ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  george lucas

RATED  -  pg

GENRE  -  sci-fi

LENGTH  -  132 minutes

RELEASED  -  16 may 2002

DISTRIBUTOR  -  20th century fox

OFFICIAL SITE  -  attack of the clones

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $120,000,000
star wars - episode ii: attack of the clones - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from star wars - episode ii: attack of the clones at

buy the dvd from star wars - episode ii: attack of the clones at

ten years after the events of the phantom menace, obi-wan kenobi and anakin skywalker are assigned to protect padmé amidala whose life is threatened by a faction of political separatists. as relationships form and powerful forces collide, these heroes face choices that will impact not only their own fates, but the destiny of the republic.

only 60 screens in the united states will be showing this film digitally. lucas had hoped all screens showing this film would be digital by the time it was released. he has stated that theaters will not be able to show episode iii unless they have a digital screen.


picture from star wars - episode ii: attack of the clones

picture from star wars - episode ii: attack of the clones

picture from star wars - episode ii: attack of the clones


two out of four possible stars

There's something magical about seeing that familiar yellow script fly up a black, starry screen after having just listened to the trumpeting fanfare of the Twentieth Century Fox theme song . . . if ever a movie was able to create a sea goose bumps on the collective arms of a packed theater, this is the film that could do it. Though there are a few rather glaring mistakes littered throughout George Lucas's latest masterpiece, viewers of Attack of the Clones should take heart that the billionaire has done his level best to improve upon what some considered a failing franchise.

Not in the financial sense, of course, but in the general public's perception of the Star Wars movies. And it is certain that the films Lucas has made in the past five years are a different breed of movie than his beloved original trio of Star Wars movies. New actors, different decades, and more advanced movie-making technology have all but forced Lucas's latest film into unfamiliar territory. Even casual viewers of these films will no doubt see the difference a few decades can make.

Whether these differences will be considered fortunate is a question for debate. Has the influx of advanced digital technology taken over the emotional element of Star Wars? In Clones, Lucas does his level best to convince his audience otherwise. He has gone so far as to include quite a few scenes detailing the emerging romance between Anakin (the future Darth Vader) and Padmé (Luke and Leia's mother). This romantic angle was an element always in the background of Episodes Four, Five, and Six, but it's definitely a major theme in Episode II. In creating this love story, Lucas made his first mistake: the love story is quite flat. The scenes involving Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman's romance easily verge into the humorous and the dialogue between them is apt to elicit more than one chuckle from most movie-goers.

But though this awkwardness is readily apparent during the first half of the film, any doubts about the romance nearly disappear in the second half of the film. And despite the fact that the romantic element is downplayed further into the movie, the relationship between Christensen and pPrtman becomes more believable after those first lumbering scenes. Of course it's possible that the lack of grace in the romance scenes is caused by an over-zealous editor. The editing of the film, at least in the first half, allows for several lengthy pauses from many different characters. Given the action-oriented nature of the Star Wars films, these pauses disrupt the narrative flow, which seems halted in its tracks every time a character chooses to adopt some quizzical look and stare off into space.

But this steady method of editing slowly fades into a more frenetic pace as the film moves into its second half. It wouldn't be stretching the truth to say that the two halves of the film look as though two different people edited them. Even the cinematography changes over the course of the movie. Where in the beginning, the camera work is fluid and graceful, the second half is fast and eye-popping. This transition from thoughtful to frenzied is not a jarring one though, and one could say that the increasing pace over the course of the film works in the story's favor. As the pace of the film increases, the audience becomes more interested in the story and that pace serves to hold viewers' attention with ease.

One of the hallmarks of all George Lucas's movies is an overabundance of computer graphics and special effects. And in Attack of the Clones, he doesn't disappoint. In fact, the special effects in this film supersede anything that's been put to celluloid before. The CGI and blue screen sequences contain elements of completely computer-animated elements that are indistinguishable from everything that is real in the frame. Computer generated realism has been brought to quite an elaborate level with this film, the mountains of special effects actually don't overpower the characters. Though some of the performances are muted, the special effects are so incredible in their sophistication, that the literally blend in to the environment that Lucas and his team has created. The effects are stunning, but they don't stick out like Bobba Fett running around Mos Eisley.

It's not an easily accomplished feat to create a special effects heavy film that isn't ruled by its cinematic magic. But this accomplishment is further evidence that Attack of the Clones has a bit more going on than its predecessor. bBt one peculiarity about this film is that a few of the supporting characters almost have the ability to eclipse a few of the lead stars. The actor who should have had the most prominent likeness represented on the movie poster is Ewan Mcgregor. His performance as Obi-Wan Kenobi is the most lively, believable, and human performance in the film. without such actors as Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, The Phantom Menace was sorely lacking in the wry humor present in the Star Wars films of twenty years ago. But fortunately, Ewan Mcgregor injects a good amount of comedy into the film.

It almost makes up for the lack of personality present in the two lead stars. And the fact that Yoda kicks some serious butt is a mark in the film's favor as well. Regarding exciting climax scenes in science fiction movies, Attack of the Clones may just take the prize when Yoda takes the stage at the very end to do battle with Christopher Lee's evil count Dooku. The excitement in this film has the ability to interest fanatics and non-fans alike. Though not without its flaws, Attack of the Clones holds its own as a superior example of science fiction/fantasy filmmaking and it knows how to show its audience a good time. Don't be afraid to drop the nine bucks for a ticket to the big screen. Attack of the Clones is an experience best had in the comfort of a huge movie theater.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

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