Star Wars: Attack of the Clones: © & TM ILM/Lucasfilm Ltd.
Brian Hiatt
October 02, 2002 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Here’s what should be cut from ”Attack of the Clones”

The creator of the ”Star Wars” universe doesn’t like being told what to do. Just ask the studio execs who insisted on cutting about four minutes of footage from George Lucas’ first hit, 1973’s ”American Graffiti”; the director was said to be seething about the edits even decades later, when he restored them for a DVD release.

So it’s intriguing that Lucas has agreed to remove some 20 minutes from this summer’s ”Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones,” for its Nov. 1 debut on mega-sized IMAX screens (due to an equipment quirk, they’re limited to two-hour presentations).

Cutting the credits will remove about 9 minutes, according to Lucasfilm, but that still leaves more than 10 minutes of Jedi smooching, political infighting, and droids gone wild to snip. Here’s what we’d relegate to the editing room floor (or, rather, the trash file of Lucasfilm’s supercomputers):

Cut to the chase Sure, it’s thrilling when Obi-Wan Kenobi jumps out a window to begin chasing the assassin who tried to sic nasty space worms on Senator Padmé Amidala. But like ”Phantom Menace”’s similar set piece, the pod race, the subsequent flying-car pursuit goes on at least two minutes too long. Expunging some of the dialogue between Obi-Wan and Anakin (especially when Anakin says, Burt Ward-style, ”If we keep this chase going any longer, that creep’s gonna end up deep-fried!”) and some of the endless flying about would be well-advised.
Time saved: 2:35

Naboo-hoo Anakin and Padmé are on the run — so, of course, they stop in her former palace on bucolic Naboo for a really boring seminar on democracy and the future of the Republic. We also meet the planet’s new queen, who has absolutely nothing of importance to say. Cut all that, and start with the end of the scene, when Luke and Leia’s future parents bicker about where they should hide out.
Time saved: 1:40

Pillow talk Some of Anakin and Padmé’s lovestruck chatter is more painful than amputation by lightsaber. Our top two candidates for removal: ”I am haunted by the kiss you should have never given me” and ”I’m not afraid of dying — I’ve been dying a little bit each day since you came back into my life.” The runner-up is Anakin’s creepy ”I don’t like sand” speech, delivered as he strokes Padmé’s bare back. Also, try losing the bit where Anakin rides that piggy creature, falls off, and winds up rolling in the grass with Padmé. Please.
Time saved: 1:55

Laugh-in There were two scenes in ”Clones” that invariably attracted derisive chuckles — so cut ’em out. The first shows Anakin sweaty, shirtless, and moaning in bed: He’s supposed to be having a nightmare, but audiences think they’re witnessing some kind of kinky Jedi ritual. The second sees Padmé making a way-too-perky recovery after taking a nasty spill from a floating space ship; a trooper asks her if she’s okay, and the previously unconscious senator leaps up and proclaims, ”Yes!”
Time saved: 0:50

M’lady and the tramp If Lucasfilm got paid by the number of times the film’s characters address Padmé as ”m’lady,” ”Clones” would’ve outearned ”Spider-Man” after all. Some slick digital editing could surgically excise all 10,000 (rough estimate) uses of ”m’lady,” and thus remove at least a minute from the movie. While they’re at it, they might as well snip every instance of Obi-Wan calling Anakin ”my young Padawan apprentice,” ”my very young Padawan apprentice,” or indeed, anything except ”Anakin” or ”hey, you.”
Time saved: 3:15

What would you cut from ”Attack of the Clones”?

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