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Star Wars Prequels Media Movies

Review: Star Wars Episode II, Attack of the Clones 909

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the get-this-party-started dept.
Lucas hasn't exactly redeemed himself this time around, but he has wiped out most of the worst of The Phantom Menace from my memory. Clones starts off slow, and it takes half the movie to really start get going. But the final hour finally feels like Star Wars again. Read on for my full review- I'll try not to lone gunman the thing, but you've been warned.
So confession time, I still don't think Phantom Menace was that bad. If you mentally filter out every sequence that Jar Jar is on the scene, and maybe the midochlorians, and trim that Pod Race scene down, there's a good movie in there. Not great. Just not sucksville. So I went into Clones hoping that Lucas had learned his lesson, and he mostly has.

Much of the cast from Menace is back. Unfortunately none of the major actors manage to pull of a standout performance. Anakin is little improved from menace. I know he's supposed to be full of anger and angst, but mostly he just comes off as constipated and bitchy. Amidala seems to be taking a bit of a nap. Their romantic scenes together are the Jar Jar binks scenes of this movie: It just pauses the action, and the acting is so bad that the movie stalls until something interesting happened.

The rest of the cast is much better. Ewan McGregor has finally grabbed onto the role of Obi Wan. He's a bit preachy, but it works. Samuel L Jackson is the badass Jedi we want him to be. Senator Palpatine is pretty much the same guy as last time around. And Dooku, the flick's major bad guy is pretty excellent too. Its nice having villians with faces since they actually get to act a bit. The Fett family felt a little forced, but it was interesting.

Most notable this time around is the CGI characters. Episode I of course had Jar Jar, Watto, and many other CG chars, but Menace is literally crammed full of them. And the technology and animators have improved substantially since the last showing. No longer do they stick out like sore thumbs- now they merely stick out like a thumb with a little bit of a sliver. Yoda is of course the most important of the CG chars- everyone probably remembers the horrible animation on his one CG scene in Menance, but in Clones he is CG all the way. This is a huge deal since unlike most of the CG chars we've seen so far, this one works almost perfectly. There are a couple of shots where it doesn't seem quite right... but those are the exception, and not the rule.

What I'm saying is that CG characters have finally come into their own. In Menace, all I could think about is the fact that they were CG. The fact that they didn't looke quite right. This time around they are just part of the show. Another cast member delivering mediocre dialog. Ironically enough, several of the CG chars outshine their human counterparts.

The movie as a whole looks great. Many of the costumes look a lot more like Star Wars. From the clone army, to Amidala wearing a white costume for the last act, things just look like I would expect them to. We get to see some sets familiar from A New Hope as well as Menace, and that all really contributes to making the movie feel like a Star Wars flick. It also helps that the CG has continued to improve.

I'd also like to note that I didn't get to see it on the digital screen. I plan on seeing it digital in the next week or 2... I figured I'd see it at the local theater and make sure it didn't suck before I bothered driving to Southfield to see it in full digital splendor.

The rest of the review will focus a little more on plot. You've been warned. The story is of course largely a love story. There has been a threat on Amidala's life, and her old friends Anakin and Obi-Wan have been assigned by the Jedi Council to protect her. Investigating the asassination attempt leads Obi-Wan to a far away planet where he discovered a clone army being constructed, and a conspiracy to suppress information about it. Anakin and Amidala spend time together and get closer through a series of awkward pseudo romantic scenes where they both look like they would rather have been in different movies. Their utter lack of chemistry is almost amusing.

Obi-Wan gets into some smack, and so Anakin and Amidala go to rescue him, only to end up compounding the level of smack around for the good guys. Meanwhile the Senate does its thing and a major shift in power occurs. We learn who is responsible for the clone army, and what the plan for it is.

The last hour of Clones is the Payoff. A battle worthy of the original trilogy. I'm not going to go into it becuase that might spoil it, but let make the following points. First, we finally have enough light saber action. The massive jedi fight that we all knew these prequels could offer us. And my god was it ever worth the wait. But we also have Mace Windu kicking ass, and at long last, Yoda gets his chance to prove why he is so highly regarded.

The parallels to other movies in the SW Series, especially Empire Strikes Back are many. I'm avoiding mentioning them here, but I will say that the film tries to end on a dark note which is cool.

The packed theater that I saw this really seemed to feel the same way as me. A few awkward laughs during the romance scenes- even snickers during the sound-of-music picnic sequence. But when the final battles came around there were cheers around.

And that really sums it up. It took 3.5 hours of prequel film to get us to the payoff. For some it might not have been worth the wait... but for me, I'm just happy to finally to see most of what was promised delievered. And I'm reinvigorated towards Star Wars. If Episode III can pick up where II left off, III should finally be the Star Wars Prequel that we've been waiting for.

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Review: Star Wars Episode II, Attack of the Clones

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  • by glrotate (300695) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @12:03PM (#3530256) Homepage
    I thought the worst part was the kiss between Jar Jar and Yoda. I just about hurled.
  • by Mike Schiraldi (18296) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @12:06PM (#3530279) Homepage Journal
    I'll try not to lone gunman the thing, but you've been warned.

    Had ChrisD written the article, he would have just come right out and made the headline, "Luke's dad, a.k.a. Darth Vader, kills the Emperor, then some Ewoks dance around"
  • by zrk (64468)
    The whole dance routine with MJ singing "Annie are you OK" (aka Smooth Sith Lord").

    I almost wretched right there in the theater!
  • by Dr Kool, PhD (173800) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @12:07PM (#3530289) Homepage Journal
    Boba Fett's father is...YODA!! Yup it's true, Boba's real name is "Yoda Fett", but to keep his lineage a secret he changed his first name slightly to "Boba". That's why he always has that mask on! Short green dudes with hair growing out their ears never get the hot chicks.
  • by Zen Mastuh (456254) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @12:07PM (#3530292)
    Obi-Wan gets into some smack

    Is this Trainspotting II: Attack of the Junkies?

    • by jayhawk88 (160512) <jayhawk88@gmail.com> on Thursday May 16, 2002 @12:35PM (#3530545)
      Choose Life. Choose a Master. Choose a Lightsaber. Choose a Clone Army. Choose a fucking big holo-projector, choose sonic showers, land-speeders, and electrical R2-D2 openers. Choose good health, low midichlorians, and blaster insurance. Choose fixed interest moisture farm repayments. Choose a starter smuggling ship. Choose your Jedi. Choose robes and matching sandals. Choose a three-piece body armor on hire purchase in a range of fucking alloys. Choose sitting on that Bantha-hide chair and watching mind-numbing, chain choaking slave girls, stuffing fucking slimy worms into your mouth. Choose rotting away in the belly of the Sarlack, pishing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up aprentices you spawned to kill all your breathren and take over the galaxy.
    • The film that eliminated the cruel outdated stereotype of the Scottish kilt-wearing bagpiper, and replaced it with the stereotype of the Scottish amoral and AIDS-ridden heroin fiend.

      "Well Sickboy lacks a certain moral fiber."

      "He does know a lot about Sean Connery though."

      "That's hardly a substitute!"
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It's springtime, and once again we have a bombastic space opera from George Lucas [crimelibrary.com] to fritter away our hard-earned money on. Last year's offering from Skywalker Ranch [roadsideamerica.com] had many diehard fans leaving the theater a bit disappointed, so while the hype may be a bit less than it was in 2001, the underlying tension is much greater. Among those who place value judgments on this sort of thing, the second of the first trilogy is considered the best of the three. Will Attack of the Clones be the same? Is the magic numeral II installment the one that will be full of depth, subtlety, and complex character development?

