SUB-GENRES: Action / Adventure
DIRECTED BY: George Lucas
WRITTEN BY: George Lucas & Jonathan Hales (screenplay); George Lucas (story)
PEW PEW: This film learned from the mistakes of its predecessor and presents far more action. Attack of the Clones is very satisfying from an action perspective. The series positively glows with, and is perhaps the greatest example of pure ‘pew pew!’
CAT FOOD: Lucas expands on his reflection on the corruption of the human heart and the fallibility of political ideologies. What he has to say here is far more effective this time round. The series is still more about its action and excitement than it is about social commentary.
The second installment in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, Attack of the Clones, is a marked improvement over the first. As tension mounts in the universe and a storm comes to a head, the film is a great deal meatier and more mature than The Phantom Menace.
Ten years after the first film, Senator Padme Amidala arrives on Coruscant for more senate bullshit that ain’t nobody got time for. It seems the galaxy is divided in two, with a former Jedi named Count Dooku leading a separatist movement bent on defying the Republic. After an attempt is made on Padme’s life, the Jedi Council and Chancellor Palpatine order Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker to protect her.
Further investigation leads to frustratingly wooden performances (from almost everyone but the blessedly professional Ewan McGregor, Christopher Lee, and Temuera Morrison), and a separation of paths for Obi-Wan and Anakin. Obi-Wan attempts to track down the bounty hunter responsible for the assassination attempts (eventually leading him to the discovering of an army of clones made for the Republic) while Anakin takes Padme to Naboo for protection (which eventually leads to a romance hammier than thirty-year-old soap operas and a dramatic quest to find Anakin’s endangered mother).
On the plus side of things, there’s a great deal more satisfying action in the film. Everywhere the characters go, they fight new and more exciting battles. There are more lightsaber duels than you can shake a gimer stick at, and you do get to see Anakin massacre an entire village of sand people, taking his first steps on the path to becoming the infinitely cooler Darth Vader.
We get to see Boba Fett’s father Jango Fett actually doing shit, and he has to be decapitated by a very powerful Jedi before he’s put down. In his more idle scenes, Temuera Morrison brings a cool and collected deadpan to the character that is just fantastic.
When helmed by the uncompromising Count Dooku, the new droid army is far more formidable looking than it was in The Phantom Menace. Perhaps the neatest thing is getting to see Yoda actually wield a lightsaber (and being a total badass as he’s doing it).
The scenery is stunning, to say the least. From the oppressive noir feel of city planet Coruscant, to the dreary water planet Kamino, and even Padme’s revealing white costume, the Star Wars galaxy’s scope is increased dramatically.
The unfortunate aspects of Attack of the Clones are that it is terribly scripted and acted. The love story is very classical, almost to the point of cliche, and the dialogue is more than facepalm worthy. I have to lament the choices that were made for some of the character development. After witnessing the supposedly intelligent Padme putting Jar Jar in control of her seat of power, and falling in love with Anakin even after he revealed that he massacred an entire village of men, women, and children, I’m totally forgiving Leia for sticking with a douchebag like Han after the whole ‘I know’ incident.
Attack of the Clones is quite entertaining and takes things far more seriously than The Phantom Menace did — it presents a much grander vision than we’re used to in the saga, and it really does show how the more terrifying villain is the puppet master pulling the strings behind the scenes — but the film is too often bogged down by crumby acting and dialogue to be anything comparable to the original trilogy.