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Star Wars Episode II: The Attack of the Clones

September 9, 2010

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)
Director: George Lucas
Actors: Hayden Christensen, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman

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Synopsis: Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) conducts a secret affair with Princess Amadala (Natalie Portman), while a secret clone army is being developed to endanger the galaxy.

Review: Most critics consider Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace to be the nadir of the Star Wars series, but I consider this particular piece of nonsense to be the proud owner of that title. This is truly awful stuff, and really does confirm the extent to which Lucas has totally misunderstood the ingredients that made his initial trilogy the success it became. The main problem is Lucas’ infantile fetish for CGI effects. Like a child that’s been given free rein in a toy shop, Lucas can’t resist playing with his newfound technology, and bloats every single cinematic frame with pointless, nonsensical detail that makes the story appear to exist less in the eminently realistic space environment of the first trilogy, but more in a virtual-reality computer game. The problem with this is that never at any point is the audience able to relax into the world of the narrative, as the visual aesthetic continually dissipates the ability to suspend one’s disbelief. Add to that, Lucas has absolutely no sense of dramatic pacing. The plot crashes on from one relentless, overly busy set-piece to the next one, and the next one….

Even the minutiae of the actual narrative is execrable. It’s hard not to feel that Lucas is simply trickling out the franchise to create this pre-trilogy, when in reality he could have told the prequel story up to Darth Vader’s genesis in a lot less screen time. Lucas’ script betrays the paucity of the drama, be it through endless spoken exposition of the story, or through giving woeful dialogue to its actors – namely Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman who have to act out a cringeworthy courtship subplot. Even Ewan McGregor, rightly considered to be a consummate film actor, looks the very definition of wooden, with his terribly uncomfortable portrayal of the young Obi-Wan Kenobi. (November 2006)

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