by Jonathan Hanie

Empress Books
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Star Wars is a series that has many plusses and minuses. This movie is for this reviewer, the most difficult one to review. There is a lot to chew on. First, there is the title, reminiscent of those old space invader-type flicks, and this is the twenty-aughts, not the 1950s. Also, as far as I have observed, this is the first Star Wars movie to feature unusually "typical" performances among young leads. 

Copyright © 2002: 20th Century Fox

Sounds kind of hard to believe, yet it is true. The performances of the two young lovers, Hayden Christensen (Anakin) and Natalie Portman (Padme) were singled out by many. They did not quite mix, and the love scenes did not gel. And hey, why the heck are there such extended love scenes? This was supposed to be action and adventure for the most part. Most people knew the story and did not go for the love angle. They went for the action. Thankfully, there was eventually plenty for all after the sugar and spice romance!

To briefly refresh the memory, and for anyone who has not seen it, Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan have their hands full protecting Senator Padme Amidala after an assassination attempt. Trouble has been brewing in the galaxy, and Anakin and Obi-Wan have to split up to see what is going on. Obi-Wan, acting on a tip, goes to a distant planet to investigate a clone army rumor while Anakin stays with Padme to protect her. Lots of tragedy, intrigue and action follow.

So do some inconsistencies. These mainly have to do with the robots, C-3PO and R2-D2. We later see C-3PO fully built. Who finished him? R2-D2 can fly. Why did he not do this in the earlier films? Why, above all, are they here? Are they here just so we can see a familiar face? They could have been absent from this film and there would have been better continuity.

Ok, enough about the minor dislikes. What did I like? Let's start with the last thirty minutes. They were action-packed, and I was glued to the screen. There is a blockbuster arena scene that rivals Ben Hur for action.

One actor stands out to make this movie ultimately worth seeing at least once: Christopher Lee! Yes, the second Hammer Films star after Peter Cushing to join the Star Wars franchise certainly made the movie. Lee's regal manner and sauve cunning as Count Dooku almost single-handedly resurrected the thrills with the light sabre duel in the last third, and I only wish he could have been in this movie more. Literally chewing up and spitting out the two male leads, Lee was nearly eighty when filming this.

If you are a Christopher Lee fan, see this movie. He made it worth seeing. Otherwise, you may be disappointed in some of the bits and pieces unless you are a die-hard Star Wars fan. I give this four stars out of five.

Bio: Born and raised in Albany, Georgia, Jonathan "Kibo" Hanie graduated high school in 1989. He has since attended Valencia Community College in Orlando, and Nova University where he earned a Bachelor's in Education, and the University of Central Florida where he obtained a Master's Degree in Educational Media. Single, Hanie has lived in Orlando for the past fourteen years. His hobbies include film, travelling, reading books, cats, Falco, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and recycling.