Movie News

Asia-AICN Special Report: AOTC Opens in Japan for a Unique SW Experience

Published at: June 30, 2002, 10:02 a.m. CST

Father Geek here fresh from watching a great film print of the best Lovecraft screen adaptation to date, DAGON with its director Stuart Gordon and a sold out crowd at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema last night here in Austin. Incredible! Loved it!

I know, I know, what am I doing posting a story on ATTACK OF THE CLONES, it opened soooooo long ago here in the states. Well, that's just it, "in the states", our site has a worldwide audience and believe it or not some parts of our world are just now getting to see the flick. Plus, if this was just a review of the film I wouldn't be posting it, buuuut this is a review of the EXPERIENCE of seeing AOTC in Japan with a Japanese audience. And I thought many of you might enjoy the cultural uniqueness of this event, totally different than the screenings back here in the good ol'USA.

So with that I turn you over to our guide for this cool little trip, Chiba Hakujin...

I'm an American (from New Orleans) living in Japan and teaching English and I thought you might like a review of the AOTC opening from the land of the rising sun. As you probably know today, July 29, all across Japan they held day long previews of AOTC. My theater in Kaihim-Makuhari showed 9 screenings, 6 subtitled and 3 dubbed in Japanese.

Tickets went on sale 4 days before the preview and you had to pick them up at the theater, no phone reservations. And there was "assigned seating", like for a play or sporting event. Luckily me and my girlfriend got good seats. We each got a special lobby card with the image of Luke & Leia from the original Star Wars EpIV poster on the front. On the back was info about the film and a message in Japanese from George Lucas asking people to please not reveal the contents of the movie to friends, blah, blah, blah. I have to say I was a bit surprised at the lack of fervor over the preview. No long lines at the theater of people waiting to get in and we bought the actual tickets the day before! Back in the US those puppies would've sold out 2 days earlier.

So we sit in our assigned seats in the brand new, absolutely gorgeous, stadium style Cineplex theater. I saw BLADE 2 in the very same theater 2 weeks ago so I knew I was going to see AOTC in the best possible conditions available in Japan. When my girlfriend walked in her eyes lit up like a kid on Christmas Day. You have to appreciate how rare a movie theater like this is in Japan, land of the cramped, small, space saving cinemas. Suffice to say I was well rewarded for my many weeks of resisting watching downloaded bootlegs of AOTC from the Net. On come the trailers, MINORITY REPORT, WIND TALKERS, and LIFE AS A HOUSE (which made my girl happy since she has a huge crush on Darth Hayden).

Then come those words: A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away . . . NOT A PEEP from the audience! I couldn't believe it. I was flooded with memories from TPM a few years earlier in the states. The theater erupted at the site of these words on the screen, but Japanese etiquette forbid the audience, and me, to break into the cheers I so desperately wanted to hear. Then comes the logo and theme . . . still not a peep! I couldn't resist it and let out a very loud "Aww yeah!!" When I recovered from the very hard elbow poke to the ribs my gal had given me I focused on the movie. I'll say this about the movie: it was wortht he wait! I was a bit dissapointed on the lack of saber dueling. After seeing Ray Parks in action in TPM I was hoping for a bit more fancy footwork. But Yoda and Dooku (what was Lucas thinking with that name?) had a pretty good battle.

For the collectors interested in Japanese SW merchandise the theater lobby held no shortage of goodies for sale. Of course there were all the action figures (a bit steep at 1260YEN, ToysRUs has them for less than 1000YEN--roughly US$8). A few small Lego sets. One sheet posters from ALL 5 movies. A movie program guide (they make these for most movies here, just standard press kit interviews and general movie info and pics). A poster size uncut sheet of pogs (I thought those went out in 1992?). Black cap w/ yellow SW logo. Long rectangular holofoil stickers with scenes from AOTC, pencils w/ AOTC character heads on the top (clone trooper, jango fett, obi wan, yoda), and cell phone (keitai) straps with the same character heads from the pencils (it's very fashionable to have straps and charms hanging form one's cell phone). Also available for free in the lobby was an AOTC newspaper. The promo pic of Obi and Ani standing shoulder to shoulder, sabers at attention was on the cover and in it were 2 articles about the movie and ads for various merchandise (sndtrk, fake sabers). All in Japanese of course.

That's about it. Definitely a unique SW movie going experience. Feel free to post this on your site and let anyone know if they're looking for a hard core SW fan to see Episode 2 with when it's officially released here in another 2 weeks, I'm their man.

Peace,

Chiba Hakujin

Readers Talkback

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  • June 30, 2002, 10:23 a.m. CST

    Wheres all the other posts?

    by Horus

    Has this story just gone u..or does no one care what the Japanese think of ATOC????

  • June 30, 2002, 10:40 a.m. CST

    I wonder...

    by chiknfriedelfsac

    Would seeing the movie in Japan change the Battlefield Earth-quality dialogue and acting (scratch that, Battlefield Earth was at least funny). Would the huge holes in logic become more palatable? Would Amidala slap Anakin in the face and say, "not in this lifetime, you spoiled whining little punk!" Yeah, I thought not.

  • June 30, 2002, 10:58 a.m. CST

    amazing

    by TS Thomas

    I'd love to live in Japan now. I absolutely despise people talking or doing anything noisy during films. I've totally hated my times in america seeing films only to have guys talking on mobiles during the film or cheering during certain parts. Why can't anyone just shut up :)

  • June 30, 2002, 11:04 a.m. CST

    Saw AotC for the third time last night...

    by JAGUART

    Its not a bad film, really. Much better than the shitfest that was Phantom Menace. Lucas wasted a lot of time with that Jar-Jar infested first installment. I'm curious to see how he's going to tie all the elements together, and have Anakin "Go off the Dark Side". In AotC you really had to buy the Anakin/Padme love story, Hayden Christensen as Anakin, and Yoda as Sonic the Hedgehog on crack. If you didn't have a problem with those chances are you liked the film.

  • June 30, 2002, 11:31 a.m. CST

    If you think seeing a film in the US is tough,

    by Almost Sexy

    Stay well clear of that brick theatre in Victoria. Worst clientele I've ever come across. I almost got in a fight with a punk on the way out. Astoundingly thoughtless and rude people. I'll take the white trash that frequent the Oak Tree and frighten my woman any day of the week.

