Star Wars: Episode II

Viewed – 22 September 2011  Blu-ray

Attack Of The Clones

I remember on first seeing this at the cinema, I really didn’t like it.  I enjoyed Phantom Menace, but this one really rubbed me up the wrong way.  Subsequent viewings have made me change my mind however and appreciate what this entry in the saga offers – but it can’t be argued, that like it’s predecessor, it still has significant problems.

Following an attempted assassination of newly elected Senator Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman), Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and his apprentice Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) are given the job of investigating.  Obi-Wan travels to a remote uncharted planet chasing a bounty hunter called Jango Fett, whilst Anakin protects Padme and begins to fall in love with her, leading to a forbidden romance.

One of the major things that lets this down where it should have triumphed, is the very mushy and totally unconvincing love story, which feels forced rather than natural.  This is not helped by the fact that Hayden Christensen’s performance is more bratty school boy than bad-ass Jedi.  Portman fares better and is sensibly more developed and centre stage than her thankless role in Menace, but even someone of her talent can’t make the love story work (but still looks hot throughout).  Ewan McGregor, now the teacher rather than the apprentice, is excellent and confident, proving himself admirably in the wake of Liam Neeson’s absence.  The action however, although spectacular and boasting some gorgeous special effects and set design, feels a lot like a video game meaning that at times it’s a little absurd.

Thankfully we have the presence of screen legend Christopher Lee as Count Dooku to show everyone how its done, and although his appearance is brief, it’s very memorable and shows that director / creator George Lucas still knows how to craft superb villains.  The story this time around is also more absorbing and moves along at a good pace, with little of politics of before.

So an improvement in some ways, but still stumbles in key areas where it really needed to impress.

The Blu-ray looks better than The Phantom Menace, and although still troubled by a soft focus look, certainly seems more detailed.  The sound of course like before is exceptional, with John Williams’ timeless score shining, and the action really booms around the room.  Again we have two commentaries, from Lucas as well as cast and crew, and that’s it until you delve into the wealth of extras on the other disks in the box set for your documentary and behind the scenes fix.

Verdict:  3 /5

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