I’m glad I waited to write this until now, because if I had posted my opinions when I got home last night (at 3 in the morning), I would have torn Episode II a new one. But hindsight, even 12 hour old hindsight, is 20/20, and I’ve been able to think back and separate out what I liked from the banta fodder.

So let me say this – I did like the film. Maybe not as much as Darren liked it, but I DID like it. That said, I did think the movie had it’s fair share of problems…

POINT: Immediately after leaving the theater, I indicted Natalie Portman’s acting as horrible. In retrospect, I think I can say (as someone who knows about these things) it wasn’t her fault. The fault, dear reader, lies not in the Senator but in the Young Jedi, as he’s a terrible, terrible actor. I swear, I’ve seen pieces of unpainted drywall in my kitchen that can act rings around Hayden Christensen. So, Natalie, you’re forgiven. After all, you can’t be blamed when your scene partner for most of the movie expresses fewer emotions than most of the droids.

POINT: The movie was uneven. The action sequences were fantastic, as were pretty much all of Ewan McGregor’s scenes. (And how can you top scenes between Samuel L. Jackson and Yoda?) But when we hit scenes from the Anakin-Amidala love story arc, the movie slowed to a crawl. And I’m not even talking about the acting anymore. The whole “will they-won’t they” thing was written too coy and too melodramatic, even for this style of movie. (And if Amidala loves Anakin so much, why did she keep cock-blocking him?) The audience knows where it has to go, so why couldn’t we have a little fun with it along the way? I almost feel like this could have been solved by interjecting everybody’s favorite droid stand-up act, R2D2 and C3P0, earlier in the story to provide some much needed comic relief.

POINT: Yoda is one bad motherf**ker. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who has not seen the movie yet, but…man, can that Muppet swing a lightsaber. While some of the CGI bothered me, a fully mobile, ass-kicking CGI Yoda a good thing was. (Bad motherf**ker honorable mention to Jango Fett.)

POINT: DUM DUM DUM DUMDEDUM DUMDE DUM! DUM DUM DUM DUMDEDUM DUMDEDUM! (Thanks for clubbing me over the head with that, John Williams. Damnit, I’m gonna end up buying the score anyway.)

POINT: I agree with Darren – while the acting and dialogue were both, perhaps, a bit wooden, the story was the real star of this movie. Glimpses of what is to come in Episode III and in the existing 2nd trilogy make it especially worthwhile.

POINT: A huge reduction in the presence of one Mr. Jar Jar Binks, and when he was on screen, he served a vital purpose. (But man, did he get played like a pool table. See the movie. You’ll know what I mean. It doesn’t take a Jedi Mind Trick to get one over on Jar Jar.)

So, on the whole, I did like it, in the end. The action sequences were fantastic. I liked the fact that we get some closure regarding Anakin’s mother (from Episode I). I especially liked the parallels to Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. There were moments where I forgot I was watching a live action movie, such was the preponderance of CGI, but I think that was minimized. (BTW – we learn in EpII that, a long time ago in a galaxy far far away, humans were already drinking coffee. Discuss.) It was a huge improvement over Episode I, although since there was so much set-up in EpI, I don’t know if that is a fair comparison. Overall, a thumbs up from me. I’d probably see it again.

This party is over. (Motherf**ker.)