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Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4

*Also starring: Hayden Christensen, Samuel L. Jackson, Ian McDiarmid, Christopher Lee, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Temuera Morrison, Frank Oz, Daniel Logan

Review by Susan Granger
3 stars out of 4

Just what "Star Wars" fans have been waiting for: an action-packed, fun-filled adventure. The story begins ten years after "The Phantom Menace." Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) has grown into an arrogant Jedi apprentice of Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), while Amidala (Natalie Portman) is a distinguished Senator who becomes a target for assassination. While Obi-Wan investigates the threat on her life - battling a fierce bounty hunter, Jango Fett (Temuera Morrison), father of Boba, and evil Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) - Anakin is made Amidala's protector, and they fall in love. That's the bare bones plot, but what's remarkable is how George Lucas interweaves their youthful passion with mythological themes of heroism, duty and honor, plus growing political unrest in the Republic under the evil Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid). That's set amidst big, bold, awesome, high-tech battles - with lightsaber thrills from the incomparable Yoda and comedy relief from R2D2 and C-3PO, even Jar-Jar. While Ewan McGregor is a sensationally roguish Obi-Wan, taking on more Alec Guinness mannerisms, Natalie Portman is wooden and Hayden Christensen is labored. Their lame love-scenes are wretched. (What's lacking is the charisma of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Billy Dee Williams.) In Episode III, Amidala will be the mother of Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia, while Anakin goes to the Dark Side as Darth Vader. The foreboding psychological foundation for that pivotal transition becomes apparent here as an enraged Anakin kills Tusken Raiders, and Obi-Wan mutters, "Why do I think you're going to be the death of me?" On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones" is an energetic, exciting, escapist 8. Buckle up for the thrill ride!

Copyright 2002 Susan Granger

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