‘Attack of the Clones’

Lack of Direction, Lack of Enjoyment.


Niko Pavletic, Film Critic

Since I’m very original I’m going to waste my time rewatching and reviewing all 9 main saga Star Wars movies in order of release.  Now the only real reason I’m doing this is that I’m familiar with most of them and it is good practice for future reviews on other and better movies.  Now I’m not really a big fan of Star Wars and I’m not a Star Wars hater my view on the franchise is neutral even though they’re some of the first films I’ve ever seen.  Now for these reviews, certain sections in some of the reviews will have spoilers as for a lot of these movies I need to list an example for some of my points even if it’s a spoiler, but I will put a spoiler warning before talking about the said spoiler.  Enjoy my nonsensical rambling and praising (mostly rambling). 


Attack of the Clones (2002)


Rating: Pg


Runtime:2 Hours 22 Minutes


Genre: Action Adventure


Director: George Lucas


Main Cast:


Hayden Christensen-Anakin Skywalker


Ewan McGreogor-Obi-Wan Kenobi


Natalie Portman-Padme Amidala


Christopher Lee-Count Dooku


Damn these movies just keep getting longer and longer, and my lifespan has gotten shorter ever since I started watching them.  Episode 2 is quite bad, it is oh so bad, but the real question is what film is worse this or The Phantom Menace?  That is a hard question to answer both films suffer from all the same problems and really are equally terrible, but I think this movie is a little, and I mean barely better.  The reason I prefer episode 2 to 1 is because episode 2 isn’t as boring.  Episode 2 also feels more like a movie, and is way more important to the saga’s overall plot, whereas episode 1 is unimportant it doesn’t have a proper film structure and is overall a dry movie.  But that’s not to say episode 2 is good, it still sucks and is really really bad.  The acting sucks, the writing is bad, the characters are awful and even ruin other characters from the old movies, and we see one of the worst romances in movie history.  I mean the credits were really enjoyable in this film but that’s about it.  So let’s start the high detail inspection of Star Wars episode 2 and dissect why it’s awful, shall we?


Where do I even start with this plot?  Attack of the Clones has such an awful messy plot I don’t even think it should be called a plot.  The movie’s main focus changes directions like five times and you never really know what the movie is actually trying to accomplish.  But unlike episode 1 this movie actually has a structure that makes sense and the film has three acts.  So let me try to explain what happens in this thing.  So first act Padme has attempts on her life, in the second act she and Anakin fall in love in the fakest most cringey romance you will ever see in a film, while at the same time Obi-Wan tracks down the bounty hunter that was trying to assassinate her, and between the second and third act the film changes its direction completely when the big battle on Geonosis begins and the clone wars starts.  You may have noticed that the way I explained the plot here was different from the way how I explained the plots for the other films and that’s because I don’t know what the focus of the movie is.


The first act is just a broken mess, and I love talking about broken messes because I get to complain like I’ve never complained before.  So Jango Fett who is basically just a prequel version of Boba Fett sends an assassin to kill Padme because Padme doesn’t want to go to war with the separatists.  At the same time, Anakin and Obi-Wan are sent to protect Padme after the first attempt failed, and here you can get a glimpse of the first few lines in the cringey romance story, but that’s not important until the second act.  So one of the first few things Obi-Wan states is that “they’re not here to start an investigation and only to protect Padme” but they do end up helping her anyways, but that doesn’t matter I’m just starting to nitpick and I need to control myself.  Now the real reason I’m analyzing this is because the way the assassination is planned plays out like an idiot planned it probably because an idiot really did plan the assassination.  First of all, why is Padme sleeping in a room with a giant window and not in a locked room with no windows?  She knows someone is trying to kill her so- oh she uses herself as bait.  Well then why not use one of your many decoys, she uses one on the first assassination attempt so why not just use one here?  So the assassin uses toxic worms to kill Padme?  A robot flies up to the window and throws poisonous worms into the room.  I mean this is so basic why not just shoot her, or throw a bomb in the room.  The Jedi end up sensing the worms anyways so now this bounty hunter looks like a clown.  If you shoot her the Jedi won’t be able to get to the room in time and she’ll be dead.  And afterward why not have the droid self-destruct?  There’s no reason you need it again so having it self-destruct would just remove further evidence and make the assassination literally untraceable.  Star Wars blasters are completely untraceable.  But if that happened there would be no movie, so the assassin uses worms.  So after the Jedi run into the room and cut the worms in half Obi-Wan jumps headfirst through the window to grab the robot?  I mean, why?  What were you expecting to happen when you grabbed it- ok whatever, but really this wouldn’t be a problem if Anakin did it because Anakin is headstrong and stupid so I would expect him to do something like that, for Obi-Wan that’s just out of character, again it’s a minor thing but it’s annoying.  The chase is fine I guess nothing special just some average action scene where the city looks just like a Blade Runner rip off and some of the CGI is atrocious but there’s no point of interest up until the end in which the assassin’s speeder crashes and she runs into a night club.  So the Jedi follow her in and we get some really “important” information.  Apparently, the assassin is a shapeshifter, but she never shapeshifts even when she’s in the bar hiding.  This would be the perfect time to shapeshift, but instead, she attempts to assassinate Obi-Wan.  Why would you make her a shapeshifter if she never shapeshifts?  This is just basic screenwriting.  So Obi-Wan disarms her and right before she can tell them who hired her Jango Fett snipes her from another building.  So that’s the first act and I know I went into some serious detail but the only way to really show you the awfulness of this scene I had no other choice but to go into a full analysis of the first act but I promise I won’t go this ham on the other acts.  Ok, that’s a lie.