  • June 30, 2002, 11:40 a.m. CST

    P.S.

    by Almost Sexy

    Nice to see that the talkback order is already sufficiently hosed.

  • June 30, 2002, 12:32 p.m. CST

    You'd think a Japanese person would understand the significa

    by togmeister

    'Dooku' is Japanese for 'poison', is it not? So quite appropriate for Lee's character really. I won't see AOTC again until it's time for the DVD - can't wait till Thanksgiving. Mace Windu rocks! I thought TPM had it's problems, but this movie, apart from a slight sluggish spot around the hour-mark, really hits the spot. Can't understand all the bitching about the acting either - it was fine. Look at Obi-Wan's visit to Jango's apartment for example - the way Mcgregor and Morrison create an atmosphere of tension, distrust and dislike beneath the veneer of courtesy. And in any case, just how earth-shatteringly wonderful were Keanu Reeves' line readings in your beloved Matrix anyhow? Cue silence.

  • June 30, 2002, 12:39 p.m. CST

    AOTC will break all box office records in Japan!

    by darthflagg

    Possibly. I remember when Star Wars was first screened for Japanese audiences back in 1978, Lucas was stunned by the deathly silence throughout. Then he was informed that total silence was the highest mark of respect Japanese audiences can give to a film. Although nothing beats seeing AOTC opening night with a theater full of cheering fans (half of whom probably decided the next day that it was crap after all - talk about an attack of the clones)

  • June 30, 2002, 1:14 p.m. CST

    PLEASE SEE STAR WARS

    by Skinny Bolger

    Everyone please see Star Wars again. Or see it the first time if you haven't yet. DON'T wait for it to come out on video. Spiderman is beeting Star Wars for the most money and we can't let this happen!!! Star Wars costs a lot of money to make so it needs to make more money or the next film might not be as good. If everyone who says they are a fan sees it again, Star Wars will beet Spiderman. All Star Wars fans need to help, so if you're a fan, let's show our support.

  • June 30, 2002, 1:21 p.m. CST

    My Clones Experience

    by Domi'sInnerChild

    I was kind of hung over on the last day of a work convention and stuck into an afternoon showing of Attack of the Clones. Think what you want about the movie, but you have to admit it dragged in parts. Especially the love story. So I'm yawning... a lot. There's this fat guy sitting in front of me who's really into the movie. He keeps turning around all upset that I'm falling asleep at what apparently is his favorite movie. Whatever, I sit through the rest of it and as the credits roll he jumps up applauding. Just him. I guess it was a Japanese theater.

  • June 30, 2002, 1:21 p.m. CST

    This article will surely bring about another 100 or so posts all

    by scorpio2nd

    But seriously, i sympathise with those poor people having to wait so long for the film, especially since i understood that the film was released pretty much everywhere in the middle of May. I hope that they do enjoy the film and it is just their etiquette that keeps them silent. My favourite moment during the film was at the start of the Yoda/Dooku fight, the whole theatre burst out laughing as Yoda got out his lightsabre as if this was the silliest thing that they would ever see. Naturally after the awesome fight had finished the whole theatre was silent and stunned. I felt like standing up and roaring "ha, that shut you up didn't it". Oh, by the way, i hugely enjoyed the film.

  • June 30, 2002, 1:35 p.m. CST

    Skinny..

    by Meier

    Star Wars cost less money to make and less money to advertise than Spider-Man did in all actuality. I am not sure if Spider-Man or Attack of the Clones will be able to topple Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi to be honest. It'll be incredibly tough especially with a new Ghibli film coming out in July.

  • June 30, 2002, 1:37 p.m. CST

    AOTC was a brilliant film.

    by moderator

    I thought so, anyway. A decent story, pretty darn good visual effects, the origin of Bobba Fett (LOVE that Slave One versus Jedi Starfighter space chase), the greatest Jedi knight versus Sith lord lightsaber fight ever (NOW we understand why Obiwan Kenobi referred to Yoda as being "a great warrior"), this movie was PURE Star Wars at its heart (only thing that didn't make sense to me: if they already had the plans for the Death Star way back then, how come it took them from the time of AOTC to the original SW to finally build it, and then, to nearly complete another one, it just took them from ESB to ROTJ?). Anyway, it was great in my opinion, and if you didn't enjoy it, then you simply don't really like Star Wars after all.

  • June 30, 2002, 1:53 p.m. CST

    The Death Star Answer

    by Domi'sInnerChild

    Because Lucas makes this crap up as he goes along.

  • June 30, 2002, 2:08 p.m. CST

    Er, hello? What was "unique" about this SW experience?

    by Forest the Gimp

    He went to the cinema, he sat in a seat, he saw the movie. So di I. So did millions of people. So why is he saying this hsowing was unique - apart from the lack of enthusiasm with ticket-buying. What was the reaction of the audience? Afterwards, did the Japanese say it sucked? I mean, these people are used to some highly imaginative and unique Science Fiction movies - I suspect that AOTC appeared quite amateurish in comparison. But Jesus, tell us what they fucking thought! And why were the Japanese NOT excited enough to buy tickets in advance. Is it because they saw TPM and were steering clear of the sequel? Tell us! Because, so far, this is a non-story.

  • June 30, 2002, 2:16 p.m. CST

    Skinny Bolger, Lucas doesn't need your help...

    by Porgy

    So what if AOTC is doing badly at the box office? That's not your fault, that's not our fault. If Lucas wants a big box office, then he should make a good movie - we don't owe him anything. If he makes a good movie, they will come. Until he does, they'll stay away. Simple, eh?

  • June 30, 2002, 2:19 p.m. CST

    AOTC screening at the Cannes Film Festival

    by no-no

    The film was projected in digital.The sound was so intense that my seat (and sometimes my molars) were vibrating each time a spaceship crossed the screen (which is a lot). George Lucas was here and made a shy little wave to the screaming fans. A big cheer when the logo appeared, then when the text slided, later when Yoda used his lightsaber and finally a polite applaud at the end. Next.

