Heather and I actually got the chance to slip out of the house today to see Star Wars Episode II with my bro-in-law Bill (thanks to my parents for babysitting). Wow, I was actually very happy with the movie!
I went expecting the worst – Lucas really royally f’d up Episode I, and Return of the Jedi wasn’t much better. This latest film is MUCH better than the last and I’d rank it as the third best of the series behind The Empire Strikes Back and A New Hope.
- The plot: the story was much more in line with the original trilogy and Lucas obviously had a lot of help on the screenplay from Jonathan Hales.
- Visuals: ILM has outdone themselves once again. These are most certainly the most amazing visuals I’ve ever seen. The climactic battle is a sight to behold. The completely CGI Yoda is almost perfect – especially when he has his action scene.
- Production design and costumes:
Once again, a sight to behold.
- Dialogue: OK, so I said the plot was better, but much of the dialogue was – well – silly, contrived, overly simple, etc. Bill’s favorite line: “I hate sand.” (spoken by Anakin).
Stilted, dry, monotonous, you name it. Lucas has lost his (limited) skill at directing actors and is too involved with directing digital effects. Hayden Christensen, while a definite (infinite) improvement over Jake Lloyd, was not very good as Anakin. Natalie Portman was much better than I thought she would be, but still a bit weak. Ewan McGregor, Samuel L. Jackson, Ian McDiarmid and Christopher Lee were all excellent, but the best actor in the movie (IMHO) was Temuera Morrison as Jango Fett. He was just plain cool…