*SPOILERS FOLLOW* ^ Some quiet FX images of spacecraft traveling toward a planet soon make way for the first fairly coherent stretch of the reel: a boisterous scene where Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) breaks through a high-rise glass window and grabs onto a flying droid of some sort, which then flies around a hectic, otherworldly urban skyline. Someone shoots down the droid, and Obi-Wan takes a “Fifth Element”-like plunge into skyway traffic, only to be picked up in a ship piloted by Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen). The scene then shifts to the ground, where a glimpse of Anakin running in a street is followed by the sight of he and Obi-Wan casually walking into one of the series’ classically alien-populated bars; at the bar, a mysterious figure pulls out a gun.
The scene then quickly shifts to the jarring sight of Obi-Wan talking to an alien creature in an eating establishment that could very well pass for a 1950s diner. The food theme continues with a shot of R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) apparently in line and assembling a tray of food at a cafeteria. The first glimpse of Queen Amidala, still modeling an array of ornate costumes, comes with a shift of setting to Tatooine, where she and Anakin apparently meet up with R2 and a now-completed C3PO (Anthony Daniels). The randomness of this stretch of images continues: a winged creature emerges from water and flies past a building that’s on the water; a tall, long-necked alien walks and talks with Obi-Wan; children with headsets sit at computers.
A master shot of a seaside residence begins the romance portion of the reel. Anakin and Amidala kiss on the terrace, much to Yoda’s apparent dismay. The pair walks along a multipillared structure, with Anakin carrying what appears to be luggage (are the two on holiday of some sort)? This passage ends with a tight and rather provocative shot of Anakin, sweat glistening on his face, appearing to be lying in a bed.
It’s back to action when a rain-drenched battle between Obi-Wan and Jango Fett (Temuera Morrison) atop the aforementioned floating building is joined in progress. Shots fired by Jango are deflected by Obi-Wan’s light saber. Obi-Wan kicks Jango off of the building only to have the tables quickly reversed, for Jango caught him with his grappling hook; Obi-Wan falls along with him, and soon Jango flies away and literally leaves him dangling. Meanwhile, a very young Boba Fett fires up the ignition on the Slave-1ship.
More random quiet-Anakin cruises the Tatooine desert, meets up with some Jawas; Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson) and Yoda have a Jedi-to-Jedi confab-is followed by another elaborate action scene. A bridge retracts from underneath the feet of Anakin and Amidala, and she falls onto the conveyor belt of what appears to be one big factory assembly line. Anakin jumps onto the belt and does his light saber magic on the robots manning the line as well as some malevolent flying creatures. Amidala crafitly dodges a rather large press on the assembly line, only to then get into a struggle with one of the flying creatures, who overpowers her and tosses her into a silo of some sort. More action images-Anakin in a big light saber duel with an unknown figure; Yoda employing some Emperor-like electrical powers-are then capped off with the reel’s final shot, one of a planet or moon as shot from outer space.
Lest anyone in the audience thought that Attack of the Clones is just a love story “about Jar Jar Binks getting funky with the Ewoks” (as McCallum joked), a number of the eye-popping sights were put into their proper plot perspective by Episode II‘s latest trailer, which is set to hit theatres in a few weeks. After a slow start in The Phantom Menace, the story of this “Star Wars” trilogy appears to kick into high gear with the latest film. Senator Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) declares that he “will not let this republic split in two,” to which Mace Windu replies that there aren’t enough Jedi to protect the republic. Palpatine’s solution is to assemble an army of clones created by Jango Fett, which naturally leads to chaos and destruction best summed up by the trailer’s final line, delivered by Yoda: “Begun this clone war has.” Meanwhile, Yoda, Mace Windu, and Obi-Wan grow concerned over Anakin, whose increasing power as a Jedi has made him reckless and arrogant. But those qualities don’t weaken Amidala’s attraction to him, and they embark a forbidden affair.
McCallum closed out his presentation with bold statements. “We (Lucasfilm) didn’t want to push the envelope; we wanted to lick it.” “All of you exhibitors lucky enough to get Attack of the Clones are going to make a shitload of money.” After seeing the footage, it’s hard to argue with either declaration. The revolutionary manner in which the film (that is, if it can even be called that, given that not a single frame of celluloid was printed) was produced certainly would qualify as “envelope licking”; and if these brief, tantalizing tastes are any indication, even a commodity as pre-sold as Star Wars: Episode II-Attack of the Clones could very well exceed the already-lofty box office expectations.
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