The second act is too bad to not go ham on because this act is the one that made me want to punch the TV.  The act is split up between two plot lines.  The first one is Obi-Wan tracking down Jango Fett to the planet of Kamino in which an entire clone army is being built.  And the second one has Anakin take Padme to Naboo to be her personal bodyguard and protect her from any sneaky assassins, and in this process, one of the worst romance stories ensues.  So the first plotline in which Obi-Wan tracks the assassin down starts off really boring because it’s just him asking people questions about the planet Kamino.  These scenes and in general a lot of scenes in the prequels are boring because of how they’re shot.  I forgot to bring this up in the last review so I feel like I’ll bring it up here but a lot of scenes in the prequels are shot using only two (maybe three) camera angles.  Angle A, and Angle B, and both angles are just over the shoulder camera angles of someone talking, and during the entire scene it just goes shot-reverse-shot and this tends to be really boring because you aren’t looking at anything else happening it’s just the same two shots.  Essentially nothing of interest is happening because you are just watching the same two shots happen over and over again.  Also, a lot of these scenes are plain up just too short to be scenes so it gives the film an unnatural flow between the scenes in the film.  So let’s skip ahead to when he gets to Kamino.  He learns someone on the Jedi council made an unauthorized order to build an entire clone army, and this is the first instance of the film randomly changing direction because now it’s focused on this clone army.  But Obi-Wan then learns that the clone original template came from Jango Fett, and this starts the biggest plot hole in the entire saga.  So earlier in the first act we learn of this Ex-Jedi Count Dooku who is now the leader of the separatist army.  Skip up to the second act and Obi-Wan learns the clones are directly connected to Jango Fett, skip forward to the third act and Obi-Wan then realizes Count Dooku and Jango Fett are buddies.  But at no point does he ever put the pieces together and realize that Count Dooku and the clones are connected.  Obi-Wan could have stopped the entire clone wars and Jedi purge from happening had he just done a little research on this topic, but nope he just forgot they were connected.  I really just have no words for this, I mean seriously this is an unacceptable plot hole.  Now Obi-Wan is the biggest idiot in the galaxy.  So he learns Jango Fett was the guy behind the assassination and chases him to the desert planet Geonosis.  


So plot line B is no better, and it’s in fact even worse.  Plotline B has one of the WORST romances in film history.  Padme and Anakin go to Naboo and the first thing is I guess the assassination attempts stop because no one ever tries again, and she literally feels fine just sitting in open fields even though less than a day ago someone tried to kill her.  But this romance makes on big mistake early on and that is telling us they’re in love.  And by that, it’s just constantly saying “they’re in love, and you should buy it”, and the film even indirectly says it just with its background images because they stay in what looks like space Venice one of the most romantic cities in the world, and they go into fields with beautiful giant waterfalls?  George, we get it they’re supposed to be in love, but despite the film constantly reminding me that they’re in love I don’t buy it because Padme has no reason to like Anakin.  See Anakin in this movie is really whiny.  He constantly complains about how Obi-Wan sucks, he throws tantrums and acts like a creep, but she still falls in love with him even though she said to him quite a few times that he was creeping her out?  But what really kills me are the lines because from what I could tell George Lucas was trying to be like Shakespeare with this dialogue and it’s just impossible to watch.  “I wish that I could just wish away my feelings” “I truly, deeply love you” “I don’t like sand it’s course rough irritating and it gets everywhere” “I will do anything that you ask”, I almost threw up just writing that because of just how bad it is.  Ok, this doesn’t even remind me of Shakespeare anymore do you know what it really reminds me of?  A little movie that came out in 2003 called “The Room”, you know the infamously bad movie starring Tommy Wiseau in which he finds out his girlfriend is cheating on him with his best friend?  That reminds me of this more than anything just because the characters interact with each other in both films like they were told to love each other.  I mean this isn’t how people interact with each other and it is just so hard to watch.  So Anakin then gets premonitions about his mother’s death (which was really the only important thing episode 1 set up) so he and Padme go to Tatooine to save her.  Anakin discovers her at a Tusken Raider camp and when she dies in his arms he just lets loose and kills everyone in this village.  The scene in which he actually kills the Tusken Raiders is actually handled better than I expected, but the really bad scene is the one where he goes on an insane megalomaniacal rant about how he will one day be the most powerful Jedi in the world and how he killed an entire village.  I don’t even know how to talk about that scene so just go watch it for yourself if you want to know what I mean. 