  • June 30, 2002, 2:52 p.m. CST

    AOTC is NOT a good movie

    by chiknfriedelfsac

    I was a Star Wars fan..when i was younger. I still enjoy the original trilogy. Even then I knew the acting and such wasn't anything special, but the movies were fun. Watching them as an adult I notice the many flaws more, such as the time continuity problems. Example: In ROTJ Leia gets lost after the bike accident. They catch up to her with the teddy bears later that day. Yes it is LATER THE SAME DAY. Yet she has let down and changed her hairstyle (?) and changed from her uniform into some sort of buckskin dress. Where exactly did this buckskin dress come from? Did the Ewoks just have one in her size floating around? Odd don't you think. Yet despite things like this I still enjoy the original trilogy. They have a goofy charm that the newer ones just lack. Without that charm the flaws are more difficult to overlook. As far as actors: Mark Hamill..not a good actor. Carrie Fisher..smart woman but not a good actor. Harrison Ford...yes he's a charasmatic movie star in the right role, but as far as overall ability..not a good actor. The new Star Wars movies have far better actors overall, and yet the acting appears worse. Why? Because the script is horrible. The directing is inept. The LOVE STORY in the AOTC is beyond bad. It's totally unbelievable. Natalie Portman is a decent actor, but you can't look believable saying most of the lines in this movie. When Portman is acting with her EYES..yes that's part of acting people, she is believable. When she has to say the stuff, "I love you, truly, deeply, blah blah blah..." This stuff is in a 100+ million dollar movie? Please. Special effects by themselves do not make a movie. Yes not ALL the acting in the movie is bad, but when you have to point to instances where the acting is halfway believable, when that's the exception rather than the rule, you know something's wrong. I don't want to hear "it's a kid's movie" either. Are all kids just dumb? Kids have a different view on the world than adults and will overlook things adults don't, but that doesn't mean they're dumb as a whole. Even today there are SOME kid's movies that aren't dumbed down, that don't insult the intelligence of a semi-lucid person. If I still enjoy some movies that are clearly targeted towards kids, but don't enjoy others, maybe that means that they are simply BAD movies regardless of their targeted audience. By any measure of a good movie, AOTC is not one. Yes there are some cool effects and a few interesting things, but that does not make a 2 hour movie good. Incidentally, I am not nor have ever been a comic book fan. I know nothing about Spiderman other than the rudiments of the character. I was pleasantly suprised by SPIDER-MAN the movie. Yes it's cheesey but it's GOOD cheese. Even in the silly costumes Spidey and the Goblin are wearing, you sometimes get the feeling of real human interaction. I'ts more believable than anything in AOTC. SPIDER-MAN is a much better movie than AOTC and has deservedly made more at the box office. I wouldn't call it a GREAT or CLASSIC movie perhaps, but it is fun and entertaining for what it is. Which is more than I can say for AOTC. I've only seen each movie once, but I wouldn't mind seeing SPIDER-MAN again, I can't say the same thing about AOTC. I've always been a STAR WARS fan but I am a MOVIE fan first. Anyone who says AOTC is a great movie is not a movie fan. If you enjoyed it, fine. But I don't see how any person with a shred of taste or intelligence can honestly call it a GOOD MOVIE. I didn't hate the movie, I'm not sorry I paid to see it, but it isn't very good overall and classifying it as such is wishful thinking.

  • June 30, 2002, 2:55 p.m. CST

    I don't know if this is news to anybody, i don't know if

    by scorpio2nd

    I recently, with all the positive news about x-men 2, stopped caring about the matrix sequels but hopefully this script will restore my faith. If it's real, which i'm not sure about, i must make that perfectly clear.

  • June 30, 2002, 2:57 p.m. CST

    In Germany AOTC beats SPIDEY easily!!! (Here, only women like S

    by The Biomind

    In Germany, people generally prefer AOTC over that boring SPIDER-MAN movie. Those people, who think SPIDEY rocks, are mainly women. Most males i know were bored seeing SPIDER-MAN. Here in Germany, we wonder what is wrong with the old US of America that so many people actually prefer a gayish superhero movie or LOTR or STAR WARS. We didn't beat Brazil in soccer, but we know a good movie when we see one - and AOTC os a fuckin' great movie!!!!!!

  • June 30, 2002, 2:57 p.m. CST

    Internet blokes....

    by Erikan Quinn

    AOTC was one of the best blockbusters to come out since Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter before. If people can't realize that George Lucas is doing the story the way he has wanted to do it since he first conceived the story then don't waste my time and others who want to see it. Atleast he actually wrote the story himself. What did Peter Jackson do? He translated it from the books written over 50+ years. What was the difficulty in that. Please, when Episode III hits screens, do me and the rest of the fans a favor and wait a while to see it so we could have decent seats to see what we want to see - Lucas' vision.

  • Had the Lucas munster pronounced it dough-koo then it would've definitely clicked with the elf people and the dwarven kind. The Japanese (surprisingly) even spell the name the way it's heard. These people are quite the selfish bunch, but I doubt they would see the connection (if there ever was any). Dooku is not Japanese for Poison. Dooku as it's heard would be closer to the Japanese pronunciation of Duke. Even if the findings of an obsessed fan (like me) thumbing his/her way through a japonese dictionary were true, it would still fly over the Japanese heads because of the awful way it's pronounced.

  • June 30, 2002, 4:30 p.m. CST

    AOTC and Spiderman: The ONLY two movies this year that matter

    by Atticus Finch

    Everything else is just second fiddle to these two great films.

  • June 30, 2002, 4:55 p.m. CST

    NotFunny:

    by Meier

    If it took you more than perhaps 100 seconds to read that, then maybe you should be spending the next 5 minutes searching the Internet for a course in 'speed reading'.

  • June 30, 2002, 5:02 p.m. CST

    The only unique experience about all this is how bad the movie i

    by JarJar25

    Face it! ATOC fucking sucks. Why do we need to be tortured by this shit again. Bring on the "The Two Towers" a much better film.

