Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones

Year: 2002
Production Co: Lucasfilm
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Director: George Lucas
Producer: Rick McCallum
Writer: George Lucas
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Samuel L Jackson, Ian McDiarmid, Christopher Lee, Frank Oz, Temuera Morrison, Rose Byrne, Jack Thompson, Joel Edgerton, Anthony Daniels, Jimmy Smits
A far superior effort than The Phantom Menace, returning back the original Star Wars spirit of swashbuckling adventure of the old Saturday matinees that were Lucas' original inspiration. He still has the ability to showcase some of the world's worst actors and extract shocking performances from good ones, and although the dialogue wasn't as cringe-worthy as in The Phantom Menace, scripting still isn't Lucas' forté.

Ten years on, the Republic is more mired in corruption and red tape courtesy of Darth Sidious/Chancellor Palpatine (McDiarmid). Padme (a much sexier Portman) is now a Senator. Anakin (Christensen) is still Obi Wan's (McGregor) apprentice, although the fear, lack of control and temper that will eventually lead him to the dark side is starting to show. Fearmongering that a separatist movement (led by Lee's Count Dooku/Lord Tyranus, a former Jedi) is amassing power to secede from the Republic, Palpatine manoeuvres himself closer to Emperor/dictator over what will become the Imperial army, designed from clones.

Investigating an assassination plot against Amidala, Obi Wan stumbles across the political hi jinks of a clone army created by Boba Fett's father Jango (Morrison). Anakin and Padme, sent to Naboo for her protection until the plot is uncovered, inevitably fall in love, and the Clone Wars ultimately begin between the new Republic forces and the separatist alliance.

The story makes for action, thrills, creatures, chases and excitement that Lucas delivers much better this time. The special effects are fantastic as always (the chase and landing sequences on Coruscant are breathtaking), Jar Jar Binks thankfully only had about four lines, and unexpected treats abound, including seeing Yoda finally show what he's made of. Great fun and a return to form.

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