Thursday, November 26, 2015

Journey To The Force Awakens - Attack of the Clones


Title: Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones
Distributor: Lucasfilm (20th Century Fox)
Director: George Lucas
Writer(s): George Lucas  
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Christopher Lee, Ian McDiarmid, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Frank Oz, Samuel L. Jackson, and Temuera Morrison   
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for sustained sequences of sci-fi action/violence
Running Time: 142 min
Synopsis: Ten years after initially meeting, Anakin Skywalker shares a forbidden romance with Padmé, while Obi-Wan investigates an assassination attempt on the Senator and discovers a secret clone army crafted for the Jedi.

What Others Are Saying? 

Rotten Tomatoes: 65% "Fresh", Top Critics: 40% "Fresh", Audience: 59% "Liked It"

Metacritic: Critics: 54 out of 100, Users: 6.0 out of 10
MRQE: 67 out of 100

My Review

Preface: Collider Video just posted their commentary video of this film yesterday. To catch everyone up. I'm following along with Collider Video and creating my own, "Journey to the Force Awakens." They plan on watch all the live action Star Wars film leading up to the Force Awakens. I'm responding by writing a movie review for each film. If you want to read my review of The Phantom Menace click here.    

Source Material: Original story by George Lucas 

Entertaining Value:

  • Action Elements: The Phantom Menace had two big action set pieces: the pod race, and the Invasion on Naboo, which included the battle between Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan vs. Darth Maul. Naturally, Lucas probably want to up the action game, especially since this movie depicts the beginnings of a major war in the Star Wars universe. He delivered us more action sequences but not necessarily any of quality. Quantity doesn't always equal quality.There was a hand full of action sequences that were added in just to have action, case, and point, the assembly line scene on Geonosis. It didn't really add much to the story and it wasn't 100% exciting start to finish. I felt like some of the bigger action set pieces like the Geonosis gladiator scene didn't feel as epic as it should have. Come on a whole army of Jedi taking on an army of droids, should haven been epic but it fell short of that mark. Don't get me wrong there were some amazing action sequences in this film, like Jango Fett vs Obi-Wan or Yoda vs Dooku.
  • Comedy Elements: This film focuses more on the "developing love story" between Anakin and Padmé. I'm glad there was quite a bit less Jar Jar scenes, meaning there is less dumb childish humor that doesn't fit in the Star War universe.
  • Dramatic Elements: There could have been really good impactful dramatic scenes in this film but the dialog and acting ruined any chance for that.
  • Sci-Fi / Fantasy Elements: Like in The Phantom Menace this film strays ways from the adventurous aspect of a fantasy. The Star Wars fiction wasn't really expanded upon. We did get a small glance into Jedi culture, which I enjoyed.
Cinematic Value:
  • Acting and Dialogue: 5: I have to highlight Ewan McGregor, right off the bat. He starts to grow into the character of Obi-Wan. I personally think he was one of the better actors in this film. Granted, nothing can compare to Christopher Lee as an actor. I think McGregor found a happy medium on delivering such bad dialog. Sadly, Hayden Christensen suffered the most punishment on bad dialog, mainly because he had to act like a spoiled teenager who whines when he doesn't get his way. But then again, Hayden Christensen hasn't been known for his acting chops before or after Star Wars. From my understanding, better actors were up for the part of Anakin, like Ryan Phillippe and Collin Hanks but Hayden won the part because he looked good together with Natalie Portman. I can't really say Portman's acting improved from The Phantom Menace, but her sex appeal did. For me, the major downfall of this film is the bad dialog.
  • Cinematography: 7: The camera work and lighting was satisfactory. It didn't detract from the film, which is always a positive.
  • Direction: 5: I have the same feeling about George's direction on this film that I have on The Phantom Menace. He doesn't get the best performance out of his actor that he could. Maybe that's due to the fact that the script wasn't polished. Just listening to the dialog clued me into how unpolished the script was. We have seen good storytelling via directing from Lucas in the past.
  • Editing: 6: One big negative pertaining to editing I would like to point out is the action sequences. I think the action sequence would have been better if they were shorter in length, especially, if you are going to add action for action sake. 
  • Screenplay: 4: Exposition, exposition, exposition. This film was just as bad, if not worst than The Phantom Menace, at people standing around, boring us to death, with exposition. If you can bear those scenes, the next battle is the bad chemistry between Anakin and Padmé. I know a lot of that is due to their bad acting and dialog, but at the same time there wasn't much story to work with either. The entire film Padmé treats Anakin as a close friend, then right before they are sent into the Geonosis arena Padmé confess her deep love for Anakin. All the setup to this "confession of love" scene feels out of place, from a story aspect.           
  • Sound and Music: 8: In general the score was great as usual but there was a few place were the theme being played didn't quite fit the scene, in my opinion. Note: great sound design from Ben Burtt, again. 
  • VFX: 8: I think it's funny that a subplot was cloning, and that's precisely how the VFX were treated. Fun fact: all the clones were 100% digital made. No man in a physical suite this time around. For the most part, the VFX looked good. There are some background shots were you can tell it was an art piece. I personally loved the character design through the prequels.  
Overall: 6: I think I can agree that this is the weakest film overall in the Star wars saga. Again I think I can only recommend this film to Star Wars fans, but even then barely. May The Force Be With You!     

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