Saturday, May 18, 2002

Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones (IMDB) (Netflix)
When you're down and out, send in the clones. The Star Wars saga picks up steam after director George Lucas hit the excitement reset button in Episode I, featuring a half-dozen action sequences; the introduction of Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), Luke's dad and you-know-who; a romance between Anakin and Senator-demoted-from-Queen) Amidalah (Natalie Portman, who reveals that she's been spending plenty of time with her Abdomenizer) and some confusing webs of intrigue that only aficionados will attempt to unravel.

Although the film was shot entirely digitally, I saw it in a conventional film projection theater on a medium-sized screen, and it looked pretty good. The sophisticated computer-generated imagery effects support some extremely ambitious and effective action scenes and art direction--if only Lucas's dialogue-writing skills had followed the same learning curve (if I heard Obi-Wan say to Anakin "blah-blah-blah, my young apprentice" one more time, there were going to be some non-digital special effects generated all over the theater floor). The romance has minimal heat, and the movie feels like a grand Act II, which in essence it is, being the set-up for third/sixth/last episode, which will be released in 2005.