Star Wars Binge Week 2020: Attack of the Clones

Alright, so yesterday I walked away from The Phantom Menace with a sense of mild appreciation for the film. But that one was backed by some pretty strong nostalgia. The next chapter in the Star Wars saga, Attack of the Clones, had considerably less hype surrounding it, and made almost no impression on me, as I couldn’t even remember what it was about. I vaguely recalled a few key scenes, but overall this movie might actually have been my least appreciated Star Wars. Will today’s viewing change that? Let’s get into my list of random thoughts and see!

  • Right off the bat, Attack of the Clones‘ text crawl is way more interesting than that of The Phantom Menace. But that may be because I’ve seen the first movie already and am invested in the continuation of the plot. It might also miss the mark if I were going into this without any prior involvement.
  • Why do we care if not all planets want to be part of the Republic? If they can function as independent nations, why not let them? I’m sure there are reasons, but they aren’t clearly explained. I mean, from the perspective of someone who knows the whole story, Palpatine obviously wants control over the whole galaxy, but most of the characters in this movie don’t know that. I want to know what motivates them.
  • Anakin is freaking out about seeing Padme after ten years. Dude, if you’re still harboring a crush after a decade, you may need to talk to a professional.
  • “You’ll always be that little boy that I met on Tatooine.” That’s a straight up friendzoning if I’ve ever heard one.
  • The assassination centipedes are gross.
  • The CG in this film is way better than in the last one. Obvious statement is obvious.
  • I’m kind of impressed a the extremely long con that Palpatine is running here. Like, he knew exactly how all the pieces in his game were going to move.
  • More space booty in this episode than the average Star Wars.
  • I like Obi-Wan and Anakin’s good cop/bad cop dynamic, but Anakin is still an insufferable teenager. I wonder if the movie would have been better if the two hadn’t been separated after the first half hour. Oh, yes, it would have. It would have been a buddy cop movie.
  • Anakin tells Padme at one point to swallow her pride, but he is driven entirely by his ego and arrogance. What a hypocrite.
  • I strongly enjoy that Coruscant has a 1950’s-style diner.
  • Dex probably could have been a costume.
  • I like that the new Queen of Naboo is an Indian woman. It’s a minor part, but at least it’s getting a little more human diversity in there.
  • It’s so much fun that Pademon spends the first half of the movie completely busting Anakin’s balls. And then less fun when she out of nowhere decides to be in love with him instead.
  • Kamino’s visual design is incredible. The eternal rain, the space-modern interiors, the people. It’s all great.
  • Naboo is also beautiful. I’d quite like to visit.
  • I understand that the whole point of these prequels is to develop Anakin as a character, but damn his love story in Attack of the Clones is so boring and overwrought. It doesn’t help that Christensen and Portman have like zero on-screen chemistry.
  • Yay! Young Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru!
  • Damn, Natalie Portman is buff as heck. Dem abs!
  • Why were the Tusken Raiders keeping Shmi alive just to torture her? They had her for a whole month, and we didn’t see any other hostages. I just don’t get it.
  • The fact that Anakin slaughtered all of the Tusken Raiders and barely showed any remorse should have been a huge red flag. The fact that Padme barely even reacts to it makes her complicit in his eventual turn to the Dark Side.
  • I’m jealous of the Jedi Council’s huge, comfy-looking ottoman-chairs.
  • Dooku’s conspirators are poorly animated. Aside from the Geonosians, they could have easily been costumes.
  • Whyyyy does the Senate listed to Jar Jar? He literally ruined everything.
  • The most important thing this film does is pair up R2-D2 and C-3PO.
  • Ooh! An exciting conveyor belt action sequence! Anakin and Padme have fallen directly into a video game!
  • I’m glad that Jango Fett got a couple (well, one and a half) cool action scenes. It’s a small apology for how Boba Fett’s potential was completely squandered in the original trilogy.
  • Are the Geonosis arena horses wearing buttplugs?
  • The arena fight is cool and well done, except for the one part where Obi-Wan is fighting a GC monster that he clearly cannot see.
  • It’s hilarious when Mace Windu attempts and fails to use his lightsaber to block Jango Fett’s flamethrower.
  • I legit feel bad for li’l Boba Fett. He clearly idolized his dad. It’s heartbreaking when he picks up Jango’s severed head. Absolutely the most emotional moment in the film for me.
  • Yoda should have been a puppet, at the very least for his close-ups.
  • Padme doesn’t kick up sand when running in the desert. My immersion is ruined.
  • The Dooku vs Kenobi/Skywalker fight is a great climax, especially when Obi-Wan gets knocked out and Anakin starts dual-wielding. Even better when Dooku unexpectedly lops off Anakin’s arm and ruins his Big Hero moment.
  • Yoda showing up to save the day is fine, but I get why people aren’t into Yoda as a lightsaber duelist. I tend to embrace silliness like this, but even I can see that it’s a bit too much. Yoda’s at his best when using Force powers.

So then, final impressions? I said it earlier and I said it again, I think that Attack of the Clones would have been a much better film if it had kept Obi-Wan and Anakin paired up to solve the mystery of who’s trying to assassinate Padme. But I suppose that would not further the plot of Anakin’s forbidden love, which is just sooooo key to his inability to reign in his emotions (end sarcasm). But also we need him to bang Padme eventually so that Luke and Leia can get bornt, so what can you do? Attack of the Clones is mostly a fun popcorn movie, like The Phantom Menace, but the romance is really bad. I would go so far as to say that Anakin and Padme’s romantic getaway is the Jar Jar Binks of Attack of the Clones; I’m fine with it existing as a way to get characters where they need to be, but there’s way too much focus on it.

If I have to rank these as I watch them, Episodes One and Two are probably about tied in my mind. They both have decent enough plots, but tend to get bogged down in tedium from time to time, and the writing can turn from delightfully cheesy to painfully bad on a moment’s notice. But I would probably put The Phantom Menace slightly ahead simply because I like podracing that much. And Liam Neeson.

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