Attack of the Clones (Star Wars: Episode II) Review
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In this fifth installment of George Lucas’ mega franchise, the story jumps ten years past the events of The Phantom Menace to find its characters, as always, in dire peril. The Republic is falling apart, someone is trying to assassinate Senator Amidala (Natalie Portman), a mysterious army of clones is discovered, and, even worse, Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) has grown into a cocky and obstinate young man prone to overconfidence and angry outbursts.

Those who complained of a certain lackluster quality to the last film should be pleased to note much of this is not evident in this latest episode, as the action and tension increase. This tale weaves itself intricately and indelibly into the other four chapters, with recurring themes and familiar faces. We even discover an actual purpose for Jar Jar’s existence, though perhaps it is of little consolation.

Despite the improvement over its predecessor, there are still some quirks. Lucas complained in a DVD interview that the first cut moved “too quickly” and needed to be slowed down a bit. Sadly, he may have gone too far. Several long dialogue scenes water down the action. In fact, two of my children managed to doze off. And while there are more clever quips this time around, most of them belonging to the droid, C-3PO, the dialogue still lacks the punch of the original trilogy.

Still, flaws on display and all, Attack of the Clones is an adventure worth taking -- even if you get accidentally clocked in the head by a plastic light saber while waiting in line.

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