    Probably not, but we're going to take you through the movie anyway. Grab a bucket of popcorn and prepare yourself for the movie review of Star Wars: Episode II - The Attack of the Clones.

    So the movie starts off with the requisite main score while the oddly skewed yellow text brings us up to speed on the goings-on in the galaxy. Something about unrest in the Senate, a separatist movement led by a "Count Dookie", Amidala [natalieportman.com] being a Senator herself, yada yada yada. The main message is that the forced-perspective text looked lame as fuck in 1977, and seems downright abysmal 25 years later. One would think that with all the billions Lucas has made on the previous films he could afford a decent title sequence.

    True to a movie made for kids and dysfunctional adults, we then jump right into the action. Senator Amidala [natalieportman.com] is getting off her liqui-chrome spaceship on Coruscant when... kaboom! ...she blows up. Omigod, is she dead?!? Of course not, it was her stand in (you remember her from Episode I, right?). This scene provides a great opportunity for Natalie Portman [natalieportman.com] to get all weepy over her dead assistant and show us that Amidala [natalieportman.com] even cares for the little people. What an angel.

    After that we see Yoda, Samuel "Mace Windu" Jackson and some freaky looking alien Jedi talking to Darth Sidious. Er, um, I mean Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, who of course is in no way connected to Mr. Sidious. I mean, he's obviously a good guy, right? Yeah, sure. If you paid any attention to Episodes IV-VI you already know who he is. Also, those subtle facial expressions and tones of voice suggesting devious intentions sure do lend an air of, shall we say, insidiousness, to him.

    So do the Master Jedi Knights pick up on Palpatine's two-faced treachery? No. The eight year-old kids at the theater see it plain as day, but to the leaders of the Jedi Council, people who have undergone the most stringent of training for detecting such duplicity, people who have freakin' powers of mind control and are sitting right across the desk from this guy, to them Palpatine seems A-OK.

    Anyway, the whole point of this scene is to set up Obi-Wan "Ewen McGregor looks goofy in a beard" Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as Amidala [natalieportman.com]'s bodyguards since it seems like somebody is trying to kill her. Of course it is Palpatine who suggests this. My goodness, what sort of deviltry is he up to? We also briefly see Jar-Jar Binks stroll by in the background. No lines for him in this scene, though.

    Prior to Amidala [natalieportman.com] getting hooked up with her Jedi, we get to meet the two of them alone in an elevator. Anakin is now a moody teen and his pining for Natalie Portman [natalieportman.com]'s firm buttox is quite apparent. When the elevator door opens they are greeted by Jar-Jar and... he speaks! Nothing like a little racist, neo-Jamaican patois to tickle the funny bone.

    Once the whole gang is reunited all the complex character development gets dumped, wholesale, in about 45 seconds of screen time. Obi-Wan is the wise yet caring teacher, Anakin is straining under the throes of pubescent hormonal lust and good old rebellion, while Amidala [natalieportman.com] is distant yet maternal in her care for Anakin. Jar-Jar appears to be little more than house nigger.

    The next scenes begin to suggest why Lucas chose Attack of the Clones as title for this movie. All of the visual imagery was stolen from other people's films. The super-dense high rise cityscape, complete with moody nighttime lighting through half-open blinds, is equal parts Blade Runner and The Fifth Elephant to such an obvious degree that it is painful. We get to zoom about this impossibly crowded aerial metropolis at high speeds in a futuristic flying car chase. It's all Luc Besson at this point, including people falling from building to vehicle. You could swap Hayden Christensen (Anakin) with Bruce Willis at any point and the transition would be seamless (admittedly, replacing McGregor with Milla Jovovich might be noticed).

    During this chase Anakin and Obi-Wan banter amusingly and offer flip one-liners. It almost works, but not quite. After the necessary crash to end the pursuit we swing fully into Ridley Scott's corner with teeming ground-level streets and a seedy bar full of oddly dressed people.

    There's some sort of plot development going on through all this, but it's not very important. What is important is that this movie tries very hard to drop little nuggets of joy for the aging Star Wars fan base. The first one occurs outside the aforementioned bar when a bounty hunter who looks an awful lot like the Boba Fett of Episodes IV-VI kills somebody and then zooms off with his nifty jet pack. It is at this point where the first real signs of plot strain begin to show.

    Now for some reason Obi-Wan is going to a mysteriously undocumented planet to investigate whatever the hell it is that we're supposed to care about, while Anakin stays behind to give the screenwriter a convenient opportunity to have Amidala [natalieportman.com] reciprocate Anakin's puppy love.

    The mystery planet is actually a sterile looking clone factory run by tall, lizard necked folks. Hard to say which movie set is being cloned, since the sterile, white, space-based science facility has been done so many times before. It's probably safe to credit Kubrick with being the biggest victim of theft here. All the clones themselves look vaguely ethnic. Additionally, they are apparently the precursor to Stormtroopers. Basically, at the factory they quickly breed a bunch of brown-skinned people who are literally identical looking, dress them up in white armor, and now they represent a huge, sinister force. What exactly is George Lucas trying to say here?

    The lizard-necked scientists are a bit daft and don't realize they are revealing details to the wrong person when they tell Obi-Wan that the clones were ordered 10 years ago by a supposedly long-dead Jedi. They are also oblivious to the error of revealing the presence of a bounty hunter and his cloned "son", named Jango and Boba Fett, respectively, at the station. People in technical professions like genetics and computer science are often socially and politically clueless that way, resulting in atrocities like nuclear weapons and peer-to-peer file sharing.

    Jango and Obi-Wan have a tense little meeting where more plot details of some sort are revealed, including the fact that all the clones look just like Jango himself, and then they get into a fight. Neither one of them dies though, so they chase after each other in space ships instead.

    Back in the world of sappy love stories, things are progressing quite slowly. Anakin is still behaving like the sort of teen you'd send to military school as punishment. This brings to mind another apparent failing of Jedi University. If they're so great at molding super-competent Jedi, how come they can't raise a teenager who isn't a whiny little brat?

    Amidala [natalieportman.com] stays cold and distant to the advances of "Ani", and it's hard to see how they're going to end up getting busy and squirting out two kids. Then, they kiss. Yes, that abruptly. First she couldn't care less, then she's probing for tonsils. Whatever caused her change of heart apparently got left on the editing room floor.

    George Lucas seems to be awfully fond of himself, so eventually he starts cloning his own movies. First Anakin has a dream about his mother being in pain, so he disobeys his orders and goes off to help her (Luke, 1:2). Amidala [natalieportman.com] tags along.

    Of course helping Mom means dropping another joy nugget for the fans, so it's back to Tatooine yet again. We reminisce with Watto a bit, and then head out to an awfully familiar looking house. Yup, it's the same one where future whiny little Jedi wannabe Luke grows up, and we get to meet the aunt and uncle who will be so trivial in later movies. The plot strains become more noticeable.

    But hey, what's the point of time spent on Tatooine of you don't get to see some Tusken Raiders? Seems they've kidnapped Anakin's mother, Shmi, so we get to bust a hang with a whole bunch of them. Hell, even the Jawas pop up for a cameo. Nothing like rehashing old ground when you can't come up with a decent plot device.

