10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2004
A film by George Lucas
"Attack of the Clones" takes place ten years after the events of "The Phantom Menace". Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) is an Apprentice in the Jedi order and is studying under Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor). When Senator Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman) from Naboo barely survives an assassination attempt, Kenobi and Skywalker are assigned by the Jedi Council to protect her and eventually to look into who is trying to have her killed. This sets the events of the film into motion.
Senator Amidala intended on speaking out against the Republic raising an army. There has been unrest in the Republic and thousands of star systems have already left the Republic and have formed an Alliance under a former Jedi named Count Dooku (Christopher Lee). The army would be to help the Jedi keep the peace in the galaxy, but many do not feel it is the role of the Republic to have a standing army. I do not give this background information to bore, but rather because this is the set-up that the movie is presenting us with.
Anakin and Obi-Wan are able to track a subsequent attempt on Padme's life to a bounty hunter. Obi-Wan follows the trail of the bounty hunter to a planet where he discovers there is a clone army being created, apparently at the orders of a Jedi ten years ago. He also meets the bounty hunter who is being used as the stock for the clones: Jango Fett (Temuera Morrison). Kenobi believes that Fett is also the Bounty Hunter who was trying to kill Padme Amidala. We also get to see the child: Boba Fett.
While Obi-Wan is investigating the bounty hunter and now the clones, Anakin has been instructed to return Padme to Naboo for safety reasons. It is during this trip that romance blossoms. There is a courtship, intense on Anakin's part, and our knowledge of the original trilogy tells us how it is going to end.
This movie serves to set up several important points in the Star Wars universe. We see the relationship between Anakin and Padme which will eventually provide us with Luke and Leia. We see Anakin begin his descent into the Dark Side and also have him start to become as much machine as human (as Vader is in the Original Trilogy), and we also see how Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) gains so much power as well as the clone army, which is the precursor to the Imperial Stormtroopers.
Is this movie perfect? By no means. Much of the dialogue feels stilted and awkward, and I can only imagine how difficult it is to act against a blue screen because the creatures will only be digitally added later. Still, this was an enjoyable movie with excellent effects and more of a feel of "Star Wars". Besides, there is a certain sense of justice in Jar Jar Binks (Ahmed Best) being indirectly responsible for the rise of the Empire. This is a science fiction "Star Wars" movie. We're not going to get classic cinema, but we will get a fun trip to the movies.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 2002
Attack of the Clones gets off to a slow, albeit needed start. In other words, for an Action/Fantasy movie, "Clones" had to have a basis to bring you up to speed from the first movie to this one. The first 20-30 minutes will leave the casual viewer in the dark because of the backstory that needs to be told. That said, here's my take on the film from then on.
Anakin Skywalker was a gifted, God-fearing and wide-eyed boy in "Phantom Menance." Obi-Wan Kenobi, on the other hand, just semed to shadow his master Qui-Gon Jinn until the final battle with Darth Maul. Queen Padme' Amidala is now a Senator in the Republic and Jar-Jar Binks, well, he's just a passing character in this film with little screen time. However, Jar-Jar has one scene which turns the tide of what will be in Luke's world.
Obi-Wan has matured to the point of a Jedi Master training Padewan Anakin Skywalker who has become self-indulged in his own powers and love for Senator Amidala. Some reviews have called his character a joke, but maybe they're missing the bigger picture. This is the seed which turns the story into what will be in IV, V, & VI. I don't think a hulk-type like "The Rock" (Scorpian King) would have been the best choice to play an arrogant teenager.
Casual space opera/fantasy fans will be lost, as I said, but not disappointed as there is plenty of action, romance, and a sense of spirituality to this movie. Surely, it's the most intimate. If you noticed, I did call this a 'Space Opera" and "Fantasy" because it is. Science Fiction it borders on in remote ways, unlike its rival "Star Trek" which uses a lot of real theoretical and factual basis.
What this movie exceeds on is the telling of the story. All the small things add up to the bigger picture, as I keep mentioning. That's what the plotline is all about. The visuals are outstanding and we finally see the power of the Jedi, what they did in the Old Republic, and the fierce warrior of Yoda alluded to in "The Empire Strikes Back."
