Latest Star Wars Film Inspired by Success of Original Blockbusters; MOVIES: Criticism of the Phantom Menace Has Led to Rethink by Director George Lucas

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), May 7, 2002 | Go to article overview

Latest Star Wars Film Inspired by Success of Original Blockbusters; MOVIES: Criticism of the Phantom Menace Has Led to Rethink by Director George Lucas


Byline: JAMES PRITCHARD

IT HAS already been the subject of frenzied speculation, has had a multi-million pound budget lavished on it, boasts a star-studded cast and it will be coming to a cinema near you soon.

The fifth Star Wars film, which confusingly enough for the uninitiated, is the second in the series, is almost certain to be one of the blockbusters of the summer when it is released on May 16.

Called The Attack of the Clones, the film has created the usual levels of gossip on the internet about every detail of its production and even inspired two Star Wars fans, John Guth and Jeff Tweiten, to spend four months camping outside the Seattle cinema that will be the first to show the film, so they can be first in line to buy a ticket.

And although with that kind of support it is destined to be a commercial success and has been tipped to be only the second film ever to make more than a billion dollars at the box office worldwide, the latest Star Wars movie has been subject to something of a commercial and artistic rethink.

The reasons for this can be laid firmly at the door of the last film in the series, The Phantom Menace, which, while being a predictable commercial success was criticised by many long-standing Star Wars fans for a lame plot, poor characterisation and inconsistencies.

In particular, the character of Jar Jar Binks, a barely-comprehensible floppy-eared alien, was criticised by many as being a poorly-concealed racial stereotype and a constant irritant throughout the film.

Even one of the stars of the film, Ewan McGregor, who plays the young Obi Wan Kenobi has said he was disappointed at how ``flat''The Phantom Menace was. The criticism appears to have spurred director George Lucas, who has amassed a gigantic fortune through the Star Wars franchise, to produce a more adult-orientated film, with a classier promotional campaign and a deliberate reduction in the numbers of spin-off products being sold in the shops. …

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