Home Video

Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002) - 4K Blu-ray Review

  • Movie Review

  • Blu-ray Review

  • Film Details

  • Art

Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the CLones (2002)

Episode 2 made a couple of firsts in Star Wars history. Firstly, it would be the first of them shot entirely digital. Secondly, and unfortunately, it would be the first of the episodes to debut with a now tarnished perception. The Phantom Menace had not gone down well with the critics and a great deal of the audience. Attack of the Clones, as it came to be called, would face an uphill battle turning those views around.

Lucas was no longer the all-seeing, all-knowing grand pooh-bah of space opera that could do no wrong in the audiences’ eyes. The reaction to his directorial return had left him smarting and he admitted later wounded. But George Lucas, regardless of anyone’s opinion of him, had a clear vision and a clear path to what he wanted to achieve, and with his always infallible willpower he pressed on in earnest.

"was the worst written of the series so far, atrocious in fact, and unfortunately did nothing for the critics or audiences of the time to turn the tide of their reaction to its predecessor."


7\Set 10 years after The Phantom Menace, Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman) is now a senator, going simply by Padme, and is the target of assassination attempts. The Jedi council send Obi Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and a now-grown Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) to protect her. As Chancellor Palpatine seemingly battles endless red tape in the senate, The Trade Federation, still unpunished for their transgressions against Naboo, present an ever increasing threat to the Republic, having formed a separatist movement. As the search for answers progresses, Anakin is sent alone with Padme into hiding, and Obi Wan is sent on a mission to gather information. Anakin is having bad dreams concerning his mother, and is struggling with his romantic feelings for Padme; Obi-wan makes some dangerous and far-reaching discoveries about the Republic he stands for. As these discoveries are revealed, Obi-wan finds himself captured by Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) on the planet Geonosis. Padme insists Anakin and she go to rescue him. What follows is a conflict that will spill off the world of Geonosis and begin the Clone Wars.

This is really where the trilogy, in this reviewer’s opinion, should have kicked off. This is where the back story of A New Hope begins: Anakin is a padawan in his late teens, powerful in the force and frustrated at his perceived limitations at the hands of Obi-wan. Obi-wan is now a master, and holding onto Anakin too tightly. The basic dynamic of what will become their adversarial conclusion is there, but again a meandering plot and characterization barely gets this across compellingly. It always fascinates me what moments and timeframes of these relationships Lucas chose to focus on. In this plot, because Lucas splits them up almost right away, their dynamic is implied but not earned in the audiences’ eyes. Any pre history of their time in training together, of their bond growing, is told not shown in throw away lines. So frustrating and not cinematic, nor is it compelling.{googleads}

Padme and Anakin’s romance is again, in theory, great. They’re sent away together in isolation, with beautiful vistas and romantic picnics. They’re young, they’re pretty, and they’re horny. Yes, it’s classic stuff. But the set up and execution is horrifically bad. Anakin’s lines and the way he acts would have her taking out an apprehended violence order for stalkish, creepy behavior. There is no one scene that organically or convincingly depicts a moment or change where she goes from rebuffing Anakin’s stalker eyes to confessing her love for him. Again the moments and time to do it well are there, but are excruciatingly badly executed. In fact, the whole scene where Anakin has a tantrum on Tattooine and confesses to murdering women and children to her face is where an intelligent world leader would have definitely tapped out.

Christensen copped a lot of flak for his performance as Anakin, but I ask you, what human being could have made that character, those words, and those plot points appealing? He did what he could, but Anakin was just a terribly, TERRIBLY written leading man. All the actors struggled with this one and essentially played to nothing in a green room that was bereft of Lucas’s amazing imagination.

McGregor, bad mullet and all, was given better and comes into his own in this one. His talent is still wasted though, being relegated to acting alongside animated characters for the bulk of the film. More to and fro with Anakin, maybe implying he innocently took the admiration of Padme and made his Padawan jealous, would have been interesting: he would have killed in scenes like that.

Character in this one suffered more than in any other film (until the sequel trilogy). Mace Windu authoritatively states ‘We’re keepers of the peace, not soldiers’ and yet they end up leading an army? Padme leaves Jar Jar in charge in her absence? That’s a new level of stupid. Anyway, one could fill a novel with the choices that were made, but the point is nothing these characters do or say fall into the realm of sane or rational or believable.Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the CLones (2002)

And the last of my constant whining, I promise: this is where Lucas started replacing actors with CGI feats of athleticism and overusing them. They look bloody awful. I can understand using a body double for Lee (he was getting on) but Anakin leaping to Obi-Wan’s aid looks so SHIT and was unnecessary; Christensen was an athletic guy and could have been used. All right, I’ll shut up.

