aka: Attack of the Clones, Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones
Director: George Lucas
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Christopher Lee, Samuel L. Jackson
A Jedi shall not know anger. Nor hatred. Nor love.
Ten years have passed since the last time young Anakin Skywalker saw Padme Amidala. The Galactic Republic is in great turmoil and the Jedi Knight Count Dooku has started a Separatist movement against the Republic.
The life of Padme is in great danger and the job to protect her is given to Obi-Wan Kenobi and his apprentice Anakin. Obi-Wan has to do a side mission and puts Anakin in charge of the protection, while he himself visits the planet Kamino where he discovers that a group of clone troopers are being secretly produced and it becomes clear that there is a conspiracy in the Republic.
Attack of the Clones is the second Star Wars film in the new prequel trilogy. It is a step up from the disappointment that was Phantom Menace, but it is still miles away from any of the films in the original trilogy.
The politics that started in Phantom Menace continues here and we get a new villain in Count Dooku, played by Christopher Lee. If you look past the fact that it is Lee who is playing him, then there isn’t that much interesting about the guy. I kind of wish Darth Maul would have survived Phantom Menace and could be Dooku’s main henchman here.
The film also puts a lot of focus on the relationship between Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala. Both have grown up over the ten years since Phantom Menace, but the love they have for each other has only grown stronger. Especially from Anakin’s point of view who is almost obsessed with the girl, even after not seeing her for so many years. The fact that he was a little kid the last time they saw each other makes it kind of weird and the way he tries to romance the poor girl is not very charming.
We also start to see the change in Anakin and that he does have some darkness within him, as sensed earlier by Yoda. Speaking of which, we also get to see the green master jump all over the place and finally bring out his light saber and fight. It’s borderline cartoonish when it does happen, but it’s still fun to see the master in action.
There is a very distant and emotionless feeling to the film and I think it’s the fact that the entire world is created digitally that is to blame. It is a stark contrast to the magical world of the original trilogy and something that will definitely leave fans not falling in love with this universe and rather notice all its flaws.
The main flaw here as in Phantom Menace is the character Anakin Skywalker. In the last one the problem was that the young kid who played him were not exactly a great actor and the same problem is this time with Hayden Christensen in the same part. He is very unconvincing and does not look comfortable in this film, although all blame shouldn’t be put on him since there isn’t a lot in the script to really give the character any charming aspects either and the fact that he is given a boy band look which made me refer to him as Anakinberlake during the film didn’t help.
Natalie Portman has grown since Phantom Menace and she is quite lovely to look at here and is good enough to make Padme very likeable and sweet. Ewan McGregor is better in the role as a full Jedi Knight instead of being an apprentice like he was in Phantom Menace.
George Lucas is yet again the director and screenwriter (together with Jonathan Hales). All the politics in this film suffer of terrible dialogue, including the romance scenes between Anakin and Padme. He is also not able to make us care about this romance either, which makes the first hour of this film very bad. It does pick up and the second half isn’t all too bad, although I again have to wonder what the point of these high-tech laser guns are when they can’t hit or do any damage to anyone. Or anyone on the good side I guess.
Attack of the Clones is better than Phantom Menace, but it is riddled with flaws that fans of the series won’t forgive because of the lack of magic that this universe has to offer. It also feels like a middle part of a story with no real ending and the only point to it is for us to see the transformation of Anakin Skywalker. It’s not terrible, but will still leave fans wanting much more.