Ok, let’s get into the third act where we can (just like the last film) have all the stupid action scenes to end the movie.  So while Obi-Wan was sneaking around Geonosis he was caught but managed to send out a distress signal, so Anakin alerts the Jedi council (who after two films will actually do something instead of just sitting around waiting for everyone else to do everything) so Padme and Anakin enter into the droid factory on Geonosis which is exactly what it sounds like it’s just a place where robots are being made, and I would be a fool not to talk about this scene at least a little because it is just so bad.  First of all, it’s a CGI nightmare, and secondly, our protagonists are thrown onto this conveyer belt with a bunch of mechanical claws and hooks literally slamming down onto the conveyer belt that if any real person was thrown onto that conveyer belt they would be killed in about six seconds, but Jango Fett catches them and they are taken out to the arena to be killed by monsters.  There’s a fight in the arena in which our protagonists survive against a bunch of monsters and it’s not a bad scene, up until literally almost every Jedi shows up at the arena and a huge fight happens, and this scene just became awful because it’s incomprehensible it’s a scene for dumb people who just want to see lightsabers, and not to mention in the factory C-3PO was brought along with the protagonists and he gets his head placed on a battle droid body and throughout this entire scene, he’s being really annoying and is only there to amuse any babies that might be watching.  So Mace Windu (or really cool Samuel L. Jackson) decapitates Jango Fett, and Yoda arrives with the clone army officially starting the clone wars.  So this really big battle ensues in which clones are fighting the battle droid army and a bunch of explosions happen, and then the Jedi arrive at Count Dooku’s private hanger a few miles away from the arena.  And this is what I would call the worst lightsaber fight in the entire saga.  There is an entire ten-second period in the fight in which the characters are simply swinging lightsabers above their head in the dark.  So Obi-Wan gets cut across the leg, and Anakin has his arm cut off, but right before Count Dooku can escape Yoda arrives and pull out a mini green lightsaber.  And I can not explain how much I hate to see Yoda fighting, but don’t worry I will explain why when I talk about his character.  So in the last few scenes we learn that the clone army is owned by the republic (aka Palpatine), Count Dooku and the emperor (aka Palpatine) are connected, and Anakin and Padme get married the end.  Seriously this plot not only changes the story’s focus several times, and not only does it give us some of the biggest plot holes worst writing, and the cringiest dialogue in existence, but it ruins two characters from the original trilogy.  Darth Vader, and Yoda.  And this leads perfectly into the character segment because the first character up is Anakin.


Anakin is nothing like the way Obi-Wan described him in episode 4.  In that movie, he is described as a noble Jedi and good friend before he eventually turned into Darth Vader, but in episode 2 Anakin is a whiny brat who throws tantrums and constantly acts like a creep.  Every two seconds he has something to complain about and it’s mostly about Obi-Wan, and an actual line he says in the movie is “He’s overly critical, he never listens, he just doesn’t understand it’s not fair” and not to mention he never listens to Obi-Wan either, he disobeys every rule Obi-Wan sets for him and constantly backtalks him, and this is the noble friend he talks about in episode 4?  Anakin is also really creepy in this movie, one he kills an entire village and then goes on a rant about it, but even worse he keeps touching and looking at Padme in this really uncomfortable way that kind of made me shrivel up and die inside when I was watching this movie.  He acts like a stalker.  Also, people blame Hayden Christensen (Anakin’s actor) for the awkward line delivery and bad acting, but honestly, I don’t think it’s necessarily Hayden who’s the problem it’s just that script is awful and the dialogue is some of the worst written for any film.  See Anakin and Padme have the worst dialogue out of anyone in these films, and if you read parts of the script you will see what I mean because it’s impossible to say these lines seriously.  But how does he ruin Darth Vader?  Well it’s because now Darth Vader seems like a brat with no morals or standards (and it gets even worse in episode 3), and yes I know Darth Vader did horrible stuff in the original movies, but here Anakin is just plain up sinister, and now I kind of hate Darth Vader because I just look at him now like he’s some insane maniac with no limits.  So Anakin had the opportunity to be a great character but the blew it, so what about the other well-written intelligent characters?


