Review by Alexandra DuPont
"I really loved the fight between Count Chocula and the puppet."
— Fellow DVD Journal staffer D. Taylor, dripping with sarcasm
after seeing this film
The Rather Large, Rather Socratic Attack of the Clones DVD FAQ
1. So — will this be another one of those tired rants against the Star Wars prequels and the bulging throat pouch of G. Lucas?
Not exactly. This time, it's not that simple.
I mean, let's face it — it was terribly easy for many older fans, myself included, to lash out at Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace. So many expectations were crushed under that Lucas-penned steamroller of needless exposition, Jar-Jar, and somnambulist line readings that you could unload on Episode I with the same righteous anger usually reserved for kids caught kicking a nun.
But now Episode II: Attack of the Clones has taken its place in the Star Wars canon — and will arrive in a two-disc DVD set (this Tuesday, Nov. 12) whose extras are detailed below — and it's hard to feel quite so mean. You can't simply shoot the fish in this barrel; a few of them actually shoot back.
For Episode II is a decidedly mixed bag. While it's hardly the home run director George Lucas needed to bring everyone back into church glassy-eyed and drooling and singing hosannas, it's certainly a minor base hit. This is particularly true in the film's final 45 minutes, and even more true on the shiny new Clones DVD, where you can chapter-skip to all the action-packed CGI bits — all of them elaborately storyboarded by ILM's finest and none of them encumbered by the speaking of clunky words.
2. So the DVD's nice, huh?
Quite nice. Excellent, actually. As fans of the beautifully designed (and very nearly fat-free) Phantom Menace DVD would expect, these Attack of the Clones platters are triumphs of dense packaging — chock-full of elaborately designed menus and documentaries and commentaries and deleted scenes and footage of pale, pear-shaped men agonizing over Yoda's ears, with none of that egregious, irrelevant pap that usually pads out major studio "Special Editions." And while there's no single "showstopper" extra like that fantastic "making-of" documentary on the Episode I DVD, there's still plenty for a behind-the-scenes tech geek to swoon over here.
Of course, this set's also cursed with the appalling bad luck (or is it hubris?) of being released day and date alongside the new "4-Disc Platinum Series™ Special Extended DVD Edition" of Fellowship of the Ring — a masterwork of the digital versatile form that's already being praised in some circles as the best DVD set of all time ("all time" being since, oh, 1997). But that, of course, is another, much longer and no doubt vastly more superlative-laden review.
Anyway. I am now going to draw heavily from my previous writings on this subject and pick apart Attack of the Clones at length.
3. But my opinion of Clones is already set in stone! And that opinion differs considerably from yours, you logorrheic slattern!
Well, then skip ahead to question 16 if you only want to read the detailed extras breakdown.
4. So what's the upshot?
I'd argue that Attack of the Clones sort of sputters to life, with occasional action set pieces punctuating a series of deadly-dull meetings and needless exposition — until, with about 45 minutes to go, the future Darth Vader pokes his big black head into the frame and the film suddenly plays to the Star Wars equivalent of the cheap seats, embracing its pulp roots and becoming a very big, very violent, kind-of-dumb monster movie all the way to its slam-bang conclusion.
5. A monster movie? This is Star Wars! This is mythology! Lucasfilm told me so!
I'd argue that, this time around, it's more of a monster movie. That becomes clear during the climactic arena battle, which is just packed to the gills with Jedi Knights and robots and mosquito-men and shimmering digital mayhem and Yoda ludicrously spinning around like someone inserted a firecracker into his wrinkled little prostate.
There's this one shot during the climax — a full-profile long shot of Obi-Wan poking a spear at a giant, shrieking praying-mantis — that's a direct nod to a shot of a wayward Union soldier facing down a giant crab in Mysterious Island, one of the cherished "Dynamation" stop-motion monster movies of my youth. At that exact moment, I realized that the movie had left its crypto-mythological roots behind and had resigned itself to ladling out monster-movie thrills as only ILM can, and without apology.
