Terribly good movie
I have a bad feeling about this……
Now hopefully you have read my review on episode 1. Its not a great film, in fact its not even good film. But It does have some redeeming quality’s and I have a certain nostalgic love for it. Episode 2 on the hand is a whole different beast.
The Phantom Menace used a combination of amazing practical and digital FX. There a lot of problems with episode 1, but its use of excellent FX is not one of them. This has been pretty much abandoned by episode 2. I have nothing against digital FX. Just look at Avatar and its amazing digital sets and creatures. It still stands up as a visual masterpeice today. But digital FX work in 2002 was clearly not up to the task of realising Lucas vision. From the first scene its clear that this is going to be an issue through the entire movie. Upon arriving on Corruscant Senator Pademe’s ship explodes in possibly the least convincing FX ever. The ship looks fake, the digital backgrounds look fake even the people standing around look fake. And unfortunately this sets the tone for the movie. Lucas has apparently decided he wants to shoot as little of the movie outside as possible and we just have to deal with it. Sigh.
After the attack Obi Wan and a teenage Anakin are sent to find out who is attacking the senator. Here we get our taste of a young Hayden Christensen. Now he’s actually turned into a decent actor as of lately, but here he clearly has a lot to learn. His reading of lines is atrocious and its hard to believe he got through auditions with that performance. It doesn’t help that the lines are really bad, but we will go into that later. He is also not helped by a director who seems to want to just get through the days shooting and into the editing suite. He has no eye for bringing out the best in an actor. Its lucky than that Anakin’s master is played by such a capable actor in Ewan McGregor. By this time he is really growing into the role and its hard for me to actually separate him from this character in my mind now. After another attack by bounty hunter Jango Fett our hero’s split up, with Anakin protecting Padme and Obi Wan goes on a mission to find out who is trying to kill her. Alone together Anakin and Padme act on forbidden love while Obi Wan discovers more then he bargained for, a grand Galaxy wide conspiracy. It seems that a now deceased Jedi had ordered the creation of a clone army. Tracing Jango back to a plant called Kimino, Obi Wan discovers this secret and reports back to the order, after narrowly escaping being killed by Fett. If only we had more of the Obi Wan story and less of the horribly contrived love story. Christensen and Portman have zero chemistry and given lines such as,
Padme: your making fun of me!
Anakin: Oh, no, id be much to frightened to tease a senator!
Yeah, great stuff.
Eventually all the storylines meet up on a planet called Geonosis. And with all bad Star Wars films, the ending is where it saves it self. Anakin, Padme and Obi Wan are about to be executed when the Yoda, Mace Windu and the rest of the Jedi turn up with a huge clone army that was discovered earlier in the film by Obi Wan. From here we enter the beginning of a great ending with the troopers going up against the Separatist droids. Anakin and Obi Wan face of against Count Dooku, a ex Jedi who may have alternative motives. Anakin ends up getting his arm cut off and Obi Wan getting knocked out. All looks lost until master Yoda turns up pulls out his lightsaber and the two have an amazing battle. Its an exciting end to a movie that really doesn’t deserve it.
Like episode 1 the basic premise of the story is good. A elusive force working behind the scenes to take over the senate and take down the Jedi. The further fall of Anakin to the dark side and the start of famous clone wars mentioned in episode 4. I feel bad to say this but all the fault lies with Lucas, he’s a good story writer and visually he’s a genius, but these are nessacarily the things that make a good director. Maybe he can redeem himself with the next episode.