Hi all. I haven't posted here for a while, because I got depressed by all the basher vs. gusher crap (which I was hoping wouldn't happen this time, like it did with TPM). Things don't seem to have improved much, but I thought I'd brave these waters again anyway. Anyway, I recently read a review of the AOTC DVD in Empire magazine which I thought was interesting. Here's an excerpt: "Here's a controversial theory. If Episode II had opened in May 1999 as Episode I, with a longer story crawl tagged to the beginning - "Old Jedi rescues powerful kid from slavery. Dies." - then it would have received widespread acclaim. Certainly Episode II has its own flaws - a flabby middle, a tepid central romance, some risible dialogue - but the chief crime of this ultimately exhilarating experience seems to have been that it had the temerity to follow-up the frankly dolorous and disappointing Phantom Menace. And, to be fair, the critics who apparently found reviewing this unstoppable hit less exciting than Maths homework have a point: two-thirds of the way through the new trilogy, and George Lucas has delivered perhaps two-thirds of a great movie in total. (At least two-thirds of that two-thirds are here). And yet, the myriad pleasures of Episode II are far from incidental. They are of a different order from the timeless thrills of the classic trilogy, but they are also light-years beyond most by-the-numbers blockbusters." Now, I think both "bashers" and "gushers" (for lack of better terms) can find something to agree with in that review. And I think it raises a very interesting point. Was the goodwill people had towards the saga squandered so much by TPM that critics and disillusioned fans just couldn't sit back and let themselves be impressed by the spectacle and thrills of AOTC? Or was Lucas just trying too hard to please with AOTC, as a reaction to the claims that TPM was slow and boring? Let the debate begin . . .