This was enough for many fans. It wasn't enough for all of them. (Good Lord, check out the 600-word rant from Alina DeVries that closed out my original review of the film. You'll need some Maalox afterward.) I personally found Clones quite entertaining the second I stopped holding it up to the Hero's Journey standard I've always felt the Star Wars movies needed to meet — and that slackening of standards proved both liberating and bittersweet. More on that below.
6. So what's the story?
Ten years have passed since Phantom Menace. Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) and Anakin (Hayden Christensen) have been assigned to Senator PadmÃ©'s (Natalie Portman's) security detail; someone's been trying to kill her ever since she decided to vote against the creation of a galactic army.
A new assassination attempt — followed by a marvelous but somewhat geographically confused flying-car chase that plays like The Fifth Element by way of "T.J. Hooker" — splits up our heroes and sends them skulking across the galaxy.
Obi-Wan flies off to see who's behind the assassination attempts, and uncovers a vast conspiracy — involving the creation of a "clone army" of stormtroopers and a shadowy rebellion led by a rogue Jedi (Christopher Lee). Meanwhile, Anakin and PadmÃ© go into hiding — first (and totally unnecessarily, plot-mechanics-wise) on Naboo, then on Tatooine, where Anakin finds out his mother's gone missing. Along the way, the couple falls in love rather abruptly — following some stalkerish pleading by Anakin — and a family tragedy pushes young Skywalker into vengeful, homicidal territory.
At which point the movie finally gets interesting and kicks into high gear.
Following some anguish and light mayhem and a few more scenes of people standing around talking, everybody shows up in an alien gladiator arena. Roughly 30 minutes of unprecedented ILM pornography ensues — their best work since the attack sequence in Pearl Harbor. There are monsters! Lightsaber duels! A clunky action scene in a droid factory! Bits of lame comedy involving C-3PO's misplaced nog! And Yoda putting on the proverbial pimp-smack!
7. Well, that actually sounds complex and exciting.
It is — at the end. As a critic friend of mine who defends the film told me, this was one of the few summer blockbusters that bothered to save its best stuff for last. He also says Lucas has an advantage over other blockbuster directors in that his films, despite their flaws, have a distinctive, Cecil B. DeMille-style authorial voice. He's right, but still: There are a lot of people sitting around talking in the first half of the film.
Which leads to my biggest critique, and I'm afraid it's a bit of a deal-breaker: Mr. George Lucas — once the master of stripped-down visual storytelling, the man who made Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back hurtle along like narrative perpetual-motion machines — has forgotten how to strip down his films for maximum impact.
8. Here we go again....
Allow me to explain. Again and again and again, Attack of the Clones feels the need to follow up a clever sequence with one that basically re-states what just happened, as if the director didn't trust the viewer to follow along. The film practically serves as its own set of footnotes.
9. I want examples!
Well, take the bit where a glowering Anakin hauls his dead mother home after slaughtering the creatures that killed her. Even though Anakin's mother sort of flops over comedically when she dies, it's still powerful stuff. But Lucas feels compelled to pad, and thus bloat, the narrative — following Anakin's revenge-fueled massacre with a scene where Yoda sits around and has bland bad feelings, and following Anakin's confession of the crime to PadmÃ© with a funeral scene that adds nothing — nothing! — to the narrative drive train.
Or take the film's opening, where someone tries to assassinate PadmÃ©, followed by scenes where people talk about the fact that someone's trying to assassinate PadmÃ©, followed by someone trying to assassinate PadmÃ© again, followed by more discussions of the fact that someone's trying to assassinate PadmÃ©. Even moderately cognizant armchair filmmakers can see that these could have been seamlessly combined into a single set piece. As in Godfather III, there's a curious embrace of dilution — and it drains your interest in a film that could be made twice as impactful with judicious editing.
