DENNIS SCHWARTZ 
IS THERE ANY GOOD 
IN SAYING 
EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?

 
STAR WARS: EPISODE 11- ATTACK OF THE CLONES (director/writer: George Lucas; screenwriter: Jonathan Hales; cinematographer: David Tattersall; editor: Ben Burtt; music: John Williams; cast: Ewan McGregor (Obi-Wan Kenobi), Natalie Portman (Senator Padmé Amidala), Hayden Christensen (Anakin Skywalker), Ian McDiarmid (Supreme Chancellor Palpatine/Darth Sidious), Samuel L. Jackson (Mace Windu), Pernilla August (Shmi Skywalker), Jack Thompson (Cliegg Lars), Frank Oz (Yoda), Christopher Lee (Count Dooku/Darth Tyranus), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO/ Lt. Dannl Faytonni), Kenny Baker (R2-D2), Jimmy Smits (Senator Bail Organa), Temuera Morrison (Jango Fett), Ahmed Best (Voice of Jar Jar Binks), Silas Carson (Nute Gunray/Ki-Adi-Mundi); Runtime: 132; 20th Century Fox; 2002)

 
"It plays like an infomercial plugging the newest in digital filmmaking."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

It plays like an infomercial plugging the newest in digital filmmaking. The dialogue cowritten by George Lucas and Jonathan Hales (screenwriter for "The Scorpion King") is not bad, it is horrid. This 140 million dollar production is purely a special effect movie--one that is gorgeous and still the best special effect film around that money can buy (a reason enough to see the film). The true believers should enjoy what the film has to offer, which is what it always has accomplished. It therefore isn't better or worse than the overhyped Phantom Menace, just more of the same -- but with some minor improvements. The obnoxious Jar Jar Binks, now a senator, has less to say, which is its greatest improvement.

This B-film action story and its ongoing myth of good versus evil is just not that interesting. Its pop culture elder wise men: Yoda, Kenobi, and Mace Windu offer very shallow teachings.

In this episode Anakin will reveal his dark side and how it is a natural progression for the power hungry, arrogant, and volatile Jedi destined to become Darth Vader. He has a lousy disposition, doesn't obey his master Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), disrespects his Jedi vows and favors a benevolent dictatorship over a democracy.

The middle part stretches for one and half hours, as lots of inane dialogue is used to setup its plotlines. The cornball love story between the spoiled Anakin Skywalker (Christensen) and the plastic young senator of the Republic Padmé Amidala (Portman), takes center stage. Finally in the last 40 or so minutes, the Jedi battle the clones to not only save the Republic but the picture from the doldrums.

Episode II picks up ten years after the Phantom Menace, and Anakin Skywalker is a young man assigned for the last ten years as an apprentice to the master Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi. These two Jedis are assigned to protect the former queen of Naboo, now Senator Amidala (Natalie Portman), from recurring assassination attempts. She has arrived on the planet of Coruscant, the Republic's capital, to vote on the pressing issue of what to do with rebellious systems leaving the Republic. Kenobi finds out that a bounty hunter, Jango Fett, has been hired to bump off Senator Amidala and tracks him down by traveling to a spot on the universe that was erased from the official map. This hidden planet is known for developing clones. Anakin accompanies Amidala to Naboo as her sole guard, but due to his thoughts of his mother he disobeys the Jedi's vow of no emotional attachments. Soon Anakin and Amidala leave for Tatooine. There Anakin discovers that his mother is dead. He also falls in love with Amidala and a forbidden love blooms.

Obi-Wan unravels a diabolical plot that leads to the discovery that the ex-Jedi Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) is part of the insurrection. The sinister supreme chancellor is also revealed as Darth Sidious (McDiarmid) and is manipulating the war from behind the scenes. On the hidden planet the Jedis at last battle the clones and the screen is filled with computerized bloodless battles.

The main purpose of episode 11 is to build a bridge to the next episode, so far unnamed, which promises to be darker. Star Wars has been around for 25 years and seems to have grown tired and less fun, but not enough to lose its box-office clout and magical appeal to its fan base.

The film's two most magical scenes were: the breathtaking aerial chase through the crowded skies and the light-saber duel between the good Yoda and the evil Count Dooku.

REVIEWED ON 5/20/2002     GRADE: B-

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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