Conflicted flick decorated with spangly effects
This is one of those reviews where, as I start writing it, I really have no idea what arbitrary overall rating I'm going to slap the film with. Most of the time, I have a pretty good idea, though occasionally I find a few more issues with the film than I anticipated and have to knock down the score a notch or two. The problem here is that there are too many ways to look at a new Star Wars movie, too many levels at which the film has to operate.
And that's the biggest issue with the Episode II - it simply addresses so many aspects of the history of the Star Wars universe, it's almost impossible to do all of them (or as I'm sure some would say, any of them) very well.
Before digging into this, let's examine what Episode II has to fulfill on. Obviously, there is a considerable amount of plot that needs to fit between the other films. We've had hints back from the original star wars trilogy of the clone wars, and more plot introduced in The Phantom Menace that must also be continued, upon which is heaped the whole story of Darth Vader's origins. Consider also that George Lucas can't write himself into a corner here and all the important pieces of Episode III need to have been determined before the script for II was complete. Right off the bat, there is little flexibility in what must be addressed in the episode.
Not only does Lucas have to deal with the scads of elements in his highly developed storyline, but he also has to address the many expectations of his audience. Or perhaps, his own ideas about what the audience expects. You know what I'm talking about - light sabre battles, epic space battles, breakthrough effects, wild new aliens, spectacular vistas on new planets, and more. The first prequel, The Phantom Menace, seems to have inaugurated the massive ground battle as well as the impassioned speech, as well. I didn't take notes here, but I'm sure there's at least another half dozen required bits I've missed that now have to go into a Star Wars movie.
Consider that the real work Attack of the Clones needed to do was tell a love story. Never mind that the title's wrong - the clone bit needs to be in there, but it's treated like a side note, so almost doesn't deserve the title. At the same time, the love story is treated almost the same way. We get a thirty second snippet of Skywalker and Amidala inching closer to love at about fifteen minute intervals, just to remind us that, by the way, these two are supposed to be gettin' it on.
And I guess that's the real problem here. There's no focus - everything is a side plot, and there's no main thrust of the movie. This episode had the potential to be the best of the whole series if done right. I guess that hope slides to Episode III now, which should deal with the turning of Anakin to the dark side. It's really the last chance to turn in something that's not merely a technical achievement.
Full profile for Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones
Offsite info: Internet Movie Database
Review: Wow, depressingly bad 2/10 mastadonfarm
Review: May the Farce be with you... 6/10 SillyconJester
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