Attack of the Clones This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   "Star Wars" has become much more than just a film franchise - it has become lockedin our culture. The original trilogy is embedded in most teens' memories. Formany, "Star Wars" is the first film they remember.

A few yearsago George Lucas killed many people's fantasies when he released the over-hypedand disappointing "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace." The filmfailed in key areas and just didn't feel like a Star Wars film. Lucas walked usthrough with laughable dialogue, bad acting (especially from Jake Lloyd asAnakin) and horrible childish comic relief from the loud-mouthed Jar Jar Binks.

Now, Lucas has released Episode II, and I must say I was impressed beyondmy wildest expectations. It offers a whopper of a story that shows a strong senseof irony and foreshadowing. It is the story of Anakin (now all grown up), whofalls in love with Padmé (previously Queen Amidala of the Naboo) and howhe starts to lean toward the dark side. But the plot is not that simple. Lucasgives us a gargantuan storyline that in-volves cloning, a mysterious bountyhunter named Jango Fett, an army of the Republic, the mysterious Jedi traitorCount Dooku and, of course, the Sith.

How all this ties together has tobe seen to be believed. "Clones" keeps you guessing, which is awkwardconsidering the audience knows the ultimate outcome.

The film featuresspectacular performances from Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Ian McDiarmidas Senator Palpatine. Yes, that's right, spectacular, which is not a word usuallyused to de-scribe a performance in any Star Wars film.

And, ofcourse, the special effects are breathtaking. Speaking of technical achievements,"Episode II" is shot in digital, though no doubt you will be seeing afilm copy since digital projections are rare. This not only makes Lucas avisionary, but also puts him in a unique position. He is the first big directorto switch to this controversial medium. One can only wonder how many more willtake the same risk and join him.

When it comes to action, the film excelsbeyond all expectations. Forget the little pod race on Tattooine - that waschild's play. Get ready for some serious action. The sequences include a chasethrough Corescant, an amazing fight between Kenobi and Fett and, of course,Yoda's comically spectacular fight scene (arguably the best scene in thefilm).

While the film succeeds in many areas, it falls short in others.The love story is simply unbearable because of Lucas's inability to write decentdialogue. Lines like "You're in my very soul tormenting me" eat away atthe viewer's brain until you want to scream. The actors just can't work with thelovesick dialogue. Also, Natalie Portman seems too much like a confused teenagerto play the part convincingly and therefore kills many scenes. HaydenChristen-sen plays Anakin Skywalker well enough since the viewer hates him.

The music, while very good, is just recycled from previous films, butoverall, fits the scenes perfectly. Some of the FX shots during the Dooku lightsaber duel look fake, as if they just pasted Lee's head over the stunt double.Another complaint is that some characters still are not developed enough for theaudience to care about them.

"Episode II" reminds me of why Iloved Star Wars in the first place: its strong story, childhood wonderment,fantastic action sequences and mythological theme that can't be ignored."Episode II" reclaimed my faith, and now I cannot wait for"Episode III."

"Clones" is an entertaining ride thattells a great story. Don't try to over-analyze it like many critics have. Justsit back, relax, have fun, and realize that you are seeing the first true StarWars film in 19 years.






This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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