Episode II: Attack of the Clones | History of Star Wars


Andy Moser

Well, they can’t all be great. Attack of the Clones continued a low point in the Star Wars saga that The Phantom Menace started (and before you accuse me of being a prequel hater, I’ll have you know I’m down for a prequel marathon anytime, anywhere). If you cherish the magic of the original trilogy, or if you hold any positive convictions about sand, Episode II may crushingly disappoint you.

Hayden Christensen takes over the role of Anakin Skywalker, now a Jedi Padawan learner (or apprentice) who is tasked with keeping Senator Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman) safe while his master Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) searches for a mysterious threat. George Lucas directs and writes this newest installment with the help of screenwriter Jonathan Hales.

There are some things we simply have to acknowledge about this movie (apologies in advance, George). For one, the dialogue is atrocious. Many of the lines from this script likely produce the same reaction one would have from drinking expired Bantha milk. 

This is the creepiest Star Wars movie. Lucasfilm

You and me both, Natalie. This cringeworthy discourse acts as a barrier between the characters and the audience, preventing viewers from taking their actions and feelings to heart, which we’ve established as a must in any Star Wars film. Lucas also disobeys the precedent he set with A New Hope that centered around practical special effects. In Clones (and throughout the prequels), he favors the almighty green screen and its digital counterparts, making the film feel distant as opposed to immersive.

Digital technology isn’t all bad, though, especially when it gives us a wicked fight scene between new villain Count Dooku (Sir Christopher Lee) and Yoda in his prime. I’d also be lying if I didn’t say that massive coliseum scene pitting dozens of Jedi against hundreds of droids was a rush of pure excitement.

Image result for count dooku vs yoda gif
Shouldn’t Yoda be able to just FORCE his way out of this? Lucasfilm

In a few ways, Clones improves upon Phantom Menace. Natalie Portman drops the flat, animatronic vocal tone and finally adds some inflection to her phrasing. Her character is actually quite believable towards the end of the film. Lucas puts more of an emphasis on action sequences and less on exposition and politics. John Williams’ score is yet again stunning. And (AND), Jar Jar only gets around 2 minutes of screen time, praise to the creators. Lucas finds it within himself to spare us Jar Jar’s comic relief that is neither comic nor relieving.

While it’s a rough (and irritating) ride, Lucas still ends up guiding us through Anakin Skywalker’s complicated journey and the external factors shaping it, which is vital to our understanding of the character as a whole.


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