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Anakin becomes a Jedi Knight and a secret army of clones emerges to aid the Republic in what become the Clone Wars.

 

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… There is unrest in the Galactic Senate.  Several thousand solar systems have declared their intentions to leave the Republic. This separatist movement, under the leadership of the mysterious Count Dooku, has made it difficult for the limited number of Jedi Knights to maintain peace and order in the galaxy. Senator Amidala, the former Queen of Naboo, is returning to the Galactic Senate to vote on the critical issue of creating an ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC to assist the overwhelmed Jedi…”

Of the prequel trilogy, this one is the best. But being the best of what was truly a bunch of not so good films is not something to be proud of. Having numerous scenes with at least one Fett character made it the best of the three movies. The reason this movie was made was to show the story of the fall of Anakin and how the dark side lured him in. Anakin reveals his love for Padme and also slaughters an entire nomadic tribe of Tusken Raiders just for revenge.  Anakin starts to lose emotional control and that is why he falls to the dark side.

The story of the movie was okay and, besides the Anakin saga, they gave Obi-Wan a mystery to solve that leads to the start of the Clone Wars themselves. The special effects of this movie were pure garbage. At the start of the movie, Anakin is hanging off of Zam Wessel’s speeder and it is plain as day that it is painted cardboard or wood with a light in it. Another special effects issue was that not a single complete Clone Trooper suit of armor was physically created for this movie. They were all CGI!! What happened to the way Lucas used to do things? Well, somewhere Lucas lost his way of doing things in a handcrafted and meticulous fashion and decided to go a much easier route. Not saying that doing CGI or computer special effects is easy, but it is a less physical labor intensive way to get things done in the movie industry. Just because the tech exists to make something CGI does not mean it needs to be that way. There is a certain elegance and charm in the artisanal craft of models, costumes, and practical effects. It would have been cooler if Lucas had either done everything his old ways or if he had combined his old ways with CGI to just touch up his special effects. Doing miniatures with CGI completely worked for Peter Jackson with The Lord of the Rings, and Jackson hadn’t done an epic trilogy like Star Wars twenty-five years prior.

On to the cool things in this film which are, of course, the fight scenes. Obi-Wan fights Jango Fett on a landing platform and it is just an extreme fight that is really well choreographed. There is also another cool chase and fight scene in space in an asteroid field that is reminiscent of the one in The Empire Strikes Back. Some of the other interesting things in Attack of the Clones are getting to see Anakin beginning his transformation to the dark lord.  Anakin tracks down the Tusken Raider kidnappers of his mother, find her as she passes and gets so upset by her death he kills the entire tribe including the women and children. He kills for revenge and also he jumps into a Jedi fight unprepared and loses a hand. This shows that he is knowledgeable of the force, yet he is still stupid and not ready to be a fully fledged Jedi…or Sith. The final cool bit is that the identities of the clones are revealed to be clones of the galactic renowned Jango Fett who is a grade-A mercenary and assassin. Also revealed is that his son, the soon to be most feared bounty hunter in the galaxy, is actually an unaltered clone of Jango and not really his biological son at all. While necessary to the eventual story line of Luke and Leia, the love story between Anakin and Padme, while okay, was still not as good as it could have been. Natalie Portman is a beautiful woman and a good actress, outside of Star Wars, and it is easy to fall in love with her characters, but the love story here felt awkward and a bit forced. Hayden Christensen also did not help Anakin’s cause in the love story as his acting in this film was dry and also really awkward at times, too. It was nice that the events of this movie bring them together, but it could have been written a bit better. Getting more of a backstory on Padme was a treat albeit unnecessary to the main story line.

 

The acting in this film continued to be okay at best, but could have used some more work. As previously stated, the special effects were really not that impressive. Besides all of the clone troopers being CG and looking like it, when the Dooku and Yoda fight happened, it really felt sloppy as well. Yoda was still a puppet in Episode 1, but the teams at LucasFilm decided it would be a good idea to make Yoda CG this time so they could make him have a light saber battle. Master Yoda always had seemed like the mysterious calm of a storm, the down to earth but still senile wise old sage of Star Wars  Yoda also seemed to have much more peaceful methods and manners, so having him in a light saber battle was literally just fan service and nothing more. Yoda should not fight with weapons and, at near 900 years old, should definitely not be jumping, swinging, and bouncing around. This made the movie so unbelievable that it is really hard to credit it that much. Yoda’s gymnastics aside, the other light saber battles were okay, but nothing truly incredible. The best special effects of the movie were during the scenes on the water planet Kamino where everything looked wet and shiny and new so it fit. The brief battle between Jango and Obi-Wan was still the best part of that. Other highlights of the film include that Jar Jar Binks is barely in the film at all, but he did have an important role as he was a representative for Naboo and suggested to the galactic senate to give emergency powers to the Chancellor, thus handing over complete governmental power to Palpatine. This meant Jar Jar was not the comedic relief of the film, but that is okay because C-3PO shows up halfway through the film and takes on that role with some seriously cheesy lines. This all means that this Star Wars film had both good points and bad points, making it a pretty even split. The Fetts were cool, the beginnings of Anakin’s dark side (Vader) were neat, and the abundance of Jedi were also a highlight. The okay story, the lower quality in acting, and the questionable effects hit this flick pretty hard. The force was there in this movie, but was not strong with it. At least it was better than the first prequel.

 

Directed by: George Lucas

Produced by: Rick McCallum

Written by: George Lucas and Jonathan Hales

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman, Christopher Lee, Ian McDiarmid, Samuel L. Jackson, and Frank Oz.

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox/LucasFilm

Released: May 16, 2002

Run time: 142 minutes

Rated: PG

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