|Star Wars: Episode II--Attack of the Clones
Starring Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Ewan McGregor, Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Lee, Ian McDiarmid, Temuera Morrison
Rated PG for sustained sequences of sci-fi action/violence.
Trailers: Men in Black 2, Austin Powers in Goldmember, Like Mike, The Matrix Reloaded/ Revolutions, Minority Report, Reign of Fire
Inky's note: This review is by a Star Wars fanatic and is extremely biased. Spoilers are discussed, as are Natalie Portman's revealing costumes and Zam Wesell's little secret. Read on at risk.
This the very "word" that escaped from my lips when I emerged from the theater; jumping up and down like a cheerleader on an Ecstacy high and thinking about how I can clear my schedule to see it again, like, this week.
Seriously folks, it's that good. I mean, this movie is so jam-packed full of visual treats and delights that I don't know where to begin, but I gotta begin somewhere, so I'll start before the movie was released and work from there.
On May 5th, I saw Spider-Man. It was awesome. Rocked my world. Totally blew my away. I left the theater worried, thinking "How in the heck are the geniuses over at Lucasfilm going to be able to top this classic!? It's impossible!" And, my friends, it would be for some run-of-the-mill director (Barry Sonnerfield, I am staring right at you and your little junk heap called Big Trouble), but George Lucas is a cinematic hall-of-famer, a visionary, and he's not going to give up now.
When TPM came out, many lost hope. Star Wars was over, they said. Lucas has lost his sense of direction and has morphed into a meglomaniac, with his only intent being to make as much money as possible and to get rich quick off merchandising and the innocent public.
Well, they where wrong. But they helped, in a way. I think (this is just me) that they made Lucas mad. I don't mean just mad. I mean the man was royally pissed off at everyone who hated the movie. He fiercely defended it, but he still did what he liked with AotC, while adding a few tweaks with help from fans. Jar Jar Binks, who I personally liked in TPM, was cut down to almost nothing, and is turned into a sad character here. He's manipulated and lied to to help the Dark Side gain control. Poor guy. The merchandising partners were cut from 85 to 50 for this movie. There is no fast-food tie in, no Pepsi cans emblazoned with un-escapable images of Star Wars characters, no sixty little girls dressed up as Queen Amidala on yourt doorstep at Halloween saying things like "We will not condone a course of action that will deny us a Kit Kat." AotC became more of a movie than an advertising blitz. One will notice that at my theater, they don't even have a POSTER outside (same with Spider-Man.) Evidently Lucasfilm decided to save some money and not make as many.
First of all, I'm going to cover the big discussion points this movie has to offer:
1) Yoda fighting. Oh. My. Gosh. Noooo waay...when Yoda comes around the bend, gimer stick in one hand, and reprimands and unrepentant Dooku, the whole audience erupted into applause. We knew what was coming. We just didn't know what. Yoda flies and kicks and becomes a whirling dervish of amazing energy. He will kick your butt. Hard.
2) The romance. This is where the plot weakened a bit - the actors became a bit wooden, and the dialogue forced, but it mostly worked for me. I sorta liked it all - they HAVE to fall in love, they HAVE to get married, they HAVE to have twins. It's just meant to be! It's gotta happen folks. My only complaint is -- wasn't it sorta quick for Padme to be like "We can't love each other" to "Let's make out right now before we kick the bucket"? I mean, crap, woman, if you want to get married, just TELL him!
3) NSYNC cameos. Didn't see 'em, thank the maker (hee.) However the purple Twi'lek Anakin flirts with in the bar is Lucas' daughter, Katie. And the Jedi Apprentice who comes into the library while Obi-Wan is there is his son Jett (I mean Lucas', not Obi-Wan's. :)
4) Digital camera. Well, there's not much to say, because I saw it on film. It seemed average to me - I never pay attention to the whole cinematography thing like a REAL (cough cough) reviewer does. But it seemed to me it was all very lush. It's nice to look at, just like TPM.
5) The acting. Everyone was great! I seriously thought Natalie and Hayden and Ewan where wonderful. All seemed very fleshed out and Hayden stood his own against the other two "veterans." But as Harry Knowles pointed out, doesn't Natalie seem a bit younger than her character? I mean, she's supposed to be 24-25 age range, and Portman was 19 and 20 when filming. But maybe this is just me.
6) Zam Wesell. This isn't so much a discussed factor, but daaaaang, what was up with THAT? Seriously, I was freaked out. I thought it was just a mistake when she turns her head and she's an alien, or that I saw it wrong or the glass reflection was messed up or something. But unfortunately I wasn't. Zam is a "changeling" evidently, and while she's dying she turns into this freaky looking alien and says something in a different dialect and then buys the farm. By then I knew the shivers weren't from the sub-zero temperature that the theater forces us into. It's like watching a movie on an ice capsule.
7) Beru and Owen. Their characters are so small that I really can't judge them, but it clears up the whole "How does Owen know Obi-Wan?" business. Rumors swirled about Obi-Wan and Owen being brothers, or even father and son! But now it's cleared up - Shmi marries Cliegg Lars, whose son is Owen Lars, which makes Anakin his step-brother. Obi-Wan is basically Anakin's father, so believe it or not, the father-son thing is closer to target. Kind of.
8) Decapitations. I counted four. Pretty high count, it seemed to me.
9) The Naboo outfit that Natalie Portman wears. WHOOOO! It plunged down to, like, HERE. I know George Lucas designed that, and it makes the knowing viewer think "Just stick her in a Leia slave outfit and get it over with, buddy!" But, you know what? As a hormone-enhanced teenage boy, I liked it. Of course.
10) Obi-Wan. EWAN! EWAN! EWAN! I love you! You are so cool! Adopt me! I'll be your apprentice when Anakin turns to evil! Just give me a call!
AAAAHHH okay I'm going to shut up before Cleo begins to (ba ba ba bummm) edit my review! Nooooo! Thanks for staying with me through all my rambling. Enjoy da show, mah home dawg!
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