Episode II is a long movie coming in at around 2:20 (long by Star Wars movies) yet the final 1:30 minutes are gripping with the final battles. Yes, the Clone War has begun.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2004
Episode II, Attack of the clones is a continuation of Lucas's great story telling. Great movies today can be appreciated when they appeal to both the young and old . Films like Aladdin and Shek are great because they both on the surface appeal to children but also contain many elements that appeal to adults. The Star Wars sagas aim to do the same with limition of live action which Lucas has tried to overcome with CG.Today the Lord of the Rings has done the same.I believe most people get so wrapped up in the exterior, intended for quick visual entertainment, that they miss out on the superior plot and twist in the film. And yes the new films do have some inner plots and political messages. Remember, Lucas is working with a film where we know the ending so the interest must be in the human messages the movies are relaying. As we see Anakin go though his trials we parallel Lukes choices and we see where Anakin fails - Lukes overcomes and Succeeds.(sins of the fathers) Intend of looking at the inconsistances between the movies, we should be noticing its plot,the manipulation by the sith to draw Anakin to the dark side. The Sith plot the capture,torure and death of his mother to bring out the anger that as the film progress move him closer and closer to the edge.(A result shown in his murderous rampage of the sandpeople.) They bring Anakin and Armdala together to later break them apart to get the emotional responds that will later draw him to the dark side. We will probabily learn that the Sith are manipulating his emotions and causing him to act as errational as he is acting. They are surely effecting the minds of even Master Yoda when he can not sense or see the dark side of the force operating right in front of him. Star War is a political drama that mirrors how even today goverments manipulate events to achieve their own goals. In these films we must understand that they are meant for viewing by everyone. So enjoy the sillness of Ja Ja Binks and the ewoks, marvel at the action of the Jedi and Storm Troopers , and learn and be entertained by the plot twist and messages that George Lucas aims at the older audiences. And when the day is over remember ,they are only movies and you are hard pressed to find better story telling than this.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2003
To begin with Episode II certainly isn't at the same level of quality than the original trilogy, but that may be an unfair standard to live up to. On its own Episode II is not bad SF. The special effects are excellent. The landscapes and backgrounds are great as well.
The film's weakest moments are its concentration on romance. Most of us don't go to a Star Wars movie looking for romantic storylines.
I'd recommend Episode II to anyone who enjoys the Star Wars franchise but I'd warn them that it's not up to the quality of the original trilogy. That and I'd recommend keeping your finger on the fast forward.
18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on August 14, 2003
George...You have one chance left. Read this...ONE chance left to redeem your prequel trilogy. Ep1 and Ep2 are non starters. They do NOT belong near the "Classic" trilogy. In fact they don't even resemble them remotely.
If you thought Ep1 was bad and my god was it bad, then wait til you see this mish mash of absolute nonsense. The script, direction, casting and acting are all below the standard of a B movie like "Zombie Flesheaters" never mind a multi-million dollar production. Everyone concerned should be ashamed of themselves. Some people in the film actually look bored to tears in the film.
The story is just non existent, its simply not there. Its one set piece after another and they are handled awfully. The Characters are insipid sketches, rather than people of reality. Christiansen should NEVER be allowed to act again. I mean that. At least Hammil's young Luke Skywalker in Ep4 is a realistic character and this trilogy really needs a gritty character like Han Solo, everyone is so black and white its cringe-worthy. The best moment from Portman is when she gets a strategically precise tear on her uniform. Well, it gave me a laugh. McGregor just looks like his wonderment at the first trilogy has been utterly destroyed, but he can enjoy his millions. Jackson can forget it. Even poor old Chris Lee looks irritated by this rubbish. Count Dooku (Or Count Dookula), god almighty, could they not even be bothered to give him a decent name? The ONLY character in this dross who was visually engaging was Palpatine.
The action is boring....BORING. Battle scenes where nobody dies are "A-team" nonsense. George, watch "Saving Pvt Ryan" and take note.
The Jedi's. Yes I know the trilogy is essentially about them, but they are such a boring bunch of semi-mystical hippies its just too annoying to let it go. Thank god they dropped the mediclorian nonsense though, who came up with that? In the next film I want to see them killed in their droves.
The "love" story doesn't gel even once in the whole film. I have more of a relationship with Natilie Portman, than Christiansen does. George, you cannot write or direct, please give the reigns to a serious director. When you handed over the the direction to Irvin Kirshner for Empire, he created the masterpiece of the Star Wars saga. Take note.
