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It's ten years after the Trade Federation collapse, and Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) has grown into an accomplished yet restless Jedi apprentice to Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor). Reunited with Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman), who is now a maligned senator, Skywalker is assigned to take her into hiding on her home world of Naboo, where they develop a passionate but forbidden love. Kenobi, meanwhile, tracks bounty hunter Jango Fett (Temura Morrison) to a distant planet and uncovers a clone army linked to separatist Jedi master Count Dooku (Christopher Lee). When Anakin and Padme come to Kenobi's rescue, all three are captured and face execution, leading to an immense Clone War.

Review by Shannon J. Harvey:
It's been six months since Episode II was released in cinemas - is that enough time to call it one of the best in the Star Wars canon? I think so, but I wouldn't dare try ranking it. Attack of the Clones is arguably the most magnificent looking and sounding film ever made, and as the first film made entirely with digital technology, it might just herald a new wave in filmmaking.

Thankfully, Clones makes the disappointing Phantom Menace a better movie, filling in gaps and answering questions, like what lead the Republic to split, where does Boba Fett come from, and what influences Anakin on his path to the Dark side? And the action is second to none. Right from the get-go, there's explosions and assassination attempts, leading to a frenetic speeder chase through the Blade Runner-ish city scape of Corruscant. The digital sound and cinematography and is just incredible - lightsabers clash, spaceships rumble, and seismic charges explode in an asteroid field. There's a the rain-soaked planet where Obi-Wan battles the Fetts and Colosseum-like show-down on Geonosis where Mace Windu (Samuel L Jackson, doing his best Pulp Fiction) leads hundreds of Jedis into an epic battle with Dooku's insect army. It's a battle that makes anything in Gladiator look like a game of tic-tac-toe.

Clones is a darker, edgier saga than Menace (Jar Jar makes a mercifully brief appearance), and there's even a few light moments, as when Yoda gets busy with a lightsaber. It's let down by lame dialogue - Anakin's courtship of Amidala is the stuff of daytime soaps - and the wooden acting is probably a pitfall of digital filmmaking. As it happens, much of the ensemble audio commentary on this spectacular DVD is devoted to the technicalities of the film, such as the transformation of Frank Oz's Yoda, the abyss of the blue-screen, and how storyboards, puppets, models, and makeup have been superceded (in Lucas's world, at least) by computer artistry.

Disc two features hours of extras. From Puppets to Pixels is a 52-minute feature showing the ILM team's devotion to transforming the former puppets of Star Wars into digital creatures. The Previsualisation of Episode II investigates three key action sequences and examines how Lucas pioneered the digital revolution - and its pros and cons. There are eight juicy deleted scenes with or without commentary, and three short features that investigate the Story, Love, and Action of the film. Sam Jackson's witty remarks in Action are welcome amid the sea of computer geeks. Multiple Web

Documentaries cover similar terrain. There's more about the film's sound and visual effects, but you must check out Beneath the Dome, a mockumentary lampooning the pot-smoking rumours about the midget inside R2-D2. There's Stills Galleries, Production Photos, posters galleries, 12 TV spots, teasers, and trailers - look out for the Spiderman send-up. With glistening pictures and symphonic sound, the force is strong in Clones. One of the best on the market, this two-disk DVD is, hmm?

Published November 14, 2002

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CAST: Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Ian McDiarmid, Samuel L Jackson, Christopher Lee, Anthony Daniel, Kenny Baker, Frank Oz, Leanna Walsman, Pernilla August, Temuera Morrison, Jimmy Smits, Jack Thompson, Ahmed Best, Rose Byrne

DIRECTOR: George Lucas

RUNNING TIME: 137 minutes



PRESENTATION: 16x9 Widescreen anamorphic format 2.35:1; Dolby 5.1 surround EX

Commentary by George Lucas, Rick McCallum, Ben Burtt, Rob Coleman, Pablo Helman, John Knoll, and Ben Snow.

Disc Two:
Eight exclusive deleted scenes with introductions by Lucas, McCallum, and Burtt; Documentary "From Puppets to Pixels: Digital Characters in Episode II; Documentary "State of the Art: The Previsualization of Episode II"; Documentary "Films Are Not Released: They Escape"; three featurettes examining the story, love, and action.12-part Web documentary; "Across the Stars" music video by John Williams; trailers, teasers and 12 TV spots; theatrical posters and print campaign "R2-D2: Beneath the Dome" mockumentary; Production Photo Gallery; ILM visual effects breakdown montage; DVD-ROM

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Fox Home Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: November 13, 2002

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