This handsome, compact actor of Maori descent garnered international attention for his portrayal as the abusive and alcoholic Jake in Lee Tamahori's "Once Were Warriors" (1994). The son of a musician...
The catastrophic battles of the Clone Wars are in their final stages as the crumbling Republic--supported by the ever-vigilant Jedi Knights--fight against the Separatist Alliance lead by a particularly nasty half-droid half-alien named General Grievous. Jedi überheroes Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) are sent to kill General Grievous and end the war but it isn't easy. Meanwhile Yoda Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson) and the other Jedi Council members fear for the state of the Republic under the guidance of the nebulously sinister Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid). I know what you're thinking "Yeah yeah just tell us how Anakin goes bad." Poor Annie. He still has some serious anger issues which now revolve around his adoring young wife Padme (Natalie Portman) and their unborn child (or children in this case). He thinks he foresees Padme's death and will do anything to keep her safe including listening to Palpatine malevolently whisper promises of immortality and the power of the Dark Side into his ear. Not the best thing for this volatile fellow. Yes Darth Vader will soon emerge and the inevitable duel between the good and the Dark Side is at hand. Get your lightsabers ready.
Happily all the main actors--save for perhaps Natalie Portman as the ineffectual Padme--get a lot more to chew on in this final installment. Christensen is thankfully done being the whining teenager from Attack of the Clones and turns into a brooding conflicted pre-Vader who can't control his anger. Of course he overdoes it a bit with the scowling and evil cold stares but that's OK. It's what the part requires. The love story between Christensen and Portman however is still kind of painful to watch. The two actors look more than a little embarrassed professing their love for one another ("I'm so much in love with you" "No I'm so much in love with YOU!"). And besides bringing back the infamous Leia "cinnamon bun" look Portman isn't given a darn thing to do but fret and pace and rub her pregnant belly praying Anakin will be all right. You'd think after wielding a gun in The Phantom Menace she'd get to do more fighting. Oh well. On the flip side McGregor Jackson and even McDiarmid all get to kick some serious butt in Revenge of the Sith each with their own action-packed fight sequences. Jackson just seems happy to be swinging a lightsaber around. McGregor with the full beard and biting commentary does a nice job setting the stage for the elderly Ben Kenobi to come. And McDiarmid a veteran British stage thesp finally gets his chance to shine as the malicious Palpatine as we see his own transformation into the ultimate evil being he becomes.
Oh George what are you going to do now that it's all over? Of course Lucas has said he is going to redo all the six Star Wars episodes in 3-D as well as produce a TV series which follows the events after Return of the Jedi. Then there's the fourth Indiana Jones movie to look forward to. But Lucas will probably hole back up at his Skywalker Ranch in northern California and dream up even better ways to generate special effects for the big screen. That's what he does best. He truly is an amazing genius at creating visuals and Revenge of the Sith is no exception. From the battle between General Grievous and Obi-Wan to Yoda's clash with Darth Sidious to Obi-Wan's climactic duel with Anakin Sith is simply riveting. The only difficulty Lucas has ever had is with the human element. I'll admit I'm one of those die-hard fans of the original trilogy who had a problem with the lack of an emotional core in the prequels. After writing and directing the first Star Wars (or Episode IV for those counting) Lucas understood then that maybe he wasn't the best choice to write the next two handing the chores off to screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan. It worked. Big time. Yet with all three prequels (that's Episodes I-III) Lucas did it all himself and his obvious shortcomings are evident. But hey does it really matter how connected you feel to the characters when you've got the Force Jedi Knights evil Darths an ass-kicking little green guy clone armies droid armies Wookiee armies (yeah that's a lot of fur) and an ultimate turn towards the Dark Side? No. But it helps.
The never-before-seen launch trailer for Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones will make its worldwide premiere Sunday, March 10 on FOX. Shown in its entirety, this two-and-a-half minute trailer will air between original episodes of Malcolm in the Middle and The X-Files.
In the past, fans have gone to extreme measures to be the first to see a Star Wars trailer. On Sunday, March 10, fans all across America can be first while sitting in the comfort of their living rooms and watching Fox.
