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BMZ Review: Star Wars Ep. II, Attack of the Clones: The IMAX Experience
By Ross Anthony

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Large Lucas
Written by: Ross Anthony
Source: Ross Anthony's Hollywood Report Card
Date: November 2002
Rating:  

     

Category: Reviews

Editor's Note: Below is Ross Anthony's review of how "Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones" looks on the giant screen. Following the review of the giant screen version is a review of the film in general.

Giant Screen version (re-mastered using the IMAX DMR process):

Despite its digital origination, surprisingly, "Clones" is still beautiful overall in IMAX. This is quite an amazing statement given the fervent debate over digital versus film in the 35mm world. Few would expect digital live action to stand up in the 70mm arena.

That said, there are plenty of breakdowns in image quality. Especially in low-light and high contrasting light (and occasionally when a scene is dominated by live action elements) those pesky little digital pixels begin to dance around on Anakin and Padme's faces like tiny clone armies. Simply unacceptable, were the entire production riddled with these moments, but they are the exception, not the rule. The rule is, Lucas has simply created a visually stunning work of art into which the big screen allows a closer look, a more involving look. And sometimes these 'enlarged' creations engender even greater appreciation.

Also, on occasion, the combination of big screen and adjusted framing brings some (particularly hand-to-hand, or saber-to-saber) fight scenes just too close for comfortable viewing.

So, aside from the mostly resounding audio and visuals, the other elements have their imperfections - but all and all, "Clones" is a lovely piece worthy of being viewed both in big and small sizes.

Last May, upon the original release of the film, Ross Anthony had the following to say about the film in its 35mm format:

A drum roll over the Fox logo draws howls and claps from this eager crowd. This is no ordinary screening - professionals and guests alike -- we'll all go home bragging to our family and friends that we've seen the new "Star Wars" movie nine days in advance of its release. Timpani snaps at the "Star Wars" logo of the last century, "A long time ago in a galaxy far far away..." and the ride begins.

Undoubtedly, lustrous polished visuals are the single most alluring element of the production. Rich in color and creativity and, of course, special effect; every shot is resplendant. From the arsenal of imaginative battle gear to the shimmering space vehicles to the gleaming interiors, immense care has been taken to make this picture look great. 100% digitally shot or created in the computer and (at our particular screening) digitally projected. Simply beautiful, despite the lack of film.

Anakin Skywalker (in character and player) clearly clinches a close second to visuals. Anakin (Hayden Christensen) has grown and takes the screen with confidence, strength, and yes, passion -- thank God. Cocky and restless like the Han Solo and Luke (respectively) of the original (Episode IV). Not just because he is young, but because he is good. This is his film. In fact, running alongside Padme (Queen/now Senator), you'll no doubt recall images of Luke and Leia scurrying hand in hand. This Anakin is clearly more interesting in script and stronger in realization than anyone else in the film (and in the last one for that matter). I like Ewan, but his contributions are dramatically less dramatic than Christensen's and Portman's. Jackson and Oz add little (though Yoda does seem to please the crowds). C3PO and R2 return as well as Jar Jar, but all are thankfully not allowed to abuse their screen time.

After all, it's a love story, a subtle coming of age story, and a rather murky tale of war in the stars. The strategies of that last bit, like star ships, may glide right over the heads of younger and even older audience members. Separatists, Federation, clones ... there's no one guy in a huge dark metallic suit and scary voice to point a finger at (or lightsaber). Just who is to be trusted and who not, isn't always terribly clear. No matter, the bad guys are usually the one's that Anakin and Kenobi and Padme are chasing or shooting at. Nor are the plot progressions and strategies of the players without holes. But again, we accept them with the faith of 12-year-olds and forget our doubt in exchange for the thrilling action, gorgious imagery, and epic yarn that we can find in few other places.

Other highlights include: a car chase in three dimensions, a smashing asteroid belt scene that simply rocks, the fifties diner and Dex the mustached lizard's performance, a powerful score that takes care not to overuse its famous theme, and resounding audio/visual effects.

Lowlights include: less than logical/contrived choices made by our heroes, a very brief lull, corny Skywalker family scenes, a few dumb throw away one-liners "Obi's gonna kill me," C3PO's interesting predicament wants of fuller development, some isolated sticky acting.

And while the ending is no exploding Death Star, it's still strong, conclusive and prompts applause from this crowd of fans and film reviewers.

Grade...............................................A-


Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones. Copyright (c) 2002.
Starring Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor, Christopher
Lee, Samuel L. Jackson, Frank Oz, Ian McDiarmid. Directed by George Lucas.
Screenplay by George Lucas and Honathan Hales.
Story by George.
Produced by Rick McCallum at LucasFilm/20th Century Fox.



Copyright (C) 2002.
Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: RossAnthony.com

Movie Reviews by Ross Anthony

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Resident Evil: Afterlife: An IMAX 3D Experience
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse: The IMAX Experience
Shrek Forever After: An IMAX 3D Experience
Iron Man 2: The IMAX Experience
The Wildest Dream: Conquest of Everest
Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey
The Ultimate Wave Tahiti 3D
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Avatar: An IMAX 3D Experience
Van Gogh: Brush With Genius
Journey to Mecca: In the Footsteps of Ibn Battuta
Mysteries of the Great Lakes
The Dark Knight: The IMAX Experience
Kung Fu Panda: The IMAX Experience
Shine a Light: The IMAX Experience
Beowulf: An IMAX 3D Experience
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The Alps
Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs
Lions 3D: Roar of the Kalahari
Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure (3D/2D)
Greece: Secrets of the Past
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Wired to Win: Surviving the Tour de France
Wild Safari 3D: A South African Adventure
Mystery of the Nile
Mystic India
Aliens of the Deep (3D)
Grand Canyon: The Hidden Secrets
Extreme
Rolling Stones at the Max
Sharks 3D
Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag
The Polar Express: An IMAX 3D Experience
Roar: Lions of the Kalahari
Forces of Nature
Adventures in Animation (3D)
NASCAR: The IMAX Experience (3D/2D)
The Young Black Stallion
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Texas: The Big Picture
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The Lion King (IMAX/Giant Screen/Large Format Edition)
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Star Wars Ep. II, Attack of the Clones: The IMAX Experience
Santa vs. the Snowman (3D/2D)
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