And the entire Naboo interlude really could have been consolidated into the flight to Tatooine. At least then these profoundly dysfunctional children could have fallen in love while on the lam and under duress and grieving and bickering — a vastly sexier and more human courtship than the dramatic dead stop on PadmÃ©'s Maxfield-Parrish-by-way-of-Dinotopia homeworld.
10. Hm. And then there's that love story....
Uh-huh. Good Lord, it's just horribly written by George Lucas and co-scenarist Jonathan Hales. Like Titanic, Attack of the Clones forces viewers to slog through an expository, sophomoric romance before rewarding them with a staggering set piece. But there's a crucial difference: Titanic's Jack Dawson gets Rose to fall in love with him by appealing to her inner liberated woman and painting her portrait and getting her freak on in the rumble seat. Anakin, on the other hand gets PadmÃ© to fall in love with him by essentially reciting the Stalker's Lament ad nauseam — two-dozen variations on the following three sentences:
"Obi-Wan's holding me back! I love you! It will make me miserable if you don't love me back!"
Well past the point that this particular barrage of dialogue has gotten uncomfortably creepy, PadmÃ© suddenly gives in to Anakin (during what is, I must admit, a quietly underplayed little scene as the couple's being rolled into the Geonosian arena). But there are no "transitional scenes" between PadmÃ©'s two emotional poles. It's as if a switch flips and the woman takes total bloody leave of her senses.
Personally, I didn't buy it for a second, and scoff at those who would counter, "Oh, well, it's Lucas' depiction of 'young love.'" Maybe for Anakin — but for PadmÃ©? The woman has been dealing with politicians and dignitaries and probably more than a few lecherous cranks since her bat mitzvah. And now she falls for this dilettante, this arriviste, this un-sophisticate? He's not fit to carry Bail Organa's luggage!
11. All that said, the movie never spends more than five minutes at a time on the "love story."
That's true. And Hayden Christensen does the best he can with the material. While Portman could still stand to freshen up her vocal life a bit more — though she's considerably less autistic-sounding than in Phantom Menace — Christensen has a fine glower, and uses it to good effect more than once.
Also, technically, Lucas has once again rewritten the rules of cinema with his digital cameras — Clones' digital cinematography is indistinguishable from movies shot on film, if not better-looking. I have to hand it to the Flanneled One: The technical innovations he's spearheaded here will theoretically allow anyone to make any kind of movie they want in the years to come. For that, maybe he should be forgiven a thousand Phantom Menaces. (Oh. Wait. No he shouldn't.)
And that digital advantage extends to the DVD's presentation, by the way.
12. That's right! This is basically the first direct digital transfer of a "live-action" film, isn't it?
Sort of. Calling this film "live-action" is a bit like calling the Toon Town sequence of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? "live action." Still, as a result of the transfer, picture and sound pop and glisten in this weirdly bright, shiny way that actually makes the film look even more elaborate and artificial than it did in theaters. But in a good way. Kind of. You'll see what I mean.
13. Any other high praise for the film?
Well, of course. Kudos once again to the beleaguered and passionate geeks of ILM: The action set-pieces and art direction are just ridiculously generous in terms of production design and effects detail. (The little riffs on cheesy Tokyo advertising in the Coruscant entertainment district were probably my favorite little grace note.)
And Ian McDiarmid is a mean little camp icon in his reduced role as Chancellor Palpatine, the closet Godfather of Evil. "I love democracy!" he tells the Galactic Senate even as he's yanking it from them. Hilarious! Possibly relevant! Then there's Ewan McGregor, who grounds all the movie's best moments — grimacing as he beheads a giant insect, growling like Alec Guinness outside a Coruscant nightclub, relaxing as he commiserates with the four-armed informant Dexter Jettster (and yes, Lucas does seem to be letting his children name his characters again) in a diner.
