Stronger with the force
'Episode II' is
By Jason Ceaser Consolacion
The Daily COugar
Critics complained that Star Wars Episode
I: The Phantom Menace lacked action and was candy-coated with too much
animation and too
Photo Courtesy of Twentieth
Sparks fly between Padme
Amidala (Natalie Portman) (left) and Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen)
in Episode II: Attack of the Clones.
Now, critics are complaining that Star
Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones has too much action and that the
cheesy love story is laden with
terrible dialogue and acting that falls
short of a middle school play.
Those same critics are too busy comparing
and are too caught up in their knowledge of cinema to realize that George
Lucas' Star Wars project
is being done for three reasons: 1) to
tell the story of the Skywalker family the way he wanted to; 2) to bring
the Star Wars empire to a whole new
generation; and 3) to make more dough.
No, Lucas doesn't need any more money.
Yes, the first trilogy may stand alone in its uniqueness and original shock
value. But do you know
what? These new movies are fun for the
Star Wars fan and entertaining to the casual moviegoer. And do you know
why? Because Lucas is a
Attack of the Clones is actually the best
episode since 1980's The Empire Strikes Back. It's darker than 1999's The
Phantom Menace, the
special effects are even more impressive
and best of all, we only see Jar-Jar in three scenes.
The real star of this film is the animation
team in charge of creating the new CGI version of Jedi Master Yoda. The
film's final lightsaber battle
culminates with an incredible display
of the Jedi Arts, compliments of Master Yoda. Unfortunately, this surprise
has already been spoiled by a
TV commercial, but it's still the most
exciting scene in any Star Wars movie.
As for humans, Ewan McGregor reprises his
role as the young Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi. His performance is the best
among the actors as
McGregor attempts more and more to tackle
the melodic movement of Alec Guinness' (the original Obi-Wan) dialogue
delivery. McGregor, a
native of Crieff, Scotland also does a
better job of interacting with digital characters — something he found
to be rather difficult when making
The new star of the Star Wars films is
Hayden Christensen, who plays Anakin Skywalker — the centerpiece of the
Star Wars saga.
Christensen, a fine young actor, does
a satisfactory job of playing the bratty Anakin. Let's just say the 21-year-old
does the best with what he
has to work with.
Lucas' dialogue for Episode II remains
tongue-in-cheek, much like his work in 1977's A New Hope and The Phantom
Menace. You may
remember that the best of all the Star
Wars films, The Empire Strikes Back featured a screenplay not written by
Lucas himself, but rather the
dramatic duo of Leigh Brackett and Lawrence
The weakest of the dialogue occurs, ironically,
when the film depends on it most. It is during the plot development of
the love story between
Anakin and Padmé (Natalie Portman)
that Lucas' weaknesses seep through. Cliché piles upon cliché
as Anakin tells Padmé that he can't
breathe because of the forbidden kiss
that will haunt him the rest of his life.
Just thinking about it is awkward. What
happened to the macho, one-liner approach that Han Solo (Harrison Ford)
took with Princess Leia
(Carrie Fisher) in the original trilogy?
Beyond the love story are two subplots.
The first is the Jedi's mission to find out who is behind the assassination
attempts on Senator Padmé
Amidala. As Obi-Wan goes off to investigate,
Anakin accompanies Padmé back to her home planet of Naboo as her
The other plot is the beginning of the
corruption of the Republic, led by Chancellor Palpatine. If you're familiar
with the Star Wars plot, then you
know who Palpatine really is and what
he's really doing. While appearing to be building a clone army for the
Republic, Palpatine is really
starting a civil war between the planets
of the galaxy in order to bring chaos and eventual destruction to the Republic.
While trying to discover Padmé's
assassin, Obi-Wan stumbles upon the creators of the clone army. It is here
that he gets in a little tussle with
the bounty hunter Jango Fett and it is
also here where Star Wars enthusiasts get introduced to the young Boba
Fett, the bounty hunter who
captured Han Solo in Empire.
After the heroes meet in the worst of circumstances
only to be saved by Master Yoda, some Jedi and the new clone army, Obi-Wan
find themselves face-to-face with Darth
Sidious' new Sith apprentice Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) — a former Jedi
who has fallen to the dark
The three engage in a thrilling two-on-one
lightsaber battle that eventually leads to the inclusion of Master Yoda.
Other than Yoda's ass-kicking scene, another
welcome surprise in Episode II is the increased role of Jedi Master Mace
Windu, played by
Samuel L. Jackson. Master Windu is pretty
mean with a lightsaber in his own right and his importance to the galaxy
and the Jedi Council is
highlighted throughout the film.
Portman delivers as Padmé much better
than she did in The Phantom Menace. Her performance shows a young woman
who has matured
into the role of Senator Amidala, stepping
out of the shadows of Fisher's Princess Leia and into the spotlight. Assisted
by revealing outfits and
sexy poses, Portman's presence counters
Christensen's to give the guys something to look at.
Attack of the Clones actually attempts
to tell a story — unlike The Phantom Menace, which was so crowded with
too much information and
choppy plot development. Although Episode
II may jump between scenes of Obi-Wan and scenes with Anakin and Padmé
too quickly, the flow
is smoother than that of Episode I.
The film is better than A New Hope and
Return of the Jedi mainly because of the special effects — the clone-droid
battle on the planet of
Geonosis is the sweetest eye candy — and
the effect of the prequel.
Seeing the young Anakin Skywalker before
he falls to the dark side is entertaining. In the original trilogy, we
hear Obi-Wan speak of Anakin as a
great pilot and Jedi Knight. Now we actually
get to see how powerful a Jedi he really was and why he was the perfect
candidate for the Sith to
take control of and turn into who we all
know now as Darth Vader.
Lucas has said all along that these six
episodes are really the story of Anakin Skywalker. The first three episodes
illustrate his greatness and
his tragedy while the second trilogy shows
his influence on the galaxy and his eventual redemption by son Luke.
The prequels allow us to appreciate the
myth of Darth Vader and why the final scene of Return of the Jedi is even
more meaningful now than it
was the first time we all saw it.
So far, Attack of the Clones is the only
reason we have to be thankful for Lucas revisiting the Star Wars galaxy
he created 25 years ago. He has
already started pre-production for Episode
III and he promises that it will be darker and uncharacteristic of a typical
Star Wars film.
The fall of the Jedi. The rise of the Empire.
The birth of Luke and Leia. The birth of Darth Vader.
If Episode III is supposed to be darker
than the others, make it the darkest of all. Lucas can't go wrong from