Way Too Late Movie Review: Star Wars Attack of the Clones
This past weekend I took a moment to relax and watch some movies. The weather wasn’t great on Sunday and it lent itself perfectly to do a whole lotta nothing. With that, it’s the perfect time to introduce a new bit: The Way Too Late Movie Review. For these blogs I will focus on the movies that I either have finally gotten around to watching, haven’t seen in a long time, or have such an urge to get out my thoughts on the movie that I need to write about it. So, with that being said, lets jump right in.
Every now and again you come across a movie that is so iconically bad, that its an enjoyable watch. This, friends, is not that movie. Sunday, I got the opportunity(?) to sit down and watch the second installment of the Star Wars prequel trilogy, Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. What a treat that it was. This is a movie that is so bad, it is the only Star Wars film of the main episodes that I do not own. Its also so bad, that it prompted me to tweet this bold statement to the masses:
Now, for a long time I would always tell friends who asked(or didn’t ask) that I thought Attack of the Clones was a movie that did not need to be made but given that I didn’t actually own the movie, that was a statement that I could never say was a fact not an opinion to quote Michael Felger. Now that I have taken the time to see the movie with an adult eye, I can unequivocally tell you, this movie did not need to be made. There is not one single scene from this movie that would drastically alter the course from the first movie to the third. The entire two hour and twenty-two-minute run time is dedicated to providing member berries to the original trilogy rather than telling a meaningful story. we, the viewer, get the nod to uncle Owen, the unnecessary clone story just to add backstory to Boba Fett, and one of the most awkward on-screen romances I have ever seen in my life between Hayden Christensen’s Anakin Skywalker and Natalie Portman’s Padme Amidala. When creating the story, If Lucas had spent more time giving us an original story than blasting us with nods to the original trilogy, this movie may have been able to be saved.
There lies the true problem with the second installment of the prequel saga, George Lucas. It’s the reason why he isn’t involved at all now. While he has great ideas, his scripts became so over bloated its as if he was fighting a war with Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings) to have the longest movies of the early 2000s. What made the original Star Wars trilogy so fun is that politics were the background to the action taking place in foreground between the rebellion and the empire. Where the prequel trilogy, and this movie more importantly, falters is by placing such an emphasis on politics to the point that the Jedi come off as a silly side character to the political war being waged. Beyond that, Anakin is not the excruciatingly painful representation given to us by Jake Lloyd in The Phantom Menace, but he is also written in such a way that makes him come off as a whiny, petulant, baby. A lot of people would blame Hayden Christensen for this, but I don’t. A run of the mill actor is only as good as the script and direction given to him. In this case, Lucas seems to suffer from not having the people around him with the confidence to tell him what he is doing is wrong. Revisionist history, but it seems that while Lucas had his point A and point Z for Anakin Skywalker, he didn’t have point B through Y. More specifically, we spend a good chunk of the films run time hearing Anakin whine that he is being held back by Obi Wan and that he is ready, only for him to immediately be cast aside by Count Dooku in the film’s climactic lightsaber battle. Lucas is trying to get us to feel for Anakin and create a reality that he may indeed be ready to take the step from Padawan to Jedi, but he doesn’t give us any real, concrete evidence of this throughout the entire film. Not to mention, the treatment that Lucas gives the Anakin/Padme dynamic is downright mind boggling. This is the same guy that stumbled into, but still gave us one of the most iconic on-screen romances of all time in Han Solo and Leia Organa, and he follows it up with this? Now, you may say the acting quality is different, but Natalie Portman is an Oscar winner, so really that is no excuse. The real problem is that George Lucas mishandled his characters and the overall story of the prequel trilogy, especially in this movie. He got some of the characters right (looking at you Obi Wan), but ultimately failed when it came to the most important character, Anakin.
Further hindering the actor’s performances in the film, Attack of the Clones greatly struggles with effects throughout the entire run time. This also falls into the timeframe where Lucas insisted upon going back into the original trilogy and adding CGI to try to improve his characters. It doesn’t quite work there, and it doesn’t quite work here. Lucas made the choice to entirely computer generate Yoda in the prequel trilogy as opposed to the puppet they used in the original trilogy and in The Last Jedi. This is a glaring example of technology not being where it needs to be to portray a realistic looking computer-generated image. This is also the case with almost all of the clone troopers. Not only is it an eyesore, but it really takes the viewer out of the movie. Furthering the issue with over reliance on CGI is the fact that a good 90% of this movie was filmed on greenscreen, ultimately sacrificing performance from the films actors in exchange for creating a bigger world than they could in the original trilogy. The problem with this is that in the case of Yoda, the actors are essentially having dialogue with no one and ultimately fail to give a believable performance.
Inevitably, the second installment in the prequel trilogy is a messy, not well thought out pile of garbage. Being the middle piece automatically set it back because it neither introduced us to the one who would be Darth Vader, nor did it show his complete transformation to the infamous sith lord. Instead, it tried to continue Anakin Skywalker’s growth as a character. The problem is that writer/director George Lucas mishandled both the writing and general story of the movie. He also misused effects and chose to try to make the world too big, when in reality the original trilogy was successful because of its characters not the size of the world they are in. Had Lucas brought the same care to his characters in this go round, not only would Attack of the Clones have been much better, but the trilogy as a whole would be far better received.
Ultimately, I would skip this movie and give is a 2 out of 10 rating. Proceed with caution. If you agree or disagree, let me know in the comments below or on Twitter. Thank you all for reading.