14. So we can forgive the film its flaws!
Can we? Can we forgive the fact that PadmÃ©, for all her professed love of peace and justice, seems mighty forgiving when Anakin recounts his act of genocide? Can we forgive the fact that a little bit of Jar-Jar is like a little bit of third-degree burn? Can we forgive Christopher Lee — who's great in the movie, coming across as a sort of genial, low-cal Saruman — riding an anti-gravity Honda scooter? I kept looking for his golf clubs! Can we forgive R2-D2's utterly apocryphal little leg jets? Can we forgive Master Yoda's almost total passivity when confronted with certain evidence that someone in the Jedi Order is erasing planets from the archives? I could go on an on!
Look. If these last two Star Wars movies have taught me anything, it's that all my prior rantings about Star Wars needing to be mythologically and thematically coherent and profound no longer apply. Those rantings were, in retrospect, most likely the justifications of a young adult who wanted to explain why she'd liked a pulp sci-fi/fantasy series so emphatically — and who gleefully adopted as her own the "Power of Myth" mental gymnastics handed to her on a platter by Joseph Campbell and the Lucasfilm P.R. machine.
That said, when I came to the above understanding and relaxed my standards a bit — right around that Mysterious Island shot, and every time I've skipped to the "cool parts" on the DVD — I quite enjoyed the Attack of the Clones for the pulpy pastiche that it is. Take that for what you will.
16. Um, okay. So how about those special features already?
Want to know the details on Clones? Let's find out together.
On Disc One, we find a commentary by George Lucas, producer Rick McCallum, editor and sound designer Ben Burtt, plus ILM creative masterminds Rob Coleman, Pablo Hellman, John Knoll and Ben Snow. There's frankly not a lot to say about this track that I didn't write about the almost eerily similar Phantom Menace commentary: It's "well-constructed, fast-moving and (alas) gossip-free. It's also almost entirely about how they pulled off the technical, not narrative, achievements, which is apt." Once again, my only real annoyances are with Lucas, who always seems to think the redundant expository scenes are somehow "crucial." Would that ex-wife Marcia and Star Wars and Empire producer Gary Kurtz were on hand to beat him up a little!
It should be noted that Dennis Muren — the film's visual effects supervisor and the first F/X guy to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame — is nowhere to be found on this commentary; one hopes this is only because of his duties on Ang Lee's upcoming Hulk movie.
Meanwhile, Disc Two is all special-features gravy — offering six submenus, all accessible from a main menu depicting the glittering Jedi Library: "Theatrical Trailers and TV Spots," "Documentaries," "Deleted Scenes," "Featurettes," 'Web Documentaries," and "Dex's Kitchen and Still Galleries." (There's also a "StarWars.com" menu telling you there are DVD-ROM features, BTW, but I couldn't access those via my iBook. Sure, Lucasfilm can create effects on Apple boxes — but God forbid you be able to watch the ensuing DVD on one.)
17. What's under the "Theatrical Trailers and TV Spots" menu?
We find the three teaser trailers — the enigmatic "Breathing" (1:11) (featuring silent images fading in and out to Darth Vader's mechanical wheezing), "Mystery" (1:22) (an action-packed ditty originally released on the Internet) and the drippy "Forbidden Love" (2:21) — plus that mammoth "Clone War" trailer (2:34) that relies heavily on final-reel F/X (and is probably what put the more ambivalent fan asses in seats).
Also in this section is the "Across the Stars" music video (4:34), which purees film clips with footage of John Williams conducting his score. While this is certainly amusing to watch if you're a Williams obsessive, whoever edited the video commits the same war crime committed while editing the film itself — Williams' various themes and leitmotifs are spliced and diced until you're left with a jarring hodgepodge, the neoclassical equivalent of ADD. (BTW, there's a great article on the massacre of Williams' score as it's edited in the film at FilmScoreMonthly.com, if you're so inclined; you can read it here.)
Anyway: On the submenu's second page, we find no fewer than 12 TV spots, organized into "Character" and "Action" categories. I must say, these are marvelous, well-edited advertisements: With the exception of those root-canal-painful "Who da man? Yoda man!" TV ads currently advertising this very DVD, Lucasfilm's advertising department has made few missteps pimping the prequels.
