Sac, CA Does anyone want to respond to the Sacramento Bee's awful review of AOTC?

Discussion in 'Pacific Regional Discussion' started by Aunt Jar Jar Mimah, May 20, 2002.

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  1. Aunt Jar Jar Mimah Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 10, 1999
    star 5
    They contacted me asking for phone numbers and names of people that would like to reply.

    Let me know if you're interested, and pm me your name and phone number. The review was so terrible, that I think they're looking for responses to print.

  2. Jeremyguy Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 11, 1998
    star 4
    Here is the review. Beware of spoilers if for some reason you still haven't seen the movie.

    SPOILERS






    Review: Stuck in the middle
    As a sequel to a prequel, 'Attack of the Clones' has no life of its own
    By Joe Baltake -- Bee Movie Critic
    Published 2:15 a.m. PDT Thursday, May 16, 2002
    Watching George Lucas' joyless "Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones," the latest in his six-film sci-fi cycle, one has to wonder if he actually had some grand plan in mind, as he suggested after the series kicked off with such unexpected but historic success in 1977.

    Or was the first film, now titled "Star Wars: Episode IV -- A New Hope," simply a fluke that ignited the filmmaker's fertile, youthful imagination and influenced his decision to extend the original film's story line both backward and forward in time?

    I ask because "Attack of the Clones" -- the next-to-last in the series -- has a subtly hasty and desperate quality to it. It doesn't so much advance the serial-like plot as it seems to be under the gun to get in certain plot points that were introduced in 1999's "Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace" and that have to be expanded in both this and the next film (due in May 2005). And, of course, these points have to be expanded in such a way that they make narrative sense in terms of the first three films in the cycle -- movies that most of us have already seen. Confusing, isn't it?

    Well, "Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones," opening today, is both confused and confusing. Like "The Phantom Menace," it is in the unfortunate position of being stuck in the middle of the series and therefore unable to move in a free, organic way. It's also in the unnatural position of being a sequel to a prequel to the first film and its two sequels. (Got that?) It is obliged to cater to our memories and also keep us engrossed about things that haven't happened yet. This obligation robs it of the spirited, unfettered quality that made the first movie such an instant friend to so many moviegoers 25 years ago.

    Although the new film trudges along in an uninspired way, you sense that Lucas still has enthusiasm for his series. For one thing, he shot "Clones" digitally (although it's being presented on film in most theaters). Still, despite his own excitement over the "Star Wars" cycle, it's little wonder that, after the release of "The Phantom Menace," Lucas decided to reduce what he had hoped to be a nine-film cycle to six films. On paper, the idea must have sounded exhilarating -- you know, jumping from the middle of a story back to its beginning and then to its ending.

    But, in practice, as vividly illustrated by the lumbering, obedient "Attack of the Clones," it's unworkable. This film is too busy hitting all of its assigned marks to take on any life of its own.

    The main marks hit here involve: 1) the transition of Anakin Skywalker, the child of "The Phantom Menace," into Darth Vader of "A New Hope," "The Empire Strikes Back" (1980) and "Return of the Jedi" (1983); 2) laying the groundwork for Anakin/Vader's siring of Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia Organa (the characters played in the first films by Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher, respectively); and 3) providing information about the source of Anakin/Vader's feud with his mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi (created by the late Alec Guinness and played here as a younger man by Ewan McGregor).

    But it's all presented in such an anticlimactic way that it's difficult to believe some fans have been camped out in front of theaters for weeks waiting to be the first to see it.

    The first 90 or so minutes of "Attack of the Clones" are almost all exposition, taking place 10 years after "The Phantom Menace." Little Anakin (played by Jake Lloyd in "Phantom") has grown into a rather surly teenager (now played by Hayden Christensen, who played Kevin Kline's equally surly kid in last year's "Life as a House"). He's become quite a strapping, sullen young man.

    Ho
  3. FluukeStarbucker Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Apr 28, 2002
    After reading the review last Thursday, I respected Mr. Baltake's opinion of the film and I could understand his point of view as an unbiased person going to watch a film on it's own. As most of us know, this film is the second part of a six part series where the the first, fourth, fifth, and sixth parts have already been made. Therefore, to give this film an appropriate review would be to account for the other four films that have been made. The reviewer states the four other films but he seems to only account for the last installment, "The Phantom Menace" in his review.
    For instance, he states that "Hayden Christenson is simply an unpleasant screen presence." If you account for what happens to his character, Anakin Skywalker turning into Darth Vader, then perhaps that observation could be seen more as a revelation rather than a negative mark against the film. And the reviewer states
    that in the beginning part of his review, but fails to make that connection in the latter part of his review.
    As for the dialogue, and for the sake of a review with recent research, I would suggest that one watch the original trilogy, then "The Phantom Menace", before viewing "Attack of the Clones." The dialogue seems to go back to the style of the original trilogy, at times verbatim. Whereas, "The Phantom Menace" would seem to be the film with the flattest dialogue.
    In conclusion, to review this film without any knowledge of the background and the foreground, I would have to say the review is acceptable. Fortunately, that is not the case and for a review to be made of this film with merit, one must be refreshed or introduced to the films that have been made. Once that happens, "Attack of the Clones" can be looked upon as a very decent film that explains so much about what happens in the original trilogy. It would be unfair to critique this film on it's own. To do this film justice, would be to look at it as the second chapter of a six chapter film that will last just under 13 hours. It is the beginning of the end, and in more ways than one.
  4. Aunt Jar Jar Mimah Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 10, 1999
    star 5
  5. Devlo_Masan Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 20, 2002
    Couldn't have said it better. I had a feeling Baltake wouldn't give it anything higher than three stars.
  6. Lord_Darth_Vader Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2001
    star 5
    I wonder if Baltake has gotten any envelopes with baby powder in them yet? DOH!!!!! I didn't say that! Bad LDV - no donut! ;)
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