The effects, while numerous, are lifeless. They lack the reality needed to be convincing. Everything in the film is shiny and new. Theres no weathering or anything aproaching a "used" look on any of the vehicles or equipment. In fact, one ship is so shiny its silver!!!! They must have artoo out every morning, with his special polishing equipment. He's able to reach all areas too, because some genius gave him the ability to fly.....yeah fly........WTF? He can fly 30 years before Ep4, but cannot after Ep4.
I'll say this again...
George.....you have one chance left. If Ep3 turns out to be good, then at least fans can view the saga from Ep3 onwards. If not, do the world a favor and never direct or write ANYTHING ever again........oh and fire Rick McCallum.
34 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2004
"Good call, my young padawan learner!" Terrible, isn't it. Some of the worst dialogue ever recorded for film pollutes both Episodes I and II of the STAR WARS franchise. Most of the acting is dreadful too, even when performed by actors of note. Hmmm, what is the problem here? There's got to be a common factor. Hey I know! It's Lucas, isn't it! It's all down to Lucas, that self-styled sage of modern film-making. If George Lucas is a talented film maker, I'm Dean Martin. This film is awful, a bloated cartoon with the odd human appearance. When I was young, before I was even a teenager, I used to wonder what Anakin Skywalker would be like. He would be, I was convinced, charismatic, daredevil, reckless yes, but he would be fun. We would love Anakin Skywalker, and it would make his descent into darkness all the more heartbreaking. Well Hayden Christensen is not my idea of Anakin Skywalker. Sure, if I wanted a six foot long plank of wood to build a new shelf with, yes, I may have popped down to the local DIY store and purchased some Hayden Christensen from the timber yard. This boy is not an actor. I was embarrassed for him, watching him trying to act. But I was angry with Lucas for casting him in the first place. Tell me, how does a director take an actor with the screen presence and talent of Sam Jackson, and turn him into another plank of wood? But then, Lucas did the same with Liam Neeson, in the previous instalment of nonsense, so what should we expect. George Lucas may be various things, a brilliant marketeer, a man who knows how to make serious amounts of cash, but a film-maker of talent, he ain't. He's no director. He's certainly no screenwriter, as this film continually proves. He clearly can't coach actors properly. And his story-telling ability, and I don't care what anyone says, is utterly suspect. So what has he got? NOTHING, except he helped make the original STAR WARS films. We watch these prequel films because we loved the originals so much, (quick aside: I still can't believe Lucas f####d up the ending of ROTJ, that is unforgivable) NOT because they themselves are any good. Don't doubt that. If these films were not prequels to the other much loved films, they would be regarded as the biggest turkeys of the last 10 years. George Lucas has to be the most arrogant film maker of all time, to think he had even a quarter of the talent to bring the prequels to life. His friends such as Speilberg and Coppola must cringe when they watch Episodes I and II. George, your lack of talent make me angry and any film making ability you once had has long since atrophied. In the name of God, involve better film makers than yourself for the making of Episode III. We all know you've got Speilberg's phone number. Oh, how Peter Jackson must be laughing at you.
28 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 2004
If it were possible to give negative stars, I would. I sat for nearly five minutes at the end of the film, watching the credits, waiting for George Lucas to pop up say it was a bad joke, and then the real movie would start. It didn't happen. George was obviously trying to prove that he can make a piece of crap film, and still make millions because it has the magical words "Star Wars" slapped on its title. That can be the only logical explanation for a film this bad. Now, where to begin?
The main points of irritation: the casting, and the acting. The first films each actor was perfect for his or her role. No other person alive could have played Luke's part other than Mark Hamil, or Leia than Carrie Fisher, etc. In AOTC, they went for good looks, not portrayal, or acting ability. Speaking of acting ability, where in the nine hells did they dig up Hayden Christensen? The boy can't act, and he seemed to drain away the entire cast's ability to do so. Even Ewan McGregor, one of my all time favorite actors, was at his artistic low. His performance was forced and tired sounding due to poor characterization and bad lines. Your local library has some B-rated classic Sci-Fi with a lower budget, but the same acting ability.
But, I suppose that's being unfair, you can only work with what you're given, and script-wise, the actors were not given a lot. The lines were reminiscent of bad 80's anime. E.g., Obi-Wan seems to have lost the ability to say Anakin's name and can only refer to him as "My (Young) Apprentice". The attempts at humor were poor to say the least. Instead of employing the typical Star Wars humor gods of irony and sarcasm, they went for the puns. And lordie above, did the puns burn. News flash, any writers out there: No one, not even small children, find puns even remotely funny. And instead of subtle foreshadowing, they went for the blatant. Such as Obi-Wan informing Anakin, "You'll be the death of me". In short, my 10 year old cousin could have written a better script for Episode II.
