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REWIND: Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002) – Movie Review

Hello again! Continuing my Star Wars review series is the 2002 film Attack of the Clones. This film is undoubtedly not as bad as its predecessor, The Phantom Menace. However, it’s definitely not a great film and isn’t squeaky-clean. In fact, Attack of the Clones is littered with story problems. Without further ado, and with no restraint on spoilers, here’s my review for Episode II in the Star Wars Saga.

The film picks up ten years after the events of The Phantom Menace. Obi-Wan Kenobi is now a Jedi Knight, and Anakin Skywalker is still a Padawan under the training of Obi-Wan. An assassination attempt on Senator Padmé Amidala fails, and the two Jedi are hired to protect Padmé and find the culprit. The mistake this bounty hunter made was the weapon she sent to kill Padmé. Literally, she sends toxic worms to sneak into Padmé’s bedroom and poison her. Why not just shoot her? It’s faster and guaranteed to be more effective than two little squirmy things that the Jedi sense immediately. The high-speed chase through Coruscant that follows is awesome. Unlike a lot of people, I really enjoy this scene. The tension isn’t as high as one might want, but it’s still very thrilling and fun to watch. John Williams’ score meshes perfectly with the sounds of ships cruising through the city at night.

The romance subplot between Anakin and Padmé in this film is insanely bad. I cannot express enough how terrible the chemistry between the two is, as well as the cheesy dialogue. Padmé is telling Anakin to go away, saying “Oh, a Senator and a Jedi can’t be together”, but the whole freaking time she’s thinking the exact opposite. And then Anakin has this really creepy stare whenever he’s around Padmé. Anakin, you little perv.

I really like the character of Obi-Wan in this film. While there was no clue as to who the main character was in The Phantom Menace, this film follows his story the closest, which is good, because it’s the most enjoyable as well. The “Clone” arc that comes into play in this film also is really cool (except for Young Boba), and considering that the Clones are probably the most important part in the TV shows that followed this film, it’s a good thing that George Lucas took this story arc the right way.

Let’s talk about the villain, Count Dooku. The first time I watched this film, I thought he looked and sounded awesome because that’s what an 8-year-old kid would typically think. But after rewatching it, I realized how lackluster of an antagonist he is. He has a cool lightsaber, and his costume design looks good, but beneath the surface, he’s lacking everything else. For one, there’s no tension or build up to the final duel involving him. He’s shown so infrequently that he just isn’t interesting and it’s extremely hard to invest in his character. The final duel (Dooku v Yoda) is one of the worst in the franchise, thanks to Yoda doing who-knows-how-many flips in the air instead of being the calm and powerful Jedi Master that he’s known as.

Another really terrible aspect of the film is the pacing and the way it tries to create tension when there’s just no possible way to make certain scenes feel tense and strong. Unlike the asteroid chase from The Empire Strikes Back, the scene where Obi-Wan follows Jango Fett through the asteroids is just so smooth and fluid, as well as stylish, so there isn’t any fear that our hero might fail.

Also, the green-screen in Attack of the Clones is ridiculously bad. I could really tell that the backgrounds (beautiful as they may be) were fake, and it took away from the experience. It’s not Spider-Man 3 bad, but it could’ve been so much better.

Overall, Episode II in the Star Wars Saga is pretty lackluster. It has some fun action sequences and I really like the emphasis on Obi-Wan’s character, but the rest isn’t that redeemable. The chemistry between Anakin and Padmé is awful, the special effects haven’t aged as well as you might think, and the villain is very poorly done. I’m going to give Attack of the Clones C.

Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones stars Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Ian McDiarmid, Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Lee, Anthony Daniels, Frank Oz. Directed by George Lucas.

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