    Oh yeah, Anakin's Mom dies in his arms just as he rescues her (how convenient), and then he goes bezerk and slaughters all the Tusken Raiders. Apparently this is bad. Even Yoda gets some negative Force vibes from it, and he's way on the other side of the galaxy.

    Meanwhile, Obi-Wan's story line isn't doing much better. Lacking anything more exciting to do in a space chase, they fly into an asteroid field. They even venture into an asteroid tunnel. To be fair though, the absolute coolest part of the whole movie happens in this scene. See, Jango Fett has these bomb thingies, and he's hurling them at Obi-Wan's ship. Whenever one of them hits an asteroid and detonates everything goes dead silent for a half second and then a wonderfully flanged and modulated kwaaang! rings out while a pale blue shock wave radiates through space. Hearing that sound is almost worth the price of admission.

    Somehow Obi-Wan ends up on a droid factory planet pursuing Jango and Boba and he gets caught by the dread Count Dooku/Darth Tyranus/Saruman the White/Christopher Lee. Count Doofus tells him about some plot involving the Senate and the separatists that is entirely too confusing for this sort of movie. In short, he asks Obi-Wan to join him, and Obi essentially tells him to go fuck himself. Count Doodu responds to the snubbing by amassing a huge army of orcs, er, droids, and leaving Obi-Wan trapped in a tower until he is rescued by a giant owl.

    Over on Tatooine, Amidala [natalieportman.com] is revealing herself to be quite the mischievous little minx, and she talks Anakin into going to save Obi-Wan. They arrive at the factory and proceed to battle their way through the exact same sorts of choppy, bashing mechanical bits that so flummoxed Sigourney Weaver in Galaxy Quest. R2-D2 has no problems with them though because he has jet packs. I don't recall him having jet packs before. I imagine they would have been very useful if he had managed to hang onto them for his later adventures.

    I wish I could say C3PO did as well as R2, but his head gets lopped off and installed on one of those battle droids, while a battle droid's head gets stuck onto 3PO's ungainly frame. I don't want to ruin the movie, but I must tell you that much hilarity ensues from this manufacturing gaffe. But this movie isn't about droids, it's about clones, so let's get back to those.

    The next clone returns us to Ridley Scott territory. Anakin and Amidala [natalieportman.com] get captured, and are joined with Obi-Wan in a gladiator arena (yes, a gladiator arena) where they are forced to fight animals and robots to the death. It is at this point where Natalie Portman [natalieportman.com]'s midriff begins to receive significant screen time.

    Things go well at first, then our protagonists get into trouble as the robots multiply. All seems lost until Samuel Jackson's bald head strides in, accompanied by a whole bunch of other Jedi. Jedi and robot go at it in great numbers and there's lots of glowing phalluses being wielded about and much carnage. Jango Fett flies on into the fray only to get beheaded by Mace Windu. His young clone Boba seems to find this upsetting, and presumably he'll be holding a grudge for some time over this.

    Things go well (again) until our protagonists get into trouble (again) as the robots multiply (again). The next turn in the battle occurs when Yoda comes strafing into the arena with several ships loaded with clones and utters his most absurdly spoken line ever: "Around the survivors a perimeter create!" It made me want to beat Frank Oz to death with a copy of Labyrinth.

    As the arena battle winds down and everybody leaves to chase the fleeing Count Dooker we see Boba Fett cradling his progenitor's severed head. Somebody should get the kid some counseling or he's going to have some real issues later on.

    After a rolling battle across the plains of... whatever planet they're on ...Doochu gets cornered by Anakin and Obi-Wan. As anybody who's ever seen one of the other Star Wars movies can tell you, it's light saber time.

    Anakin attacks. Anakin gets tossed in the corner like a sack of dirty laundry. Obi-wan attacks. Obi-Wan gets beaten down like a filthy Scottish actor. Anakin attacks again, this time in the dark and with two glowing phalluses! He looks a lot like one of those irritating Rave kids waving glowsticks about, but he must've forgotten to take his vitamin E because he gets his hand chopped right off. Yes, his hand. The right one. Just like his future son. Oh, the anachronistic irony! This is profound stuff.

    Our protagonists are once again in trouble and all seems lost (again) until... ninja Yoda!

    He comes hobbling in on his cane looking a bit feeble, but oh is he pissed. After a short hand gesturing bit of "My Schwartz if bigger than yours" they get down to the wand waving. But Yoda doesn't grab his saber. Nosirree, he telekenesifies it from his belt to his wrinkled green paw. Yoda is one bad mother fucker.

    He flips, he spins, he darts through the air like a mosquito on crack. If you watch Iron Monkey on fast forward it still won't come close to the acrobatics of this little gremlin. However, he doesn't win. He's forced to chose between killing Count Doosey and saving the other two Jedi from a falling pillar, and he lets the Count go. Despite his ninja skills, Yoda is a humanitarian at the core. The next shot shows the Count flying away in a ship powered by some sort of solar sail (the "hard science" geeks are going to love that bit).

    As the movie draws to a close we see Anakin flexing his new prosthetic hand, just like Luke does in Episode V. It might be chilling if it weren't so contrived. When a screenwriter/director has a decade and a half to come up with a prequel you would expect him to conclude with something a little less obvious. But, that's what you get when you focus on joy nuggets of nostalgia for a pathetic group of emotionally underdeveloped adults.

  • I'm almost jealous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by theRhinoceros (201323) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @12:09PM (#3530314)
    Of all the 8 and 9 year olds who will be able to see the series as a whole at nearly the same time, without having to accrue 20 years of cynicism, rose-colored retrospection and inflated expectations between viewing the older and newer trilogies. My feelings regarding the movies have been tempered and altered so severely by time that to expect "as good or better than ESB" (a common refrain in fandom) is simply ridiculous, due to the one thing Lucas cannot possibly do: make me an 9-year old again.
  • Australia (Score:4, Funny)

    by dingo (91227) <gedwards@nOSpaM.westnet.com.au> on Thursday May 16, 2002 @12:10PM (#3530333) Journal
    I just got home from watching it and I must say it really is quite good. One problem that Ihad though is that a lot of the minor characters ("uncle" owen, his father, amidalas security chief etc) are Australian tv actors, and it is a bit distracting. amidalas security chief specifically has been in an Australian childrens program called Play School so i kept imagining him singing the wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round....
    otherwise,great

  • Questions (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MJArrison (154721)
    In what scene in Menace was Yoda CG?

    Does anybody know where I can find a list of digital theatres presenting the film?
  • by bahtama (252146) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @12:12PM (#3530349) Homepage
    I found this and thought I might pass it on, especially considering your comment on Mace.

    It is called "the TOP 10 Things [netscrap.com] We Want To Hear Samuel L. Jackson's Character 'Jedi Master Mace Windu' Say in the Star Wars Prequels."

    An example is, "Hand me my lightsaber... it's the one that says, 'Bad MotherF***er.'" :)

  • Mixed reviews (Score:5, Informative)

    by scubacuda (411898) <scubacuda @ g m ail.com> on Thursday May 16, 2002 @12:13PM (#3530361)
    Thus far, it's gotten very different reviews.

    Roger Ebert ripped it a new asshole [suntimes.com], saying that the characters talk "more like lawyers than the heroes of a romantic fantasy."

    Other reviews, however, were very positive (FilmThreat.com [filmthreat.com] had a cool review here [filmthreat.com] and here [filmthreat.com].

    If you've got the time, look at the smorgasbord of reviews [mrqe.com] on www.mrqe.com.
  • ...for me has always been the change from Anakin Skywalker to Darth Vader. It seems odd on the surface, but the most interesting element of the first trilogy was a transition that occurred years before.

