Maybe you'll remember a handful of months ago when geek-lightning struck
me and I reviewed a little DVD called The
Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring? Ring any bells? I thought
it might. Well, apparently geek-lightning is not like regular lightning
in the fact that it CAN strike twice. Only this time, I've hit the motherload.
Yes, my pulse quickened and my palms became sweaty as I opened that package
and realized I had the LOTR
DVD… but that is nothing in comparison to what I felt when I
opened today's little unmarked package. You see, this DVD had no marking.
There was no little note accompanying it letting me know what I was about
to experience. Nope, nothing at all. So I had no idea what to expect.
For all I knew, it could have been a DVD version of the mysterious RING
video that's been going around. But I'm an adventurous soul, so I decided
to throw it in the old DVD player and see what was to be seen.
Ladies and gentlemen, my eyes began to tear as my mind struggled to comprehend
what it was beholding. That familiar logo… that music, so burned
into the popular culture of the world… those first familiar images…
I sat speechless… dumbfounded. No spy in a million years could have
convinced me they would get me this DVD early. Not even our boy Lee,
and his minions from the depths of Hell itself could have sold me on this
coming my way. For the love of GOD, this is the Star
Wars Episode II: The Attack of the Clones DVD!!!
When I awoke from passing out cold, I had to stop the DVD and start it
again. I couldn't possibly miss a thing of this experience. The disc stars
off with the Star Wars logo panning back, images from the films
filling the letters. From there, the Jedi Starfighter screams onto the
screen, disembarking from its hyperdrive ring.
Then we pan down to the planet Kamino and the amazing menu screen. It's
the city on the water. And within the water, images of the main characters
cycle by. I waited for a few moments, hoping one of those little scenes
like from The Phantom Menace
DVD would pop up, urging me to make a selection. Alas, the images
atop the water just recycled themselves and started again.
Next I went to the Options Menu. Wow! Here we are treated to an animated
fight between Obi wan and Jango Fett on the rain soaked platform. This
menu is not images taken from the film, but rather it was created for
the disc, and it look amazing. Again, after a short while, the fight recycles
itself and starts anew, but it's worth watching! From this screen I could
customize the setup.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 sounds incredible on this disc. Once again, Lucas'
people have outdone themselves with the technical specs of their disc.
Not only is the DD sound amazing, but the disc also comes equipped with
a THX Optimizer which runs both an Audio and Video test of your system
so you can get the best possible audio and video quality for what you're
running! And for those lucky enough to see this film played digitally,
let me tell you, the transfer to DVD is FLAWLESS. The colors just POP!
You can see every spark flying from Obi Wan's lightsaber as the rain hits
it during his battle with Jango on Kamino.
Ok, time to review the film itself. Sure, we've all seen it, but the
period of hype has worn off, and this could have been a vastly different
film now. And to be honest, it was. I loved this film in theaters. Loved
it. It brought me back to that place that made me fall in love with movies
oh so many years ago. All of the awww of a “galaxy far, far away”
was back. Crazy Uncle George had finally met my expectations. He'd finally
recaptured the magic. I saw the film 4 times opening weekend. Each time,
the colors in my old Yoda tattoo seemed to brighten a little bit more.
But would it be the same now that the initial glow had worn off…
I mean, I've seen some amazing films this year. Would the old love of
everything Star Wars still be as strong?
In a word: Yes. To expand on that word… even more so. Attack
of the Clones is everything a Star Wars film should be. It's
exciting, and aww inspiring. It's epic, yet personal. It tells a big story
with a small amount of characters. And it's the characters that make this
portion of the mythos a great one. Ladies and Gentlemen, if you don't
think Hayden Christiansen is poised on the verge of major stardom, think
again. Perhaps you weren't fully focused on his performance in this film.
That's Ok. I mean, there's a lot going on, and Star Wars films
aren't the types of movies you sit back and pick apart the acting. If
you do that, you'll miss the point entirely. But in this film, Hayden
shines. And if you need further proof, go out and rent (better yet, BUY)
Life as a House. The boy has
serious skills, and he brings them to full bare within the tormented and
arrogant Anakin Skywalker.
What else can I say about the acting in this film? Well, Ewan McGregor
adds to his amazing portrayal of Obi Wan Kenobi. This film allows him
to expand more on Obi wan, giving him a sense of power and responsibility,
yet still keeping him light enough to have traces of the youthful arrogance
he gave the character in The Phantom
Menace. Natalie Portman does a nice job once again as Amidala, although
she still seems the most uncomfortable of the cast in dealing with all
the CGI work. The majority of the stiffness that plagued her performance
in The Phantom Menace is gone,
but not entirely.
And now the latest addition to the Star Wars mythos, Christopher Lee.
Not much can be said about the man that hasn't been said already. He's
a legend, and the fact that he would lend his talents to Star Wars
really says something about the power of the series. The only complaint
I have about his portrayal of Count Dooku/Darth Tyranus is that it was
painfully short. Granted, he should have more of a roll in Episode
III, but I wanted more of him now. He's so sinister without ever going
over the top. He's a master craftsman who is finally getting more of the
recognition he so richly deserves.
Ok, ok, enough of my drooling over the film itself. It seems that old
Uncle George has done the same thing he did with The
Phantom Menace DVD here with Attack
of the Clones. He's added little bits here and there. He's tweaked
it more to his liking. The most notable addition is the extended scene
with Anakin and Amidala after Anakin has returned from finding his mother.
After Anakin breaks down, Amidala crouches next to him, telling him, “To
be angry is to be human.” to which Anakin responds, “I'm a Jedi..
I know I'm better than this.” The addition of this little bit of
dialogue makes it easier to believe Amidala would fall in love with Anakin.
He seems less like a psychopathic killer and more like a confused kid.
We also get a quick addition of Amidala moaning in the sand after she's
fallen out of the transport during the battle on Geonosis. Finally, and
please, correct me if I'm wrong on this, it appears a small amount was
added to the Yoda/Dooku battle. If memory serves me correctly, when Dooku
fired the force lightening at Yoda in the theatrical release, Yoda just
balled it up and pushed it aside. Here, he first catches it and sends
it back at Dooku, who deflects it into the ceiling. Dooku then fires more
force lightening at Yoda and he collects it in a ball. I don't remember
Yoda firing the force lightening back at Dooku…