Overview: The latest Star Wars movie is almost here, but does it live up to the hype? You should know the answer by now. May the force be with you...
Directed By: George Lucas
The Pros: Some nice eye candy in spots, obviously a big budget film. Some nice acting by the clones and other baddies.
The Cons:Easily the second worst movie in the series, inherits many of "Empire's" pacing problems. Natalie Portman. As for action or adventure? A Jedi must not really crave these things because they're nowhere to be seen!
Thanks to the quick thinking of my brother-in-law - who just so happens to be the district manager of a major movie theater chain - I recently had the opportunity to screen an advance print of "Star Wars Episode Two: Attack of The Clones." I'm not quite certain if this was the final cut of the film, but it looked pretty finished to me. And by "finished" I mean the Star Wars franchise as a whole is finished because I just don't see how LucasArts will be able to justify making a third (sixth?) installment of the doomed series after the sure to be disappointing box office receipts roll in.
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While Episode One was basically a trite coming of age story, Episode Two is a love story with little action. The big lesson here is that pre-teens sleeping with older women is A-OK in everybody's book. Is this really the best lesson we want to instill in the hearts of our children? Do you remember a few years ago when a promising young man had sexual relations with his own teacher, resulting in a bouncing baby bounty? Is not Anakin's thrusting at Padme only encouraging this type of behavior? Despicable!
The new Anakin is clearly designed to appeal to teenyboppers, not astronauts. Think of Fonzie from "Happy Days" in Outer Space and you're on the right track.
Alas, I'm getting ahead of myself! In Episode Two, Hayden Christensen is Anakin Skywalker, the very same young man who won the great space race in Phantom Menace. My first impression of the new Anakin is that he should be throwing a football and dating a cheerleader on the sidelines. He's much better suited to portraying a High School quarterback, not a Jedi! Or as my brother-in-law so eloquently put it "Jedi GOOD NIGHT, FOLKS, THAT GUY WAS THE SAND PITS!"
Natalie Portman reprises her role as Princess Padme, a weak-willed and blatant Princess Liea rip-off. Yet Padme is a very appropriate name for Portman's character considering that her bra (among other things, like her acting resume!) is obviously padded. Somebody buy this girl some acting lessons! Aspiring actors such as myself take note: this is what happens when you start acting late in life. Do you see what happens? All the good actors and actresses (Kristin Dunst for example, who would have been a better choice for this role) started acting as a CHILD. Portman, obviously, is just another pretty face with a teleprompter.
Actually, to be perfectly forthright, Portman isn't even that pretty of a face. She's not bad, just nothing special. Another bubble-headed brunette with Hollywood dreams, hoo-hum. Next please! She slurs out her little speeches with all the emotion of a T.G.I. Friday's waitress reading today's specials, not somebody who radiates intelligence. Jessica Alba would have been a better choice. Or Jennifer Love Hewitt.
Anakin and the Princess have no chemistry, which isn't surprising considering the great differences in their age. Was Portman ever investigated on child abuse charges? It's very hard to believe that the pair eventually spawns heroic Han Solo and lovely Princess Liea.
As for the rest of this movie… all I can say is that it would have been more aptly titled Attack of the Clowns, as the entire experiment is quite the joke.
Whoever did Portman's hairstyles for this movie needs to shoot themselves in the eye because they obviously have poor vision!
*** SPOILERS ***
CP30 and R2D2 make a really bad joke about being robots, but we all know they're robots… why point this out? And they aren't even real robots, just midgets sweating under metal suits.
*** END SPOILERS ***
There's of course a futile attempt at a plot and storyline, but it's really not worth recounting here. Lucas obviously filmed the action first and foremost and added most of the rest in postproduction. Basically, ancient wizard Christopher Lee reprises his character from "Lord of The Rings." It's the exact same character with less hair and a different name. Christoper Lee is just too old to be acting and his Darth Tyranus character is a disgrace. Shouldn't he be in a nursing home getting his diaper changed? George Lucas should have spent less time stealing ideas from "Lord of The Rings" and more time on his dialogue. The structure is all wrong. A professional such as myself can recognize this immediately. And to think this is coming from the same people who published "Maniac Mansion," which was a very well-written game!
