The Phantom Menace was a dreadful beginning to the Star Wars saga, but thankfully some of the damage is repaired in this far better second act. It's still nowhwere near in the same league as the original trilogy, but is still a very enjoyable film. Far darker than any of the original films, and far more 'adult' (it seems that George Lucas was trying to make the films more 'grown-up' but sadly this has the effect of losing some of that magical innocence and escapism that the older movies had), the plot is terribly confusing and muddled with far too much political intrigue and forgettable characters. Ewen McGregor continues to do a very bad impression of Alec Guiness and not for a sceond do I ever believe he is the same person, Hayden Christianson looks mean and moody but does little else and Natalie Portman looks very attractive...but does little else. Old favourites R2D2 and C3PO are pushed into the background in these prequels and don't really contribute a great deal, and the other performances are pretty unremarkable, even the great Christopher Lee looks awkward. Only Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine is worth speaking about (in fact his is probably the best performance in all of the Star Wars movies, and he really ups the precedings every time he appears). The special effects are stunning, still far too much CGI but it's used rather more effectively this time, in fact Attack of the Clones is probably the best looking of all the Star Wars movies with an incredible array of alien planets on display that look truly breathtaking. In conclusion, Attack of the Clones is a visual feast and has some great action scenes, and is much much better than the silly cartoon travesty that was The Phantom Menace, but is still ultimately lacking that old fashioned magic and great characters that the original trilogy had.