremony, that explains why they argue so much in the original trilogy.

Well, now you know what happens, so you don't have to watch it. You can thank me later.

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57 out of 112 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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77 out of 152 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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126 out of 250 people found the following review useful:

All in a piece of fruit.

1/10
Author: Caustic Pulp from Antioch, CA
31 May 2002

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.

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