    It's just kind of fascinating. How does someone become what they've sworn to oppose? From Obi-Wan's comments in the original trilogy, you see a picture of Anakin as a good friend, a decent guy who falls from grace and becomes a great force for evil (no pun intended). Sure, the "redemption" at the end of RotJ is good, but we want to see the fall. =)

    Even before seeing Episode I, my money was on Episode III to be what I was really waiting for. I and II are important to set these things up--I'll know more when I catch the 10:40 showing tonight--but the real story is going to be in Ep3.

    How to bring about such a dark (Darth?) result while ending in such a way that the audiences won't hang him in effigy (or in fact) is something that I hope Lucas can pull off.
  • by gsfprez (27403) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @12:18PM (#3530412)
    the long lines, the sound systems cranked up, the beach balls...

    I had almost forgotten what Star Wars could be like.

    But the first flight of fancy in the buildings of Courissant (sp?) - i was hooked!

    I'm sorry - but this was almost the best of the movies to date - just below Empire, of course..

    It FELT like a Star Wars movie again.. when you were first taken to strange new worlds (sorry) and got to see aliens and battles.. villians who's asses you want to see kicked...

    this movies has it all back.

    I think one of the best things that Lucas has done with this one is the fact that there are actual twists and turns!

    I mean, is the good-guy a bad-guy? Are the good guys fighting against the wrong person? The Good Guys fighting along side StormTroopers!?!

    I won't give spoilers - but I will say that this movie does bring back everything I loved about seeing the first movie when i was 5 with my dad at Big Newport (70mm of holy-crap-its-so-freaking-big screen)... and maybe part of why I loved it so much WAS getting to see this one - opening night - in the same theatre...

    i could be misguided.. but i'll be seeing this movie time and time again... just like the original 3.
  • by bje2 (533276) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @12:20PM (#3530418)
    Episode II was light years better then Episode I...while there were numerous scenes in PM that made me cringe at how bad they were, there's very little of that here...

    some things to look forward to if you haven't seen it yet...

    - Yoda's climactic fight scene...everyone has heard it's coming, but you can't be prepared to see Yoda in a lightsaber duel...the crowd in my theatre was literally cheering the whole time, at how cool it was...

    - Mace Windu also has some quality Lightsaber action, and some pretty bad-*ss scenes...only thing that would've made it better was if his lightsaber said "Bad A** Mother F*****" (Pulp Fiction Reference)...

    - Hayden Christenson is a huge improvement over Jake Loyd as Anakin (then again it would be hard not to be)...he's brilliant in the scenes where he has to show flashes of evil and flashes of the dark side...

    - From the trailers, i thought that the romantic part of the movie was gonna be super cheesy, but it's actually not as bad as i expected...though, there is one point when they're in that big field on a picnic, when it looks like a scene out of "Sound of Music"...

    - The worst part (IMO) was Lucas' attempts at some uneeded humor (much like Jar-Jar in Ep I)...in Ep II he uses C3P0 and R2D2 to deliver this humor both physically (in a ridiculous sequence with C3P0) and also in a series of bad puns involving the two of them...

    - Natalie Portman looks great in the movie...and if you've seen the trailers, you know the tight white top that she wears...well, let's just say, that it must be cold on Tatooine...

    well, that's my thoughts...
  • The "this one sucked less" tone of the review sadly reminds me of a lot of Microsoft Windows advocacy from past years. "Windows 95 crashes a lot less than Windows 3.1!" "With Windows 98, it only took me three tries to install the new hardware!"

    Is Episode III, as the review suggests, likely to be the "Windows 2000" of Lucas' declining franchise? You know, "pretty good except for a few remaining legacy problems (Jar Jar)." I don't like to see movies that have to have apologetics any more than I like to run software that comes with a list of excuses. Windows Lemmings run Windows and claim it's the best, even if they don't really like it. Star Wars lemmings run out to see Lucas' latest (and then again on a digital screen 2 weeks from now) even though the substance of his films is insultingly weak.

    The same market forces that have kept Windows so lousy are also at work setting up Episode III to be complete tripe (with great special effects).

    Episode II will probably get nominated for best visual effects and I hope the next LoTR film bests it amongst the Academy voters.

  • by matthewd (59896) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @12:24PM (#3530450)
    I haven't seen it mentioned anywhere yet, but did anyone notice how ATOC reveals why the Stormtroopers just plain sucked in ANH?

    The clones were of Jango Fett, and the Kaminoans were keeping him around while this whole cloning project was going on. So apparently they needed fresh material from him to keep making clones.

    After ATOC, they no longer have Jango Fett to clone, they started making clones of one of the clones. And you know how if you make a copy of a copy, it's not as sharp as the original....

    See the movie Multiplicity to get a better idea of why the Stormtroopers are the way they are....
  • Reviews are in (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Lonath (249354)
    And it looks good. Given the amazing special effects and storyline I expect the MPAA will be able to use the profits to buy off 2-3 more congressmen and take away computers just a little bit faster. It's a good thing that just about everybody on /. is a hypocrite because on Monday we can all come back here and bitch about how the **AA has too much money and how they're trying to take away freedom after we just spent a weekend gorging ourselves on the latest crap they flung up against the wall to squeeze a little more money out of us. Well folx. if you see this movie, you deserve to not have any computers. Have a nice day.

    And yes I *DO* have a lot of karma to burn, and no I *DON'T* care so mod me down you little hypocrite for hitting a little too close to home. You know I'm right.
    • by Prior Restraint (179698) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @12:38PM (#3530580)

      ...I expect the MPAA will be able to use the profits to buy off 2-3 more congressmen and take away computers just a little bit faster. It's a good thing that just about everybody on /. is a hypocrite because on Monday we can all come back here and bitch about how the **AA has too much money and how they're trying to take away freedom after we just spent a weekend gorging ourselves on the latest crap they flung up against the wall to squeeze a little more money out of us.

      There have been a lot of posts lately like this, which generally say, "Oh! I didn't know /. was supposed to like the MPAA today." Here's a handy little guide for future reference.

      First, the general rule is: We like the MPAA on Tuesdays and Fridays. There are, of course, exceptions to the rule, but this is a good basic reminder. Sometimes, like near a holiday weekend, we like the MPAA on a Thursday. Also, if the MPAA has generated a lot of hype, we'll like them on a Thursday (this is more likely during summer months). One time, the MPAA generated so much hype, we liked them on a Wednesday. But Fridays are a safe bet.

      Then, once we stop liking the MPAA, they shift gears and let us own a piece of hype, instead of merely look at it. This almost always happens on a Tuesday (check out your local video store if you don't believe me). Once, there was a very scary piece of hype (though some said it made them sea-sick, and was just plain stupid) that the MPAA let us own on a different day of the week (just in time for Halloween).

      I hope this clears things up.

    • Re:Reviews are in (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gowen (141411) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Thursday May 16, 2002 @01:12PM (#3530792) Homepage Journal
      Very good point.

      Except: Lucasfilm isn't affiliated to the MPA or the MPAA.
  • by marhar (66825) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @12:25PM (#3530462) Homepage
    Coming soon... Attack of the Amateur Movie Critics!
  • Scene: The revamped digital cutting room.

    Cue: ringing phone

    "Hello? Yes. Are you sure? Yes sir."

