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STAR WARS EPISODE II
Attack of the Clones

Review by Chastity Campbell

Stars: Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Ian McDiarmid, Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Lee, voice of Frank Oz
Director: George Lucas
Audio: Dolby Digital Surround 5.1 EX
Video: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Features: See Review
Length: 142 Minutes
Release Date: November 12, 2002

  “It’s all Obi-Wan's fault…he’s holding me back!”

Film ***

Blazing lightsabers of furry Dooku…IT’S FINALLY HERE!!!  Star Wars Episode II: Attack Of The Clones is one of the most amazing 2 disc DVD packages I have ever had the privilege of owning.  From beginning to end, you are going to love these discs!

Disc One contains the movie and movie options such as audio quality, language, and the Chapters feature, which allows you to start from one of fifty different places in the movie. 

When you pop in disc 1 and push play we find that Episode II picks up ten years after the events of Episode I.  Anakin Skywalker, now played by the dreamy eyed and definitely handsome Hayden Christensen, is a Jedi Knight in training, under the watchful eye of Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi.  Anakin is a headstrong, arrogant, yet extremely talented Padawan Learner. Obi-Wan thinks he’s still too rough around the edges, but Anakin thinks it’s time for the trials, and his promotion to Jedi Knight! Ewan McGregor shines brilliantly as Obi-Wan in this episode.   He has the perfect balance of intensity and heroism that makes you understand why George Lucas picked him to play the younger version of old Ben! 

Natalie Portman is back as the beautiful and politically correct Padme Amidala.  This go round, Padme has traded in her Queenly regalia for Senatorial robes.  Don’t let that worry you Portman fans too much though, because she’s still got more costumes than Liberace and more hairdos than Cher could ever dream of!  We got to see Leia’s abs of steel in Return Of The Jedi and Padme shows us all at the end of Episode II that they definitely run in the family.

The main focus of this episode was to establish a bridge between the sweet innocent Anakin we were introduced to in the first film to the rash young man that seems to be teetering on the edge of darkness (insert ominous Vader breath here)!  George also had to incorporate the love story of Anakin and Padme as well as bring more fully into focus the political intrigue surrounding the start of the Clone Wars.  I think he was able to pull this off in a very nice way without it seeming to dwell too long on any one thing.  I would have preferred it if the powers that be had chosen to group the sections of the movie pertaining to the love story a little closer together because it’s mentally very hard to go from Obi-Wan blasting through an asteroid field to Anakin and Padme rolling around on the grass giggling. 

We get to see Shaft himself, the great Samuel L. Jackson, working that purple lightsaber of his this go round, and he definitely shows us all how to get aHEAD in the world they live in.  As for Count Dooku (or is it Lord Tyranus?)…well, either personality will do as long as it’s Christopher Lee behind the dialogue.  He definitely proves that an older ex-Jedi knows how to light up the stage, when given the proper materials to work with.  

Last and certainly not least (well, unless your talking about height, that is), we have the new and improved digital YODA DA MAN!   Ever since Empire Strikes Back I have wondered what it was about Yoda that was so great.  He’s just a tiny little green guy running around a swamp talking in riddles, or so I thought.  My whole perception of the amazing creature that is the Master of all Jedi exploded before my eyes as I saw what the marvels of modern, technology, can do for a three foot tall, green guy with a lightsaber!  There really is no way of explaining why Yoda is now my all time favorite action star, except to say…YODA DA MAN!!!!! 

The story this time around was a bit better as all the characters seemed to balance out against each in a more realistic way.   We get to see a little more into the heart of Anakin as he wages a war with himself over the two women in his life and the father figure he fears will never let him prove himself.  Christensen goes a long way in proving George was right for choosing him to play this part when he morphs his character from the sweet and charming Anakin into a Vaderesque madman to wipe out and entire camp of Tusken Raiders.

We get to see Boba’s beginnings and a bounty hunter get his due.   There’s action, intrigue, suspense, and technological advancements that I have never seen paralleled.  R2-D2 and C3PO provide the comic relief this time out, and you start to get that old familiar Star Wars feeling after you’ve viewed this movie.  I have yet to be disappointed in any of the old or new Star Wars films, and I can guarantee this disc delivers in so many ways it will be money well spent!

