Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen, ...
Credit: Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones: © & TM Lucasfilm, Ltd.

It’s better not to think of Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones as a film, as it fails on almost every cinematic level. Though ”Clones” is better than ”The Phantom Menace,” the writing is still pedantic, the acting even more detached, and the direction remains ham-fisted. And so, the crucial love story — between raging Jedi apprentice Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) and stifled senator Amidala (Natalie Portman) — is fatally laughable. Even worse, the movie has no drama of its own. The events that transpire — and they’re too inconsequentially complex to detail — have weight only if you know that Anakin will become Darth Vader in ”Episode III.” ”Clones” is all foreshadow and fog.

However, as a digital laboratory, ”Clones” is a marvel. George Lucas is rewriting the moviemaking manual, and in his world, sets, locations, stuntmen, and even actual film are all but irrelevant. The verisimilitude of his CG universe is staggering, but never totally convincing (one always senses that the actors are wandering through paintings — incredibly beautiful paintings, but paintings nonetheless). Lucas is putting things on screen never seen before; if only the movie were worth the effort.

Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones
  • Movie
  • 142 minutes