"Jedi Business. Go back to your drinks"
Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
Review by Ross Anthony

A drum roll over the Fox logo draws howls and claps from this eager crowd. This is no ordinary screening - professionals and guests alike -- we'll all go home bragging to our Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clonesfamily and friends that we've seen the new "Star Wars" movie nine days in advance of its release. Timpani snaps at the "Star Wars" logo of the last century, "A long time ago in a galaxy far far away..." and the ride begins.

Undoubtedly, lustrous polished visuals are the single most alluring element of the production. Rich in color and creativity and, of course, special effect; every shot is resplendid. From the arsenal of imaginative battle gear to the shimmering space vehicles to the gleaming interiors, immense care has been taken to make this picture look great. 100% digitally shot or created in the computer and (at our particular screening) digitally projected. Simply beautiful, despite the lack of film.

Anakin Skywalker (in character and player) clearly clinches a close second to visuals. Anakin (Hayden Christensen) has grown and takes the screen with confidence, strength, and yes, passion -- thank God. Cocky and restless like the Han Solo and Luke (respectively) of the original (Episode IV). Not just because he is young, but because he is good. This is his film. In fact, running alongside Padme (Queen/now Senator), you'll no doubt recall images of Luke and Leia scurrying hand in hand. This Anakin is clearly more interesting in Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clonesscript and stronger in realization than anyone else in the film (and in the last one for that matter). I like Ewan, but his contributions are dramatically less dramatic than Christensen's and Portman's. Jackson and Oz add little (though Yoda does seem to please the crowds). C3PO and R2 return as well as Jar Jar, but all are thankfully not allowed to abuse their screen time.

After all, it's a love story, a subtle coming of age story, and a rather murky tale of war in the stars. The strategies of that last bit, like star ships, may glide right over the heads of younger and even older audience members. Separatists, Federation, clones ... there's no one guy in a huge dark metallic suit and scary voice to point a finger at (or lightsaber). Just who is to be trusted and who not, isn't always terribly clear. No matter, the bad guys are usually the one's that Anakin and Kenobi and Padme are chasing or shooting Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones at. Nor are the plot progressions and strategies of the players without holes. But again, we accept them with the faith of 12-year-olds and forget our doubt in exchange for the thrilling action, gorgious imagery, and epic yarn that we can find in few other places.

Other highlights include: a car chase in three dimensions, a smashing asteroid belt scene that simply rocks, the fifties diner and Dex the mustached lizard's performance, a powerful score that takes care not to overuse its famous theme, and resounding audio/visual effects.

Lowlights include: less than logical/contrived choices made by our heroes, a very brief lull, corny Skywalker family scenes, a few dumb throw away one-liners "Obi's gonna kill me," C3PO's interesting predicament wants of fuller development, some isolated sticky acting.

And while the ending is no exploding Death Star, it's still strong, conclusive and prompts applause from this crowd of fans and film reviewers.

[Star Wars: The Phantom Menace] [Digital? What's that all about?]

Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones

  • Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones. Copyright © 2002.
  • Starring Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor, Christopher Lee, Samuel L. Jackson, Frank Oz, Ian McDiarmid. Directed by George Lucas.
  • Screenplay by George Lucas and Honathan Hales.
  • Story by George.
  • Produced by Rick McCallum at LucasFilm/20th Century Fox.

Grade..........................A- (strong)

Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones

Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: RossAnthony.com

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 07:54:20 PDT