    % rm -f /data/episodeii/ohDearGod/insync*.mov

    The reviews from rest of world seem more upbeat, check out the force dot net [theforce.net]. I'll see it tomorrow, thanks to the girlfriend for picking up seats for the DLP viewing. Go digital.

  • by R. Paul McCarty (3571) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @12:28PM (#3530488) Homepage
    lone gunman \'lon 'gun-mun\ vt 1: To spoil the ending of a film, television show or story by including details, which were meant to be a surprise by the writers, in a slashdot story title. 2: To make yourself look foolish by posting a story on slashdot which was poorly thought out, has more then 12 mispelled words, or mentions the DCMA.

  • I've always thought the clones were, you know, real clones. Of people. It seems that they're robots from what I've seen/read about AotC. Is this right or wrong?

    I think I read a sequel book to Star Wars where a "clone" of one of some Dark Jedi Admiral was taking over what was left of the Empire... I assumed, or maybe read, that this was using the same techniques as in the Clone Wars?

    Someone help me out with my understanding of the Star Wars Universe...

    -Russ
    • they are in fact real people...genetically enhanced clones of bounty hunter Jango Fett (Boba's father)...

      incidentally, Boba is also a clone of his father, just not genetically altered...

      neither of these two things should be spoilers, both were widely known before the movie...
    • by Sloppy (14984)

      I don't get the whole point of making a clone army to begin with. Lack of diversity would make it a sitting duck for bio-attacks.

  • I keep hearing about problems with the transfer from digital media to celluloid, saying the projection is downright fuzzy in places. The best article is HERE [thehotbutton.com] quoting Roger Ebert and others, saying that even George Lucas wasn't happy that there is such a huge loss between digital projection and traditional. Has anybody noticed this? Is it irritating? Should I wait for the DVD?
    • It wasn't too bad, but you could notice it at times. Especially since you are going to expect it now. More annoying was the fact that the THX went in and out for about 30 minutes when I saw it, grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
  • Anakin is little improved from menace. I know he's supposed to be full of anger and angst, but mostly he just comes off as constipated and bitchy.

    Sadly this is the way alot of teenage angst comes across.

    Angst and anger while being trained to be a member of the elite Jedi doesn't say much for his upbringing.

  • If Lucas spent even a fraction of his effect budget on writers and decent actors then maybe I'd be happy.
    Flame me if you wish, but my feeling is that even though (as usual) this is a pretty movie to watch, it does not have any soul.

    The writing is extremely poor... I don't care if it was geared towards 12 year olds, a kid can still tell good writing from bad.

    The acting for the most part was poor. The only believeable characters were Owen and Peru..which seems kind of accurate in a way... Mix their gentle characters with the Annakin's insipid whining and you get Luke.

    Even Yoda (to me) seems to have lost a slight edge on what he used to be.

    This is only my opinion, but I would have rather donated my money to a fund for decent writers than have wasted my money and time on this film...

    again only an opinion from a disgruntled fan... give it time to sink in a little and I may like it a little better.
  • There was an article last week about the estimated cost to the economy of ~$300M. Just an observation from my morning commute, the traffic was very sparse and moved fast, I had the definite feel that there's a lot of people taking the day off to see EP2.
  • by techstar25 (556988) <techstar25NO@SPAMcfl.rr.com> on Thursday May 16, 2002 @12:41PM (#3530614) Homepage Journal

    lone gunmen (lon' gun'men)
    verb
    1. To prematurely reveal plot points.
    2. To spoil the surprise, reveal spoilers without warning."I'll try not to lone gunman the thing."
    3. To include spoilers in the headline.
    insert photo of chrisd here
  • If you mentally filter out every sequence that Jar Jar is on the scene, and maybe the midochlorians, and trim that Pod Race scene down, there's a good movie in there.

    I know where you're coming from Taco, but you're just wrong. It's not our job to "filter" jack squat. That's Lucas's job, one he's not doing.

    FYI everyone, Rotten Tomatoes [rottentomatoes.com] has it at "barely fresh", with 61% positive reviews. For the selected, more reputable reviews it's rotten at 47%. Doesn't bode well.

    Like it matters. The jackass has us all by the nape of our childhoods. I'll be there tonight. Already got my tickets in my pocket. There'll be bits that make me happy, but they'll be like reflections on water, untouchable & disturbed if you try. Ah well. We should all just realize we can't go back again.

  • The first [sfgate.com] of two articles on sfgate.com (SF Chronicle) [sfgate.com] covers the prerelease piracy of this movie (and others) by internet file swapping. It's not heavy handed either way, thank goodness.

    The review [sfgate.com] of the movie is by Mick LaSalle. An excerpt:

    No one goes to a "Star Wars" movie for the witty repartee. A more serious flaw is that the story is opaque, despite a script loaded down with exposition. And then there's the movie's atmosphere of super- seriousness -- an aura of here-we-are-making-a-classic -- which hangs over the action like a mildewed blanket.
  • The hard nipples and the half ripped off top of Amidala made it worth it! Three thumbs up!
  • by wrinkledshirt (228541) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @12:43PM (#3530630) Homepage
    Lucas has been over in the UK promoting Episode 2, and in the middle of defending Episode 1 in a press conference, let slip that an episode 7 might be in the works... [guardian.co.uk] It's near the bottom.

    Also, there's an interview with Lucas here [guardian.co.uk].
    • by Inoshiro (71693)
      Lucas always said he filmed the middle trilogy because it was the most action packed one. Now that he's rich, he can do the other two trilogies.

      Of course, we know he considers then inferioir to the middle one, so obviously no one is going to be as happy about them as with the ESB, the best movie of the best trilogy of the Star Wars epic.
  • It's fun to read good (as in well written and funny) reviews of a bad movie. Here are some:

    The best, from The Washington Post [washingtonpost.com]


    It's too long, it's too dull, it's too lame.
    But the mythic source he seems to have based this episode on is . . . "The McLaughlin Group"

    It's like reading the latest dispatch on the Mongolian parliament, as reported by Elizabeth Drew in a really cranky mood.

    the master Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) and his young mentee, Anakin Skywalker (played by 'N Sync star Justin Timberlake - no, no, played by Hayden Christensen, who looks like an 'N Sync kid but doesn't have as much talent).

    I'll tell you one thing: no star system central, as in, say, MGM, would have built a movie around the dim Americans who haunt this one. In fact, the movie is kind of a laboratory on American vs. British technique. Score: Brits 10, Yanks 0.

    even an actual great actor, Samuel L. Jackson, seems ridiculous. He never looks comfortable as the Jedi Mace Windu, in robes and boots, and there's nothing he can do at all with a line like "The Genosians aren't warriors. One Jedi has to be worth a hundred Genosians!"

    The 'N Sync kid is even worse. He seems to have wandered in from a Pepsi commercial. No, that would have been Justin Timberlake. Who knows where this dreary boy has been?



    Salon.com [salon.com] hates it. The Onion [theonionavclub.com] isn't impressed, and Adequacy [adequacy.org] rips it as well.

    Ninja Yoda sounds fun though.

  • Any time he comes onto the stage I just wanna stand up and shout "Yeah! Let's hear it for evil!"

    His performances in this film and as Suruman (in LOTR) have inspired me so much that I'm going to go out and do terrible things to many, many innocent people, because when it comes down to it, good is weak, and evil is strong.