Video ****

This movie is groundbreaking in so many ways that it is hard to pick any one thing to label as the most impressive.   However, I can say with certainty that the digital age is here and this movie throws you right into the thick of it!    This movie was shot in a 100% digital format.   From the development of a digital camera by one company to the special digital lenses of another this movie took steps toward a future that has the most vivid and realistic palette of anything before it.   The DVD I purchased was transferred into a 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen format with the most amazing clarity I have ever seen on a TV before.   The all CGI Yoda was animated beautifully, by the effects department, and the all digital shooting helped the normally stiff lines of a CGI character blend in with its human counterparts better.  I honestly don’t believe you can beat the beauty of this digital-to-digital transfer with any other movie out there on the market right now. 

Audio ****

The name George Lucas has been synonymous with audio improvements in movie sound for the last two decades.  With that in mind the digital mix for his own personal creation is, as anyone would expect nearly flawless.   Star Wars Episode II was mixed and mastered in a Dolby Digital 5.1 EX format.  The disc also includes a Dolby Digital 2.0 mix in Spanish and French.   The overall sound quality was superb, with no dips in dialogue or in the effects.  The mix ratio in all of the action scenes was very well balanced.   I don’t believe there was ever a time when dialogue couldn’t be understood due to the background noise or music.  The balance and mix to each speaker in my surround system was crisp and clear without any hesitation, or sync delays.  It is truly an amazing thing to literally be able to watch and hear the digital age come clearly into focus and it’s obvious that George Lucas will continue to be at the forefront. 

Features ****

Features, get your extra features here!!

Disc Two in this 2 disc DVD bonanza is loaded, and I mean LOADED with 6 hours of extra’s to tease and satiate even the most finicky fan.   I’ll lay them all out for you but your best bet is to get the disc and give it a spin yourself, the magic awaits you!

Aside from all the interactive movie scene menus, you get 3 Teaser Trailers and the two-minute Clone Wars trailer that appeared in theaters.  The “Across the Stars Music Video” is included, as well as twelve television spots broken down by character and presented in a sometimes comical, oftentimes suspenseful format. 

We get two documentaries the first of which I found totally amazing.   “From Puppets to Pixels: Digital Characters In Episode II” is an absolutely amazing documentary that details the changes in digital animation over the past few years and shows the development and progression of the all CGI Yoda, as well as Obi-Wan’s Diner connection Dexter Jettster.   The second documentary is called “State Of The Art: The Previsualization Of Episode II”.  This documentary focuses on aspect of production and the people involved. 

The 8 deleted scenes we are given were very nice to watch.  You are given the option of watching them alone, or with an introduction by, George Lucas, Rick McCallum, and Ben Burtt.  It was interesting to hear George and Rick explain why each of the scenes wouldn’t fit into the movie itself.  It really gives you insight into how the process works on specific levels. 

There are three Featurettes, which explore Attack of the Clones general storyline, action scenes and love story.   I, being the mushy chick that I am, really enjoyed listening to Hayden and Natalie talk about the love story aspect.   They were really into it, and seemed to enjoy working with each other quite a bit.

Dex’s Kitchen & Still Galleries is a plethora of images from production photo’s to posters, right down to the International Outdoor Campaign Pictures used for this movies debut.

When you click on Dex’s Kitchen you get the days specials, which include three documentary style pieces that will leave you begging for more. 

“Films Are Not Released They Escape: Creating A Universe Of Sound For Episode II” follows Ben Burtt and his audio effects specialists as they unmask the mysterious sounds that make up the Galaxy Far Far Away.   “Episode II Visual Effects Breakdown Montage” is a before and after montage of ILM’s visual effects, and wizardry for Episode II.   “R2-D2 Beneath The Dome,” lifts the lid literally off the real story behind the biggest star in the Galaxy.

A comprehensive award-winning twelve-part web documentary series chronicles the actors and costumers, as well as production personnel on their day, to day trek through the world that is Star Wars. 

There’s a DVD-Rom Weblink to exclusive website content that no true lover of this saga can be without.

All in all my favorite features out of everything were the television spots.   I laughed myself silly at the way that the spots were laid out and how they introduced each character by their traits and job descriptions.   

I’ve never seen DVDs with this many features before and it’s worth the time you’ll spend watching every minute of them!

Summary:

This DVD is one of the most beautiful and well crafted, transfers I have ever seen.  

(Chas waves hand in front of your eyes) You want to go buy a copy of this DVD.  You want to watch it over and over again.  You will love it, and that’s no Jedi mind trick!