Star Wars Fever Grips Middle-earth - Steven Cavanagh reports from Middle-earth

The recent opening of "Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones" has produced a wave of fanaticism across every country and culture, and Middle Earth is no exception. Fans turned out in their thousands for the opening screenings just after midnight.

And the verdict? "It was absolutely brilliant" said Bilbo Baggins outside the Homely House Megaplex. "All those giant houses and worlds with no trees--it really is pure escapist fantasy". "The ground war sequence was excellent" added Elrond of Rivendell. "I haven't seen a ground war that big in ages".

But not everyone is happy with George Lucas' latest foray into the galaxy far, far away. "Clone production is an attempt to stereotype us" said Lurtz of the Uruk-Hai. "We're not like that". He is not alone in his opinion. "We're not like that" stated another.

"And where was Yaddle, that Yoda-like guy in the Jedi Council in the last movie? He was left out altogether!" said Tom Bombadil.

The movie series has constantly been dogged with the notion of putting effects before more traditional film elements. "Count Dooku is a well conceived character, but comes in far too late" objects Saruman of Orthanc. "Here is a man who splits civilization, who pretends to stand against corruption while really serving the dark lord of evil, and you hardly ever see him".

Still, no amount of posturing from the critics can take the magic of Star Wars away from the fans. "I love the teenage Anakin" said Boromir of Gondor. "The way he has so much power in his hands and just can't control himself--it makes for a fascinating character".

"We're looking at a new era for the Jedi," commented Galadriel of Lothlorien. "They can feel their power growing less and less, and there's a sense of the inevitable doom. I can't wait to see what happens next".

And the juggernaut of popular culture still endears itself to the little ones. Young Frodo Baggins hasn't stopped spinning since he came out of the theater, only to comment "glow, my sword does! Yes!"

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