Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
My quest continues to revisit all the 'Star Wars' movies in their I-VI order, which means we are now up to II, or 'Star Wars: Attack of the Clones'.  After re-watching 'The Phantom Menace', there wasn't much I could say in defense of that film as it still rates as one of the biggest disappointments I've experienced in a life of watching disappointing movies, but what 'The Phantom Menace' did succeed in doing was lower my expectations for 'Attack of the Clones' which was a movie I ultimately kind of had a good time watching… but… we will talk about the 'but' a little later.

The scroll comes up again and tells us some more nonsense about trade routes or something I can't remember that almost put me to sleep, and then we see somebody try to blow up Senator Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman).  Also not too sure why she's not a princess anymore because I would think being a princess is a birthright, but who really cares about any of that?

The important thing about this attempt on the senator's life is that a couple of Jedi will be assigned to protect her and investigate the attack in Obi Wan (Ewan McGregor) and his padawan Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen).  Anakin in particular is really excited about this.  Really excited.  I'm talking about making the casual viewer super uncomfortable excited about seeing this woman he's been thinking about constantly since he was nine years old.  Padme seems a little uncomfortable about Anakin and his fawning too, but she'll get over it.  Not sure how, but she will.

After another attempt on Padme's life, the Jedi Council has determined that Anakin should protect her off-world while Obi-Wan investigates the source of these attacks.  Obi-Wan objects to this, thinking Anakin isn't mature enough, but who should really be objecting are these Midichlorian filled, chin-stroking Jedi Knights who The Force should be clearly telling them that there is something not right with this stalking lunatic. 
Back to the FCU
Let Chris know how Wrong He Is
Don't Be Square...
Like Totally Twisted Flix!

Anyway, adventure is afoot.  Obi-Wan goes on his way and unearths this thing called a clone army and runs into a bounty hunter named Jango Fett (Temura Morrison) that he's been looking for.  Action ensues!  Anakin and Padme go on their way back to Naboo, engage in some truly painful conversation and forced romantic interludes which only make us more uncomfortable before searching out Anakin's mom on Tatooine.  Action ensues!  And Genocide!  Which only solidifies the love!  Back on the council planet, change is afoot as the council gives supreme power to Palpatine (Ian McDarmid) which history tells us will be a bad thing.  Action ensues!

A couple of hours in we finally meet this movies heavy in Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) who is up to something.  Not sure what.  I see a blueprint of a Death Star so he's gotta be a bad guy, and more action will ensue.  More droids get mowed down.  I hate droids so much.  And eventually the love that Padme was resisting, she can't resist anymore.  Because Anakin has smooth lines like 'Sand is course and rough… not smooth like you'.  Who wouldn't fall for that?  Other than every single female I've tried to use it on?

So when I say that 'Attack of the Clones' is scads better than 'The Phantom Menace' but close it out with a 'but'… the 'but' would be that I have memories of seeing 'The Phantom Menace' but I have recollection of ever seeing 'Attack of the Clones', even though I had seen it twice before my revisit… once at the theater and also on my DVD copy.  And after watching it again, for the first time in a decade or so, chances are I won't remember it too much longer either because as a film it's just not all that memorable.

Things are better though.  For starters both Ewan McGregor and Natalie Portman seem much more comfortable with their characters of Obi-Wan and Padme respectively, and most of the stiffness they exhibited in the first film is all but absent.  This film is also a little more personal and invites the audience to be a little more involved than the last one, and there are way fewer congregations and meetings and trade discussions going on in this movie which by default means that this one moves much, much faster.  The action is bigger, better and more far reaching and at least in this one I think we begin to get a better feel of the vision Mr. Lucas is setting up.   Now this next bit is just a random, mindless musing, but if future Jedi are picked out as children and if Jedi are pretty much instructed not to have romantic relationships, and if midichlorians are a genetic trait… then shouldn't the Jedi eventually be genetically eliminated?  Just pondering.

But the lynchpin of this film, that being the relationship between Anakin and Padme, is an abject failure.  A lot was put on young Hayden Christenson's plate for this role, as he had to sell us on the fact that he will eventually become the baddest Jedi to ever hold a light saber, that he had the magnetic appeal to attract a much older and mature woman in Padme, and that the darkness was in him to eventually turn him into Darth Vader.  None of that actually happened here.  What we got was less Dark Lord and more Spoiled Teenager, and then when you combine young Hayden's complete inability to act at that time (he has truly gotten a lot better) with the horrible dialog that he was given, eventually you just have to buy into this forced, non-existent romance because you have no other choice. 

Still, despite being better, 'Attack of the Clones' as a movie is easily forgotten.  Detached droids, detached clones, detached Mace Windu…  I can't say that for any of the other Star Wars movies, even 'Revenge of the Sith' which we will watch next, which I still remember… dare I say 'fondly'.   We will see soon enough.
Real Time Web