  • June 30, 2002, 5:30 p.m. CST

    Actually Erikan Quinn...

    by Deegan

    adapting LOTR to the big screen had been thought impossible until Peter Jackson's more than successful attempt so I'm quite sure the challenge was there for him. You do have to respect Lucas for co-writing AOTC, I'm sure it will be up for best original screenplay come oscar time. I was Interested to here Lucas turned down Spielberg's offer to direct one of the new films, I'm sure he had his reasons (Just cant think of any)

  • June 30, 2002, 5:36 p.m. CST

    You are entitled to your opinion BIOMIND but if you could explai

    by scorpio2nd

  • June 30, 2002, 5:57 p.m. CST

    Phantom Menace DVD commentary

    by MCVamp

    First of all, it's funny how it took about 2-3 years, but now I comfortably think of Phantom Menace as a Star Wars movie. But have you listened to Lucas describe his thought process on the commentary? It's pretty revealing. He's making his own styleof movies, even saying that the dialogue is only important to the rhythm of the visuals, which is why he cares less about dialogue than getting the look of everything right. He actually compares it to silent moviemaking, and if so, we see how important John Williams and ILM's technology level really are to his plans. Plus, all of the whining about how he uses the same lines and situations over and over-again.--it is totally intentional to have recurring themes and lines, and more specifically to put Anakin in many of the same situations that Luke will later face for a reason... so that we see Luke take the different path. This isn't going to change anyone's opinion, of course, but I had never sat through the entire commentary (hadn't bought the DVD because I was waiting for the inevitable original trilogy release, which will almost certainly be Godfather-style, aka only available in a set, probably with all six movies.) Now that I've listened to the man explain what he's trying to pull off here... well you can all just suck it. George Lucas really isn't concerned with how much money they make, or if they win any awards, or even if you all want Jar Jar to die a flaming death. He's already rich, he's got kids he loves, he's got industry respect. All he wants is to get this damn story that's been swimming around in his head for 30 years told properly in the medium that he loves best. When he's done, they will be unlike any other movies, good or bad, that you've ever seen, because he is specifically, deliberately, telling the story in the style that he wished to tell it in. No matter how much you may love or hate any of the Star Wars movies, you've got to admire that, because if he didn't truly believe in the story he was trying to tell, he would have rushed all six episodes out by 1990 (and maybe started Eps 7-9 as well,) and they would have been farmed out to all different directors, just so he could make as much money as quickly as possible. We should all be so lucky to be able to do what he's doing with that kind of freedom. -- BTW, I liked Lord of the Rings. I sort of enjoyed the Matrix. I thought Spider-Man was fairly good. I like the Star Wars saga most of all. But see how nice I am to the other movies? :P

  • June 30, 2002, 5:59 p.m. CST

    dooku

    by sp0rks

    doku is poison. which is different than dooku. its also pronounced diff in the movie japanese- doh ku movie- dewkew

  • June 30, 2002, 6:28 p.m. CST

    Deegan, cut the shit...

    by Erikan Quinn

    It was deemed impossible for the vision to be brought by live action. Myself, as a writer-in-training, could have written a suitable draft of the entire story myself with a team of writers if I had the time to. And perhaps Lucas has a reason for directing and doing these films himself. It's his story, his vision. What has Peter Jackson accomplished besides Lord of the Rings? Meet the Feebles? Please. I have long wished that Lucas had directed all the films in the series. That way it would have been his total complete vision of the six established chapters.

  • June 30, 2002, 6:40 p.m. CST

    Actually Erikan Quinn...

    by Chishu_Ryu

    Nothing is entirely original. Lucas himself got the idea of Star Wars, and indeed took many story elements and story-telling techniques, from Akira Kurosawa's old samurai adventure films, most notably "The Hidden Fortress," as well as other Japanese and American films. But George Lucas and Peter Jackson should both be commended for in the end producing some truly entertaining American movies. Agree?

  • June 30, 2002, 6:41 p.m. CST

    Erikan Quinn

    by Deegan

    Peter and his wife Fran actually won an oscar for their Heavenly Creatures screenplay. As a "writer-in-training", that's something I thought you would appreciate. No need to tell me to "cut the shit" my friend, my opinion is as valid as yours.

  • June 30, 2002, 6:45 p.m. CST

    Well...

    by Erikan Quinn

    I agree. But I grow tired of people who don't understand the accomplishments and visions of a man who has worked hard to revolutionize the industry which we have grown fond of. Lucas has effected the movie industry as well as our culture more than any other individual(s) or fads to come. And if it weren't for Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, where would we, the admirers of fantasy, be. Reign of Fire would possibly not be looked at.

  • June 30, 2002, 6:45 p.m. CST

    Skinny Bolger, uggh

    by TS Thomas

    1. Spider-man cost more to make than Episode II. 2. Spider-man cost more to market than Episode II. 3. Star Wars has made BILLIONS from merchandise. Lucas & co. do NOT need AOTC to be the most successful thing ever in order to make Episode III. Besides why should we see a poor film just to help them make money? If they want me money they can make a better film. I though Episode II was "ok", saw it twice even, the acting was generally poor, the script was atrocious & the love story was APPALLING. Yeah, way to go George, anakin acts all along as a whingy, selfish kid with no real reason as to why he loves her. In the end when about to die she say, oh, I love you so much, despite your acting wierd constantly & admition of slaughtering all these sand people. How on earth could harry even say this "worked".

  • June 30, 2002, 6:47 p.m. CST

    hehe...

    by Erikan Quinn

    My apologies, my fellow Talk Backer. I should study up on my film history then before I leave for film school in a few years. :)

  • June 30, 2002, 6:51 p.m. CST

    Erikan Quinn: holy fucking shit

    by Forest the Gimp

    Can you really be so dumb as to wish Lucas had directed ALL the SW movies? When the entire mass of SW fandom (even those who like TPM and AOTC) are crying out for him to let someone else - anyone else - write and direct these movies. if you knew anything about the creation of the SW saga, you would know that although Lucas came up with the original idea, it was the gigantic talents of people like Gary Kurtz, John Dykstra, Ralph McQuarrie, Phil Tippet, Lawrence Kasdan, Irvin Kirschner, James Earl-Jones, Harrison Ford etc that actually made SW a success. These people (especially G. Kurtz) had to literally fight Lucas EVERY STEP OF THE WAY to get those movies made to a professional standard. They had to disssuade him from using all his lame ideas and had to force him to get decent scripts written. You'll notice that none of those people are working on the SW prequels. Instead they have been replaced by "Yes" men and George has total control. And look at the mess he's made. It's no accident that ESB - the movie Lucas had LEAST to do with (was almost never on set) is the best of the series. See? Do your homework - the information's out there. The making of these movies has been thoroughly documented in numerous books. Check it out for yourself. And hope to God that Lucas dies before he can make Episode III - then they pass the reins over to a professional.