After this world premiere broadcast, moviegoers can experience the trailer on the big screen exclusively in theaters with Ice Age, beginning Friday, March 15.
Attack of the Clones is set ten years after the events of The Phantom Menace. The galaxy has undergone significant change, as have Obi-Wan Kenobi, Padmé Amidala and Anakin Skywalker, who are thrown together for the first time since the conflict between the Trade Federation and Padmé's home planet, Naboo.
Anakin has grown into the accomplished Jedi apprentice of Obi-Wan, who himself has transitioned from student to teacher, while Padmé is a distinguished Senator. Anakin and Obi-Wan are assigned to protect Padmé, whose life is threatened by a faction of political separatists. As powerful forces prepare to collide in epic battle, Anakin and Padmé find themselves torn between duty and honor and a love that is forbidden. These heroes face choices that will impact not only their own fates, but the destiny of the Republic.
The film was written and directed by George Lucas, co-written by Jonathan Hales, produced by Rick McCallum and stars Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen and Samuel L Jackson. Additional cast members include Ian McDiarmid, Christopher Lee and Temuera Morrison.
Cast as Jango Fett in "Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones"
Appeared on the New Zealand soap "Shortland Street"
Reprised role of Jake Heke in the sequel "What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?"
Served as language advisor on Jane Campion's "The Piano"
Early screen credit, small role in "Other Halves"
Breakthrough screen role as the abusive husband Jake Heke in Lee Tamahori's "Once Were Warriors"
Portrayed Commander Cody in "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith" the final installment of the saga
First feature lead, "Never Say Die"
First US film, "Barbed Wire"
Hosted a local morning radio show
Had pivotal role in "Speed II: Cruise Control"
After schooling, auditioned for Special Performing Arts Training Scheme; also worked with his uncle New Zealand entertainer Sir Howard Morrison
This handsome, compact actor of Maori descent garnered international attention for his portrayal as the abusive and alcoholic Jake in Lee Tamahori's "Once Were Warriors" (1994). The son of a musician and nephew of famed New Zealand entertainer Sir Howard Morrison, he was raised in Rotarua, a noted tourist spot in his homeland. After completing his schooling, Morrison briefly worked with his uncle before deciding to pursue an acting career. Through the Special Performing Arts Training Scheme (SPATS), he gained experience which led to his early feature work in "Other Halves" (1985), in which he was the friend of a Maori teenager romancing an older white woman. Other roles soon followed in the stunningly photographed "Mauri" (1988) and as a laid-back reporter in the James Bond spoof "Never Say Die" (also 1988).
Morrison served as a language advisor on Jane Campion's acclaimed "The Piano" (1993) before landing his star-making role in "Once Were Warriors". He had been appearing in a heartthrob role on a New Zealand TV series when he auditioned for the role of Jake. Once cast, he undertook an intensive physical program to increase his body weight and bulk. Delivering a powerhouse portrayal of an irresponsible, fiery brute, the actor also endowed the character with charm and sexuality. There was a palpable heat between Morrison and his co-star Rena Owen who played his put-upon wife Beth, making their relationship believable despite his character's abuse.
Based on the international success of "Warriors", Morrison made the leap to Hollywood films, but the roles were substandard and the films were box-office flops. He was virtually wasted as Pamela Lee's love interest in the execrable "Barb Wire" (1996) and fared no better (although was unrecognizable) as one of the half-human, half-beast servants to Marlon Brando in the ill-advised remake of "The Island of Dr. Moreau" (also 1996). Just when it appeared Morrison's US career might be doomed, he landed a major supporting role as an officer on a hijacked luxury liner in Jan De Bont's highly anticipated sequel "Speed 2: Cruise Control" (1997). Despite a strong first weekend, however, the film was generally perceived as an underperformer.
James Tarawhai Morrison
worked together on the New Zealand serial "Shortland Street"
played with the Ohinemutu Quartet with brother Howard; died in 1974
worked as Director of Youth Development in Maori Affairs