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<i>Star Wars Episode II</i> Hits Theatres Worldwide

Critics have given it mixed reviews, but fans in Los Angeles had nothing but praise for the latest film in the Star Wars series. Star Wars Episode II - Attack of the Clones opened around the United States Thursday.

This is the fifth film in the Star Wars series and the second "prequel," which outlines events before those of the early Stars Wars films. A fan at an early showing was not disappointed.

"This is amazing. I am shaking!" he exclaimed.

Another fan of the series by director George Lucas says this film is a winner.

"It was just great. It was exciting. George Lucas cannot do anything wrong," he said.

Most critics are less excited about the movie, saying Attack of the Clones is strong on special effects but weak on narrative and acting. Critics and fans alike are glad to see less of Jar Jar Binks, a long-necked creature with flipper-like ears, which jarred the nerves of viewers in the last film. This fan says Episode II is much better.

"It made up for every bad moment of Jar Jar in Episode I," he said.

Thursday Attack of the Clones was launched in up to 70 countries, from the Middle East to Europe.

The film faces tough competition in the United States, where it is playing opposite Spider-Man, an action film based on a comic book hero. Critics have praised Spider-Man for its textured acting, and it broke box office records its opening weekend.

In Malaysia and the Philippines, Attack of the Clones faces other competition. Pirated videos sell on the street for far less than the price of a theater ticket, despite being illegal.