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Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones [2002] - 6.97

The most densely plotted instalment of the saga so far, Attack of the Clones is a tale of both Machiavellian political drama and doomed romance; it's epic war film and silly comic-book fantasy combined, as teenage Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) chafes at the restrictions imposed by his mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and falls in love with Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman). Renegade Jedi Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) is leading a breakaway federation of disgruntled systems; while the insidious influence of Darth Sidious is felt rather than seen as his invisible hand guides apparently unrelated events, from Jar Jar's unwitting instigation of a disastrous Senate decision to bounty hunter Jango Fett's revelatory role at the centre of the conspiracy.

Along the way the story has fun with the conventions of Chandleresque detective fiction as Obi-Wan explores the seedier side of Coruscant, and incorporates the noble warrior ethos of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in its portrayal of the Jedi order. The portentous tone is lightened by tongue-in-cheek self-referential dialogue and the antics of robotic clowns R2D2 and C3PO. (One niggle for music fans, though, is the cavalier cut-and-paste approach to John Williams's music score.) Like the Empire Strikes Back, Clones is the bridging film of the trilogy and thus ends on an equivocally bittersweet note.

On the DVD: Attack of the Clones is an all-digital film, and so looks suitably superb in this anamorphic widescreen transfer, accompanied by a THX encoded Dolby 5.1 soundtrack. Anyone who owns The Phantom Menace two-disc set will know what to expect from the special features: here's another group commentary led by George Lucas, two lengthy documentaries on the digital effects ("From Puppets to Pixels" and "The Previsualisation of Episode II") plus several other featurettes and Web documentaries, notably "Films Are Not Released, They Escape", a look at the sound design. There's also a fun trailer for the R2-D2 mockumentary "Beneath the Dome", trailers, photo galleries and more to satisfy any Star Wars fan. --Mark Walker

Customer reviews (av rating: 3.5):

Rating: 4:
A film of two halves : The second film of the prequel trilogy is a lot better than the first film but it still has a long way to go in order to live up to the original films. The first half of the film is pretty much the on a par with the best of the first film, being slightly dull with a bad script and some terrible acting, particularly on the part of Hayden Christensen who may have had the physical presence to play Anakin Skywalker but has the acting ability of a piece of wood.

To be honest though Attack of the Clones does show a lot of improvement from The Phantom Menace especially in the second half of the film which is entertaining and actually feels like Star Wars for the first time in the prequels. Also the CGI is less cartoony than the first but there are still to many forced `comedy' moments and a slight disregard for continuity that annoys the hardened fans. Despite this you can tell that there has been some attempt to listen to the fans to as there are quite a few thing included that they had been asking for after the first film, including more lightsaber fights and back-story for one of the most popular characters from the original films Boba Fett. Although still quite bad in places and not a patch on the originals, Attack of the Clones is still a step in the right direction.

Rating: 3:
naff title. : All I can say is, this is better than THE PHANTOM MENACE,only just,make's you wonder why George Lucas bothered with this second trilogy,BECAUSE FACE IT YOU CAN'T BEAT THE BEAT THE FIRST TRILOGY.

Rating: 4:
Builds upon the first : Film - **** - The film, acting, story and special effects all take a step up for the second installment. Yes, there are still clunky elements (stand up Hayden and Natalie) but there is also more suspense and humour than the first.

This is less of a kids movie, it has more action and a great climax. Just be prepared to sit through a few painful 'love' scenes.

Extras - **** - Sadly there is no 2 hour docuemnatary a la Episode 1. The extras are still very interesting, the stand out features being the CG characters and Animatic short documentaries. Very much a good advert for ILM.

Overall this film and extras mark the entrance of Digital Cameras into big budget films and the begining of all digital sets and peformers. At 6 (current price) it's a good purchase.

Rating: 4:
Not as bad as many claim. : This is a good film, sure it has it's faults but then what doesn't. The biggest problem it had was expectation that it could never hope to live up to. George Lucas does an okay job of direction, however he isnt too good at directing characters. He is better at the action.
All the actors do well with awkward lines and exposition heavy dialogue. Hayden Christenson does come across as a but sulky but that, I believe was the intention.
Great effects and action carry the movie with ease.

Rating: 5:
Impressive, Most Impressive... : I agree with the last review - why so people feel so let down on this one?

I agree, the originals can't be outdone (and I saw them when I was eighteen!) but this is certainly the second best of the three prequal films, and probably my third favorite across all six films as a whole - Empire Strikes back being the best, then Revenge of the Sith, and then this one.

For me, it had all the ingredients I love about Star Wars. It had lots of Jedi fighting, it had Obi Wan Kenobi in it (with an improved accent) it had a digital Yoda, it had so much more scope than the first one, and depth, so was a much better film than its predacessor, Phantom Menace.

Who could fail to like the scene where Yoda draws his lightsaber using the Force? The cinema I was in errupted in cheers when that happened - and then he goes to town with Dooku - it was sheer magic as far as I was concerned, brilliantly entertaining and backed by some strong performances by Ewan MacGregor, and an ice cool Samuel Jackson.

The extras too, are the best of all three prequals. (Three was a letdown as far as extras went) So its money well spent, as far as I am concerned.

All right, so Anakin is annoying, and the Padme/Anakin scenes are almost embarrasing to watch - it's certainly amusing how her gowns get steadily more revealing yet she still spurns his advances!

But his slow descent into the dark side, following the death of his mother and his massacre of the sand people is well played out, and the cracks in Anakin's and Obi Wans relationship begin to show.

Overall, a brilliant film, with better CGI and much better scope than the first, so sit back and enjoy the film for what it is... good old fashioned entertainment. Because, at the end of the day, isn't that what good old fashioned storytelling is about?

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