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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • THX
  • Dual Layer (RSDL )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital Surround
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX
  Subtitles
    English, English - Hearing Impaired, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish
  Extras
  • 8 Deleted scenes
  • 3 Teaser trailer
  • 1 Theatrical trailer
  • Audio commentary
  • 3 Featurette
  • Photo gallery
  • Animated menus
  • Music video - Across the Stars
  • Behind the scenes footage
  • 12 TV spot
  • Booklet
  • DVD-ROM features
  • 2 Documentaries

Star Wars - Episode II - Attack of the Clones

Lucasfilm Ltd./20th Century Fox . R4 . COLOR . 138 mins . PG . PAL

  Feature
Contract

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New Calvin Klein models.
Three years after the release of the Phantom Menace, with a somewhat divided reception from fans and movie goers alike, George Lucas unleashes his next wave of digital diorama in the form of 'Attack of the CGI'.

It is now ten years later, Anakin has grown up to be almost the same age as Padme and is not dealing very well with puberty. He's also been in training as a young Padawan apprentice with Obiwan as his mentor. Obiwan wants to smack him one big time for being a smartmouth, and Anakin feels unappreciated like every little brat with a mullet. When an attack on Padme fails, he is assigned to protect her and in the process they fall in love. Listen, these are prequels, they HAVE to fall in love or else Luke and Leia don't get born.

In the meantime, the Jedi seem to be losing their ability to discern disturbances in the force with the Sith rising up in the background without the likes of Yoda or Mace Windu realising what is going on. Obiwan stumbles across a hidden Coca Cola factory producing a new flavor of Coke called Diet Clone. He takes the Pepsi challenge and pretty soon the marketing campaign begins in the Senate as to how to combat this disturbance in the Carbonated Force.

OK, so we've embellished a little on the script, but we can't simplify it any further without giving you the script itself. Add in a dash of Tusken Raider, a splash of young Jedi training, a few bits of left over footage from Gladiator with some CG to throw off the viewer from noticing, reuse the special effects from The Perfect Storm and give Jack Thompson another part in an American movie with an accent that can only be produced with the help of Ben Burtt and you've got yourself a Star Wars movie Lucas style.

  Video
Contract

Steve Says:
Brilliant, absolutely incredible!!!

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I feel like I'm falling...

I could go on about each individual aspect of the video but I won't, it will just detract from the BEST looking DVD I've set my eyes upon. Everything that the Episode I DVD didn't live up to is perfected in this direct digital to digital transfer. If you find a flaw in this disc then you will never be satisified.

Oh for the colour, oh for the detail, oh for the sharpness, oh for everything you were expecting in this transfer and so much more.

Utterly gobsmacking...

Vince Says:
I have to say that I was hugely disappointed with the look of this film when viewed at the cinema. All the hoopla over the shooting process seemed to have been lost on me when looking at an inconsistent grainy picture with CGI that sometimes looked incredibly awkward. But when we loaded the DVD, all I had seen and thought no longer mattered. What passed before us was a transfer of sheer visual bliss. The colour, the clarity, the detail, the clarity, did I mention the clarity? All I could think was "How can a cheap bit of plastic store something as sumptuous looking as this picture?" Pause any scene, walk up to the screen, take a closer look and soak up the quality. For those so inclined, look hard enough and you'll spot compression artefacts, but you'll also lose sight of the fact that the other 99.99999999% of the picture is so damn fine.

Fear not, my fellow DVD fanatics and Star Wars enthusiasts, this DVD will be on many a Top 10 list on the strength of the transfer alone, not to mention earning our own prestigious DVDNET GOLD award.

  Audio
Contract

Steve Says:
Having never truly heard an EX setup before in a home environment I really didn't know what to expect, but what better way to be initiated than with Episode II? With the excellent soundtrack that the Phantom Menace provided, this soundtrack could only go so far as equalling that effort and it has.

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Sure is dusty...

What makes the EX soundtrack so convincing is the proper use of panning and directionality that a good sound engineer will use to bring emphasis to a particular scene. Here we have a soundtrack making excellent use of that extra channel when called upon, not when it is just felt to be necessary.

One particular scene involves a dart flying from right rear to center front. Immediately after that, dead centre rear the assassin makes an exit that clearly distinguishes itself from the right rear speaker. Sure, it may not sound like much, but it does when you are there hearing it.

Vince Says:
Do you have a wife, husband or children? Yes? Okay, throw them a few dollars, tell 'em to visit an old friend, make 'em play on the freeway, whatever it takes - just get them out of the house! You'll want to experience the sonic adventure of this instalment without distraction, then when it's all over, you'll want to go back to all the good bits and play them even louder. The walls will shake, the windows will rattle, the neighbours will cry, your ears will bleed - you will be in heaven. But not just any heaven, we're talking about a George Lucas created, Ben Burtt and Gary Rydstrom refined and sonically enhanced heaven.

To all those naysayers out there who like to pooh-pooh Dolby Digital EX as a trivial sound enhancement, I say CLEAN OUT YOUR EARS! A smile of smug self-satisfaction will cross your face as you fire up the Dolby Digital 5.1 EX audio and listen to the all-encompassing sound design that beautifully fills the room and enhances the action beyond the mere bounds of your screen. The missus reckons you wasted money on that extra centre-surround speaker, does she? What the hell does she know? Does she know better that George Lucas and Ben Burtt? I don't think so. What's that you say? You can't decode EX? Well that's just too bad, buddy. But don't despair, the experience is still great. The EX is greater though. Sweeeeeeeeeeet!

