Action Movie Friday: Star Wars Episode Two, Attack of the Clones

It is time for Action Movie Friday, where I treat an action movie like an action movie and not like a drama and stuff. All movie reviews are subjective and while I may like something, you might think it’s shit, and vice versa!

Title: Star Wars, Episode 2 Attack of the Clones
MPAA Rating: PG
Release: 2002
Genre: action, science fiction
Starring: Ewan MacGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Christopher Lee, Frank Oz, Ian McDiarmid, Temuera Morrison, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker
Director: George Lucas
Writer: George Lucas, Jonathon Hales
Distributor: Fox
Budget: $115 Million
Box Office: $650 Million

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 67%

Gingersnaps Rating: Two Cookies!

Summary:

The Senate is a house divided. Unable to take the corruption any longer, a group of planets led by the mysterious Count Dooku have formed a separatist movement. They seek to leave the Republic for good. Chancellor Palpatine refuses to let the Republic fall while under his leadership. If the Separatists succeed in their intentions, the Senate seeks to create an Army of the Republic to do what the Jedi Knights cannot, fight a war. An assassination attempt on Senator Amidala of Naboo has prompted the Jedi Knights to protect her. A fierce opponent of forming an army, Amidala is uniting figure of the old ways of the Republic. Obi Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker’s investigation into who is trying to assassinate Amidala will either save the Republic or doom them all.

Review:

First things first, what is with this title? Attack of the Clones? Really? This makes it sound like the Clones are the enemy here. Really, perhaps this should have been called ‘Rise of the Empire,’ because that is what is really happening here. There might have been more direction to the story if it had been.

It is hard to believe but the story of Attack of the Clones is more fractured then that of The Phantom Menace. In the Phantom Menace the main plot was ignored for introducing Anakin and having a Pod Race. In Attack of the Clones, it is impossible to know what the main plot really is. We have a few more off handed references to Anakin being the Chosen One who will be balance to the force and we see very little of Chancellor Palpatine’s rise to becoming the Emperor by getting the emergency powers to form his military to take over the Republic.

The movie opens with ‘mentor failing to listen to protégé and dismissing his concerns.’ And devolves from there, while Amidala and Anakin return to Naboo for a forced and painful love plot that had no chemistry and even worse dialogue than the first movie, Obi Wan travels around the galaxy looking for Amidala’s assassin and when confronted with truth is forced by his superiors to doubt it due to the fact that the Sith are “masters of lies.” In this case, I want to say they used truth and the Jedi’s expectations against them. So, the Jedi play right into the plans of the Sith, except we don’t get to see it.

The themes of the prequel trilogy rotate around the decay of an ideal. The decay of both the Senate and the rule of the Republic and the decay of the righteousness of the Jedi Council. If Anakin is the Chosen One of the Force and that is important, than a subplot should have been dedicated to what that actually means. Instead Anakin pouts, whines and wages as teenage boys are wont to do. He comes off less as a Chosen One and more like a spoiled brat who needs his mommy.

I’m eating the cookie.

For a Star Wars film, there weren’t that many explosions and none of them seemed unnecessary or even made me sit up and take notice. Sad, no cookie.

If the last movie was set up around a speeder chase, this movie was set up so that we could see the Jedi and in particular, Master Yoda fight. It was a spectacular fight with sufficient emotional payout. So, I won’t eat this cookie.

The real disappointment of this movie, especially in comparison to the last one, is that Amidala is reduced to the role of the girlfriend and Shmi Skywalker to that of the victim. In the last movie, Amidala showed great courage and took back her planet for her people. In this movie, Amidala is convinced by Palpatine to run home and hide. The movie would have had more conflict and better plot if the Amidala of the first movie was standing in the shoes of the Amidala of the second movie. Even her discomfort at Anakin’s advances are waved away before the second act so that they can be ‘in love.’ It was both disrespectful and jarring to watch. The beautiful and optimistic Shmi is captured by Tusken Raiders and dies to fuel Anakin’s rage and loneliness. Yet again, another woman has to die to be the motivation for a man. No cookie to see here. (I ate it.)

What was interesting the most to see was the precursor of the technology that we are so familiar with from the original trilogy. There on the screen in front of us are the beginnings of Star Destroyers and the prototypes for the Death Star. The clone troopers are wearing the origins of Storm Trooper armor and there are some attempts at AT-ATs striding across the screen. There was even a start to see the divisions of technology, the robot army of the separatists using the red blaster charges that were familiar from the Rebel Alliance and the Clone Troopers using green of the Empire. We got to see more of Coruscant and returned to old favorites such as Tattooine. Overall, the world building felt like the logical next to step to the conclusion that we all know is coming. A cookie.

Attack of the Clones felt like your typical sequel, ill thought out with characters that suffered loss of intellect and any consistency from the first movie. The fights and the world building couldn’t save it from being horribly fractured and painful to watch. With no irony, two gingersnaps.

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