******SPOILER LADEN REVIEW********SPOILER LADEN REVIEW********
First I must say that I am a longstanding fan of the Star Wars franchise, so it may be said that I see Attack Of The Clones through rose tinted glasses. That out of the way let it also be said that I consider the latest installment not just the best in the series but my all-time favorite film. After the prolog there was some serious concern due to a line of extremely poor acting by Capt. Typho. I was thinking here we go again, having my initial reaction to The Phantom Menace play through my mind. Nearly instantly my fears vanished, I don't know what happened (and I've seen this film 7x) but I was sucked in. My worries about the acting were alleviated (even from the aforementioned Typo) I believe that overall AOTC has the finest casting and acting seen in the space saga. Ewan McGregor is the series finest (with all due respect to Guinness, Oz, and Ford) he in the end out Obi-Waned Sir Alec. Every expression, look, and word was and will be for me quintessential Obi-Wan Kenobi. Hayden Christensen has been slammed for his performance as Anakin Skywalker the criticism is really unfair. I can tell he spent time studying Prowse's body language from the classic trilogy, and makes a wonderful connection to his characters destiny without a word. Hayden did a fine job of making me feel his pain and confusion, Anakin is a young man who though he can sense his unlimited potential, does not have the patience to grow up nor can he master his passions. Like most of us who have been 19 or 20 young Skywalker is not sure how and where he fits, and Hayden emotes this perfectly. It would be a mistake for this part to be recast Christensen was surprisingly good and his performance very much in context. The least impressive performance of the central characters is Natalie Portman's Amidalla, she was solid but too distant, and I think this was intentional but over done. That said it would require a topnotch performance in what would be a critically thankless role to pull off the restrained passion that I wanted from her. Supporting cast can only be beaten by the memorable performances from the first two Godfather movies. This is a huge statement I know, but in the context of the film every person regardless of lines or actual existence becomes their character no one is out of place. Also that the supporting cast serves to move the story well beyond what is normally expected. The CGI characters are lifelike and rich; Dexter is amusing and gives a sense of a well developed personality with only a brief appearance and few lines. Yoda is as real if not more so than any character in the film, Lucas wisely teams him with actors with presence, even so the Jedi Master is capable of stealing the show much as he did in Empire Strikes Back. The multilayered story is the star of Star Wars and EpII is no exception. While the themes are borrowed from the past Lucas' talent for weaving them together is unparalleled. Attack of the Clones shows the hated Sith's greatest skill is political chess. Palapatine and Dooku are very cleverly maneuvering all sides to their destruction, creating a vacuum of trust, resources, and power. The Kenobi detective scenes are among my favorites in the entire series, and provide and foreshadow much that will happen in the future. Some will say that these are the dull bits of the picture, but I found this to be the imaginative primer for the saga. Questions and answers concurrently popping in my head almost to the point of distraction. Another highly criticized aspect of the movie was the love story; overall I found this to be both palatable and believable. Much of the dialog connected to these shots is well corny, but contextual as these are two different individuals who are inexperienced in matters of the heart and in dealing with people on equal terms. The kids are anxious, uncomfortable, and divided, I think it natural that their conversations would be a little forced, just to get the words out at all. As far as Anakin's slip to the Dark Side the job Christensen does makes it poignant and real. The script while adequate to move the events could be improved and is the singular reasonable complaint on the film, if only another team up with Lawrence Kasdan (ESB, Raiders) were possible it may have polished the rough edges, even so I hold that this was the second best of the saga. Empire Strikes Back is stronger because of Yoda's moving lines and Han Solo's witty sarcasm. Yes, Yoda has the best lines in ANY Star Wars movie. Some may take offence that a non person could have the best material but I laugh at such, this is fantasy and Yoda is no less valid or real than Solo or Vader.
Attack of the Clones is the best paced film I have seen, every scene ends something like the exact moment it may go to long. The visual presentation is both breathtaking and grand no doubt the most beautiful ever shown. People say this is to be expected but they deceive themselves NO ONE has EVER used the screen as a canvas like Lucas does in this movie. George skillfully goes to the limit of the medium. Make no mistake a picture can match or exceed a written work, and sometimes says more. Mr. Lucas will take many a hard knock for bringing this style to the screen but he certainly has both my respect and admiration.
Certainly if nothing else the most entertaining film I have seen. For me that's what the medium is about, if this breaks down no script, direction, or performance can save it.
5/5 and then some. I plan to view AOTC hundreds of times.
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