The only two good things about The Phantom Menace were the good special effects and the bombastic John Williams score (now with chorus!). Can we expect any more from Attack of the Clones?

 "Will you be taking the day off?" my kid brother wanted to know.
"Eh . . . what?!" I said confused.

We had just seen the trailer for Attack of the Clones. We were in the cinemas for the latest Arnie movie, Collateral Damage. Originally we wanted to see Ali but it wasn't showing anymore and I just somehow knew that I wouldn't interest my brother in the latest Todd Solenz movie, Storytelling, showing at the next door "art" cinemas. Still, we felt like a movie so we settled on the latest Arnie flick. To think once upon a time that one actually wanted to see the latest Arnie movie (Terminator 2! True Lies!) and that his latest effort wasn't a compromise choice.

(Strangely, I once read that most people go to cinemas not knowing what they are going to see, but decide while standing in the queue to buy tickets. I must admit that I never do that and usually know exactly what I want to see beforehand. Like I said, a few years back that actually included Arnie pics . . .)

"You know," my brother said, "take the day off to see Attack of the Clones".

"Ah yes," I nodded. Back in 1999 me and a group of friends took the Friday The Phantom Menace started in South Africa off from work to catch the very first morning show. We had all grown up with the original Star Wars movie and doing something like that just made sense to view the first Star Wars flick since 1983's Return of the Jedi. Back then it seemed like the natural and obvious thing to do. After reading negative reviews of the movie on the Internet beforehand I came to expect the worst however. Still, I wound up having a good time. After all, there is little I can do to describe to Star Wars heretics the thrill of hearing that John Williams score and the familiar yellow lettering scrolling across the screen for the first time after such a long time.

Back then I gave the movie a good review on this web site. I still stand by it: on the big screen The Phantom Menace with its great eye candy and roaring soundtrack beguiles the senses and drives out all critical thought. It's a pop corn movie all right, best enjoyed in the dark of a cinema.

However, recently watching the movie again on my newly acquired BIG TV set and DVD player I just came to hate it. No, really hate it, not just dislike it. On the small screen the movie's faults are just too obvious, no matter how gorgeous the Dolby Digital Sound and how crisp the image. This is a bad bad movie. The acting is either terrible (I really hate that brat!) or mediocre (Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor are sleepwalking through their roles). The film is almost entirely humourless. You know you're in trouble when laughs depend on a racial stereotype (the increasingly shrill Jar Jar Binks) stepping in doo doo. The plot is muddled, confused, overlong and boring at times. This time the much celebrated pod race action sequence just drags and drags (the DVD version of the race is even longer!).

The only two good things about the movie are the good special effects and the bombastic John Williams score (now with chorus!).




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