  Extras
Contract

This second DVD release from Lucasfilm continues on in the format, layout and style of Episode I on DVD. With its random themed menus, that can also be triggered with Easter eggs, we begin our extras list on disc one with a Screen Specific Audio Commentary featuring the likes of writer/director George Lucas, producer Rick McCallum, editor and sound designer Ben Burtt, ILM animation director Rob Coleman and ILM visual effects supervisors Pablo Helman, John Knoll and Ben Snow. The commentary is all edited together from individual comments from the contributors with each person bouncing nuggets of information off each other, neatly edited all together to compose a pretty fine commentary indeed. In some cases nuggets like an X-wing being pursued by three Tie fighters in the city chase scene and subtle special effects were noted that you would not normally think, like adding antenna to a character or removing someone's ears. And when you hear about a trait that is cloned from Jango Fett to the storm troopers, you too will be banging your head and sighing in disbelief.

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Losing a few hairs there Yodes...

Also included on disc one is the THX optimode feature as well as a similar bloopers reel in an Easter egg as included on the Episode I DVD.

We now move onto disc two, the dedicated special features disc which is broken up into specific sections and sub-sections.

Theatrical trailers & TV spots: The four main trailers Breathing, Mystery, Forbidden Love and Clone War are all available here in anamorphic widescreen and 5.1 surround sound for you to enjoy. The Across the Stars music video, the eight character campaign commercials and four action commercials are also included.

Two lengthy documentaries make up the bulk of the extras on here and both are excellent additions to the DVD. From Puppets to Pixels - Digital Characters in Episode II is a look at the digital world of creating the creatures in the Star Wars universe with particular emphasis on Yoda and Dex Jetster. You'll never look at Yoda the same way again when you hear he is totally digital for the entire movie and when you learn that ALL the Clone Troopers, in EVERY shot, are all digitally created and animated you'll start to realise just where ILM is taking movie making; to all new levels. The second documentary is State of the Art - The Previsualization of Episode II and looks at how storyboarding has gone from black and white sketches to full on animated and composited efforts to aid in the filming process, even to the point of placing big screen plasma televisions in front of the actors as they act out their scenes, using the animatics for cue points.

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Where's Dorothy and Toto?

A collection of eight deleted scenes, totalling about 25 minutes, pad out some more dialogue and build up to specific scenes in the movie. None have been re-inserted into the main feature as was the case with Phantom Menace and given the lack of anything action related it is little wonder why. These would severely slow the pacing of the movie, even if they did add to it.

A collection of three featurettes provide a look at the movie from an EPK perspective. Story, Love and Action delve into the respective areas within the movie with both cast and crew input into these areas. The only problem is that they borrow from each other and would have been better utilised as one feature encompassing all.

If you followed the starwars.com official website during the production of the movie before it's worldwide release you would have had access to 12 web documentaries that are little sub-five minute featurettes covering a specific topic from the new digital film making techniques to the clothing that Padme wears.

Inside Dex's kitchen we find a collection of stills galleries linking to exclusive production photos, one sheet posters and the international outdoor campaign with a myriad of images for you to look through. A further three features are included in here:

Films are Not Released, They Escape. If you've ever wanted to know in extensive detail just what goes into building up the layers of sound that go into a Star Wars movie, this documentary is for you. Sound Designer Ben Burtt takes us through processes and techniques such as ADR and foley, and what it takes to resurrect audio recorded from way back in the original trilogy on tape. With the lengths that Lucasfilm go within the digital realm, the ability to produce foley from one side of the planet to the other live is another example of what film makers are now capable of doing. There must be an abundance of detail in all aspects of the movie from special effects to sound - and to think that these movies still take three years to make. The Episode II Visual Effects Breakdown Montage is a great look at the original footage shot on those massive blue screen sets being composited live into the final composited shot from the movie. If you want a quick look at before and after effects of the movie, this is the feature for you. Lastly, in the diner we find the award winning mockumentary R2-D2: Beneath the Dome where various actors and directors, the likes of Francis Ford Coppola, Richard Dreyfuss and Steven Spielberg, provide anecdotal comments about R2s ailing career and how the new trilogy brought him back from the brink of self destruction.

For those of you with DVD-ROM access on your PCs you'll find a swag of further extras in this section containing more photo galleries, features on the creation of both DVDs and exclusive content for DVD-ROM owners to be added upon release of the DVD in November.

Whilst not quite up to the standard of the Phantom Menace release, this collection of extras is a perfect supplement to the movie itself and is sure to please all fans.

  Overall  
Contract

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Oh the detail!!!
If you only buy this DVD for the transfer then you'll be extremely satisfied, but there's the bonus of an excellent EX soundtrack, a smattering of extras and a decent entry into the Star Wars collection of episodes that leaves the Phantom Menace behind in both visual effects and plot.

Vince and I can't recommend this effort highly enough. Gold all the way.


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=2014
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  •  DVD NET Gold Review List 
      And I quote...
    "Brilliant, absolutely incredible transfer..."
    - Steve Koukoulas
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Sony DVP-525
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Sony STR-DB1070
    • Speakers:
          Wharfedale s500
    • Centre Speaker:
          Polk Audio CS245
    • Surrounds:
          Wharfedale s500
    • Subwoofer:
          DB Dynamics TITAN
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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