May 16, 2002

Star Wars - Episode II:

Star Wars - Episode II: Attack of the Clones (Spoiler Free Trip Report) So we went this morning to see Attack of the Clones. The plan was to show up at 9:30 for the movie at 10. When we went to the same theatre a few years ago to catch Phantom Menace the place was pretty much empty. Today the scene was slightly different.

Walking in the door we saw that there were already many people there, but it was by no means crowded. A couple of Jedi-robe clad kids were with their mother waiting for the first matinee and I saw them wheeling around while the ticket clerk told me that the 10:00 showing was a little full and that I'd be better off in the 10:30 show. We took his advice.

We sat in the theatre and waited as people filtered in. As per usual there was at least one inappropriately young child in the audience. Luckily there were no disruptive types.

Here are my brief comments on the film (which I guarantee won't ruin anything for anyone):

The film was shot in digital video, but we did not view it in a digital theatre. As far as I could tell, it didn't make a difference. The picture was plenty crisp. However, I did notice something odd. In some of the darker scenes there was a kind of noise pattern (snow) going on in the backgrounds similar to what you will see if you videotape in poorly lighted situations. I could not discern if these patches of snow were over actual sets or part of the computer generated background. These did not detract from the film.

I found the emotional/romance portions mostly forced and awkward, punctuated by maybe one or two sincere moments. But Hayden Christensen did do anger well. And he did "shifting emotions" well.

Better action in this film than in the last one. But, perhaps, less exciting light saber work. One thought that keeps coming back, and I've heard other people complain about this, too, is that when CGI is used in action scenes, people don't seem to move in a way that looks natural. Whenever you have people jumping or being tossed around for one reason or another, they don’t look real. Some people had the same comment about Spider-Man. It isn't just CGI - some of the wire work in X-men was really implausible-looking.

It's long.

Very little Jar-Jar!

When I was a kid, light sabers seemed immeasurably cool. They still are cool, but now I think that real swords are cooler. Real sword fights, for some reason, are more compelling. Those scenes in Crouching Tiger, for example. And in any Kurasawa movie.

I was more "comfortable" with the characters this time around. It felt more like Star Wars this time.

The dialogue… ugh. But looking way back at the original trilogy, Harrison Ford pointed out that some of their dialogue was unreadable. So nothing new there.

Overall, I rate this one much better than The Phantom Menace. Yes, it was mostly eye candy. But it was a decent bit of entertainment for fans. If you look at this sort of film for what it is - swashbuckling fun - then you'll realize that it fulfills its promises.

That's all I'll say for now. Maggie really didn't like it, but she never does on a first viewing.

Posted by James at May 16, 2002 3:54 PM
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