  • June 30, 2002, 7 p.m. CST

    Lucas' "digital revolution?"

    by Porgy

    Ha ha Ha! I went to see AOTC projected on a spanking new Boeing digital projector. And guess what? The movie was still shit. The digital projection didn't inprove the story, the acting, the dialogue, or the lame "action" sequences. And you know what else? The image quality was poor. Terrible colour balance and contrast. Anything remotely shadowy just came out completely black. It was like watching a grainy realvideo clip downloaded from the net. If you really have to see this movie, see it on celluloid. Avoid digital like the plague.

  • June 30, 2002, 7:01 p.m. CST

    "Dokku," "Yoda," "jidai-giki" and other japanese words

    by Chishu_Ryu

    I'm sure Lucas was referring to "dokku" (poison) when he came up with the name "Dooku." I'm sure he just changed it around so that it wouldn't sound so obvious. And does anyone know that "Yoda" is a japanese name? More specifically, Yoda was the name of the Art Director of Kenji Mizoguchi's film "Princess Yang Kwei Fei." By the way, Mizoguchi is another director who Lucas looked at in his inspirations for "Star Wars." And while I'm on the subject, the Japanese word for those "old samurai adventure films," or rather "period films," Kurosawa was so fond of making is "jidai-giki." Play around with "jidai" and you come up with "jedi." Gosh, I know somuch about film history it hurts...

  • June 30, 2002, 7:05 p.m. CST

    Good article!!

    by laguna_loire

    When "Phantom Menace" came out in the US and we merry English had to wait 2 months for it we howled - seems we took the simultaneous US and European release of AOTC rather for granted. I loved AOTC, seen it thrice, wanna see it more, recognise the faults but remember thats only a movie. Lastly, jarjar25, no doubt you're trying to incite flaming and hate. Either way, you and your hurd with your stupid "LOTR is brilliant all else is crap" is tiresome, so go to the LOTR pages and dribble over that.

  • June 30, 2002, 7:31 p.m. CST

    Why the Japanese don't get loud and rowdy over AOTC...

    by Chishu_Ryu

    Culturally, the Japanese don't get loud and rowdy over anything. If you go to a sumo wrestling match or baseball game in Japan, you'd think you were at a church. Personally, I've never been to Japan, that's just what my sources tell me. It's just the way their culture is. They're a very reserved and zen-like bunch I suppose. But I think the real reason the Japanese can't get excited over "Attack of the Clones" is because the whole Star Wars thing is just an outer-space derivative of the aforementioned "jidai-giki" films of Kurosawa and Mizoguchi. To them, George Lucas and Star Wars probably just...(and please excuse the pun)..."bite."

  • June 30, 2002, 7:39 p.m. CST

    Eyegore, what did HumptySmurf say? And Porgy, I disagree with y

    by BrashHulk

    Apparently his post was deleted by Harry & Co., Fine Purveyors Of Free Speech Since 1996. Kinda sad, actually. Anyway, I have to disagree with Porgy's opinion of the digital vs. celluloid experience. I saw AOTC in my local theater (celluloid) on opening night and then again when I went to Denver on a business trip (digital), and it was like comparing VHS to DVD. The digital version was much clearer, sharper, and only pixilated in a few parts. No doubt from me, at least, that digital is the way to go. The technology will only become better with time and soon celluloid will be like vinyl records, 8-tracks, cassettes, Betavision, Laserdiscs, and soon, VHS - namely, quaint homages to the past. Sure, there will always be people who hold onto those vinyl records and insist that they sound better than CDs (and they're correct), but you can't stop progress, no matter if it's for the good or ill. Evolution, man - get into it.

  • June 30, 2002, 7:42 p.m. CST

    Jidai-Geki

    by Tokyo Joe

    ...but evidently not enough Japanese to know that it's Jidai-Geki not Jidai-Giki. Sorry. Either way it seems like a corruption of Jedi. Just as Dooku seems to be a corruption of Doku. But then didn't someone in Jabba's palace say "A herd of a thousand elephants is standing on my foot". Shows that he used lots of artistic licence when it comes to inventing languages. Interestingly, Japanese people I've watched Star Wars with seem to find Jar Jar Binks amusing. At least in the subtitled versions. I'm sure he's even more annoying in a Japanese dub...

  • June 30, 2002, 7:44 p.m. CST

    Bloody talkbacks...

    by Tokyo Joe

    My last comment was a response to some guy down the bottom. Foolish of me to assume my own talkback would appear at the bottom of the list...

  • June 30, 2002, 7:53 p.m. CST

    Mytwocents...

    by Dru

    ... you ever see Koshien? Fuji Rock Festival? Did you happen to catch the World cup? The Japanese can be as raucous as anybody. Well, maybe not quite. But they sure as hell can raise their voices when they want to. Let's face it- SW just doesn't MATTER as much over here. That's not to say they won't like it, that's not to say there aren't Japanese fanboys that are drooling as much as the American fanboys. But overall, they JUST DON'T CARE AS MUCH. You think Godzilla has the same impact in the US as it does in Japan? The Yanks will be apologizing for that abortion of a movie for decades. Out.

  • June 30, 2002, 8:10 p.m. CST

    My apologies to the culturally enlightened...

    by Chishu_Ryu

    Okay, so I never won any japanese spelling bees and I've never been to a rock concert in Japan (much less Japan itself), but you kind of get my drift, right? And getting back to the issue of cultural ripoffs, I don't mean to say that Lucas is the only one who bites from Japanese films. It's a two-way street. The West takes from the East, the East take from the West. Just like it's always been. Kurosawa took from U.S. western films (like John Ford), Lucas (and other American filmmakers) took from Kurosawa. Japanese anime took from Star Wars and other American sci-fi, America takes from japanese anime, and so forth, and so on, and again. And if anyone disagrees, I await your talkback.

  • June 30, 2002, 8:37 p.m. CST

    english

    by sigma957

    um....off the topic but did anyone notice that a guy teaching english in Japan typed "me and my girlfriend"?...HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!....our wonderful public schools at work again i see.

