Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

Director:George Lucas
Writers:George Lucas and Jonathan Hales
20th Century Fox; Pg; 132 minutes
Cast:Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor

George Lucas's Star Wars empire reaches new heights with the release of Episode II: Attack of the Clones. The mythology is immense, the fandom worldwide. The rough and tumble spirit of the early movies (best embodied by Harrison Ford's character) is absent, replaced with a camp-free, digitally enhanced sensibility. That said, Attack of the Clones improves on The Phantom Menace.

West Indian alien caricature Jar Jar Binks is back, yes, but he's been tuned down a notch. Not only is Yoda more present than in the previous picture, he even gets a fight scene. Natalie Portman returns to her role, although the movie's highfalutin romance between her and Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) is one of the least interesting elements. Lucas, having assembled a massive team to render his galaxy in the finest detail, works on embroidering a by-the-numbers plot with technologically advanced eye candy. Space sequences, alien landscapes, and an army of clones: it looks good. Real good. But apparently the weight of the epic allows for few personalized flourishes. Fans will be sated, those with middling expectations will be entertained, but random newcomers (not that any exist at this point) might wonder what all the hype is about.