a critiQal film review Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002)

Plot: 10 years later, the Republic continues to be mired in strife and chaos. A separatist movement encompassing hundreds of planets and powerful corporate alliances poses new threats to the galaxy that even the Jedi cannot stem. These moves, long planned by an as yet unrevealed and powerful force, lead to the beginning of the Clone Wars - and the beginning of the end of the Republic.

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  • ...Fans of Star Wars AND Spaceballs should enjoy this chapter.

A lot of people have been disappointed by Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, but I wasn’t. I liked it. Sure, Anakin isn’t a great actor (again), but he does a pretty good “I’m not gonna take it anymore” look, and he doesn’t really need much more to make it through the movie. The special effects varied from amazing to hokey. So did the movie, I guess, but it left me feeling pretty good about it by the end.

Ewan McGregor (Obi Wan Kenobi) actually has grown into his character. He looked a bit too much like Trainspotting (1996) Ewan in the previous installment, but in this one, he seems a bit more Obi Wan-ish. You can definitely start to see the person that Obi Wan becomes in the original Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977) movie.

Ex-Queen, now Senator, Amidala seems not to have aged a day in the 10 years since we last saw her, which was a bit odd, especially next to “all growed-up” Anakin. Despite this, she gives another decent performance.

There were really only two major flaws I saw with the actors in this movie: they still haven’t found a decent Anakin and what the heck is Jimmy Smits doing here? Shouldn’t he be filming an “LA Law” (TV) remake or doing a ghost appearance on “NYPD Blue” (TV)? All he does is stand around and try to look knowing, and have a crappy haircut.

The special effects were great for the most part. The shots of the city traffic and the Clone Troopers were excellent, but the one scene that keeps coming to mind is Anakin riding a cow. That scene should have been cut. It doesn’t look finished, and he doesn’t really seem to be moving with the cow.

With special effects though, a highlight of the movie is seeing Yoda kick some Dark Side butt with a display that has to be seen to be believed. You’ll be laughing, or groaning, depending on how you take it.

Throughout the movie, there are a few very bad puns thrown in, but I think they kind of add to the movie. The second installment of the first trilogy, Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980), was actually rather dark. Rather than repeat that, they made this one not as dark, and added some puns to lighten it up a bit. I think it worked quite well.

The bottom line: If you are a die-hard Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977) fan, you may not appreciate what this movie is trying to do. If you, like me, liked the first few, but also liked Spaceballs (1987), this movie is for you.

You’ll laugh, groan, and be on the edge of your seat. Now that’s my kind of movie!

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