I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before…but I’m a small fan of the Star Wars movies.

……….if by small you mean that the original trio of films triggered one of the primary indicators that I wanted to spend my life creating things for the potential enjoyment of the masses. I was actually one of those brain-dead misfits that believed that Episode I: The Phantom Menace wasn’t the worst film committed to human existence. But that’s neither here nor there…there’s a new Star Wars movie out for those living underneath a large rock, and I have come before you to give a biased review of it, free of spoilers, yet brimming with knowledge of a subtle sort.

Let’s set the stage shall we?

The tickets were acquired last Friday afternoon, after putting the finishing touches on last week’s article Let’s Get It that came out so much better than I originally foresaw. The writing process began with intents on providing a little industry commentary wrapped around the Spider-Man flick and Free Comic Book Day, but by the time my hands stopped moving, I had constructed a battle anthem that evoked the feelings of guilty satisfaction provided by one of my favorite pieces called Haters Be Hating. With the weekend ahead and a minimal amount of scholastic responsibilities, much of which in hindsight I probably decided not to do, I was riding on the euphoric wave that Friday afternoon elicits, and I was on the way to secure Star Wars tickets to boot.

The theater of choice is located in the middle of nowhere, late night drives evoking a feeling of infinite darkness and total isolation that inclines one to believe that if your car ever stopped you would never be heard from again. It’s slightly cathartic after emerging from a great movie that inspires frantic bantering throughout the car as my companions and I debate over what was dope or hopelessly wack about the proceedings. For me the experience of going to the movies is about an all-encompassing total package that includes trailers, good seats, and the discussion and clarification stage that should take place afterward. Nearly everything contributes some manner of personal satisfaction,
but allow me to diverge from my random tangent and continue on about this Friday afternoon…

Securing tickets for the initial screening kicking off at 12:10am on Weds/Thurs. was a relatively painless process that only contributed to the good mood leading into the weekend. Even with the tiny slips of paper in hand, the restless anticipation that sometimes takes hold, bringing me back to the days of childhood when I swore time periodically moved in the opposite direction, hadn’t crept silently into my consciousness just yet.

It wasn’t until Wednesday morning when I felt it.

My eyes opened and New Comic Day was upon me, with Episode II for dessert…and I was hyped. My excitement was so apparent that my roommates commented that they wished there could be a Star Wars everyday, because they realized by the next morning I’d be back to harsh frowns and impolite yet endearing hand gestures. It’s a wonder how emotionally invested a person can become in something that doesn’t even exist, and this is one of the main justifications for my pursuit at a lifetime of telling stories and dominating attention spans.

The hours fell away and we arrived at the theater nearly an hour before showtime to find that apparently…we were late. Strolling into a packed theater of patrons waiting patiently for the fireworks to begin, with scant seating remaining, began to turn my disposition into one of disappointment, until decent seats presented themselves. Now when I say decent,
I don’t mean good, I mean better than sitting in the front row on the corner. Decent. Tolerable.

A cell phone conversation killed some time and before I knew it the lights dimmed and it was time for business. The trailers were top-notch fare featuring The Matrix, Austin Powers, Men In Black II, and Minority Report in full color but low sound. I’m sure everyone was confident that the volume would climb to a comfortable level once the feature started.

Not even close.

I saw the new Star Wars flick in all its splendor with the surround sound system cranked to heights that the Kenwood in my living room could probably match. The dozen or so patrons that broke their transfixed gaze upon the screen and ran out of the theater for whatever reason took with them hope that a complaint would get things back to comfortable volume. Again…not even close. After the first thirty minutes of irritation,
I settled down as the entire auditorium went deathly quiet, unconsciously realizing that if everyone didn’t shut up then something of eternal relevance could be missed. There were several effects that I’m sure Lucas meant to not only be heard but felt, and inadequate sound succeeded in dulling the flash somewhat, and the uncomfortable temperature of the theatre, that slowly rose as two hours passed, thickened the air into a tangible entity.

And the movie was still the shit.

So I was forced to do what any responsible quasi-adult would do…go see it again the following night hoping for better speakers and more air conditioning. And it was even better the second time.

This is why you’re going to like Attack of the Clones.

For two hours you bear witness to a wildly visual special-effects masterpiece that successfully widens the scope of the Star Wars universe as the pieces of the puzzle begin to fall into place. The main characters from the previous installment enjoy wildly expanded roles, as they rocket toward a foregone conclusion that Lucas makes you wish there was some way to stop. Anakin will fall. His lover will die. Obi-Wan will be slain by his former apprentice, and the empire will strike back.

It’s this factor that removes some of the tension and urgency from this trilogy but Lucas manages to make the events leading up to the original film profoundly interesting, and heart-breaking in the realization that nothing can stop them. The theatre will experience a collective chill as the Dark Side tickles the heels of a brash overconfident Anakin Skywalker, leading him down a path that will eventually destroy him. Consequently, they will cheer as we finally see scores of Jedi in action side-by-side protecting the Republic, and sneer at the villainous Count Dooku who is much more dangerous then his name suggests.

This movie is one that succeeds in confidently providing and sustaining a healthy adrenaline rush while delivering events that will resonate long after the movie is over. It blends successful elements of action, humor, and intrigue, leaving one sweating for a conclusion that’s three years away.

Forget Episode I and what you did or did not like about it, and go check out the next episode. The narrative is cleaner, the stakes are higher, and the consequences more dire. It’s not Shakespearian, won’t win any Oscars or change anyone’s existence, but it will entertain for nearly all of its 150 minutes, and while I’d like to tell you what my favorite moment was…I don’t want to spoil it for you. But you’ll know it when you see it.

Now go watch the damn thing and be re-educated about a galaxy far, far away…

Brandon Thomas

Next time: I shed light on my latest lyrical exercise that produced seven pages of script that have nothing to do with one another…

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