On the second disc are eight deleted scenes with optional introductions. Most interesting are a scene of Padme addressing the Senate to oppose the creation of a Republic army, and some bits with her family and home on Naboo, but it's probably telling that, unlike with Phantom Menace, none of the deleted scenes was incorporated into the film on the DVD. Three substantial documentaries on digital characters, animatics, and creating sound elements are complemented by three insubstantial featurettes, a recycled but interesting 12-part Web documentary, and various other items that should keep fans busy while they wait for Episode III. --David Horiuchi
In 2002, Star Wars fans celebrated the silver anniversary of the release of Episode IV: A New Hope (the first film actually released) in various ways...by going to the Cincinnati Celebration...by purchasing 25th Anniversary memorabilia (such as Hasbro's trio of Silver Anniversary "two-pack" mini dioramas - which I happen to own)...and by going to the local multiplex to watch Episode II - Attack of the Clones.
This movie has everything Star Wars fans love. A good screenplay, awesome visual and sound effects, a fantastic John Williams score...and...Yoda fights in this one!
Considering the undeserved "bad movie" reputation of its predecessor, The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones was received by most Star Wars fans with "This is more like it!" I think Episode II - with its more grown up Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) and its depiction of the beginning of the Clone Wars - is the film most fans wanted The Phantom Menace to be, without Jake Lloyd's "good little Ani" and certainly far less of the much maligned Jar Jar Binks. Yet, the more one watches Episode II (and the DVD's existence certainly makes this possible), the more one appreciates The Phantom Menace as a necessary piece of exposition. As some of my fellow customer reviewers have pointed out in their reviews of The Phantom Menace, all of the cornerstones and plot lines in Attack of the Clones were laid down in Episode I.
Episode II is set 10 years after the events of The Phantom Menace. With the defeat of the Trade Federation, Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman) has served her terms as Queen of Naboo and is now representing her home system in the Galactic Senate. A firm believer in democracy and peaceful negotiations, she is committed to saving the Republic from disintegration. It will not be an easy task, however, since a secessionist movement led by a renegade former Jedi Master has caused several thousand star systems to leave the Republic.
Meanwhile, ex-Senator Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), now Supreme Chancellor of the Republic, is mulling over the creation of an Army of the Republic to confront the growing threat of the separatists. Given the relatively small number of Jedi Knights in the galaxy (less than 10,000, which is tiny indeed given the fact that the Republic spans nearly an entire galaxy), this on the surface seems reasonable, even though viewers who saw the Classic Trilogy know that this is simply one more step to the transformation of the Republic to the evil Empire.
The plot of this movie revolves around a plot to assasinate Senator Amidala to prevent her from voting against the Military Creation Act now before the Senate. It fails (otherwise there would be no Luke or Leia later), and Palpatine suggests that Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and his Padawan Anakin Skywalker protect Amidala from further attacks. Of course, we fans know that this is just another clever plot-within-a-plot by Palpatine/Darth Sidious . It puts Anakin in close proximity to Padme again, which causes the young Jedi Padawan's emotional ties to the former Queen of Naboo to resurface with a vengeance. It is a win-win scenario for Palpatine: if Padme dies either at the hands of bounty hunters or the secessionists, he removes the political opposition to the Army of the Republic. If Obi-Wan and Anakin do manage to protect her, they are out of the way and so is Padme, which is, of course, what ensues in Attack of the Clones.
The DVD version of Episode II was made from the purely digital version of the movie, which means that some scenes (particularly the fight on Geonosis and the secret wedding on Naboo) are subtly different from some versions seen in non-digital movie theaters. Unlike the DVD release of Episode I, no deleted scenes were restored (but are included in the Extra Features disc), and there is no complete "Making of" documentary feature such as "The Beginning" in the extra features disc of The Phantom Menace. The audio commentary (by George Lucas, Rick McCallum, Ben Burtt, Rob Coleman, Pablo Helman, John Knoll and Ben Snow) is heavy on the production side but light on the lore side. (The main weak point I see with the Star Wars DVDs as a whole is that unlike the Star Trek Director's and Collector's Edition re-releases, the only way you can get text commentaries is by going online. This is fine for those of us who have Internet Service Providers, but not so great for those that don't...plus you have to remain connected to read it!) The usual assortment of trailers, John Williams music video (why don't they include JW on the text commentary? Or give him a feature documentary?) and behind the scenes material fill out the extra features supplementary disc.
The nicest, if rather unexpected, bonus was how fast Attack of the Clones was released on DVD. Most of the time, early home video release meant (and still means) that the film did poorly at the box office. Attack of the Clones did quite well at the box office last year, outpaced only by the well-made Spider-Man feature (and it did better than Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and Star Trek: Nemesis). Some cynics suggested it was exactly for that reason that Attack of the Clones came out in 2002 rather than 2 years later (as The Phantom Menace did): that it had done badly. I think it was the fact that it was shot digitally (no need to transfer from film to digital video) and a further 25th Anniversary gift from Lucasfilm, 20th Century Fox, and George Lucas to us fans.