  • June 30, 2002, 8:44 p.m. CST

    Star Wars ATOC Doing Badly? RIIIIIIGHT!

    by wrestling studd

    Porgy said, ''So what if ATOC is doing badly at the box office?''. If making an estimated $286,145,000 at the domestic box office is doing badly then what do you call doing well? I'm sure every film would love to do ''badly''earning over 280 million bucks.

  • June 30, 2002, 9:06 p.m. CST

    Oh, Sorry

    by Skinny Bolger

    I thought Star Wars had to cost more than Spiderman, I didn't really know. I still want Star Wars to do well, but I guess it doesn't need to be number 1 to make money (I hope).

  • June 30, 2002, 9:07 p.m. CST

    What all of you want to ignore about movies.

    by Azlam Orlandu

    Everyone keeps acting like Lucas slopped this film together. You act like just because they use CGI instead of models, that he's cheating or something. Have any of you who crap on Lucas ever touched a 3D program? Do you know how many countless hours are involved in creating these wonderful worlds and creatures Lucas has supervised. Have you ever sat down and made character sheets, much less space ship and planetary models. These people are artists and just because they use a PC instead of a paintbrush doesn't mean that they put in any less work than Picasso, hell they probably put in more considering that they have deadlines and Lucas on their back all the time. Modeling, texturing, animating, and compositing are all very tedious and painstaking processes and I for one can see the amazing amount of work put into every damn frame of this film. People think that because it's done on a computer that it's easy now. Tell that to any of my schoolmates who've spent countless hours texturing a model just to have their PC crash near the end. I'm sick of people saying that special effects don't make a movie, because special effects make many of our favorite movies believable and real to us. From the bullet blanks in old westerns, to the explosives in car chase scenes to the world of Kamino. Visuals are a hugh part of the process, and I'm sorry, but without all the great space battles and blaster fights of the original trilogy, none of us would have even gotten past that "Tashi Station" quote. Movies have always been a VISUAL medium, now a mental one. Go read a book if you're having trouble. Broaden you scope people, before that little enclosed cell of a cubicle you live in becomes your life. It's much easier to like these films than it is to hate them. -AZ P.S. Once again you take a fun and wonderful thing and crap all over it. And once again I hate you all.

  • June 30, 2002, 9:30 p.m. CST

    star wars: letdown in any country you see it in.

    by 81666

    i swear, at my lame ass job. i get to see this movie everyday since it opened. we've had it since the opening day. i try try to get into it, really i do... but the acting is so flat. i will say obi-wan is defenitely very cool in the film but a lot is wasted... yeargh, god did i want jango to kick so much more ass! more anaking going crazy, delve on things, don't just drop them like how quick yoda's seen was. man... argh urgh! -81666

  • June 30, 2002, 9:53 p.m. CST

    Mytwocents: do us all a favor

    by Dr. Eddie Jessup

    Forgive while I howl with laughter over your earlier post ***peals of laughter commence*** What is it you said? Let's review, shall we: "Culturally, the Japanese don't get loud and rowdy over anything. If you go to a sumo wrestling match or baseball game in Japan, you'd think you were at a church. Personally, I've never been to Japan, that's just what my sources tell me. It's just the way their culture is. They're a very reserved and zen-like bunch I suppose." Key words: "I've never been to Japan, that's just what my sources tell me." Sources?? Sources?!?! Do us all a favor, and try not to speak eloquently on stuff you know nothing about. I've lived here for ten years, and have seen the natives get jacked about plenty of movies, sporting events, etc. I've seen plenty of cushion-throwing at sumo bouts, thousands of people parading through Shinjuku (part of downtown Tokyo) dancing and cheering during the World Cup, and yes, for movies I've seen raucous 2,3,4 hour lines for the big blockbusters (I stood in a jam-packed lobby 2 hours for Men in Black- MIB, for heaven's sakes!). So next time you feel the urge to offer pronouncements on a culture, do yourself a favor and experience it first, OK? On a lighter note, despite my love of the country, MAN is it tough dealing with the bizarre scheduling of films here. Star Wars and LOTR are months behind the rest of the world, while virtually anything by Ahnuld or Stallone opens at the same time as in the US. Dunno about most folks, but I'd really rather see TTT open up here in December that Cobra II: The Pathetic Sequel. Guess I'd better get back to work.... ;-) The Sighin' Shain

  • June 30, 2002, 10:30 p.m. CST

    The Japanese are low key and civilized. They were silent when Do

    by Tarl_Cabot

    Attack of the Clones was better than TPM but the prequels are just so inferior it's depressing. Sigh...The Matrix Reloaded can't come soon enough.

  • June 30, 2002, 10:31 p.m. CST

    Japanese Girl Likes AOTC

    by Tokyo_Jon

    I've been living here in Tokyo for nearly seven years. Just saw AOTC over the weekend at another great theater complex that Sony built a couple of years ago. Reminds me of the Cinerama in Seattle (where I'm from), although the screen is not nearly as big. Anyways, we brought staff from my restaurant to see AOTC, and they loved it (one Pakistani, one Korean and one Japanese). The Japanese, a 21 year old woman, thought both AOTC and PTM were very good. No problem with the romance in AOTC either. The others loved it too. Maybe it says something that she has not seen the other episodes and thus has no pre-conceptions of what Star Wars is? There were some cheers at the begining, but that might have just been us foreigners. As people have said, Japanese are general quiet throughout films. Finally, I really liked it too. Gotta see it again. Brought a beer with me to the theater and I paid for it with a trip to the bathroom. My wife (also Japanese) is really looking forward to seeing it as well.

  • July 1, 2002, 12:01 a.m. CST

    why so many star wars haters?

    by dr. robert

    I love cinema(that's why i spend alot of time at this site). The problem is I loved ATOC. I doubt i'll see anything else this year as enjoyable. According to many of you here there is something wrong with anyone who claims to like this film. For some strange reason it's hip to hate Lucas. For those of you who thought ATOC was awful, i'm curious to get your take on any film truly worthy of that tag. There is so much utter negativity at this site. Do you guys even allow yourselves to enjoy movies anymore? Many ATOC haters seem to be heavily influenced by the flood of negative pre-May 16th reviews in the media. The point is, ATOC represents revolutionary film-making and a incredibly engaging plot.

