Rewind Reviews: Star Wars, Episode II, Attack of the Clones
I was going to try to post these at 8PM each day, to coincide with my blog’s random PST time setting, but I had to post this early today. Ugh. #BloggerProblems
Today, we continue our journey through the galaxy with Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Controversial opinion alert: This one is far and away my favorite of the series. Where as adults grew up seeing Episodes IV-V in theaters, I grew up seeing I-III in theaters, so of course I am biased towards the newer three. In my opinion it has the best story elements in the series, rivaled only by the endings of Episodes III and V.
Attack of the Clones begins ten years after the events of Phantom Menace. Ex-Jedi Knight Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) is organizing an army to resist the Republic. A fully grown Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) returns to the planet Coruscant, the Washington DC of Star Wars, with his master Obi-Wan to guard the queen-turned-politician Padme. Anakin is anxious to be reunited with Padme after never getting over his childhood crush of her, even after ten years of separation. He and Obi-Wan are called into action after an assassin tries to poison her with two enormous, skin-crawling centipede creatures. After a chase scene showcasing the amazing Coruscant city complete with its hovercraft transportation system, Obi-Wan travels to the hidden planet of Kamino to investigate the assassin’s boss further while Anakin and R2D2 escort Padme to her home planet of Naboo to keep her company.
Finally finding Kamino, Obi is greeted by serene, emotionless aliens who show him an army of clones they’ve been creating to help assist the Republic in these times of growing peril. These creepy aliens are using bounty hunter Jango Fett (Temuera Morrison) as a ‘genetic template’ for the clones. Suspecting that Jango was the one who tried to kill Padme, Obi pursues him and his son Boba (Daniel Logan) to Geonosis, a planet inhabited by human/winged insect alien hybrids. Obi is captured by Dooku, who tries to sway him to the Dark side.
Meanwhile, in a depressingly cliché montage, Anakin and Padme fall in love on Naboo, despite romance being forbidden for Jedi. However, Anakin soon starts having dreamss of his mother, Shmi, in great pain. Ignoring Obi’s orders to stay on Naboo, Anakin, Padme, and R2D2 fly to Anakin’s childhood home on Tattooine. There, Anakin learns that Shmi has remarried before being captured by a tribe of Tusken Raiders. (Gosh, I hate Tusken Raiders.) Anakin finds his mother just in time. In her dying breath, she says her life is complete now that she has seen her son fully grown, and falls limp in his arms. Driven by hatred, Anakin violently kills every last Tusken Raider, including the defenseless women and children. We see the first glimpse of Anakin’s dark side.
Receiving word of Obi’s capture, Anakin, Padme, R2D2 and Anakin’s now complete droid C3PO rush to Geonosis to save him. In what is undoubtedly the best scene of the movie, and probably my personal favorite of the series, the four get caught on a conveyor belt in a secret droid-producing factory, and must dodge lava blasts, lethal machinery, and more giant insects/humans on their way to rescue Obi-Wan. R2D2 is the only one to escape, as C3PO swaps bodies with a battle droid and Anakin and Padme find themselves captured by Dooku.
Dooku chains the star crossed lovers and Obi-Wan to three separate poles in a giant Colosseum-style arena, and unleashes three deadly creatures to come and devour them for the insects’ amusement. However, things soon turn in to all out war once the Jedi Knights come to save them, and Dooku unleashes his army of battle droids. It looks like the end of the Jedi until wise green puff ball/Jedi master Yoda (voiced by Frank Oz) arrives, leading scores of clone troopers into battle.
Anakin and Obi-Wan pursue Dooku to a large cavern, where blueprints for a weapon of mass destruction are hidden. Dooku defeats Obi-Wan and severs Anakin’s right arm off. Yoda arrives just in time to save them and challenge Dooku to a Lightsaber duel, which the count escapes. Dooku reports back to his Sith master, Darth Sidious, who congratulates him on throwing the galaxy into war. The remaining Jedi knights bravely prepare for the fights ahead while Chancellor Palpatine takes control of the clone troopers. Anakin gets a robotic arm replacement, and holds a secret wedding on Naboo for himself and Padme. C3PO and R2D2 are the only ones who know.
Once again, the acting sucked. Christensen makes a pretty emotionless Anakin, despite a few rare moments of believable acting. Portman still seemed lifeless as Padme, and combined with Christensen, the romance was one of the most cliché and unremarkable in recent film history. I personally love the idea Lucas set up for these two, but the acting let him, and everyone else, down.
Despite this being my favorite of the series, it seemed to contain the least amount of memorable moments or quotes. Each of the original trilogy was stuffed with legendary quotes and iconic scenes, and this installment was an unfortunate let down in that department. Perhaps the script needed more refinement to fit in at least one quote worthy of repetition outside Star Wars discussion.
Why this is a worthy addition to Star Wars:
The story. I love love love love love the story. Even if it was weakly portrayed, what Lucas did for this series by going back and showing us Vader’s rise to the dark side was genius. In my opinion, it tells the best story of the series.
I am also in love with the action scenes. As I mentioned before, I think the factory scene is an all-time best for the series. I also loved every minute of the film since entering the Colosseum, which is probably the last quarter of the film. I’ll always remember the thrill I got seeing the three deadly creatures unleashed upon Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Padme for the first time in theaters. It may be nostalgia blinding me, because I have toys of two of the creatures I always used to play with as a child – OH NO THEY’RE ATTACKING!!
Okay, this is my attempt at fear. You’re judging. The one I did for Cabin in the Woods was better, I know. But it was hard balancing them and trying to get into character. You do it then.
I know that, as far as Star Wars movies go, Attack of the Clones is pretty unpopular. Do you strongly disagree with everything I just said? Prove me wrong in the comments! I’ll never change my opinion, though. You have been warned.