18. What's under the "Documentaries" menu?
Two behind-the-scenes mini-movies that sort of play the same role that "The Beginning: Making Episode I" played on the Phantom DVD — only with far less drama and worrying and self-doubt and set obliteration via sandstorm, and many, many more shots of men studying computer screens.
First and best is "From Puppets to Pixels: Digital Characters in Episode II" (52:18) — which chronicles the very real struggle of Animation Director Rob Coleman and his team as they try to bring Yoda, the Kaminoans, assorted battle droids, digital stuntmen, clonetroopers and Geonosians to cinematic life.
What's truly, deeply cool here is that Coleman et al seem to be atoning for the sins of Jar-Jar Binks. His young, much-abused team seems genuinely interested in creating subtle, invisible digital performances — particularly when it comes to Yoda — and Lucas is mercilessly riding their asses in his genial-grandpa way all the way through as they try to pull it off. And even those who consider themselves fairly adept at spotting digital trickery may be surprised by the number of digital stuntmen and sets and even articles of clothing they failed to spot in multiple viewings of the film. Coolest moments: One ILM animator absolutely obsessing over the placement of a digital Ewan McGregor's fingers and hands, plus Lucas growing exasperated as Coleman struggles with exactly how pathetic to make Yoda's delivery of film's final line look.
The second documentary, "State of the Art: The Previsualization of Episode II," (23:29) breaks down the planning of the film's set pieces — particularly the aerial car chase, conveyor-belt fight and climactic Clone War battle. Coolest moments: shots of the lo-fi animatics from the original trilogy, which incorporate WWII dogfight footage and dolls on sticks; and also glimpses of unused, surprisingly sophisticated animatics for the final battle that even ILM staffers admit gave them "goosebumps."
19. And then there's that inevitable 'Deleted Scenes" menu....
Which features eight thunderingly dull scenes that hardly merit being spruced up with finished effects and placed on this disc, except of course as a major selling point. (On the Episode I DVD, didn't you feel kind of sorry for the poor schlub who had to finish the effects on that Jar-Jar and submarine-over-the-waterfall deleted scene?) Anyway, most of these cutting-room-floor refugees feature flat performances from Natalie Portman; they're viewable with or without intros from Lucas, Burtt, and McCallum; and they break down as follows:
• "PadmÃ© Addresses the Senate" (1:55) is an early scene in the narcolepsy-inducing Galactic Senate, featuring Portman and McDiarmid and hundreds of rubber-mask politicos continuing their C-SPAN discussions after the opening assassination attempt. My Lord, this would have ground the film to a halt. Portman, I must say, is a talented actress, but she's particularly horrid here; fans of camp may even find themselves howling as she says, with this really weird over-enunciation, "One of my bodyguards ... and six others ... were ruthlessly ... and senselessly murdered!"
• "Jedi Temple Analysis Room" (1:04) is one of the two passable scenes in this collection — and that's mostly because it features neat-looking robots that have heads just like Johnny Five from Short Circuit and float on little suspensors just like the ones in The Black Hole. Contains an embarrassing moment for Mr. McGregor, who, realizing these robots can't analyze his mystery dart, shakes his hand thoughtfully like a dinner-theater Sherlock Holmes and says to himself, "I know who can identify this!"
• "Obi-Wan & Mace — Jedi Landing Platform" (1:52) is the original version of that scene where Mace and Obi-Wan are talking about Anakin, the growing mystery and their personal doubts. (A variation on this scene appeared in the final film, only with a change of locale and the addition of Yoda in his little floating high chair.) While still clunkily written and needlessly expository, this version is arguably better — mainly because it features Obi-Wan climbing into his sleek little spaceship and blasting off over Coruscant at the end. Like the film itself, the scene works best when escalating into wordless, ILM-designed visual poetry.
