Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones

Time for my thoughts on the second film in George Lucas’ “Look at all the cool shit computers can do” trilogy. Thank Christ it gets better soon. I’m not sure how long my wrists would have stayed intact if it didn’t.

Star Wars: Episode II- Attack of the Clones (2002)

Having been re-disappointed by Episode I, it was surprisingly tough to go back to Attack of the Clones with my reviewing eyes in. I know it isn’t good and you know it isn’t good. This is like therapy to me. If I tap out my review of this, I means I don’t have to think about it analytically ever again. I can just watch for the pretty colours when I’m feeling particularly spaced out. To return briefly to The Phantom Menace, have you seen the recently released poster for the unfortunately-still-happening 3D re-release? Not only is it a lazy, shitty bit of design but I love the fact that the only two entertaining things about it are front row, centre. There’s not a Gungan to be seen. That’s marketing for you.

“I don’t like sand. It’s coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere. Not like here. Here everything is soft and smooth.”
Attack of the Clones is set 10 years after The Phantom Menace. After there is an assassination attempt on Senator Amidala (Natalie Portman), Jedis Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and the now grown up Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) are called in to protect her. After it emerges that the Republic is in danger, Obi-Wan investigates the possibility of a clone army whilst Anakin and Padmé travel to Naboo and fall in love, not knowing their relationship is doomed. The plot is a big ol’ jar of weaksauce. Again, too many things don’t make sense and the love story that dominates the film is atrocious. All the actors are fine, even Hayden Christensen, who attracted a lot of criticism as “Mannequin Skywalker”. I think the problem here is the characters, not the actors. This is typified with the casting of Christopher Lee.  The man could menace a bowl of cornflakes and yet he leaves no real impact on the film whatsoever.
So yeah. The “love story”. I’m not even sure what Lucas thought he was doing. It is completely devoid of feeling and reality. You may think that reality has little or nothing to do with a film that has lightsabers and flying cars, but it really is important. You can be as fantastical as you want, but the audience needs something to ground them and be able to relate to. The romance in Episode II makes the Twilight films look like the greatest love stories ever told. The dialogue is stilted and unnatural throughout the prequels, but is especially bad in this film’s love scenes. There’s this infamous scene, for instance. Just watch it. Not only does it start with some extremely sexy political discussion, it then moves to embarrassing new lows with forced-as-fuck horseplay. I especially like the bit where Anakin pretends to be seriously injured. That’ll get her moist. It’s like Lucas just skimmed through “An Idiot’s Guide to Mills & Boon: From Bodice-Ripping to Class Divides“, copy-pasted half of it into the script and wrote “in motherfucking space” at the end. You know you’re in trouble when your film has a romantic scene in front of a fireplace.
Despite the frequent action scenes, the film still manages to be boring. There’s one brief moment of fun when Obi-Wan is fighting bounty hunter Jango Fett, but that’s about your lot. The Clone War itself is nothing but a tech demo for Industrial Light and Magic’s mad computer skillz and you know what? I don’t even like Yoda getting his lightsaber out and fighting Dooku. It’s retarded. The worst scene for me by far is the “comedy” sequence in the droid factory where C-3PO gets his head knocked off and put onto the body of a battle droid. It’s so flinchingly bad I’m genuinely cringing as I write these words. Then there’s the scene where Anakin goes mental on the discovery of his mother’s body and kills a bunch of sandpeople. In better hands, this could have been a really affecting sequence. In the bearded businessman’s hands, it’s pretty laughable. Even though I like the line “They’re animals, so I slaughtered them like animals!” his little confession to Padmé goes on way too long. It’s meant to be a hint at future darkness, but ends up like a psychopath’s recollection of his first murder/rape.
“If Master Obi-Wan caught me doing this, he’d be very grumpy.”
Contrary to popular opinion, Attack of the Clones is the worst of the prequels in my book. The story doesn’t even come close to coherency, the dialogue is fist-bitingly awful and to top it all off, it’s dull to boot. It’s not even bad in a fun way like The Phantom Menace can be. There are no real redeeming features as far as I’m concerned. It’s just another film that doesn’t deserve the grandiose John Williams theme at the end.

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