  • July 1, 2002, 12:13 a.m. CST

    So in Japan it's impolite to talk during movies...

    by Cybie

    ...I AM SO MOVING TO JAPAN! Every movie I've been to recently has had people having perfectly normal conversations through the whole damn movie! It makes so furious I almost clubbed them like little baby seals! Whoa... deep breaths... there, I feel better.

  • July 1, 2002, 12:56 a.m. CST

    How us Star Wars fans can help

    by Skinny Bolger

    Okay, I was wrong about which movie cost more, and I'm sorry about that. But I did some asking and know that many people still haven't seen Star Wars yet and don't plan to. And they know NOTHING about the movie. So what we should do, is every Star Wars fan take a person who's never seen Star Wars to see the new movie. This way we show our support for Star Wars and we bring in new fans. This way the next movie will have a bigger audience. All we each have to do is buy two tickets and we can make a difference. There are millions of Star Wars fans. If we all do this, we can say Thank You.

  • First time I ever had a post deleted on this website, and there was absolutely nothing wrong or objectionable with either post except maybe that I refered to the vast majority of talkbackers as a form of pond-scum, but that couldn't be why could it? What a freaking shame, Humptysmurf's post about the premiere of manaquin 2 in africa was hilarious.

  • July 1, 2002, 4 a.m. CST

    Lucas doesn't need anymore of my hard earned cash.

    by nazismasher

    Believe me, he's doing fine. I went to AOTC twice and trust me, that's enough of a compliment.

  • July 1, 2002, 4:29 a.m. CST

    SCORPIO 2ND - Why I found SPISDER-MAN boring

    by The Biomind

    It is a little difficult to explain exactly WHY I found SPIDER-MAN boring. I am a long time comic book reader, and I am the first who would love to see a comic book movie kick TITANIC'S ass (box-office-wise). But somehow this movie didn't work for me, though i really, really WANTED to like it. I saw SPIDEY on a saturday night and was already planning to see it a second time on tuesday, together with a friend. The whole sunday I tried to talk myself into liking this movie, but I finally called my friend and told him, that I didn't wanted to see this film again. The reason for my dislike of SPIDER-MAN could be, that I know a lot of all the main elements of the SPIDER-MAN myth without being a huge fan. So the movie dind't hold any surprises for me, and - since I am not that big a fan - it dind't excite me to see the very few scenes in which SPIDEY swings through the city. ANother point is, that I saw nearly ALL the coll looking action scenes in trailers and tv-spots, so there was nothing new at the cinema. So, why does it seem, that people over here in Germany are not THAT excited about the movie? (the movie IS successfull, don't get me wrong!) SPIDER-MAN is an American icon (like all the major popular super heroes), and over here in Germany the most popular super heroes are Supes and Bats - all the other guys are just...well, the other guys (only comic book freaks know SPAWN or the X-MEN). Seeing SPIDEY in action on the silver screen is not the milestome experience over here that it obviously is in the US. All the people I talked to, say that in their opinion - and I agree- X-MEN is the far better movie (most of them didn't know it is based on comic book). And one thing is for sure: Most people over here think, that ALL of the four BATMAN flicks suck big time! Super heroes are - it is sad - simply not that popular in Germany.

  • July 1, 2002, 4:58 a.m. CST

    The Japanese reaction

    by Al Kusanagi

    I too live in Japan and went to the wave of sneak previews Saturday and, yes, silence is how it goes. From the opening preview until the final credit rolls (yes, they sit through all the credits), not a peep. I've caught all of this years's major premieres (LotR, Spider-Man, AOTC) and it's always the same. The Japanese are just as big Star Wars fans as the people back in the US. The news this morning was filled with reports from theaters showing crowds of people in full Star Wars costume. The crowds loved it and I enjoyed it (I had ruined it a little by reading the book first. After that, the movie felt like Cliff's Notes). It's not a bad movie and the whole purpose is entertainment, right? Personally, I think all the people complaining are just looking for something to bitch about...

  • July 1, 2002, 5:09 a.m. CST

    Various Ramblings. (spoilers)

    by Dlhstar

    I have said this before and I'll say it again: I honestly liked Episode One more than AOTC. At this point people usually tell me to shut the fuck up because I obviously don't know the first thing about what makes a good film if I liked TPM MORE than AOTC. I know that is getting off the subject of the TB and the article, but that's just my feeling on it. Another TBer's feelings mirror my own: It's been about 3 years and I'm willing to accept TPM as a SW film. Will AOTC be so fortunate in the next few years? Probably not. When I complain that it didn't feel like anything important happened people are quick to snap, "What about the clones! The dead jedi! The loss of Anakin's arm! The death of Shmi! Anakin doing all that killing! How can you say nothing important happened!!" Granted, they happened, but to me nothing felt so important or shocking as it felt 'preordained'; and I suppose that is one problem with making a prequel. You get the feeling that if D-E-F have happened, then a series of A-B-C has to have lead up to it. In addition, nothing really stood out (except for the overuse of CGI, in places); it felt like a defining moment was missing (even the Dooku fights didn't fill me with much interest, for some reason...) Besides, at the last moment of this film it really felt like time was running out. You've only got another movie to answer ALL the questions, and that may be hard (or impossible) to do considering that AOTC answered very few but gave us a lot more. Not that that's a bad thing, mind you. B5 let us know the final fates of several characters during its early run, but the eventual revealations of what brought those characters to that place was worth it. But trying to create an origin for Vader or Fett reminds me of a comment a guy I knew made about Wolverine a few years ago, and keep in mind that this was a few years ago, "...The problem of doing a full-out, no cop-out Wolverine origin story is that the truth about Logan has to be at least twice as good as the mystery about Logan for people not to be let down by it. That's why they'll never do one..." So long as nothing is set in stone, you can imagine any sort of origin to the characters within reason. The truth has to make the character more interesting than the mystery ever could. Now is the clumsy segue into the total disregard I had for Anakin in this film. At least in TPM you could hold out this slight amount of pity that this poor little bastard was going to grow up and do a lot of bad shit to people and ultimately redeem himself, but in AOTC he is far too cocky and arrogant to be likeable (at least by me). Where people (including myself) complained that he was far too naive and innocent in TPM, here he comes across as the showboating asshole jock. I felt like I was watching Stiffler from American Pie a lot of time. His tragic fall from grace becoming less and less tragic. I don't have any pity for him for going towards the darkside, anymore; in fact, I started to get the feeling he and darkside would make a cute couple and they ought to just get together sooner than later just to speed the plot along. But I have to add in a point, AOTC --I felt-- was very good on Kamino and Tattooine; the rest of the locals in the film (and acting that accompanied them) never felt fleshed out. The only really mindfuck great thing I saw happen AOTC were the deceptions of Mace Windu. (He tries to disuade everyone that Dooku isn't an assassin, he shows up right as the Council is ready to vote emergency powers to Palpatine, he is always around to prevent Yoda from divining wisdom from the force(guess), he holds his lightsaber at Jango's neck INSTEAD OF Dooku's to assure Jango -the man who knows all about Kamino and the folks he works for- will die to keep their shared secret safe (guess), and IIRC is hiding his knowledge about the clone army when OB1 contacts them (guess - isn't he quick to say that 'we know nothing of a clone army'), in TPM he does his whole, "Iiii don't think the Sith could have returned without our knowledge..."-line. (The tone in the way he said both sounded like a man with something to hide.) That might be cool. The real phantom menace isn't Palpatine, or Anakin, but Yoda's most trusted ally on the Jedi council. Even if it's not true, I'll hold onto that belief until the end of Episode 3 reveals the truth, because I think it's plausible.) Ah hell, I'm tired and will probably regret a lot of this after I wake up and reread my post. (I am very tired and couldn't stop typing once I started and just wanted to get it completed).