They simply went overboard with the special effects. Plain and simple. Now, some may say it was to make everything more lifelike, but the result was a world more fake looking than a lego-set. Everything had a ridiculous, plastic sheen to it. The non-human's(including Yoda's) movement were too fluid, too calculated to be real. They really should have just stuck with the muppets.
The film even managed to throw consistency with the real trilogy off-kilter. Mainly, in the technology. Now a question: If the prequels take place over 20 years before the original trilogy, how come the technology is more advanced in the prequels? Then, isn't that the way it always goes when an empire takes over. The economy slides, and everything returns to the 70's(Especially the haircuts). Right? Wrong.
All in all, this film is a huge dissapointment. I was raised on Star Wars, the original trilogy and the Extended Universe books, and this movie crushed my belief in George Lucas's qualifications as a director. My recomendation: Watch episodes IV-VI over and over to brace yourselves for Episode III.
28 of 37 people found the following review helpful
The great thing about going to a film that has been out for awhile, and that many people have trashed, is that your expectation level is reduced to a normal level of expectancy, which is where it should be to begin with.
Flat out, I thought the film was terrific and that nearly all the criticisms I have read prior to seeing the flick were groundless, inane, and overblown. First, this absurd idealization of the original films is nonsense! They weren't that damn great. They were new & original and breakthroughs, but the stories weren't that hot with the exception of Luke's quest & discovery of who his father has become. There was little great dialogue, and no jaw-dropping performances. There was, thank goodness, Alec Guinness as Obi Wan. The rest of the cast just limboed in under the age limit not to be ridiculous in their awkward teen love scenes. At least the young performers in this film are young! Their awkwardness fits. I always found the byplay between Carrie Fisher & Harrison Ford embarrassing.
Anyway, I'm not going to compare and contrast the two sets of films. The old ones are what they are, the new ones are what they are. I will just comment on all the vitriol heaped on Lucas, e.g., that he is too isolated & out of touch on his ranch (read empire). Well, he may be, but he's also busy inventing worlds & universes out there that I found beautifully realized, detailed, and exciting in this film.
The movie has some slow spots, but they don't last long. There are some eye-popping, stunning and fantastic set-pieces: the chase through the nightscape of the huge city; the great fight on the water planet; the chase through the asteroids; the narrow escapes of the foundry/assembly line; the battle in the arena; the climactic battle with the clones & droids, and of course, Yoda going Postal!
All of this is done with seamless and gorgeous CGI work, with new and amusing characters, with all kinds of mean & nasty critters, with a new villain (our beloved Chris Lee) and with a drop-dead beautiful Natalie Portman (sorry Carrie) and a young Anakin who has a nasty temper and has committed a war crime already. And Ewan McGregor makes a nice young Obi Wan.
The look of the film is fabulous (I saw it in digital) and the inventiveness and immagination throughout is phenomenal. I ask his critics: what else can Lucas do? He cannot make it all new & never-seen-before again. He is presenting a complex story of how an individual and a society can turn to the "dark side". The groundwork for this story made Phantom Menace slow-going at times, I agree. But the pace is accelerating.
Lucas presents us with fabulously imagined worlds & creatures, done with meticulous care. He has this film filled with mind-boggling action scenes. He stretches the capability of the technology with each outing. It's enough. Works for me.
