However, I hadn't seen Episode 1, so I borrowed her video to watch. There was one point, about 20 minutes in, when I became actively despondent at how dull it was, but it picked up a lot after that. I despised Jar Jar Binks, who completely fails to function as the Chewbacca substitute he was clearly intended to be. I think the film suffers from a belief that it is no longer acceptable to put actors in alien suits; the advantage of actors is that they *act*.
I also thought that the way in which the droids were controlled forms one of the most perfect Idiot Plots I have ever seen in my entire life. (An idiot plot is one that can only work if you assume that one or more of the characters are complete idiots.)
I had seen reviews criticising the acting of the boy who plays Anakin, but I thought he was pretty sound on the whole; he had most of the best scenes. Natalie Portman was wet, though. Their scenes also had a particular problem; if the sexes had been reversed, so that an adult man was sweet-talking a nine-year-old girl, prior to a romance ten years later, it would have appeared completely vile.