CGB Review of Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)

So after finishing up Phantom Annoyance–er, I mean–Menace, I popped the Attack of the Clones DVD into the Blue-Ray and posted this on my personal FB page:

“This [Attack of the Clones] cannot be any worse than the abomidable Phantom Menace.  It just can’t be…”
At that moment, my friends, who I will refer to by their initials, began to comment.
M.C: It actually is.
T.S.T: Its is the worst of all star wars movies.  I kid you not.
J.D: It isn’t.
A.H: Attack of the Clones: proof that rape culture exists.

Responding to Facebook comments is a million times more entertaining than this horrible sequel.
This is my review of Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones!


Ten years after the events of Phantom Menace, Senator Padme Amidala has survived an assassination attempt and now the Jedi Council must keep her safe while figuring out who is behind the attempt on her life.  Anakin Skywalker, who is all grown up physically (but certainly not mentally) is assigned to be her bodyguard.  From there, Obi-Wan discovers the creation of a clone army while Anakin and Padme’s partnership forms into something more.

Okay, my friend J.D. is right in that it’s not as bad as Phantom Menace.  No, no; it’s ten times worse all because of one character, but more on that in a second.

The Hits
Attack of the Clones has more of a plot than Phantom Menace.  I do like the “having-to-protect-endangered-senator” storyline.
Speaking of Padme Amidala, she is the only character I actually cared about.  She’s competent, dutiful and a responsible politician.  I think Natalie Portman brings a sympathetic depth to the character and makes Padme easy to root for.  Honestly, I kind of wish that the prequels were told from Padme’s point of view.   She has an interesting backstory: Elected at a young age, did such a good job as Queen that her people tried to amend the constitution so that she could stay in office longer, and then ended up serving as a senator.  I’d much rather watch her story unfold.
There is a good story somewhere in this bloated mess.  Watching Obi-Wan uncover the plans for a clone army was far more interesting than any trade negotiations and I did like the thousand Jedi fight against the droid army.  There are elements of a good story here, but one person in particular makes this whole thing crash and burn.  And that person is…

The Misses
Good Lord, Heaven above, I can’t believe this is the guy who becomes Darth Vader.  I said “shut up” every time he spoke.  All Anakin Skywalker does is gripe and whine about everything.  He keeps complaining about Obi-Wan holding him back and being jealous of him, but he and Obi-Wan have only twenty minutes of screen time together and nothing Obi-Wan does supports what Anakin is moaning about.  Yes, they do reunite in the third act, but even then I have nothing of substance to say about their relationship because the film gives me nothing to work with.
Okay, I’m stepping on the soap box: Hey Hollywood, PLEASE stop trying to make stalking romantic.  There’s nothing loving about staring creepily at someone and making them feel unsafe when they’re around you.  If I was on a date with a man who said any of the same terrible lines of dialogue that Anakin says to Padme, I’d run for the hills.   All Anakin does is make Padme feel uncomfortable (and continues to do so even after she asks him not to look at her in a lustful fashion), rants all his grievances to her without even considering her advice, and there’s one scene where he attempts to undermine her authority (it’s during the scene where they’re discussing something mumbo-jumbo on Naboo), to which she rightfully tells him to back off.  I hate how he goes on and on about how intoxicating she is to him and then downplays her any time she exercises her authority.  To be fair, he does come to treat her with a little more respect in the third act, but by then, I already had a bad taste in my mouth every time he was on screen.  There’s nothing charming about this guy that would make any woman attracted to him.
I guess I hate Anakin because I love Darth Vader as a villain.  How a great villain could have started out as an sniveling jerk is just painful to comprehend.
There are some hap-handed callbacks to the original trilogy that just feel lifeless.  Here’s one example: Count Dooku tries to get Obi-Wan to join the Dark Side, to which Obi-Wan says something to the effect of, “I’ll never join the Dark Side.”
Look, Mr. Lucas, I love Return of the Jedi as much as you probably do, but in that movie, when Palpatine tries to tempt Luke into giving in to the Dark Side, it actually held a lot of weight because Luke’s familial connection to Darth Vader was a strong case for him to cross over and be with his long-lost father.  In this movie, the “join the Dark Side” thing is just a sentence that comes and goes.

While Attack of the Clones is somewhat better than Phantom Menace, it’s only better by default.  For me personally, Anakin practically makes it unwatchable.

Saint Peregrine, pray for us.

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