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DVD Pick:
"Star Wars: Episode II" DVD
Reviewed by Ivana Redwine

Guide Rating -  

Tagline: "A Jedi shall not know anger. Nor hatred. Nor love."

Length: 143 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG for sustained sequences of sci-fi action/violence

I'm a sucker for George Lucas films, and I've always been a fan of the "Star Wars" series. I liked "Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones" when I saw it during its theatrical release, and I liked it even better when I watched it recently on DVD. Although I found the movie to be flawed, I thoroughly enjoyed it as a guilty pleasure.

"Star Wars: Episode II" is the sequel to "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace" (1999), and Ewan McGregor and Natalie Portman reprise their roles as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Padmé Amidala, respectively. Of course, several other characters from previous "Star Wars" films are back, including Yoda (Frank Oz), R2-D2 (Kenny Baker), and C-3PO (Anthony Daniels). Also, Jar Jar Binks (Ahmed Best), the most widely reviled character in "Episode I," reappears in "Episode II," but he gets very little screen time.

Ten years have passed between the end of "Episode I" and the beginning of "Episode II," and during that time Anakin Skywalker has become a young adult and is now played by Hayden Christensen. Young Skywalker is apprenticed to Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi. Also in the intervening decade, Padmé Amidala, who was formerly Queen of Naboo, has become a senator.

As "Episode II" opens, the stability of the Republic is threatened by a separatist movement led by the evil Count Dooku (Christopher Lee). When Senator Amidala arrives on Coruscant to cast an important vote in the Galactic Senate, there is an attempt to assassinate her. Soon the Jedi Council tasks Obi-Wan with finding out what's behind the assassination attempt, and Anakin is assigned to protect Padmé.

It's not long before Anakin and Padmé fall in love, and young Skywalker goes through some experiences that reveal his dark side is beginning to emerge. Meanwhile, Obi-Wan uncovers a diabolical plot involving a vast army of clones. Eventually Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Padmé end up in a fight for their lives that will determine the future of the Republic.

Lucas is brilliant at making his fantastic worlds and imaginative creatures come alive on the big screen, and DVD is a great medium for his visual sense. "Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones" is a visually dazzling spectacle with terrific sound and music, which translates very well to DVD.

Although I enjoyed the backstory on Anakin Skywalker in "Episode II," the overall story seemed a little weak to me. Also, much of the dialogue delivery seemed wooden, and the love story between Anakin and Padmé was unconvincing. I thought Hayden Christensen had the right screen presence for Anakin Skywalker, but his line readings fell flat.

"Star Wars: Episode II" comes packaged as a two-disc DVD set. Disc 1 contains the movie and a scene-specific, feature-length audio track with seven filmmakers, including George Lucas. Disc 2 contains a ton of bonus materials, and I've listed most of them below.

Selected Special Features on the DVDs:

• Two-Disc Set
• Anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1)
• English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX
• Spanish 2.0 Dolby Surround
• French 2.0 Dolby Surround
• English Subtitles

• Audio Commentary Track With 7 Filmmakers, Including George Lucas
• Deleted Scenes (8)
• Documentary: "From Puppets to Pixels: Digital Characters in Episode II"
• Documentary: "State of the Art: The Previsualization of Episode II"
• Featurette: "Story"
• Featurette: "Love"
• Featurette: "Action"
• "Films Are Not Released; They Escape": Creating a Universe of Sounds for Episode II
• Episode II Visual Effects Breakdown Montage
• "R2-D2: Beneath the Dome" Mockumentary Trailer
• Web Documentaries (12)
• Still Galleries (3)
• Theatrical Trailer
• Theatrical Teasers (3)
• TV Spots (12)
• "Across the Stars" Music Video
• DVD-ROM Weblink to Exclusive Content


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