    At first, I thought playing a semi-sympathetic misguided villain might be a stretch for Christopher, but he's just so delightfully vile it doesn't matter. His stage presence makes the appeal of the Dark Side all to clear.
  • by shawnmelliott (515892) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @12:47PM (#3530657) Journal
    CmdrTaco hasn't exactly redeemed himself this time around, but he has wiped out most of the worst of his last reviews from my memory. His review starts of slow and it takes until half the review to really start to get coherent. But the final paragraphs seem to really feel like English again. Read on for my full review- I'll try not to shoot down the lone gunman on this

    I really don't feel the review was that bad. If you ignore every misspelling, and the occasional attempt at the 10 dollar word there's a really good review in there. I read this hoping to get an increased desire to see the movie this Friday, support that going wouldn't be a waste of time and he mostly has give me that.

    Much of the same blah de blah is back. Unfortunately none of the 10 dollar words really seem to stand out.

    Most notable this time is how notable he though the CGI characters were. With the occasional reference to Menance and a couple times where I wasn't sure if he was talking about Episode I or II I found some of the information curious and some that just didn't make sense but those are the exception, not the rule.

    The review as a whole seems to work great. Many of the paragraphs bleed into one another where you can follow a coherent thought and altogether it wasn't too bad. I hope his reviews continue to improve

    I'd like to note that I didn't get to see it on my nice 17" monitor at home. I plan on seeing it there after 5:00 but I wanted to make sure this review didn't suck before I thought of maybe using my Lunch break to drive home to read it there.

    The rest of this review of the review would focus on the Grammatical and spelling insights, but was I found none I won't digress into that. A couple sentences were so awkward that they seemed like they would rather have been in different reviews. Their utter lack of chemistry is almost amusing.

    As usual, with the posts CmdrTaco gets some smack, and so other posts go to rescue him, only to end up compounding the level of smack around for other /.ers. Meanwhile Congress does its thing and a major shift in power occurs. We don't learn who is responsible for the clone army but we can guess, and what the plan for it is ( Perhaps enforcement of the DMCA? )

    The last paragraph of this review is the Payoff. Several sentences that actually make sense together but I'm not going to go into it because that might spoil the shock of it, but let make the following points. First, we finally have enough correct spelling of words in one place. The massive amounts of coherent thoughts we all knew these reviews could offer us. I don't know if it was worth the wait but it's nice to see

    The packed posts that I saw seemed to feel the same way as me. A few awkward FUNNY +3 even the occasion INSIGHTFUL +5 here and there.

    That really sums it up. It took 11.75 paragraphs of text to get us to the payoff. For some it might not have been worth the wait... but for me, I'm just happy to finally to see most of what was promised delivered. And I'm reinvigorated towards CmdrTaco. If Episode III's review can pick up where II left off, it should finally be the Star Wars Prequel review that we've been waiting for.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 16, 2002 @02:15PM (#3531572)
      This comment looks interesting, but it's quite long and I don'thave time to waste if it's not really worth reading. Can somebody write up a short review of it so I know if I should read the whole thing or not?

      (from what I hear, it's rife with misspellings...)
  • by wiredog (43288) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @12:58PM (#3530722) Journal
    Some people think so [weeklystandard.com].
  • quick note on dlp (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JimBobJoe (2758) <swiftheart@gmail ... m minus math_god> on Thursday May 16, 2002 @01:43PM (#3531216)
    **sorta spoilers included**

    I got the big privilege to see it this morning in DLP here in Cleveland. The digital system is not exactly earth shattering, but it is impressive (and I don't think I would even try going to see it on regular film.) There are no specks in the screen, and colors are indeed super bright (though the light sabers don't seem any more brillaint than they would be otherwise. I was disappointed by that.) Roger Ebert said that it looked disappointing on regular film, and I could how that would be , though I can't explain why.

    One thing that bugged me is that, and I dunno if this was the result of dlp, or it just happened that way, i could see that some of the scenes were not of tremendous quality. Standing in Palantine's office, you could see the entrance way (a door or two and a little room leading to his office) is computer generated, and lacks depth. Also, when Amidala is in the factory and stuck in a molten core barrel, you could sense how it was done in a studio--it lost the factory's touch.

    On an incidental note, I was a bit more touched by the romantic scenes, I'm just that type of person--I think the average /.'er requires electric shock therapy to feel love. (But I liked Jar Jar and the Ewoks, if that gives you any impression on the type of person I am.) And yeah, the dialogue leaves something to be desired.
  • by Pig Hogger (10379) <pig.hogger@noSpaM.gmail.com> on Thursday May 16, 2002 @02:09PM (#3531509) Homepage Journal
    We want THE Jon Katz review!

    We want to understand about the socio-economic relationships clones introduce when confronted to droids, and the threat such a relationship is towards the current Guild commercial ventures and business models!!!!

  • by macdaddy (38372) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @02:15PM (#3531566) Homepage Journal
    ...because there are only 323 posts on /. about it. Stupid judgical rulings get more respone than that.
  • I could care less (Score:3, Insightful)

    by abolith (204863) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @02:21PM (#3531624) Homepage
    If Episode III can pick up where II left off, III should finally be the Star Wars Prequel that we've been waiting for.

    We shouldn't have to wait until the fucking second or third episode to start with.

  • Thank You, George (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Chasuk (62477) <chasuk@gmail.com> on Thursday May 16, 2002 @02:29PM (#3531710)
    I saw the first Star Wars movie opening night when I was 16 years old. I was honestly perplexed that anybody thought that it was other than shallow, contrived shit. I persevered, watching every SW film afterwards on opening night, wanting to understand why this derivative garbage had so captured the pysche of the nation. I wanted to belong, damnit!

    For Phantom Menace, I attended just because I'd seen the other three. Of course, I was disappointed. Last night, I went to see Clones, KNOWING that it was going to be trash.

    Happily, for the very first time, I was wrong. Lucas finally presented to me a world that I had never seen before. Sometimes the CGI was disappointing, but only occasionally and never to the point of distraction. It was fast-paced, but still contained enough of a story to hold my interest. The eye candy was fantastic. Almost every alien and every craft and every city was amazing.

    Omit the Anakin masturbation scene, and the Sound of Music scene, and much of the dialogue between our two young lovers (no chemistry, and that is hard to imagine considering that Natalie is HOT and a capable actor), and the movie was the second best I've seen this year (Brotherwood of the Wolf being the first).

    Of course, I was disturbed that Natalie's character simpers so often, and, even after Anakin reveals that he is a mass murderer of women and chidren, she still marries him.

    Still, I enjoyed it more than anything I've seen Lucas direct since American Graffiti or THX 1138.

    Thank you, George.
  • Clones Delivers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BitGeek (19506) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @02:42PM (#3531828) Homepage

    I'm going to wander a bit, but I think there's an important point that people are missing. People miss the context of these movies and Lucas has put a very subversive political statement in them- both in how they are made and in the story they tell.

    I never quite understood the complaints from the Star Wars "fans" about Phantom Menace. It seems there's a lot of people who wanted A New Hope remade and hated tht Lucas released a movie with a different story! Jar Jar was the lightning rod for this.

    But PM was a summer bubble gum movie, JUST LIKE Star Wars originally was.

    Lucas has stayed true to his vision with this movie, as we move towards the period in which ANH takes place we can see how we got from PM to ANH.

    This movie, shot digitally, and shown digitally, really rocks. It is a compelling argument for digital theater. Its unfortunate that the reviewer is reviewing the movie not as it was meant to be seen-- but film isn't the only issue here. When ships rumbled this morning I felt it in my legs. (Cinerama in Seattle, best theater I've ever been in.) The image was pristine the sound system THX and turned up.