I know I know I hyped it up as if I was going to talk about Yoda next but just calm your horses I can tell you were really looking forward to that segment but I have to talk about the other main characters first.  So let’s talk about Obi-Wan Kenobi who thankfully is a lot better than in the last film, he has a lot more to do and has an actual personality unlike episode 1 where he just sat on the ship and complained.  And that is one of the FEW things I actually liked in this movie, Obi-Wan.  Despite him making a few really really dumb decisions occasionally (like forgetting some key information) he’s not a bad character, I would even go as far as to say that he’s a charming dude.  You just can’t hate him in episodes 2 and 3 he just has a lot of personality and is one of the few characters that wasn’t ruined.  I kind of like his sassy attitude towards everyone especially Anakin it’s fun to watch and takes my mind off the stuff I hate for a few seconds.  You even learn some fun character traits about him for example he doesn’t like flying.  You can also really tell that Ewan McGregor is actually a really good actor, especially in scenes where Obi-Wan is away from everyone else.  He portrays a lot of emotions in almost all of his lines, even though a lot of them are staler than dirt.  So while I hate a few of the choices he makes, well one of the choices he makes I would be lying if I said I didn’t like him. 


Do you know who I DON’T like?  Padme Amidala is an awful character once again.  But unlike episode 1 she is awful for completely different reasons.  Unlike episode 1 in which she’s awful because she can never make choices on her own, here she’s awful because the choices she does make are just plain up ridiculous.  For example, when she’s at Coruscant being hunted down by the assassin she is sleeping in a room with a giant window, and she chooses to marry Anakin, someone who realistically would probably drive sane people away because he’s insane.  Another thing I really hate is when Anakin and her are on Naboo she tells Anakin they can’t fall in love (even though it’s really obvious she’s into him) because he’s a Jedi and she’s a senator?  Even though she happens to wear really revealing outfits around him?  Natalie Portman too suffers the same fate as Hayden Christensen as she has to deliver some of the worst lines my ears have ever heard so it’s damn near impossible for her to act good and that’s unfortunate because she’s a talented actress, but my god is this script bad.  Overall she does more here than in episode 1, but I can’t stand her in this movie.


So Mace Windu is a character I didn’t talk about in my episode 1 review because he didn’t really do much in that movie all he did was sat around on the Jedi council and tested Anakin.  Here he does do a lot more he ends up being the lead Jedi at the Battle of Geonosis and is played by Samuel L. Jackson, who honestly doesn’t fit this role, and that might be shocking to a lot of people because I know just how much people love Samuel.  The reason this role doesn’t work for him is that Samuel is good in really energetic aggressive roles like Pulp Fiction, but Mace Windu is a really boring stoic guy, so he just feels out of place and awkward, and as for his character, he just feels like a sad attempt to sell more toys to children who don’t know better, and to adults who do know better.  Just like episode 1, he sits around most of the film up until the final battle in which he pulls his purple lightsaber out and starts cutting down robots.


Ok, I have to talk about Yoda who to me is the character I hate the most in all three prequels for one sole reason.  Yoda’s roles in episodes 2 and 3 just contradict everything Yoda stands for in the original trilogy.  In episode 1 Yoda doesn’t really do anything he just sits around on the Jedi council, although he was really unnecessarily rude.  In episodes 2 and 3 he does something that I was dreading coming into this movie.  Yoda fights.  Now, why is this such a huge problem?  Well, it might just be the most out-of-character thing I’ve ever seen.  In episode 5 Yoda specifically says “The force is energy it surrounds us, luminous beings we are not this crude matter.”  Now all that wisdom and really that entire speech about the force that I praised is ruined here because Yoda starts fighting and doing cartoonish ninja flips off the walls, he even leads the clone army into battle.  Please have any other Jedi doing this just not Yoda.  Even training with Yoda is ruined in this movie because in episode 5 we see Yoda training Luke in this in-depth emotional and physical training, but in episode 2 that’s not the case because we see Yoda training kids, first off with a lightsaber so big no Yoda shouldn’t ever be connected to any sort of fighting even in training, but more importantly, it’s a classroom full of kids and it’s being taught like any normal class, so now I guess learning from Yoda is nothing special as it once was but now it’s just another dull boring class.  I seriously despise Yoda in the prequels and hopefully, this can give you little insight into why I do.  Ok, we can talk about the antagonists of the film now.


