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Review of Episode II 'Attack of the Clones'

     My brother snagged tickets for me at a midnight viewing of ĎAttack of the Clonesí which is the second Episode of George Lucasís Star Wars series and the fourth released movie chronologically. This movie stars Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi, Natalie Portman as Padmť Amidala, and Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker.

     There has been no shortage of anticipation and hype surrounding all of the Star Wars movies and loyal fans wait hours, days, and in some cases months to get tickets and a good seat to see the movie as soon as it is released. This movie picks up ten years after the events of Episode I ĎThe Phantom Menaceí. Some members of the Galactic Republic are starting to join a Separatist movement led by Count Dooku. The Jedi Knights are trying to maintain peace throughout the galaxy and politicians are contemplating the start of an army to defend themselves against Separatists.

     The general feel of the movie is consistent with a story line, but it isnít entirely necessary that a person be familiar with the other movies to enjoy this one. One of the main concerns that people had about the movie before its release is that one of the themes revolved around a love story. Although the love story isnít a strong suit of the movie, it doesnít detract from it either and itís a necessary element to the entire series, as we will likely discover in Episode III.

     The special effects, sounds, characters, world environments, and attention to detail are superb and par for the course by Lucasís standards. The movie was originally filmed in a special digital medium that was then converted to film, but I didnít notice a difference in quality either way.

     This movie doesnít seem as dumb downed as many have accused Episode I as being. For example, Jar-Jar Binks is in the film, but has a noticeably smaller role. There are a lot more action and fight scenes throughout. Past movies have featured at most three Jedi or Sith fighters, but this movie features many more simultaneous Jedi fighting and thelight sabre shows are spectacular. In fact, an unlikely Master Jedi Knight joins the fray in one of the most exciting moments of the entire series.

     Overall, the movie is very good and should be enjoyed by both old and new fans alike. Itís not better than the original movies, but itís definitely better and more focused than Episode I. The movie is not without someflaws. It takes place ten years later, yet Natalie Portmanís character actually seems to have gotten younger and more girlish. The actual script isnít anything extraordinary and there are some trite phrases scattered throughout, but despite those small flaws, the movie shines through where it counts. Itís functional as a story, nostalgic, and exciting all at the same time. Movies of this genre arenít popular because of a well-written script or dramatic dialogue. The strength of the movie is the action sequences coupled with the overriding message of good versus evil in a detailed yet vividly engaging world of humans, creatures, cities, vehicles, and advanced technology. In this vein, Episode II succeeds.

Jason Shoulders - 05/22/2002