Star Wars Episode II: The Attack Of The Clones
“Much to learn have you, young padewan.”
Been waiting for this moment we all have. But first, some previews to review we have. DIE ANOTHER DAY–Bond #20 is about, um, well…what are they all about?! Some doofus wants to rule the world and decides to take Bond on. The doofus fails and we all live happily ever after while Bond humps the girls. And this time it’s Academy Award winner Halle Berry. This marks the first time the a Bond girl has won an Oscar before she was actually a Bond girl. AND it was directed by Lee Tamahori, the New Zealand director of Once Were Warriors and The Edge. (Of course he also did Mulholland Falls and Along Came A Spider, so this could totally suck.)
Rumor has it that Michelle Yeoh’s character was supposed to come back. Unfortunately she couldn’t make it. Too bad. She was one of the best parts of Tomorrow Never Dies.
This is only a teaser, but what a teaser! It starts off with hundreds of naked women laying on top of each other. Any movie with that in the trailer I have to see. And it’s a Bond flick, so of course I’ll be there.
THE MATRIX RELOADED/THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS–Finally these fucking movies are coming out! After writers’ strikes and deaths in the cast we will finally see Reloaded….next summer. BUT Revolutions comes out a few months later! So we’ll get them all in one fell swoop. (You hear that, Lucas? We don’t have to wait three damn years!!)
Just teasers again, but the movies look pretty damn cool with even more of the same bad-ass special effects we came to love in the first one. Can’t wait, even though it means that I have to see Keanu try to act again.
UNDERCOVER BROTHER–What the hell is this? And why is it trailered on a Star Wars movie?!
This is an Eddie Griffin flick where he becomes a James Bond type figure. It looks totally stupid in a funny sort of way. And it’s got Denise Richards (no talent, but who cares?), Chris Kattan (sometimes funny), Dave Chappelle (also sometimes funny) and Neal Patrick Harris (HUH?!?!). Oh, and Billy Dee Williams (YES!) and James Brown!
I might actually go see it for them. Oh, and for Doogie.
MINORITY REPORT–A real trailer for this one! Nice and long, too. This movie looks better and better after every trailer they put out. I can’t wait to see it even if it does have the loser Cruise in it. Hopefully he won’t ruin it for me. But it is Spielberg. I’m sure I’ll like it.
And now, let us move on to the next subject, young padewan.
Yes, indeed. It’s time for another one of George Lucas’ toy machines to get going.
Yesterday I made a big mistake. I watched The Phantom Menace again. I know, I know. I said I liked it when I reviewed it after seeing it the first time. But I’ve seen it three times since then and it seems to lose something for me everytime I see it. Face it. There’s a lot to hate about that movie.
First off, it just moves too damn slow. There’s a lot of talk about the Trade Federation and the Senators and the votes of no confidence and midichlorions and all that crap. I know it’s the first part of a series and we have to be introduced to the characters and all that crap, but all of that exposition could have been done SO much better.
And then there’s the obvious: Jar Jar. He’s annoying. No. He’s worse than annoying. He’s one of the most obtrusive fucking characters to ever come out of anyone’s imagination. Not since Mickey Rooney played a Chinese man in Breakfast At Tiffany’s has there been such an offensively annoying character on the screen.
There’s also the dialogue:
“Always two there are. A master and an apprentice.”
“Yes, but which was killed? The master or the apprentice?”
Thanks, Mace. You didn’t need to repeat the whole fucking line. We heard it when Yoda said it.
Oh, and we can’t forget all of the “Yippee!”s and “This is so wizard!”s that came out of Anakin.
In fact, even the things that I really liked about the movie (the pod race and the lightsaber scenes) didn’t seem as cool this time around. The whole thing just kind of had an air of yech around it.
So, I don’t know, maybe my expectations were lowered this time out. I was still excited about the movie, but I wasn’t as fanatic about it. I didn’t buy any merchandise. I didn’t think about it constantly. I didn’t re-watch all four of the other movies. I didn’t see Lucas as some kind of untouchable god.
I did, however, wait in line for about two hours to make sure that I got the best seats that I could. And I did look forward to enjoying a good movie.
And this time out I was not disappointed at all. In fact, this movie kicked some serious ASS!
Should I sum up the story? I guess so. If you don’t want to know anything about it, you may want to skip the rest of this review, but I’ll try not to give too much away.
After an attempt on Senator Amidala’s (Natalie Portman) life, she is placed under the care of Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and his young padewan, Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen from Life As A House). Anakin has spent the past ten years of his life dreaming about Amidala and his mother. (Not together, of course. His dreams of his mother are painful, whereas his dreams of Amidala are probably of the wet variety.) Eventually, though, Obi-Wan is sent to find out who tried to kill the young Senator which leaves Anakin alone with her. Lucky for him.