    The other is that this is not a Tom Clancy story. This is not a Wim Wenders story. This is not a typical movie saga-- this is Space Opera.

    A lot of "fans" seem to have forgotten this. This isn't The Matrix-- they are different categories of movies. Unfortunately, there is so little Science Fiction that all Science Fiction is perceived to be the same genre.

    I freely admit that I prefer the style of story and dialogue of Blade Runner and the Matrix over Star Wars-- but Lucas's does his job so well that I have to give his movies the higher marks.

    Lucas is telling a Galactic sized story, and only has 270 minutes to do it in. That means each scene must convey a lot of information, and the result is tortured dialog... and even then it feels like there's a whole lot that we don't get to see.

    I respect this ambition, and I accept that it means that finding a cast that can convey it is going to be difficult-- especially given the financial, and political constraints on Lucas. Remember, these movies are made outside the hollywood system and without union crews-- and I applaud that. Its the ONLY way to tell the story you want to tell.

    Many "fans" seem to forget who the audience for these movies is. It isn't 35 year old computer geeks. Otherwise they wouldn't be popular. The audience is middle america who wants entertainment. And Lucas, consistently, delivers what they want.

    That's why we have Jar Jar - kids love him. That's why we have a love story in this movie. (Not to mention it would be hard to conceive Luke and Leia without some love story somewhere.)

    And the reason he "compromises" in this way is not just to get the big box office, but to serve his larger, ultimate goal. Notice how much politics there are in these films? There's a really subversive message. One that Marx made (before jumping to foolish conclusions) and most americans ignore, but is extremely poignant these days:

    When given the chance, people will trade liberty for security.

    Ben Franklin brought this up a long time ago, in a country far far away, and Lucas is making the point again, but a bit too subtly for most people to pick up on it.

    Do you trade democracy for the perceived security of a clone army? Regular inspections at airports? Do you concede your inalienable right to self defense and rely on the Jedi? Notice that Amadala is a pretty self sufficient person when the going gets tough.

    And when you do, ultimately, as all democracies seem want to do, trade liberty for perceived security, you get neither-- you get an empire.

    As we react to being attacked by "seperatists" with increased government control over our lives, we move in the direction of the dark side- of fascism- does it need to be pointed out how similar the empire's soldiers in the first three movies looked like our Nazis? The fixation with Nazis shown in the indiana jones movies?

    They do make great villains, especially visually. but there's a lot more going on here.

    Hitler was freely elected in Germany. A chancellor, or senator, he was. Germans, after the defeat and Trade Federations imposition at the treaty of versailles, wanted a strong leader. One who would raise an army despite the prohibitions. Hitler was that leader. He raised an army of genetically pure "clones" with rigid behavioral conformity and turned the country into an empire.

    Nobody thinks it could happen here, but difficult to see, the dark side is.

    BitGeek
    • Re:Clones Delivers (Score:3, Informative)

      by CaptainAvatar (113689)
      Hitler was freely elected in Germany. A chancellor, or senator, he was. Germans, after the defeat and Trade Federations imposition at the treaty of versailles, wanted a strong leader. One who would raise an army despite the prohibitions. Hitler was that leader. He raised an army of genetically pure "clones" with rigid behavioral conformity and turned the country into an empire.

      Standard historical pedantry: Hitler in fact was not elected, freely or otherwise. He ran for President in 1932 but was beaten by the incumbent, Hindenburg. The Nazis were doing extremely well in parliamentary elections (over 30%-40% of the vote, peaked at 48% in one state, I think) but there is some evidence to suggest that their vote (and their funds) was declining by the time the conservative clique who ran politics at the time installed Hitler as Chancellor in Jan 1933 as a puppet. Quite possibly the biggest underestimation in history! Later on, his rule was endorsed by several plebiscites which were free, if not fair (the massive support for Hitler was accurate enough, but all political opposition had been eliminated by this stage). But these had no constitutional validity. Hitler was installed, not elected. He had held no elected political post whatsoever before 1933.
  • Four words (Score:4, Funny)

    by andy@petdance.com (114827) <andy@petdance.com> on Thursday May 16, 2002 @03:30PM (#3532172) Homepage
    Four words, my brothers:
    Padme in black leather
  • by Daetrin (576516) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @10:11PM (#3534180)
    Was the unceasing references to earlier Star Wars movies, both visual and audible. It seems like every time a major dramatic scene happened both sides felt compelled to toss out minor variations on speaches we heard 20 years ago. "Join with me. Together we can yadda yadda" By the time the Death Star's "cameo" came around I was ready to laugh at the whole thing. It seemed like a desperate ploy on Lucas' part to forcibly remind us of AotC's relation to the movies we loved.

    The most implausible scene however was Shmi's death. She was holding out in captivity for a month waiting for a rescue she never knew would arrive. Yet after surviving for that long she then just magically dies a minute or two after Anakin rescues her. The timing of that is beyond coincidental.

    A more plausible, and perhaps more fitting, scenario would have been for Anakin to try and carry her out of the camp, only to have a signle Tusken Raider catch them and shoot her.

    For added dramatic emphasis, Anakin could reach out with the force in a moment of rage and strangle the Tusken, causing the trademarked cluthing of the throat and falling to the floor. Having quietly dispatched the opponent, Anakin could then have a few minutes for his mom to give him her dying speach before he goes on his rampage and kills everyone.

    Along with showing more clearly his fall to the dark side, it would also make his failure to rescue her more pronounced.

    (And on a sidenote, where are all the Jedi? If 10,000 systens is only minority of the Republic, there must be at least 100,000 systems. At a billion people each(?) that would be a population of 100 trillion. Yet there are only a hundred or so fully trained Jedi?)

  • by cannonball_D (562305) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @10:46PM (#3534355)

    My criticism of these movies lies only with their success... please let me explain:

    PEOPLE ARE EXPECTING TOO MUCH, and YES, this has been said before, so again, let me explain:

    Star War Episode IV was the first Star Wars that was released for a reason! Give or take a few details (OK, maybe more than a few), the overall story was already formed before shooting of the original Star Wars began. But just like Back to the Future, the total concept for the plot and the characters and their adventures and the ultimate finale simply couln't fit into one movie -- this is why there was a Back to the Future I, II and III, and this is why we are still waiting for more Star Wars. So why was Episode IV released first, and why was it so much more positively received by the critics?

    Episode IV was a success because of one simple fact: it had clearly defined "good guys" and "bad guys". The Empire was already formed, and it was bad. Darth Vader was bad. Luke was good. Leia was good. Obi Wan (Ben) was good. Simple.

    But even still, there were hints at a greater scheme -- there was a history, there was an anxiousness at the end that made people wonder "whats next"? Well, with these "prequels" we already know "what is next" (in the long term anyhow), and although we in the audience really know who is "bad", it isn't really clearly defined. This is a much more subtle arena -- the title of Episode I was very appropriate, and for that reason (and yes, of course, even PeTA members would like to kill Jar Jar) it was highly criticized. I think Episode II answers a lot of questions, and given the enormous story that Lucas is trying to tell, I commend him for his efforts -- this has all the heart of the originals despite not having a cowboys vs. indians black and white story from the get go. We all knew there was a back story, and it amazes me that some critics have the nerve to complain that the material isn't "fresh".