So the first antagonist is the oh so memorable Count Dooku who we learn was a former Jedi, but after he left he became the leader of the separatist army who are going to be the antagonists for this film and the first third of episode 3.  So what does Count Dooku do?  Well not really anything, he mostly just watches as everyone else does things up until the end of the film, and he’s not even a focus of the movie until the third act because of the film’s constant lack of direction, so in the end, this guy who is supposed to be our main villain doesn’t even appear until the final act.  And he also does one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen a character in a film do.  He flat out tells Obi-Wan that a Sith Lord controls the senate, which is true because Palpatine (a sith lord) does control the senate, I mean it’s a good thing Obi-Wan was stupid and didn’t look into that information at all, but nonetheless, why would you tell him that?  Is Count Dooku this supposedly really wise ex-Jedi a moron?  And it doesn’t help that he’s an incredibly boring character I mean he’s really forgettable, and Christopher Lee is a really good actor because in the same year this film came out we saw him put out a very good performance in the second “Lord of the Rings” film.  So you could either go to see him play a really memorable role in an actually good movie, or you could watch him play a boring dude who doesn’t even do anything except for the last twenty minutes.


The other antagonist is Jango Fett, and he’s fine I guess.  I mean he does some pretty cool stuff, and he’s definitely pretty tough and puts up a fight so that’s respectable I mean he’s a fine character, but the sad thing is Jango Fett ultimately does more than Count Dooku, and Count Dooku is the main villain, just how sad is that?  But there really isn’t anything to say about Jango Fett, I didn’t like how abrupt his death was it kind of came out of nowhere, so I guess he’s an ok character?


Ok so I’ve gotten the plot and characters out of the way and here is where I usually talk about the effects, but I actually want to talk about one more thing first (don’t worry it shouldn’t take long).  The dialogue in the prequels is notorious for being bad, and I did explore this topic a little with the awful romance dialogue, but I wanted to talk about the basic dialogue in a simple scene fails as well, and it’s bad in all three movies but I think this one suffers from it the most, but I already talked about why most scenes in these movies are really boring simply because of the cinematography, but it’s also because the dialogue is so boring.  Everyone in the prequels talks in this really direct way in which they don’t shorten words for example instead of saying “don’t” they would say “do not”, and it’s really weird.  Ok, so I want you to out loud say these two sentences.  Sentence A is  “I am going to go get some orange juice”, and sentence B is “I’m going to get some orange juice”.  Now I know this is weird but which one of those sentences sounded more fake?  If you answered sentence A you are correct, if you answered sentence B then you need to stop talking so weirdly.  And the thing is almost every single line of dialogue is overly direct and robotic-like sentence A, and that dialogue is really really boring and bland dialogue.


Ok, NOW I’ll talk about the effects.  I do think the CGI has aged a lot better here than in episode 1, but this movie uses CGI WAY too much.  I mean seriously there are almost no scenes that don’t have CGI in them and not all of the CGI is necessarily pretty.  There are some shots specifically on Kamino and Coruscant that are shockingly bad, even more specifically a shot of Obi-Wan walking down a hallway in the clone factory that looks really weird, and weird in a bad way.  The ship designs and alien designs are pretty cool like just about every Star Wars movie, I especially like the design of Kamino, there’s something about a city over the water that was just always cool to me, and I liked the design for the monsters in the arena.  Another thing I do like and this is almost specifically for this movie but the sound design is pretty cool.  I like the sound of the speeders from the city chase, I like the sound the Rhino in the arena makes, but the coolest sound probably in all of Star Wars is the sound of the bombs Jango Fett releases from his ship.


I am thankfully almost done talking about the movie so soundtrack time, which is usually the shortest time because I almost always have the same thing to say.  The soundtrack is really good John Williams is a great composer and I would be honored to have him compose my movie.  I think this is the most underrated soundtrack in the saga so if you like listening to film soundtracks give this one a listen why don’t you.


Thank god I am finally done.  I hate this movie, and I really had a hard time deciding which I thought was worse this or episode 1, but I ultimately decided on episode 1 because this movie has a bad story but the movie has an actual film structure, this time around there is one likable character, and the movie isn’t as boring, but don’t mistake this for praise because it is most definitely not, this movie is still worthless trash that shouldn’t have been made.  It does just about everything wrong again and puts the prequels to an inevitable end.  After episode 1 there was still a chance to redeem the trilogy, but that chance has been shot down by this film so with all that being said this movie just like episode 1 gets a very sad 2/10.