Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones

Starring:
Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi
Natalie Portman as Padmé Amidala
Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker
Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine
Pernilla August as Shmi Skywalker
Ahmed Best as Jar Jar Binks / Achk Med-Beq
Anthony Daniels as C-3PO / Lieutenant Faytonni
Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu
Frank Oz as Yoda
Andy Secombe as Watto
Silas Carson as Ki-Adi-Mundi / Nute Gunray
Oliver Ford Davies as Sio Bibble
Kenny Baker as R2-D2
Christopher Lee as Count Dooku
Jimmy Smits as Bail Organa
Temuera Morrison as Jango Fett

Special Features:
- Commentary by George Lucas, Rick McCallum, Ben Burtt, Rob Coleman, Pablo Helman, John Knoll, and Ben Snow
- Eight Deleted Scenes with introductions by George Lucas, Rick McCallum, and Ben Burtt
- “From Puppets to Pixels” Documentary
- “State of the Art: The Previsualization of Episode II” Documentary
- “Films Are Not Released; They Escape” Documentary on Sound Design
- Story, Action, and Love Story Featurettes
- Twelve Part Web Documentary Series
- “Across The Stars” Music Video
- Theatrical Teasers and TV Spots
- Theatrical Posters and Print Campaign
- “R2-D2: Beneath the Dome” Mockumentary Trailer
- Photo Gallery with Captions
- Episode II Visual Effects Breakdown Montage
- DVD ROM Content

Other Info:
Anamorphic Widescreen (2:35:1)
Running Time: 142 Mins.
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
THX Digitally Mastered
Captions Subtitles
English, French, and Spanish Sound

Synopsis:
Set 10 years after The Phantom Menace, the Republic is threatened by a separatist movement led by Count Dooku, a former Jedi. However, the Republic has no army to counter this threat. The Jedi are simply outnumbered. Padme Naberrie, now a senator, returns to Coruscant to vote on the creation of a new army. When an assassination attempt on her fails, she comes under the protection of Obi-Wan Kenobi and a now grown up Anakin Skywalker.

Unfortunately, there’s a second attempt made to kill Padme that, of course, fails. It is then decided that Anakin will escort Padme back to Naboo to hide until the plot is uncovered. There, a romance blooms that eventually makes Anakin and Padme question their roles in the universe. Meanwhile, Obi-Wan tries to chase down a clue about who is behind the attempts to kill the Senator. It leads him to the planet Kamino and into the crosshairs of the bounty hunter Jango Fett. There, he discovers a secret clone army being created which become the seeds of the Empire.

“Attack of the Clones” is rated PG for sustained sequences of sci-fi action/violence.

The Movie:
Attack of the Clones is a big improvement over The Phantom Menace. It delivers on action and effects, but a weak romance slows it down. It’s not the best Star Wars movie, but it is still great fun.

The DVD presentation looks great. As you know, this DVD is a direct transfer from the digital footage shot on set. It’s as good as you can possibly get, and it shows. The colors are bright and the picture is nice and sharp. However, the picture is only as good as your TV is, so the ball is in your court. And as you would expect from a Star Wars DVD, the sound is first rate. The battle sequences are amazingly done and they will thoroughly give your home theater system a workout.

The DVD does offer a few extras for the die-hard Star Wars fan. As some of you may know, Lucas switched out a scene at the very end in the wedding sequence. In the digital version, Padme takes Anakin’s new mechanical hand. In the regular film version, it was too late to add it so people missed it. The revised sequence appears in the DVD. Lucas also added sparks to Jango’s broken jetpack and adds a brief attempt to take off right before Mace Windu decapitates him. So, as you can see, Lucas continues to tinker with the film. Expect more tinkering in the future, I think.

The Extras:
The extras on this DVD are, of course, first rate. Almost everything you could possibly want is on this DVD. Here are a few of the highlights and lowlights:

Commentary by George Lucas, Rick McCallum, Ben Burtt, Rob Coleman, Pablo Helman, John Knoll, and Ben Snow: The commentary on this DVD is actually pretty good. Rather than having one individual ramble on endlessly, they mix it up with highlights from commentaries by the creators. All of them have interesting stories about the production, but Ben Burtt’s and Rob Coleman’s comments were the most interesting to me. The help keep track of who is talking, their names appear in the black bars on the screen. I just wish some of the actors had joined in for some commentary.

Eight Deleted Scenes with introductions by George Lucas, Rick McCallum, and Ben Burtt – Unfortunately, these deleted scenes are a bit of a letdown. While we get more interesting backstory on the characters, you can see why they were deleted. One features Anakin and Padme’s trip to her parent’s house. We meet her family, sister, and nieces. Another features a lecture by Padme at the Senate while another shows us a confrontation between Padme and Dooku. None of these are particularly thrilling and they add nothing to the movie. One of the more interesting scenes takes place in the Jedi starfighter hangar. While the dialogue is rather stiff and boring, it’s cool the see the ships in the background with a landing pad extending from the temple. The deleted scenes are a nice feature, but they aren’t as good as those on the Episode I DVD.

