Yes, I finally got around to watching Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones on DVD. Including the second disc material. Including all the material cut from the film. Which turns out to be, in large part, dialog that establishes character. Discussions between Padmé and Anakin that brings out her past life choices, between Padmé and her parents(!) that establish that she is a person with a family and a history, and parents who think she should have been married a long time ago. In other words, scenes that establish the Queen/Senator as a person.
“It’s emotionally touching, it gives her a lot of character, but in terms of moving the story along it isn’t necessary.” —George Lucas
Any surprise that all these scenes died? This is where the missing heart of the film is, for me, the stuff that makes the awkward adolescent fawning between Padmé and Anakin bearable. And of course they got cut out. Because the target audience—kids who will buy the action figures—won’t care.
I’m not sure whether this makes me feel better or worse about Star Wars as a universe. I know how it makes me feel about Lucas’s skills as a moviemaker.