Set a decade on from Episode I, Hayden Christensen takes on the role of Anakin Skywalker, still learning the ways of the Jedi.
Running Time: 132 minutes
UK Certificate: pg
Country: United States
The original “Star Wars” trilogy is one helluva portfolio for any film-maker to live up to and, though it pains me to say it, George Lucas is clearly struggling to do just that with this ambitious, and perhaps even misguided, attempt at bringing the opening three tales to the big screen.
Episode I, “The Phantom Menace”, was slated in many quarters for presenting outstanding special effects as an adequate replacement for the wonderful storytelling of the original tales. “Attack of the Clones” largely makes the same mistake, but with the added stomach-churner of a woeful script and wooden acting.
Set a decade on from Episode I, Hayden Christensen takes on the role of Anakin Skywalker, still learning the ways of the Jedi under Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and looking for luuurrve with Queen Amadala (Natalie Portman). With the threat of the Dark Side growing, Anakin is assigned to protect Amadala from assassination, while Obi-Wan hot foots it across the galaxy sniffing for clues about an uprising.
Problem 1 is the teeth-grindingly bad love scenes between Anakin and Amadala, with corny pseudo-poetic chat-up lines and far too much rolling about in meadows for my liking. Lucas got things spot-on with the sharp, witty love-hate relationship between Han Solo and Princess Leia this one's about as far away from that as you could possibly get.
Problem 2 is McGregor's continual struggle with THAT part-Scottish part-Alec Guinness accent. You can tell the Scottish side's winning through though, as one of the first things his character does in the movie is head for the bar.
Problem 3 is that only Anakin appears to have aged even slightly, though Natalie Portman makes a valiant attempt at looking older by dressing a bit like Britney Spears.
What saves the film is a rip-roaring last half-hour, topped off by a simultaneously impressive and hilarious light sabre battle between a villainous Christopher Lee and Yoda. And that Yoda might be a balding little gremlin with a horrific complexion, but he sure knows how to kick some serious booty.
It's Got: Amazing visuals (of course) and Yoda using the force as only he knows how.
It Needs: To stop handing all the best parts of the movie over to the computer-generated characters and let the actual cast do a bit of the work.
DVD Extras Deleted scenes, documentaries including "From Puppets to Pixels", John Williams music vid, theatrical trailers and posters, R2-D2 mockumentary, production photo gallery, and an exclusive DVD link to "Star Wars" web content. DVD Extras Rating: 7/10
Alternatives:Any of the other "Star Wars" movies.
For my money the poorest of the “Star Wars” flicks so far. Having said that, its definitely worth seeing, even if only for Yodas end-of-film Hong Kong Phooey impression.