A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Movie 66 – Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones

Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones – May 5th, 2010

Watching this now, I realize I’ve forgotten just about all of it. Maybe that was a protective measure my brain made. Seeing it, I know I’ve seen it before. Scenes are familiar – some painfully so – but I’d managed to not actively remember them until now.

This movie starts out a little better than the last. I mean, it’s got explosions right from the start! And it’s not long before there’s an assassination attempt on Padme and the big nausea-inducing chase scene on Coruscant. That all sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Even figuring in some political tension and Anakin’s backtalk to Obi Wan, it still seems like a good start, right? But then there’s Jar Jar, and the incredibly clunky dialogue and the complete lack of chemistry between Anakin and Padme because she actually says she’ll always remember him as a little boy on Tatooine. I’m supposed to believe a romance sparks from there? Really? Sorry. If she still sees him as Jake Lloyd, then no. I honestly can’t say whether Anakin is painful to watch because of Hayden Christensen’s acting, or because of the writing. I mean, you can’t do much with lines like “I don’t like sand. It’s coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere. Not like here. Here everything is soft and smooth.” So very clunky.

The other thing that’s clunky is the foreshadowing. Now, I know it’s got to be there. Anakin being drawn to the eventual Emperor? Yeah, it’s got to come from somewhere. But that’s not all. There’s Obi Wan’s “You’ll be the death of me” comment to Anakin. Come on. It’s so heavy-handed, it feels like the movie’s beating me about the head and shoulders every time it tries. Actually, it feels like most of the movie’s doing that anyhow. I don’t mind so much the bits with the clones and that whole plot, but the romance and everything else overpowers what little cool stuff is in here. And the worst thing about that is that the story of how Anakin Skywalker ends up being Darth Vader should be at the heart of it all. His fall from Jedi to Sith should be much of the dramatic core of the entire trilogy. And it is! It’s just not done well at all. So much of it is so hard to watch, and that makes for a very unstable movie.

Now, let’s go over what I do like: The clones. The whole plot with Jango Fett and the clone army on Camino and all that? It’s got good action and good intrigue and it reveals something about the original trilogy that doesn’t feel nearly so poorly-conceived as the midichlorians. I wish there was more to it. I wish a large chunk of the movie took place there. That it played a bigger role. I’d even accept more on Coruscant with the Senate and the Council if it meant more clone plot. I’ll take Anakin’s run to Tatooine to save his mother – it’s the one part I think does a halfway decent job of echoing Luke’s actions in Episode V (but only until they leave Tatooine). But even that and the clones can’t be enough to wrest the movie back from the painfully bad romance and the incredibly patchwork plot.

Like last night, I feel like so much of this was cobbled together in bits and pieces – to the point that I don’t even want to bother trying to do a plot summary. Some of it’s not bad, some of it’s terrible, some of it’s ignorable. Clones – good, final battle – long but okay in part, complicated political plot – meh, romance – so very bad. I want to like it but I can’t. I don’t know how I’d take the first movie and run with it to connect the dots to the original trilogy, but the way it was done feels so unnecessarily convoluted. I don’t want a flowchart to follow the plot of a scifi action movie. I didn’t need one to follow the original trilogy and I was a kid when I first watched them. Maybe if they’d cut out the romance somehow, or kept it extremely minimal? I don’t know. The best things about this movie are Mace Windu, his purple lightsaber, and the name “Dooku,” which is fun to say. Dookudookudooku! Really, blocking the majority out was a good idea. I plan to go back to it as soon as the credits roll.

May 5, 2010 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , | Leave a comment

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

May 5. 2010

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

“Send in the clones. There ought to be clones. Too late – they’re already here.”

Oh, this is unbearable. This movie is so unbelievably and completely awful. At the core of the movie are two plots, neither of which make any sense and neither of which work. On the one hand you have Plapatine’s convoluted plot for galactic domination. He intends to rule the galaxy by throwing it into civil war. In order to do so he has to create two factions within the republic. In the ten years between the first and second movie some star systems have been provoked into a separatist movement and they’re being hounded by the rest of the Republic to the point that they’re looking to the Geonosians and the Trade Federation for a droid army to defend themselves. Of course their cessation would succeed if they got their robot army because the Republic has no standing army (peaceful Republic that it is) so Palpatine has surreptitiously commissioned a clone army in the name of the Jedi council. Of course the Jedi don’t know about this army so Palpatine has to get a Jedi to discover it, and his means to do this is to attempt to kill Padme (now a senator and no longer queen of Naboo) and have Obi Wan investigate the assassination plot and discover the clones in the process. Makes perfect sense, right?

Of course that summary is only my interpretation after a few viewings of the movie. It makes much less sense when you’re actually watching it. I don’t mind political intrigue in my Sci-Fi (I’m a HUGE fan of Dune for example) but I do ask that it at least make a modicum of sense. So that’s the A plot of the movie – a nonsensical plan by a single megalomaniac to fight a war with himself. The B plot is a lot simpler, but it is far worse in its own way. This is the romance between Anakin and Padme.

Ten years have passed since the first movie so Anakin is now eighteen years old. Padme, meanwhile, has apparently been making a LOT of lightspeed journeys between Coruscant and Naboo, because she hasn’t aged at all. At least that’s how it appears. There are a number of things in their relationship that just doesn’t make any sense. For one – this is the first time Padme has seen him since he was an eight year old boy (she even says he’s still just that little boy to her) yet she quickly falls head over heels in love with him. Very creepy. Beyond that, however, is the awful, AWFUL dialog between the two of them. Really, until you see this movie you cannot conceive of how truly awful this dialog is.

Ugh. And on to the climactic non-sensical action scene. Everybody comes together on Geonosis for a big old brawl (although first Anakin and Padme have to detour through the “chompers” from Galaxy Quest.) C3P0 provides unwanted comic relief. For the second time in a row the coolest character in the movie meets a quick end to a lightsaber. (Jango Fett this time where it was Darth Maul in the first movie.) There IS a climactic sword battle between Yoda and Cound Dooku – but it’s far too late for it to save the movie by that time.

This movie is doomed to suck.

Nothing… can stop that now.

May 5, 2010 Posted by | daily reviews | , , | Leave a comment