As with every Star Wars film, there is plenty of good to at least look at. The production design of this one I could watch on loop for all time. There are so many beautiful landscapes and interiors and exteriors and costumes and monsters and aliens and droids. The gladiatorial creatures in the arena, the design of the clone army, the Geonosians, the Kamino cloners, the ship designs, Jango Fett and the meteor stoush with Obi-wan, the Jedi in full ass kicking mode, the Yoda CGI design and the only brief glimpse of his whimsical side in the prequels, not to mention him cutting sick with a lightsaber against Count Dracula (erm Dooku). Sam Jackson’s badass-ness channeled through Mace Windu’s decapitating coolness, Anakin going all Norman Bates after finding mother, Palpatine’s quote of the movie ‘I love democracy’! The sound design is amazing, the effects and the battles, and as always John Williams’ score.

Attack of the Clones was the worst written of the series so far, atrocious in fact, and unfortunately did nothing for the critics or audiences of the time to turn the tide of their reaction to its predecessor. It did, however, make over $650 million dollars, and has a lot, and I mean A LOT, of visual candy. Is that so bad? I kind of relish in watching the sheer lunacy of this movie’s plot: a sort of so bad its good type thing. Unapologetically at that—I dig many moments in this film for the moment not as a whole. The prequels acidic reception has tempered a little since then. They earned a little break… just a little.

Attack of the Clones: as spectacular in its failings as it was in its imaginative visuals.

2/5 stars

Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the CLones (2002)

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Disney / Buena Vista
Available on Blu-ray
- March 31, 2020
Screen Formats: 2.39:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, French, Japanese, Spanish
Audio:
English: Dolby Atmos; English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 EX; French: Dolby Digital 5.1 EX; Japanese: Dolby Digital Plus 7.1
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; three-disc set; DVD copy
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

VIDEO:

Attack of the Clones, as with most George Lucas productions, was at the leading edge of technological feats at the time, so it’s one of the first entirely digitally shot movies. As a now 18 year film, it is a product of its time, and this 4K upscale accurately shows off its period limitations and also its impressive work equally at this resolution. Even in 2020, all major effects heavy films still render their work at 2K. It’s cost effective and takes up much less computer storage space. So Disney was obviously not going to go back and do every effect at a higher resolution. Having said this, AOTC presents a faithful and elevated presentation. Devoid of noise—as it’s completely digital—the picture is crisp and uniform (for the most part) and surprisingly detailed. I’ve read other reviews praising the blacks but I found them inconsistent—sometimes being amazingly inky (such as in the Jedi Starfighter vs Slave One meteor stoush) to a little grew and washed out in some Geonosis scenes. In 4K, the digital environments are also a mixed bag of complete genius to complete soft crap. HDR certainly lifts this release far above the previous ones with some amazing pops if color in the tail end of the film. Close ups on skin are amazing in their clarity and are natural. As usual the lightsaber and laser blast and explosions are first rate. It’s a faithful and impressive upscale, mildly improved and highlighted by HDR.
3.5/5

AUDIO:

The only time I can use this adjective for this movie: PERFECT. This DOLBY Atmos 7/1 mix is audio heaven on a stick. It’s absolutely breathtaking in its nuanced, powerful handling of each scene, whether quiet and contemplative or earth shatteringly loud battles. Directionality is next level and so immersive and environment specific. The waves rolling and crashing under a rain storm in Kamino; the battle of Geonisis; the aforementioned meteor stoush; the speeder chase: it’s all GRAVY! SO GOOD.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • With George Lucas, Rick McCallum, Ben Burtt, Rob Coleman, Pablo Helman, John Knoll, and Ben Snow.
  • Cast and Crew

Special Features:

  • Conversations: Sounds in Space
  • Discoveries from Inside: Costumes Revealed
  • The Art of Attack of the Clones
  • "From Puppets to Pixels: Digital Characters in Episode II" Feature-Length Documentary
  • State of the Art: The Previsualization of Episode II Documentary
  • "Films Are Not Released, They Escape" Documentary
  • Episode II Visual Effects Breakdown Montage
  • Interviews
  • Deleted/Extended Scenes
  • The Collection

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 2/5 stars
  Video  3.5/5 stars
  Audio 5/5 stars
  Extras 3/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

3/5 stars

{googleads}

Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the CLones (2002)

MPAA Rating: PG for sustained sequences of sci-fi action/violence
Runtime:
142 mins
Director
: George Lucas
Writer:
George Lucas, Jonathan Hales
Cast:
Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor
Genre
: Sci-fi | Adventure
Tagline:
Attack of the Clones.
Memorable Movie Quote: "The Dark Side has clouded their vision. Hundreds of senators are now under the influence of a Sith lord called Darth Sidious."
Theatrical Distributor:
20th Century Fox
Official Site: https://www.thehustle.movie/
Release Date:
May 12, 2002
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
March 31, 2020.
Synopsis: Ten years after initially meeting, Anakin Skywalker shares a forbidden romance with Padmé Amidala, while Obi-Wan Kenobi investigates an assassination attempt on the senator and discovers a secret clone army crafted for the Jedi.

{googleads}

Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the CLones (2002)

Movie Reviews

Our Tweets

 

You are here: Home Home Video Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002) - 4K Blu-ray Review
Follow us on Twitter
Like us on Facebook
Google+
Letterboxd
Find us on Rotten Tomatoes