Come to think of it, Lucas should have invested more time in all aspects of Episode Two's production. On a technical level, the film feels very rushed in disjointed, probably because LucasArts is rushing to finish this film in time to compete with "Spider-Man," which will no doubt trounce Episode Two in domestic box office profits, according to all the analysts I've spoken to off the record. And I'm an industry insider here, not some fat fanboy with a web page.
Many people assume C3PO is gay or at least a poster child for homosexual acceptance. Personally, I couldn't care less because the character has and always will be completely devoid of any value whatsoever. He'd only sell for $5 at a high-priced scrap yard!
As a filmmaker, I'm frankly offended by Lucas's lame, obviously blue-screened battle scenes and his sloppy right-angle two shot framing of what are supposed to be emotional scenes. Overuse of the steadicam and wide-angle lenses are just two of the felonies he'll be convicted of by my court of REAL filmmaking maestros. His dolly shots are just laughable. You'd think the guy would be able to afford a competent best boy or grip at this point in his career. His best boy probably worked at Best BUY!
And as a former science major, I am quite offended by Lucas' use of so-called "future" technology. I know for a fact that "Star Trek's" vision of the space age is far more accurate and plausible. For example, Anakin doesn't use teleporters and instead zips about in land speeders that use impossible amounts of energy for the type of gravitational control one would expect. It's hard to explain to the common man, just trust me here: nearly every type of technology utilized in this movie is utterly ridiculous.
The sounds are pretty good, no surprise here, but I found myself quite disappointed by the special effects. "Lord of The Rings" did it much better, and had better editing to boot. Next time, LucasArts should hire a more experienced special effects company.
Just a few more notes about the plot and the characters before I wrap this up: Evan McGregor - who portrays young Obi-Wan Kenobi - just isn't convincing at all. You can barely understand anything he mutters through his thick, fake accent. My brother-in-law pointed out that since Episode Two was partially filmed in Ireland he probably spent much of his time at the pub getting hammered. Is it any wonder that George Lucas has a beard at this point?
Jimmy Smits from "N.Y.P.D Blue" is here as a Space Senator who betrays the emperor. Jenga and Boba Fett are back as bounty hunters, and everybody teams up and works together to fight clones. This supposed to be exciting, but to be frank the lightsaber battles are slow-paced and boring. Somebody needs to adjust George Lucas's alarm clock, because it isn't 1978 anymore.
Expecting at least moderately exciting action scenes? Well you won't find any of that in Episode 2, just racism! And why are all the lightsabers pastel colors? Ugly!
Even the once proud Yoda shows up to do battle with lightsabers. If this sounds crazy, it is! It reminded me of a backstage brawl I once witnessed on the set of "Sesame Street." But thankfully Anakin's dad has some terse words for Yoda and the situation is resolved and the scene ends before the entire film becomes a complete loss. Anakin's dad reminds me of the drunk skateboarder with spiked hair that hangs outside my apartment, so I won't say anything more about his character because I'm offended. Sam Jackson from "Changing Lanes" is also a Jedi Knight but he forgot his prime directive and wanders around for most of the movie trying to steal robes from bounty hunters or something. I really couldn't understand why he was in the film at all, to be honest. I guess George Lucas threw him in at the last minute to be the token "black guy."
This movie is so bad that Jar Jar Binks' short scene is actually a highlight. While the character was unbearable in Episode One, he shows promise here and will no doubt be spun out into his own cartoon or at least a breakfast cereal. Amed Best - who plays Jar Jar - also plays Aak Med MacBeth, a Negro with "dark" designs on a white woman. Another great sexual lesson for the kids!
I almost fell asleep three times during the latest episode of Star Wars… and I had just taken a nap! To tell the TRUTH, the entire Star Wars franchise has been ruined by its own fans. If it wasn't for their insane devotion and meddling there wouldn't be a fourth and fifth movie and the original trilogy would have retained its original dignity. Of course, the original trilogy was changed and re-edited several times by Lucas, after the success of doing so with "Willow" went to his head.
So if you really feel like wasting $8 this May, by all means, beam yourself to the local theater and hang out with a gaggle of sweaty freaks, because only most hardcore of Star Wars fans will see this movie in theaters, I guarantee you. Oh, and be sure to thank them for ruining what was once a perfectly good childhood memory.
Each category in the rating system is based out of a possible 10 score (10 being the best). The overall score is based out of a possible 50 score (50 being the best).
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