  • July 1, 2002, 11:29 a.m. CST

    Deegan- Fran Walsh and Peter Jackson DIDN'T win...

    by Chthonico

    Tarantino did for Pulp Fiction. I think I was the only one cheering for Walsh and Jackson at the time, cuz their screenplay was far more subtle and well written. But of course, popularity rules in these contests and there was no stopping the Pulp phenom- especially with that snappy, too-eager-to-impress dialogue in Pulp.

  • July 1, 2002, 11:58 a.m. CST

    Funny how the same people who said box office didn't matter

    by darthflagg

    You can't have it both ways you Star Wars-hating hypocrits. I really worry about anyone who can actually claim AOTC was "boring" with a straight face. Yeah, massive clone armies, bounty hunters, Jedi battles and Yoda kicking ass is so dull. Why couldn't Lucas give us more politics and Jar Jar? Personally, I enjoy most of the big franchises out there at the moment (LOTR, Spidey, Matrix, etc.) But I don't feel the need to put fans down because they enjoy a movie I don't. Get a life.

  • You're mad PULP FICTION didn't win? We're backlashing against PULP FICTION now? Just because it won some award over some guy who made the hobbit movie? That just makes no sense to me at all. Say all you want about HEAVENLY CREATURES, it's a movie I love as well, but PULP FICTION is truly one of the most amazing movies I've ever seen in my life. The reason I have such a problem with LOTR is that its "fans" feel the need to bash ANYTHING that remotely interferes with their imaginary Manifest Destiny that LOTR be considered by 100% of the population to be the Greatest Movie Of All Time. Guys, forget it. It's not going to happen. It's a pretty movie, but there ARE better films out there. And this kind of petty lashing out against any movie not made by corpulent New Zealanders is just the FIRST reason why I'm getting so fucking sick of those fucking hobbits.

  • July 1, 2002, 12:27 p.m. CST

    latest

    by alcester

    sounds like EP2 is going to be released on IMAX. also, Lucas doesnt want Spielberg to direct a Star Wars movie, well guess there will never be a good Star Wars.

  • July 1, 2002, 1:18 p.m. CST

    Don't believe any reports coming from Japan!!!

    by andrecrabtree111

    Their coverage is ALWAYS slanted!! Get it?

  • July 1, 2002, 1:46 p.m. CST

    i want to go to Japan

    by CuervoJones

    i love Kurosawa, anime, hentai, tempura, gojira, kendo, japanese girls, miyazaki, arale, japanese girls, mazinger Z,Kitano, japanese girls, japanese pop,gamera, japanese girls...

  • July 1, 2002, 5:15 p.m. CST

    Cheers Chthonico, must of got my facts mixed up!!!

    by Deegan

    Nobody's backlashing against Pulp Fiction, Vegas. That movie fucking ROCKS!!!

  • July 1, 2002, 7:24 p.m. CST

    saw AOTC for the 4th time today.

    by Tall_Boy

    I promised to take my little cousins to go see it this time. So far, I've just been dragging people/family/friends to it to get my fix (1st show - me and 2 friends, 2nd show - sister & her bf, 3rd show - my gf 4th show - more family) and I have it downloaded onto my computer so I can watch certain scenes to get my "fix" (ie. the battle arena scene, anakin killing the tusken raiders). anyway, Spidey did make more cash, and AOTC might not even be the 2nd highest grossing movie of the year (but it might) but if you view AOTC as just a straight-sequel its made assloads of cash. This flick was better than TPM, and its all going to pay off in Ep. 3. Star Wars rocks, Spidey Rolls and LOTR: TT will be very cool as well. here's a thought, kids, don't spew bile at everything, enjoy the great time it is to be a genre fan at movies.

  • July 1, 2002, 9 p.m. CST

    Why are we always talkin' about Lucas?...

    by paulpope

    ...who is and always clearly has been untalented (yes ppl, I have seen both thx and american graffitti) instead of paying tribute to the man who really consolidated the trilogy and made it the big franchise which is today by directing the only episode which can be considered a good film and who is no one but the one and anly IRVIN KERSHNER... somethinf should be made to fix this historical injustice, ppl... Should we start a petitition demanding that Mr Kershner should direct Ep. III?

  • July 2, 2002, 9:21 a.m. CST

    Re: Iskanderr

    by Vegas

    The reason any rational person does not consider Irvin Kershner to be the savior of STAR WARS is one simple look at his other work: The Eyes of Laura Mars, Never Say Never Again...and ROBOCOP 2. Let's just say the guy is something less than an auteur when he doesn't have George breathing down his neck.