• "Extended Arrival on Naboo" (1:52) is the first in a trifecta of scenes expanding on the Anakin/PadmÃ© "love story." This one features additional footage of our star-crossed lovers rhapsodizing about the marvels of Naboo as they cross a public square.
• Next up is "PadmÃ©'s Parents' House" (2:19) — a scene I'd been dreading ever since I'd read it in that Clones script that leaked online. It basically covers PadmÃ© and Anakin crashing a sit-down dinner at PadmÃ©'s parents — followed by her mother and sister plying her with variants on, "He's cuuuute!" As filmed, it plays with a far lighter cringe factor than expected.
• I couldn't bring myself to watch "PadmÃ©'s Bedroom" (1:20).
• Next up is "Dooku Interrogates PadmÃ©" (1:02) — a quick scene where Christopher Lee entreats Portman to join his "Rebellion"; they're chatting around that glowing table fashioned after the emblem of the Galactic Empire in Episodes 4-6.
• Finally, "Anakin and PadmÃ© on Trial" (:39) is set in a kangaroo court on Geonosis — with Poggle the Lesser making a surprising number of flatulent noises in his alien tongue as he sentences Anakin and PadmÃ© to death at the behest of those animatronically challenged Trade Federation aliens.
20. And what's under the "Featurettes" menu?
There are three mini-docs, all restating things you already know: "Story" (9:01) basically recounts the narrative of the film, which seems a little redundant given how much the movie itself does that already; "Love" (9:37) recounts the film's romance and features Lucas dismissing the Han/Leia romance as a "flirtation" and is something I will never, ever watch again; and "Action" (8:11) basically features Lucas, McCallum, fight choreographer Nick Gillard and several actors once again recounting the story, this time vis a vis its action sequences. The stuff about swordfighting styles is mildly intriguing.
21. And the "Web Documentraries"?
There are 12 of them, and they're all extremely well-made and endlessly self-congratulatory and far better than the "Featurettes." BTW, this menu — just like the "Web Documentaries" menu on the Phantom Menace extras platter — is over-designed to the point that it's a little clunky to navigate. But that's quibbling.
Anyway, the docs, in order, are:
• Here We Go Again: The Digital Cinema Revolution Begins" (6:26);
• "Wedgie 'Em Out: Designing the Jedi Starfighter," in which Lucas actually says, "The movie doesn't rest in the dialogue" (4:36);
• "We Didn't Go to the Desert to Get A Suntan: Location Shooting Around the World" (6:10), which talks about trouble shooting both the prequels and the films in the Classic Trilogy;
• "Trying to Do My Thing: Hayden Christensen is Anakin Skywalker" (4:25)
• "A Twinkle Beyond Pluto: Extras Fill Out the Star Wars Galaxy" (5:38)
• "It's All Magic: Visual Effects Wizardry Starts on the Set" (5:04)
• "Revvin' It to the Next Level: Sounds from a Galaxy Far, Far Away," (5:17) profiling sound-design genius Ben Burtt;
• "A Jigsaw Puzzle: Building Model Communities" (5:11), in which F/X legend Dennis Muren turns up to reminisce and we see the surprising number of non-digital models in the film;
• "Bucket Head: Introducing the Fett Family" (5:17), which is notable for featuring footage from Boba Fett's first cartoon appearance in the 1978 "Star Wars Holiday Special";
• "Good to G.O.: The Jedi Knights in Action" (5:11), which covers swordfighting techniques with Nick Gillard;
• "P-19: The Wardrobe of PadmÃ© Amidala" (4:51), which chronicles Costume Designer Trisha Biggar and the largely unsung heroes of the Clones wardrobe department;
• And finally "Reel 6: Creating the Action in the Geonosis Arena" (6:33), which features entirely too many men in skintight blue bodysuits as Lucas et al design and film the final battle.
