Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen,
This review contains spoilers of plot events. No surprise
twists will be revealed, but if you don't want to know anything
about the plot of the story, hit the back button on your browser.
The Star Wars series has a long-running tradition
of a dedicated fan base who flock to see each new release
of the well-respected space adventure based on the old serial
adventures, like Flash Gordon. In Episode 2,
the story picks up roughly ten years after the last film,
where Amidala (Portman) is now a Senator of the Republic.
After an assassination attempt on her life, she is reunited
with Obi-Wan Kenobi (McGregor) and Anakin Skywalker (Christensen),
who are given the duty to protect her. It doesn't take the
two jedi long to discover that a bounty hunter has been hired
to take her out. Further investigation reveals two seemingly
separate parts of a hidden plot that results in the first
conflict of what would become the Clone Wars. During this
time, Anakin and Amidala renew their acquaintance and fall
in love, despite the jedi code against such emotional attachments.
All the pretty pictures...
Visually, Episode 2 is a masterpiece. This is, of course,
no surprise. Considering how much of a perfectionist George
Lucas is, every aspect of the movie is packed and presented
the way he wants. There are numerous locales that are wonderfully
designed and presented. Special effects are used liberally
and there are scores of digitally rendered aliens and locations
packing every scene. Every area is full of life and you may
need to watch the film a few times over to catch everything.
The only flaw I saw in the visual presentation of the movie
was the rare occasion when an area that was obviously created
digitally and just didn't look "real" enough. A
few of the monsters felt the same way. With so many shots
filmed on live locations with a high degree of detail, most
of the areas that were created digitally looked wonderful
and were highly active, but there is the one or two scenes
where the location just looks too "clean".
A love story and one heck of a fight...
Episode 2 tries to balance between the love story between
Anakin and Amidala and the events that unfold into the Clone
War between the Republic and the Separatists. All the while,
Lucas tries to either include or wrap up side stories along
the way, obviously bridging the gap between Episode 1
and Episode 3. The base story and script are well done,
but I'll be honest in stating that Episode 2 felt too
erratic. As soon as the characters were through with what
little they had to accomplish in one location, they seemed
to rush off to another, causing the whole movie to feel like
a bullet ride in a pinball machine. The only time it seemed
to slow down was to try and establish the relationship between
Anakin and Amidala and to give reason for his upcoming change.
Where the movie shines is the intense battles, which fills
the last half of the film. You will feel the charge of the
jedi battles and the awesomely presented battle with the Clone
It's all about chemistry...
What made the original Star Wars trilogy so special
was the chemistry and on-screen presence between the characters.
You cared about what happened to them and events played out
in a good pace. Episode 2 tries to force the chemistry
on you in hopes that you'll believe that these people care
about each other. At times, they almost get to a point where
you might believe they feel these things, but for the most
part, everything feels a little hollow and rushed. In fact,
there is only a few times where I actually felt Anakin had
any deep emotions. Plain and simple, the movie lacks camaraderie.
Is this film for you?
If you're a huge Star Wars fan - yes. That goes without
saying. It does more than enough things right to make fans
happen. In fact, there's a lot of things thrown in just for
the fans, and the film makes up for the weak showing of Episode
1. If you enjoy good sci-fi - yes, but don't inconvenience
yourself. Go see it at a matinee a week or two after the release.
If you've never been a big fan or are very picky - no. Wait
until it hits video or DVD and rent it. Episode 2 is very
much a way station that paves the way between Episode 1 and
3, but has enough good going for it that Star Wars fans will
go away happy.