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Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.


Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris


St. Petersburg Times Online

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Star Wars Episode II
[Photo: Twentieth Century Fox]
Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor, left) isn’t very comfortable with the driving style of his apprentice, Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), in Star Wars Episode II.
 

Billy photo
Read Billy's movie reviews on his special archive page.
By BILLY NORRIS

© St. Petersburg Times
published May 20, 2002


Title: Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

  • Rating: PG

Summary: Attack of the Clones picks up 10 years after The Phantom Menace left off. In this followup to Episode I, the story of Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) and his long road to Jedihood is continued. This time, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) is his mentor. Padme Amidala (formerly queen of planet Naboo and now a senator) is once again in danger of assassination, this time by Count Dooku, a former Jedi Knight who has turned away from the force and is now a rogue leader. Dooku is planning to lead a large separatist rebellion against the Federation in order to assume absolute power. Meanwhile, the chancellor of the endangered planet enlists the help of bounty hunter Jango Fett, who has created a clone army that will help defend the Republic. But Jango has other plans for this army!

Also in this episode, Anakin encounters many situations that begin to shape his life and show hints of his destiny. And, the senator finds true love, but perhaps her choice is not the best one for the Federation!

My view: As I've said before, I have never been a science fiction fan; I don't remember ever really going nuts over a science fiction film. Well, the night before I saw this film, I felt it necessary to rent and watch Episode I: The Phantom Menace. To my surprise I was totally entertained and amused by it, and that film completely changed my opinion about the whole Star Wars mentality. I finally understood what all the hype is about. I was probably one of the only people to like the off-the-wall character Jar Jar Binks, though (don't worry, he's toned down in a big way in this film). The main thing that impressed me about this new film, and all George Lucas films for that matter, is the great amount of attention paid to detail. Every little thing on screen is perfect and meticulously constructed or produced. Episode II definitely whets my appetite for Episode III, which isn't scheduled to come out until 2005.

Favorite part: I think Yoda (voiced by Frank Oz, of Sesame Street and Muppet fame) is one of the coolest movie characters ever created. He's got it all -- the sense of humor, the unique look, the wisdom and, most of all, the awesome fighting moves you wouldn't figure he was capable of! He has always entertained me, and the main fight scene in this film involving him is fun to watch.

Least favorite part: If I could come up with one word to describe the ending, it would be abrupt. It seemed to come from out of the blue when I definitely wasn't expecting it. There were a lot of loose ends left that won't be tied for another three years. Of course, that is exactly what the moviemakers want, but it left me frustrated.

Recommendations: I liked this film a whole lot! I would recommend it to all Star Wars fans; they won't be disappointed. If you haven't seen Episode I, though, and you plan to see this one (I would highly recommend that you do), it is a necessity to view The Phantom Menace first. Otherwise, you will be lost in this film.

Grade: A

- Billy Norris, 14, is in the eighth grade at Seminole Middle School, and is a former member of the Times X-Team.

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