91 of 124 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2003
Before I incur the wrath of the hordes of Star Wars deadheads who seem to reflexively rate any negative review of this woeful movie "Unhelpful", consider this: I am a lifelong fan of the original Star Wars Trilogy and had as much hopeful investment as anyone in the success of the second trilogy. The sad fact is that Attack of the Clones - despite what you've heard - is even worse than The Phantom Menace (if you can bring yourself to believe that something so ghastly could actually exist). Willing this to be a better movie than it actually is (which seems to have been the response of most US critics and - it has to be said - Star Wars fans) is a pointless exercise in delusion. The sad reality is that even the weakest of the original trilogy - Return of the Jedi - is infinitely superior to anything we've seen since. The amount of times I found myself asking "Who wrote this [stuff]?" is matched only by the amount of times I had to hold back laughing aloud at the infantile dialogue and plotting of this utterly charmless movie. This is quite possibly the worst writing EVER in a major Hollywood production and should fast find its natural place in screenwriting classes as a case study in how NOT to write a script. The completely unmoving, unconvincing romance between a wooden Hayden Christensen and an uncharacteristically bland Natalie Portman is only the most obvious clumsiness. The [weak] fortune cookie dialogue given to Ewan McGregor finds appropriate expression in a disinterested performance (how else can any self-respecting actor work with wannabe banter that amounts to exchanges of "Yes Master"; "No Master"; "I try Master" ad infinitum?) Such puerile gems as "The day we take democracy for granted is the day we lose it" simply cry out for ridicule. The deterministic, completely unconvincing and unsympathetic movement of the Anakin character towards the "Dark Side" - a process underpinned by a cynical array of contrived situations and the worst depiction of teenage angst ever put to screen - only further raises the rubbish factor. Anakin scowls around saying things like: "You're like a father to me master"; "He doesn't understand me"; "It's all his fault!"; "He's holding me back!" It's like the last teen movie George Lucas has seen was in 1955 (doubly strange for someone who was the director of the superior, textured teen movie, American Graffiti) - come back John Hughes, all is forgiven. It also has to be said that - in a series never characterised by great acting anyway - Hayden Christensen gives the worst-ever performance in a Star Wars movie. Possibly the most untalented actor of his generation by this evidence - his charisma-free range appears to be pouting and... pouting. When Christensen says "I have a bad feeling about this!" - a line most familiar to series fans courtesy of Luke and Han at various points in the original Star Wars - he only prompts reminders of the rugged charisma and naive charm of the actors - and characters - that preceded him. The comparison is fatal! As for the much vaunted digital effects - well! If the miserable CGI creations menacing our heroes in the stadium execution scene are a standard, then give me Ray Harryhausen anyday. Hopefully these will look better on the Playstation 2 - where they probably best belong. In this regard, Star Wars has aways been a commercial exercise but the ... plugging of possible videogame content is distracting (most obviously when Anakin applies platform-game timing and strategy in avoiding a series of blades and hazards). So it appears, unfortunately, that the best thing techno-merchandiser George Lucas can do for the final instalment of this truly pitiful second trilogy is hand over the directorial reigns (as he did with The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi) to a journeyman director (where are you Irving Kershner?) unpressured by the burden of pop culture expectation. The man is clearly no longer capable of telling a decent, well-paced story. Lucas recently said he welcomed the competition provided by Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings series. Don't kid yourself George! There's no competition. Peter Jackson is an infinitely better director - and Attack of the Clones against Lord of the Rings is like a shopping trolley against a Ferrari. And these - fellow Star Wars fans - are the sad truths we should stop denying!
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 2002
Three years ago I hosted a premiere of STAR WARS Episode I THE PHANTOM MENACE in my hometown. I stood in line ten hours for tickets as I gave away free gift certificates, drinks, and food. I then returned a week later to host the Star Wars Showtime Countdown from 10am till midnight. It rained both days (although the meteorologist I worked with said it wouldn't), but it all seemed worth it to finally see a new STAR WARS movie after 17 years. Then - Jar Jar Binks popped up! For two hours I continued to wonder when the movie would actually pick up the pace and it never did. I, like many fans, was disappointed and feared what the next two installments would bring. One thing I never did, however, was generate the hatred toward George Lucas that I have witnessed these past three years. In April 1999, he was considered a genius. In May, everyone ganged up on him because they didn't like one movie! Not every idea works and not every project goes to plan. He made the movie the way he wanted and I only wish I had a career where no one could tell me how to do my job. Afterall, he made the first three his way and if someone had butted in, there probably wouldn't have been more than one made in the first place. But, nevertheless, I wasn't too sure about ATTACK OF THE CLONES. Three years later, I am happy to say that STAR WARS is back on track. Although there is still something missing from the days of Han and Luke, George Lucas and company have regained the feel of the original trilogy and put excitement, action, humor, and suspense back into the saga. The love story, although drawn-out, is broken up over a series of fun chases and explosive action that help keep the pace. And, fortunately, Obi-Wan Kenobi helps bring back much of the cocky attitude that has been missing since the departure of Han Solo. If you jumped ship after EPISODE I, I suggest you get back on board for EPISODE II.