    I have read reports (Rex Reed, for example) that claim this is a boring movie. Get off the Vicodin -- this has more explosions, fight sequences, chase scenes, thrills and surprises than any other action movie I can think of. Sure it has its flaws (read: "love" scenes), but the movie's greatest flaw is that it is the latest in a series of wonderful movies -- I can't think of an easier and more obvious target for a mainstream critic.

  • Dooku and Anakin (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hostmaster (176876) on Friday May 17, 2002 @12:23AM (#3534893) Homepage
    Anyone notice how Dooku and Anakin say almost exactly the same thing? "I am the most powerful Jedi in the galaxy". I guess it's expected, but I didn't think it would be so blatant, and Palpatine tells Anakin, "You're the most talented Jedi I've ever met".

    I though the romantic scenes were a little sappy (but I always do, seen too many Hindi movies). But, they are much better the second time around, and you catch a few more nuances (they're there). I wanted to see whether they would be as embarassing the next time around, and they really weren't.

    I could hear Lucas in the director's chair saying:

    - Natalie, you're still thinking, is this the little 10 year old from Tatooine.
    - Natalie, you're tocuhed by his declaration, but wiggle your shoulders a little more, and edge away from him on the sofa.
    - Hayden, you're willing to tell her *anything* to her, you're 20 years old and you've been a monk for the past 10.
    - Hayden, keep staring at her, you know she likes it.

    None of the actors have the presence of Alec Guinness, Harrison Ford, or James Earl Jones' voice. Ian McDiarmid (Palpatine) and Christopher Lee (Dooku) probably come closest.
  • Aargh! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Animats (122034) on Friday May 17, 2002 @03:31AM (#3535531) Homepage
    • The shiny spaceship sounds just like a Pan Am Flying Boat.
    • The giant waterfalls sound just like lawn sprinklers.
    • They can build intelligent droids, but not targeting systems that score hits at short range.
    • Nobody, on any side, has even a basic knowledge of infantry tactics.
    • That stamping-factory scene would never have gone over in the 1950s, back when everybody knew what an auto stamping plant looked like.
    • Jedi use light-sabers, and their enemies know this. So why do their enemies always use weapons with muzzle velocities so low that the Jedi can hit the projectiles with light-sabres?
    • The ex-queen lands at the palace, and has to carry her own luggage?
    • They're guarding somebody in a tower in a big city with heavy air traffic, and they don't have systems or people that can detect something landing outside the window and cutting a hole in it?
    • The bad guys use crawling creatures as a weapon when something more direct, like a grenade, would be far more effective.

    David Weber and Lois McMaster Bujold write far better space opera. Lucas should outsource the plot and concentrate on what he's good at: effects and production.

  • by infiniterecords (199295) on Sunday May 19, 2002 @06:33AM (#3545258)
    Get your flamethrowers out boys.

    George Lucas has set movie heroines back at least 50 years with the use of Natalie Portman in AOTC.

    I know I know...you all think she's a hottie what with her exposed back in the infamous perilously draped bedsheet as dress number on the terrace scene, or the strapless black pleather dominatrix wannabe getup in the hokey fireplace festivities scene or even the white longjohns in the colliseum battle scene...once they've been conveniently slashed to reveal her tummy.

    Take it from a real woman - Nat's a "nottie"

    Meta-Quote "There are no jiggling breasts in space". --Carrie Fisher in 'Skywalking' quoting George Lucas's reason for mercilessly taping her breasts flat to her body for the filming of ANH.

    Every second Little Miss 'I better use my only 2 talents 'cause I sure as hell can't act worth a crap' was on screen I secretly longed for Leia to swoop in and bitch slap the dumb blonde conveniently disguised as a brunette Amidala (I'm supposed to believe she's Leia's *mother*?!?! I don't think so...). Assassins kept trying to kill Amidala through out AOTC and what does she do? Change outfits, usually to something that would even have Joe Pesci's Vinnie saying a la My Cousin Vinnie 'Oh yeah Padme, you blend...not!' Here's a fashion tip: A shiny silver cape on a desert planet is about as subtle as Jennifer Lopez's Grammy Awards bathrobe in a mosque filled with Shiite Muslim clerics - nothing like the impractical outfit to remind the killers just where their target is at all times (see Kate Capshaw in Temple of Doom).

    Leia Organa was and in my mind still is the only regal female character, a real Star Wars fan's princess. That Padme's now only a Senator says something (apparently even a pair of perky ones doesn't translate to a lifetime guarantee to a crown). And while we're on the subject of breasts, Carrie Fisher had to go through two and a half full movies before she was ever allowed to show a little skin and she still hooked up with Harrison Ford, Even fully clothed that relationship was damned sexy! Watching Padme half-naked and forced to keep saying 'no we really shouldn't Ani' while making cow eyes at him was beyond stupid and painful and sends the not so subtle message that George has forgotten what makes for a real heroine - the ability of a woman to stand up for herself and kick a little ass whether she's taped and covered in a white shroud and has her hair done up in to ear-covering danishes or whether she's chained half-naked to a morbidly obese slime slobbering lounge lizard.

    While Leia would shove a Wookie into a stinking trash compactor to get away from imminent danger, Padme can't figure out how to crawl out of a big bucket. Where Leia would give Han Solo shit about being a money grubbing mercenary jerk, Amidala can't even convincingly defend her own politics to an escaped boy band look alike who is a cross between Wesley Crusher and any dreaded Mary Sue from any fanfic cannon you'd care to name.

    And let's get to Amidala's taste in uh sullen teenagers. Hayden is certainly no James Earl Jones, he's not a Harrison, heck he's not even up to Hamill on Mark's worst day. Hayden has exactly two facial expressions: drool and pout and most of the time he doesn't know which one he should don. This poor little boy's character is saddled with the great task of becoming the menacing Darth-freaking-Vader and anytime he does something vaguely unsettling (like say committing small scale genocide to avenge a plot device...I mean his mother's death) our heroine's first instinct is to give him a cuddle?!?! Besides Anakin being ten years younger, a thousand times less smooth than the geekiest geek you can imagine, and a future mass murderer Padme all of a sudden finds Ani peachy keen and hints that she'll put out for him if he'll fight by her side when it looks like they're both going to be executed. Gag me with a lightsaber already! Or better yet Harrison appearing as Indiana with a big black revolver and shooting the creepy lovers the way he did with the big sabre wielding dude in 'Raiders' would have made me respect George Lucas again.

    And there lies the crux of the problem: by using Padme/Natalie as the female protagonist in this first trilogy old Papa Skywalker Ranch is really saying he doesn't give a rat's patootie about his female characters other than as fashion accessories and plot devices. I'd like for Georgie Porgie to remember that the women in his audience young and old are all smarter than those Kenner action figures he's gonna retire on. It's sad that he's dumbed down his plots so that kids won't see too much death and bad stuff (ie why the Dark Side of the Force has been stripped from this first trilogy) but it's unforgiveable that Padme doesn't stand up for herself until very late in AOTC. The message this first trilogy sends to women and young girls is that we're not a factor in a major political and spiritual revolution except as a fetus factories and eye candy and for someone as smart as Lucas it's unforgiveable. He had better give Padme some honorary cojones for Episode III or he's gonna lose his female audience (you know the future mothers and grandmothers and ticket buyers for the generation of little urchins to whom the third Star Wars trilogy will be marketed) and lord knows he can't conquer the box offices or the Dark Side without us.

    Besides every geek knows that smart is infinitely sexier than skin ;-)

The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell. -- Confucius

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