Okay, I’m sure everyone is just dying to know how the film was. I will try to make this as spoiler-free as possible, so bear with me if it comes across (at times) as vague
. First off. Is it better than Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace? Yes. Oh, yes indeed. Here’s how the evening progressed:
I got to the theater about 15-minutes before it was supposed to start (J—-n was running a little late), and after going through security (where they checked people bags, and ran the magic wand over you to make sure you didn’t have any small cameras), we managed to get two decent seats on the right side, in the middle. A slight angle, but it was fine. As predicted, the movie started about 15-minutes late, but the image on the screen was flawless. I mean, it was absolutely perfect. Why? Because we were at the Loews ABC Entertainment Center, in Century City, which is one of the few digital projection theaters in Los Angeles. Any concerns I had about the film being shot digitally were wiped away after the first five minutes. This is a nice looking film.
But how is it as a movie? Well… it is not without its flaws. But, it kept me engaged for the entire 2:15 length, and at no point did I feel bored or, worse, cheated. This is nothing like Episode 1. This is a solid film, with multiple plot lines all intertwining with a huge culmination at the end. Two words for you that should give you a hint as to how cool the climax is: Yoda battle. (He’s such a little poser, limping with that cane…)
Musically, this is gonna be a tricky one to review. As with Episode 1, there were plenty of instances where music on the album is labeled incorrectly in comparison to where it actually is in the film. Some thematic choices stood out (to me) as questionable, and I’m still trying to figure out why part of a major action sequence was tracked with music taken directly from Episode 1. And it’s one thing to have actor cameos (like Anthony Daniels and Ahmed Best as starship pilots in the bar), but it’s another thing to have “Han and Leia’s Theme” pop up momentarily in the middle of a sequence.
The visual effects were truly stunning. ILM has done some killer work here, and it’s gonna be a serious contender for the VFX Oscar come March 2003. There were a few moments, though, where the all-digital approach showed its true colors, and a few composited shots just felt, well, fake. Ultimately, though, the effects were a huge step above what ILM did for Episode 1, and kudos to them for it.
The acting. Huh? What acting? Come on folks – this is a George Lucas movie! He doesn’t even like actors! As a result, there were times where it felt like I was watching an English version of a Mexican soap opera – and I’m being kind when I say that. Ewan McGregor does a good job having fun, and Christopher Lee is dour and malevolent as always – just perfect. Anthony Daniels’ C3-PO gets to have a few really funny lines, although ultimately his presence in the film (as well as R2-D2s and Owen Lars) screws up continuity for Star Wars in a major major way. We’ll see if Lucas notices, or bothers to address that in the next film. It’s gonna be a long 3-year wait for the next one, but at least the DVD for this one comes out this fall.