Everyone gets a second chance right? Lucas may have disappointed anyone over the age of 10 with The Phantom Menace but even then he deserves a chance to set things right. Enter Attack Of The Clones. The second of the prequel trilogy and the one we were assured would make up for the boring mess that was The Phantom Menace. So how does it fare? Click the jump for my views.
Attack Of The Clones introduces us to the adult Anakin Skywalker, no longer played by where are they now trivia subject Jake Lloyd but instead by a young actor named Hayden Christensen. Anakin has grown up from a smart enthusiastic young boy that wanted to free slaves and stuff into a whiny little bitch of a teenager who’s sole desire is to park his pod racer in Padme’s Naboo garden. Literally. He expresses no other desires over the course of the film that to get into her knickers. He does this as any teenager would. By being the creepiest tosser in the world and somehow still manages to get him some. He whines about his problems, never listens to her advice, kills Sand People and their children and he still gets himself some Natalie Portman action. Easily one of the least believable romances ever in cinematic history. I just can’t fathom how it works unless Padme is the sort of woman who spends her time forming a romance with murders in jail because only she understands them.
The whole romance stuff takes up a massive portion of the film and it is nothing but pure agony. Every line of dialogue, every exchange between the characters all point towards alarm bells for Padme to stay away from this freak. And yet she decides she loves him and never mentions stuff like him swinging a lightsabre in her face to kill a little bug. The way he stares at her with a leer that would puts Jon Voight’s leering at J-Lo in Anaconda to shame. The fact he kills an entire tribe of Tuskan Raiders and their kids, tells her about it and she still find him attractive? The only conclusion I can draw is that George Lucas went to the Joseph Fritzl school of romance.
I probably should have gone into detail as to what the plot involves. Well here I go. Something about an army being formed to deal with some threat and there’s clone troopers some Jedi had made in secret. Things happen. Everyone splits up and does the opposite of what would be smart. Then there’s a giant battle between thousands of Clone Troopers and droids. I honestly have always struggled to tell what is the main drive of this film. Obi-Wan and Anakin are told to protect Padme which they then take as a chance to find out who’s trying to assassinate her. Then they go all over the galaxy either hiding or investigating stuff. The story just ambles along with little direction or impetus. We still don’t know who Obi-Wan is beyond his job and Anakin is about as likable a protagonist as a lump of mold would have been. The film smacks of an unfinished script with no emotional core, or at least one that’s written effectively. The relationship between Anakin and Padme should be the emotional core of the film. We know that they have to have children in order for Luke and Leia to be born but it is honestly more believable that he raped her than they have a relationship. But hey, they’re getting married by the end of the film so what do I know about relationships. Nothing it seems.
Special effects are everywhere in this film and they are a little hit and miss. More hit than The Phantom Menace was but it still has that very distinct feeling of fakeness. I appreciate that a sci-fi space opera movie is always gonna be an expensive thing to produce but there really is no replacement for a practical effect or even a real tangible set. There’s so many moments in these prequels where stuff is just happening in the foreground or in the background that is just fluff to fill out the image. What you end up with is a visually noisy image. More visually noisy that Vince Noire’s face. David Lean would roll over in his grave if he ever saw the way these shots were composed.
On the positive side of things there’s a decent amount of variety in action sequences even if their staging is a little off. A few go on too long such as the early chase sequence on Coruscant but generally they’re acceptable. Obviously quite a few just seem to happen with no warning such as Obi-Wans fight with Jango Fett on Kamino. We know he’s heading to arrest Jango but the fight literally just starts with Obi-Wan running through a doorway to a landing platform and getting shot at. It’s as though we’ve missed what started the fight. In Fact seeing as Obi-Wan comes running from inside the building whilst he is soaking wet it would suggest that we’ve either missed something or Lucas edited in that shot from a later part of the fight where he ends up back in the building and comes out the same door. Another positive is that there’s no mention of Midi-fuckin’-chlorians.
Overall the film isn’t as bad as The Phantom Menace because it does manage to have a somewhat fun final 45 minutes and it does leave us with plenty of set up for Revenge Of The Sith. Enough that after seeing the film I may have been disappointed again but I was at least a little hyped for the next film. George Lucas got his second chance and just about passed at the last minute. There are far worse films out there, only one of those is a Star Wars film though.