Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones, IMAX format presentation
Review by Diana
Director: George Lucas
Rating: TIE Fighter (4 out of 10)
What could possibly be cooler? A Star Wars film on IMAX! It's that multi-story screen; some theaters have concave screens, so that you can feel the action below and above you, wrapping almost behind you. I was nearly wetting myself for weeks, thinking of the meadow picnic scene filling even my peripheral vision, and the dust of the downed Federation starship enveloping me when Master Yoda ordered it fired upon.
I must be the biggest idiot fan of the movies, ever ... yet, believe it or not, the movie was disappointing in one particularly damning manner: Scenes and parts of scenes were cut! You might not notice unless you are a diehard, I guess... but I noticed and was kind of pissed off. Like the whole meadow picnic was cut out, as was Anakin writhing in the sheets, the introduction to Owen Lars (why would they cut THAT out??), parts of the ripped off Pushkin declaration of love scene, bits of the battle, Boba Fett firing on Obiwan as the Jedi and Jango fought on that landing platform on rainy Kamino, Dormé talking to Padmé at any time, parts of Dooku talking to Obiwan ... and the end credits were simply pasted all over the screen, rather than scrolling! How're you supposed to read the credits NOW?
I bitched about these to Windu, who as a former projectionist thinks there must be a length limit to IMAX reels; quite possible since about 15 minutes was cut, in total, making it a 2 hour movie. Plus the screen is not as wide, so there was the "pan and scan" effect we all love and admire. (Yeah, right!) So we were treated to a shot of the prime miniser of Kamino standing there, blinking, on his own, while Lama Su's voice came from offscreen to introduce him to Obiwan. Hey, tell me, why was THAT kept in, yet Anakin meeting Owen Lars and his father Cliegg was mercilessly chopped out?? Isn't that scene significant?? There were also editing errors that were more obvious on the big format. Tsk!
As expected, we saw detail that wasn't possible on a traditional screen, but one wonders if that's necessarily a good thing ... like the cups of jawajuice Obiwan and Dex drank out of were empty, as were the yellow plastic bowls Padmé and Anakin ate out of on the refugee ship. Also, the cook 'droid on that ship was serving pancakes, and flipping them as he told off R2D2 for taking food from the line. I also didn't realize that Dex and Watto have the same texture facial hair -- creative recycling of the same program! (I previously hadn't realized Dex even had a moustache.)
The sensurround sound also added to and enlivened the experience. The music became more than a backdrop, it became a familiar entity. I realized much of the battle scenes used pieces of the podracing music from Ep1, for instance. Stuff that's obvious, as well as less so. Yoda's theme, Princess Leia's theme, Darth Vader's theme/Imperial March ... they were more "hitting you between the eyes" than before, which I kind of liked.
The cuts and "pan & scan" were annoying and distracting, but overall, it was fun. I'm going to go see it again, despite the "TIE fighter" rating. I guess I'm not opposed to cutting some scenes; I was okay with the scene where JarJar sees Obiwan again, for example, or the scene where Palpatine and Mas Amedda passively manipulate the hapless Gungan to propose the Supreme Chancellor be given complete emergency powers. But mostly, it was done in a ham-handed manner, didn't improve the movie, and was apparently done to get the movie onto two reels, rather than two and a quarter reels. Cut out the lame trailers in the front, I say! Hey, I paid $12 for a ticket -- use another reel!
Anyway, enough of that rant ... yeah, I was pissed off, but I still liked it! (It's kind of like that lame boyfriend you really should stop dating, but he's still good for lots of things!) And, on the other hand, it makes me all hot for the DVD in less than two weeks! Maybe it's all marketing strategy and ploy... But will it stop me from running to see the IMAX again? Of course not! It was still way cool!