Star Wars Revisited Part IV – ‘Episode II: Attack of the Clones’
Welcome back to another edition of Star Wars Revisited! In this edition, we leave Han encased in carbonite and Luke’s severed hand to revisit young Anakin Skywalker, who we have just discovered becomes Darth Vader, in Attack of the Clones.
The movie opens ten years after The Phantom Menace and Anakin has aged from an annoying child to an angsty teen. Aside from his Jedi training, which he expresses that he cares little for throughout the film, he has spent the last decade obsessing over Padme. When they are finally reunited, she hardly recognizes him and does not seem impressed by anything that he says or does. His obsession then turns him into a full blown creepy stalker. The way he looks at her throughout this movie and some of the things that he says to her are amazingly inappropriate for the situation and made me feel uncomfortable just watching it. I can only assume he somehow uses his knowledge of the Force to convince her that she is in love with him throughout the film, because it certainly isn’t earned in the hour of screen time the audience sees of him trying to wear her down.
While Anakin spent the last decade channeling John Hinckley Jr, I can only assume, given his luscious mullet, that Obi-wan spent his time bingeing McGyver. Obi-wan’s mission has him tracking down the bounty hunter that attempted to assassinate Padme. It leads him to Kamino, a secret planet that has been removed from the Republic archives, and the alien race that lives there. They are building a great army of clones for the Republic, but none of the politicians or Jedi seem to be aware that this has been happening under their noses for the last decade.
The DNA for this army of clones came from Jango Fett, the father of Boba Fett, the bounty hunter that we last saw taking Han’s carbonite encased body in The Empire Strikes Back. Obi-wan follows Jango to another planet where the Trade Federation from The Phantom Menace is amassing a larger droid army. Obi-wan is captured, along with Anakin and Padme when they come to rescue him, by disgraced former Jedi Count Dooku, who fell to the Dark Side and became a Sith apprentice after the death of his former Jedi apprentice Qui-Gon Jinn. Dooku is definitely a highlight of the film, played by Christopher Lee. He tries to explain to every Jedi that might listen that the Republic is under the control of the Sith, but they won’t believe him.
Finally, at the last possible moment before Obi-wan, Padme, and Anakin are killed, the rest of the Jedi order appear to save them. They are quickly overwhelmed by the Trade Federation’s droid army, but Yoda arrives with the Clone Army from Kamino and they are able to escape after a fight with Dooku that leaves Obi-wan badly injured and Anakin missing the same arm that Luke lost in Empire.
I remember the excitement in the air when the title of this movie was announced. While The Phantom Menace was disappointing to many, there has always been a fascination with the Clone Wars from their brief mentions in the original trilogy. People were hoping to see them play out on the big screen.
I have to say that this movie is the worst of Lucas’s blunders. The audience sees the beginning of the Clone Wars at the end of this movie and the end of them at the beginning of the next. All of the action essentially happens off screen. This was Lucas’s chance to win back some of the fans he’d lost by making an epic war movie that takes place in space. Think of the possibilities.
To make matters worse, this film is essentially a prelude to the war that we don’t get to see. Long boring scenes of people talking about more politics and building armies. This two and a half hour movie could easily be cut down to one hour, leaving the remaining hour and a half to the Clone Wars instead of just a quick twenty minute battle at the end of the movie.
Attack of the Clones is definitely the low point for the series, which is saying a lot. It’s a long movie in which very little happens, and it kind of just feels like a waste. You start to see Anakin lean toward the dark side, a cool but underutilized Coruscant, and finally a decent battle at the end. It’s just a very forgettable movie. I just watched it, and still had a hard time remembering what happened for the synopsis.
We’re going to stick with Anakin’s transition into Darth Vader next time with Revenge of the Sith. I feel like it will all be uphill from here.