Or is it? They constantly find out that they have feelings for each other, but they also know that they can never be together. Well, Amidala knows, but Anakin is resistant to the idea.
While Obi-Wan is led off to one planet chasing the bounty hunter Jango Fett (Temuera Morrison from Once Were Warriors and Vertical Limit), Anakin and Amidala are supposed to be staying on Naboo. But, of course, Anakin decides that he has to try to find out why his mother seems to be in pain, so he goes back to his home planet of Tatooine to find her.
Meanwhile, Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson) and Yoda are back on Coruscant trying to figure out what the hell is going on between Supreme Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), Jango Fett (whose son seems to be just as ruthless as he is) and a rogue Jedi, Count Dooku (Christopher Lee).
And through it all are the lovable droids, C-3PO and R2-D2 who are finally meeting each other and becoming the ambiguously gay droids we all know and love.
So what did Lucas do right this time? Damn near everything! First off, there was a LOT less of Jar Jar, and I think that helped more than anything else. He was made a Senator and is basically shipped off within the first 15 minutes. He does show up again later on, but his part is cut way back and he’s not nearly as annoying this time out even when he is speaking. AND we get an all new reason for hating him.
Second, there’s more action. In fact, this movie is nearly all action. We’ve got great lightsaber duels, a fun chase scene that reminded me maybe a little too much of The Fifth Element (and I also expected Harrison Ford to show up killing replicants), a cool scene with the three principles fighting some CGI animals and a lot of shooting and slicing and dicing.
And Yoda kicks ASS!
There’s more angst going on here, too. In Phantom Menace, Anakin was just a sweet little kid who said stupid things at times. (Not to mention a strange taste for much older women.) He didn’t really seem to have a dark side at all. That may have been the point, but it didn’t really work.
This time, though, Hayden Christensen has figured out exactly how to portray a kid who is in turmoil. He’s in love with someone when he can’t be. He’s searching for his mother who may be in great pain. He’s sick of being “held back” by his teacher because he knows that he’s more powerful. He’s just got a lot going on under the surface that plays into what will happen down the road. In fact, the only problem I have with the kid is that he sometimes sounds like he’s from New York and he draws his words out…making him sound like a very angsty Christopher Walken. But I guess the little girls probably liked him. And, just for them, there’s a scene where he’s got his shirt off. Just kind of inserted in there a bit gratuitous, I thought.
The romance between Anakin and Amidala is played out pretty well, too. Maybe not quite as classic as Han and Leia (I could do with a few more “nerf herder” lines being thrown back and forth), but their love is more the forbidden kind. Instead of not wanting to love each other, but being unable to hide it, they desperately want to love each other, but must hide it. And, even though there are some kind of cheesy scenes (them rolling down a hill on top of each other), it works pretty well.
And, if they were in it I never saw the N’Sync boys. And that is SUCH a good thing.
But I also didn’t see Warwick Davis. Now, that’s just wrong!
What does he do wrong? There is some. This isn’t as perfect as Empire by any means.
Some of the dialogue is still clunky. (But when wasn’t it in this series?) I would rather not have heard 3PO say, “This is such a drag!” or “I’m beside myself!” You’ll see why, although you can probably guess. And, speaking of these guys, they didn’t seem as natural as they used to. Maybe they just met, so they’re not quite up to their bickering selves yet, but they just didn’t seem like they really worked together as well this time out. (Not to mention it was really weird seeing 3PO as a CGI being for a few seconds. It’s just not right!) And someone did say “I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” but it seemed like an afterthought. It was kind of at an inappropriate time.
And, speaking of CGI, it’s pretty amazing here just as it was in Episode I. But I still like the old fashioned SFX better. Sure, Yoda wouldn’t have been able to kick ass as well, but the puppet just seemed more real than the new CGI version of the old toad. (And I call him that with the utmost respect and love.)
There was a lot of talk about how Lucas only wanted this shown on digital projection because he knew that the effects wouldn’t look right on film projection. And I even heard that they DIDN’T look very good on film. But I don’t think it looked bad at all. Sure, there was a strange graininess to some of the shots, but it wasn’t distracting at all. In fact, if I hadn’t been looking for it I probably wouldn’t have noticed it. (Great. Now I’ve ruined it for you. Sorry…maybe.) I would, however, LOVE to see it projected digitally. Unfortunately, there are only two theatres in Texas showing it that way. One is in Plano, of all places, and the other is in some other little pissant town. How’s that for irony?
That’s all I can really think of that was really wrong with the movie. Little complaints, they are, too. Basically, the movie rocked my plimsoul. Fuck all those critics who said that it sucked (Entertainment Weekly, Roger Ebert, etc.). They’re idiots. This even won over one of my hardest to please friends who was ready to hate it the way he hated Phantom Menace.
So, I’ll be seeing this one again and I’ll be waiting breathlessly for three years to see how the story turns out the way we all know it will. George has won me and probably a lot of other fans back.