When the closing credits rolled, I leaped from my seat to leave the theater. Not because the movie sucked, but because it’s no fun sitting next to a seven year old girl who thinks boys have cooties and hated every time Padme and Anakin got mildly smoochy and felt it was appropriate to be loudly opposed to it. Other than that, the movie was fine. It was a perfectly enjoyable one, actually. But then, after “Phantom Menace” I wasn’t expecting much.
Was it a great movie? No. It wasn’t. Was it entertaining? Yes. So how do I score that? Well, let’s go through it (following are spoilers so if you haven’t seen the movie and don’t wish to be spoiled, please skip to the FINAL paragraph where I give a general opinion and score of the movie).
1. Ani grows up. Hayden Christensen did fine as Anakin Skywalker – he smoldered just enough to be mildly and prophetically dangerous and emoted just enough to show his sincerity towards Padme (despite mild stalker overtones). However, Anakin’s inflection was mildly annoying at times and put me in the mind of Jason Patric in “The Lost Boys”. Luckily, HC didn’t do this very often, which was a relief. The other problem was that Anakin’s emotions kind of flittered around a bit much – one minute a tortured soul, the next minute not so much. This wasn’t HC’s fault – it was the script’s fault.
2. Padme stays the same. God bless Natalie Portman – she can do wonders with any dialogue. I’ve loved NP since her appearance in the brilliant “The Professional” and know she can act with the best of them. That’s why you have to cringe at some of the dialogue coming from her mouth in SW: AotC. But, since it’s not her fault, I give her latitude. However, who on EARTH made the executive decision to have Padme have a different outfit in 99% of her scenes? Uh, two suitcases do not carry that many clothes. That was more than a little offputting – and I’m not the only one that noticed it, I’m sure. Sure, it was cool to see lots of costumes, but give me a break – it was a joke after a while.
3. Yoda kicks butt. Okay, I’m sure everyone’s favorite scene in the whole movie is undoubtedly when Yoda comes to save the day. Love that Yoda.
4. Obi-Wan The Detective. The one part of the movie I really enjoyed was Kenobi’s time on the planet Camino. I was really engrossed in this whole plotline and hated to see it end. I hope we see more of them next time around. Ewan McGregor was great, and I even saw shades of Alec McGuinness in his performance – so kudos to EMcG for that.
5. C3PO wins the prize for Worst Dialogue Ever. Oh man, I usually love 3PO but in SW:AotC I just wanted him gone. He was this chapter’s Jar Jar Binks.
As for the story in general, I have some reservations and doubts about the story as a whole. A co-worker and I just had a 10 minute discussion over the film and are in agreement that we’re disappointed that George Lucas has never really taken the time to tell the audience WHY folks are leaving the Republic. I mean, why should we care about the war when no one has told us why they fight? The perfect opportunity to let the audience in on the reasons came and went in SW:AotC – the confrontation scene between Obi-Wan and Count Dooku. Dooku asks Kenobi to join his side, but never expounds on why his side is the “right” side. I just hope that they share the reason with us in the next chapter.
Overall I enjoyed the movie – although I realize I just listed a bunch of complaints. But I enjoyed the movie enough to give it 3 1/2 stars out of 5. However, as I thought about the things that bothered me (see above), I took off a full star. If you are a Star Wars franchise fan, then you’ll enjoy the movie. I agree with the general concensus that this one was better than Phantom Menace. But it was a far cry from Empire Strikes Back, which I still consider to be the best chapter of them all.
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