“From Puppets to Pixels” Documentary – This is a very cool documentary on the creation of Yoda, the Kaminoans, and Dexter Jettster. It is pretty much in the format of a camera crew following George Lucas from initial meetings to the set and eventually to post-production. There’s no narration. We get to see how much attention is paid to detail as well as get an idea about the directing style of George Lucas. It’s a very interesting feature that’s well worth checking out.

“State of the Art: The Previsualization of Episode II” Documentary: Since you generally never get to see the animatics on a Star Wars movie, it’s hard to appreciate all the work that goes into them. But this documentary highlights all the heroes behind the scenes that work on them. Not only are the animatics amazingly detailed, but they look almost exactly like the finished product. It becomes obvious that they are useful tools for planning out the filming of the movie.

“Films Are Not Released; They Escape” Documentary on Sound Design: One of the most fascinating aspects of the Star Wars movies are the sound effects. This featurette goes behind the scenes to reveal how the effects are created. This is a cool and entertaining documentary that reveals just what geniuses Ben Burtt, Matthew Wood, and the rest of the crew are.

Story, Action, and Love Story Featurettes: Unfortunately, these three featurettes are some of the weakest of all the extras. Prepared primarily for conventions before the theatrical release, they simply discuss the plot, action, and love story of the movie. None of it is revealing if you’ve already seen the movie, and most of the interesting footage can be found elsewhere on the DVD.

Twelve Part Web Documentary Series: If you followed the creation of Episode II online, then you probably saw all these videos on StarWars.Com when they were first released. The twelve 5 minute videos cover all aspects of the film such as the Fett family, the ships, the extras, the locations, and more. Even though I had seen them all already, it was nice to be able to watch them on a home theater system rather than in a Quicktime player on my PC.

“Across The Stars” Music Video: This is just the love them which plays over clips from the movies and behind the scenes footage. Not terribly exciting.

Theatrical Teasers and TV Spots: These are yet another nice feature to have in your DVD collection. The TV spots, each featuring different characters, are pretty cool, especially if you missed them on TV.

Theatrical Posters and Print Campaign: There were an amazing variety of movie posters for AOTC, and many of the coolest ones came from overseas. You’ve probably never seen most of them. This gives you a chance to check them out without having to buy them on eBay.

“R2-D2: Beneath the Dome” Mockumentary Trailer: This mockumentary is set up as telling the life story of R2-D2 as if he was a real life movie story. In “E! True Hollywood Story” fashion, we hear of the rise, fall, and return of R2-D2 as a temperamental, diva-like actor. George Lucas, Carrie Fisher, Richard Dreyfuss, Natalie Portman, and others all tell amusing stories about their co-star. While the actual full documentary is a joke that runs a bit too long, the trailer takes the funniest highlights and presents them without overstaying its welcome. It’s funny to check out. Expect a DVD of this documentary to come out in the future.

Photo Gallery with Captions” The photos in this feature are cool. Even I, a Star Wars uber-geek, hadn’t seen many of them before. They’re worth checking out.

Episode II Visual Effects Breakdown Montage: This is yet another of the most memorable features. It shows clips of the movie starting with the blue screen versions, adding in animatic effects, then the final shot. It’s quite amazing to realize just how much of the picture is CG. This was quite a hit at the Star Wars Celebration II convention.

DVD ROM Content: I had a bit of trouble accessing the DVD ROM extras over a slow modem, but if you have a high-speed connection, I believe they are worth checking out. One of the features includes the capability of watching the movie with “Pop Up Video” type text balloons. They tell you factoids about the movie including tips on where to spot the THX 1138 hidden in the film.

I feel I must also mention the spectacular menus of the DVD. On Disc 1, we are treated to different animated menus every time you boot up. They include the arena scene, the Coruscant chase, and more. Made by the folks at ILM, the menus are customized straight from the movie effects. Every time you make a menu selection, something new whizzes by. Quite impressive. Disc 2 also features menus set in Dexter’s Diner, the Naboo Spaceport, and more. The menus are fun, but they can start to become tedious if you’re trying to find something in a hurry. However, that’s a small price to pay for the coolness.

A mere two Easter Eggs have been found so far on the DVDs. One is a blooper reel hidden in the Disc 1 Options menu. When you hit “11″, enter, and “38″ they come up. Most of them feature Hayden Christensen taking rather impressive spills. They’re pretty amusing and worth checking out. The only other Easter Egg I know of is on Disc 2 in Dex’s Diner. You can view ads from the college campus campaign. Flyers from the campaign look like hand written handbills from the Star Wars Universe. They’re amusing as well. However, I would have liked a few more surprises on the DVD.

The Bottom Line:
Even if you didn’t really like the movie, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the DVD. It’s easily one of the best DVD’s of the year and a required addition to your collection.

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