It’s monday that means it is time for my next Star Wars review. This week I sat down to watch Attack of the Clones, the second movie. Wheras last week I remembered the pod racing vividly. I recalled the various creatures and the character dynamics that is not so with Attack of the Clones. I literally remembered nothing of this movie. Even rewatching it, nothing triggered a dormant memory. It was like I had never seen it before, but in truth I had. Now, that I’ve sat back and really thought it over, I’m thinking that I had simply blocked it from my memory. The movie was just that bad that my 12 year old brain refused to remember, even though by that time I watched movies like a fiend and remembered many vividly. Attack of the Clones was simply not good.
Do you remember I said I wasn’t sure why everyone hated on the prequel series. I stand by that with Episode I, but I think I finally understand when it comes to Episode II. It went from a decent movie with a plot that was a little bit loose to a movie that was overly long, in need of a major edit, and sporting writing that even the best of actors couldn’t save. It seems that most people seem to find this movie better than The Phantom Menace, but it felt a little bit too all over the place for me. It could have been a lot tighter without all the extra baggage that the film brought.
I know a lot of people like to throw a lot of blame on Hayden Christensen for not being a good actor. However, the more that I watched of the movie, the more that I realized that he was given bad dialogue. The scenes sounded comical. It also suddenly explained why the movie felt like it went on too long going through irrelevant motions tht were direly necessary to the overall plot of the novel.Also, the plot felt less concicse and focused than the first movie. instead it focused in on the characters, which generally isn’t a bad thing, but in this case the characters weren’t developed well.
The other major problem that I had with the movie was the sheer amount of fan service. While Episode I was out to tell a very clear story, this movie was not so clear. There was a threat that turned into another threat and all along we got to see a bunch of little bits that felt like they were little more than fan service. Yoda training padawans. Yoda getting into a fight with Count Dooku. The giant arena fight. A return to Tatooine. It all felt like things that people wanted to see so they made it happen. It was too much and really took away from the movie.
The focus shifted from the plot to having a stronger focus on the characters, in particular Anakin. This is not surprising because ultimately this is his journey that we follow. We’ve fast forwarded ten years and he’s grown up quite a bit. There is a focus on how he still seems to be ruled by his emotions something that is something the jedi can not do. It shapes the actions that he takes in the movie and the major result is we see just how unstable of a person Anakin has become as he struggles with the way of the jedi and what his heart truly wants. The problem is the romance that seems to be an undercurrent through the majority of the movie doesn’t work. To the credit of Anakin (and by extension Anakin Skywalker), you get the sense that he truly does pine and love Padme. The problem moreso lies with Padme. There are no actions that really seem to show why he cares for her so much. Worse yet, they lacked any real chemistry. Then just to compound everything that is working against them, I didn’t believe for a moment that Padme felt anything for Anakin. Don’t get me wrong, Padme is fierce, I just never saw a connection.
As for all the other characters, they felt shallow. They didn’t build any of the characters up. I didn’t feel like I got to know any of them better which made them feel shallow.
Ultimately, Attack of the Clones felt underbaked. It needed a lot of work and various elements in the movie just made it feel messy. Now that I understand why people seem to hate this trilogy. If I’m lucky, I will be able to forget this movie once again.