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Review: 'Star Wars II: Attack Of The Clones' (2002) Dir. George Lucas

Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Ian McDiarmid, Samuel L. Jackson, Temuera Morrison and Christopher Lee


Fast-forward 10 years in the galaxy and an Empire is formed and an awkward love-story blossoms...

Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi (McGregor) and his Padawan Anakin Skywalker (Christensen) are assigned to protect Senator Padme Amidala (Portman) after an assassination attempt on her life. However, Anakin’s feelings for her remain strong.

Obi-Wan decides to trace the assassin across the galaxy, leaving Padme under Anakin’s protection. While the Jedi, led by Masters Yoda (Frank Oz) and Mace Windu (Jackson) help Obi-Wan, Anakin begins let his forbidden emotions get the better of him.

Obi-Wan discovers that a clone army has been created for the Galactic Republic to protect against Confederate forces led by former Jedi Count Dooku (Lee). Obi-Wan and Anakin must face a hidden evils, personally and privately, as the Republic prepares itself for war…

Building on the faults of ‘The Phantom Menace’ was easy, but with expectations so low and disappointment fresh in many fans and critics minds, this was a difficult episode to present. It features slightly more grown-up tones and themes, but still is full of comical moments that may sour mature audiences. The story also is dragged on through yet more political debates and long investigations full of talking and little else. It’s only when the lightsaber and blasters are unleashed through a mid-way battle between Obi-Wan and bounty hunter Jango Fett that excitement returns, before it soon goes again.

For such an important story, it fails to be convincing at all. It presents Anakin and Padme’s troubled relationship and the feelings they have for each other, be it amidst some truly awful dialogue and wooden performances. Obi-Wan crosses planets to track down the shadowy Separatists after Padme’s life, and the discoveries he makes are fan pleasing and interesting to see develop with another solid performance from McGregor in front of many green screen sets and CG actors.

With stellar support from the late, great Christopher Lee, Ian McDiarmid and bad-ass Jed, Samuel L Jackson, there are plenty of fun characters to develop on screen, more so than ‘The Phantom Menace’.

All aspects of this film feel like they are part of the building blocks to the spectacular finale we are all waiting for, but it seems to take so long to get there. With so many empty CGI worlds and characters that we flit to between Obi-Wan and Anakin's parallel stories, it’s very detracting.

It’s only 1 hour and 47 minutes into the film when we actually get to see the attack of the clones we were promised so much when the Clone Wars finally erupts, giving us a taste of the events mentioned in ‘A New Hope’, teasing us about the history of young Anakin and Obi-Wan. We see starfighters! Jedi! Lightsabers! Clonetroopers…be them all CGI and lacking personality, but it’s a steady start! It’s brilliant CG fun, and the scale and style of the war really does look good on screen and makes up for the slow start. It’s just a shame the film ends as we start to really get into the events put into place by the evil Sith Lord Darth Sidious and the wonderful foreshadowing of the Galactic Empire. 

Overall many of the worst traits from George Lucas and his 1999 offering are still here. It’s like nobody had the courage to shout him down from a bad idea. It’s frustrating stuff, as it could have been far more exciting and engaging to win back fans. John Williams and Ben Burtt are the only veterans feel love for with their music and editing respectively that we all know and love.

This second chapter is hard to like and hard to hate. It’s just wedged between two very different style of ‘Star Wars’ films and comes across as the most mediocre of efforts.

'Star Wars II: Attack Of The Clones' is a LucasFilm Ltd. production

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