22. And what's in "Dex's Kitchen and Still Galleries?"
Well, first up there are still galleries (natch) grouped under the headings of "Exclusive Production Photos," "One-Sheet Posters," and "International Outdoor Campaign." Then, if you click on the "To Dex's Kitchen" button, you're taken to a second page featuring three of the cooler and/or stranger extras:
• First up is "Films Are Not Released; They Escape: Creating A Universe of Sounds for Episode II" (25:40) — which is in many ways the coolest documentary on this disc. It chronicles the 25 years of effort on Star Wars' behalf by sound-design genius Ben Burtt. Burtt edits all the Star Wars footage these days, including visuals, but his first and best calling has always been sound design — and this doc is a marvelous look at an underappreciated element of filmmaking. We see actors at an ADR session; we see the original tapes Burtt used to make Star Wars, which are in serious disrepair; and we see Frank Oz recording his Yoda dialogue, which is just kind of weird to behold. (If you doubt Burtt's genius, BTW, listen to the six-hour "Star Wars Radio Show" sometime; it features a surprisingly nuanced performance by Mark Hamill and a rich, Burtt-designed audioscape that actually negates the need for visual effects.)
• Then there's an "Episode II Visual Effects Breakdown Montage" — a 3:38 ILM demo reel that sort of sort of replaces the cumbersome angle-switching "storyboard to screen" comparison from the Phantom Menace DVD. Over a crappy techno soundtrack, it dissolves and wipes from raw bluescreen shots to finished footage.
• And finally, there's the mildly embarrassing "R2-D2: Beneath the Dome" (6:03) — a teaser for a multi-part "mockumentary" in which Lucas somehow got Richard Dreyfuss, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Samuel L. Jackson, Steven Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola (among others) to talk about Artoo as if he were a real, working actor who became a drunk in the early '90s. While this sort of echoes Ron Howard and Lucas pretending the Brownies were real on the Willow featurette, it is kind of amusing to see Richard Dreyfuss bitterly slamming Artoo as a "schmuck." Would Harrison Ford stoop to this?
23. Are there any "Easter eggs"?
I despise hidden special features with something approaching apoplexy, so I didn't look terribly hard. But according to The Digital Bits , here are a couple, and I quote:
• "To access an outtakes reel, go to the Options menu page [on Disc One] and press '10+', '1' and wait for the pause as the player accepts the input. Then press '3' and wait for the pause. Finally, press '8'." BTW, this features many gags involving incongruous placement of those horrible, bubble-butted cows from the film's meadow scenes, which should tell you what the ILM staffers thought of that particular creature.
• "To access images of flyers from the "Star Wars Want-Ads" college campaign, go to the 'Dex's Kitchen and Still Galleries' menu page [on Disc Two]. Select the 'To Dex's Kitchen' option. On the page with Dex, highlight 'Main Menu' and select 'Left' to highlight a small flyer on the wall of the kitchen behind Dex's head. Press 'Enter'."
And that, thank heaven, is that.
— Alexandra DuPont
• Anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1)
• Two-disc set
• Dolby Digital 5.1 EX (English), Dolby 2.0 Surround (French, Spanish)
• English subtitles
• Commentary by George Lucas, producer Rick McCallum, editor and sound designer Ben Burtt, plus ILM creative masterminds Rob Coleman, Pablo Hellman, John Knoll and Ben Snow
• Theatrical Trailers and TV Spots
• "Across the Stars" music video
• Documentary: "From Puppets to Pixels: Digital Characters in Episode II"
• Documentary: "State of the Art: The Previsualization of Episode II"
• 8 deleted scenes with newly completed effects
• 3 featurettes: "Story," "Love," and "Action"
• 12 Web documentaries
• Production photos
• One-sheet posters and international outdoor campaign stills
• Documentary: "Films Are Not Released; They Escape: Creating A Universe of Sounds for Episode II"
• "Episode II Visual Effects Breakdown Montage"
• "R2-D2: Beneath the Dome" mockumentary
• Easter egg: Outtakes reel
• Easter egg:"Star Wars Want Ads" college campaign
• Dual-DVD slimline keep-case