Attack of the Clones is considered by some the worst of the prequels because of its acting, development of the plot, and Yoda fighting with a lightsaber. All of these things I took into consideration upon this viewing.
I love the opening with the assassination attempt on Padmé’s life (Natalie Portman’s performance isn’t the best in this movie but it is an improvement from Phantom Menace, I’ll give her that). It turns the plot into an old fashioned “Who done it”… Until you find out literally two scenes later who did it.
What this movie did that fans were waiting for was seeing Anakin Skywalker, pre Darth Vader, being trained in the Jedi arts by Obi-Wan Kenobi (reprised by Ewon McGregor). It was what fans were looking for, but what they got was a whiny arrogant 19 year old horribly acted by Hayden Christensen. As I said in my revisit with Episode I, I wasn’t aware of “bad acting” when I was a younger child. After re-watching this movie as well as the last of the prequels, I can consciously say that Christensen is indeed a terrible actor with the exception of one scene in this movie – when Anakin’s mother dies in his arms. That scene was actually a very powerful punch and I’m happy this was the one scene that Christensen could deliver for.
Much like my main problems with Phantom Menace having cheesy dialogue and off pacing, I felt the same way about Attack of the Clones; but the redeeming qualities for Attack of the Clones outweigh the redeeming qualities of Phantom Menace. The Battle on Geonosis in the arena is by far my favorite aspect of the prequels. People will tell me I’m crazy because I don’t say the eventual showdown between Anakin and Obi-Wan is; but I knew that was coming, even when I was younger. I didn’t have a clue as to how huge the Battle on Geonosis would be and how many Jedi would show up to save Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Padmé. One thing my friend Dan pointed out is that Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Padmé getting captured LITERALLY started a war – The Clone Wars. It does seem a little farfetched but I’m gonna chalk it up and say the War was Darth Sidious (Dark lord of the sith looming around and secretly/not secretly at all Chancellor Palpatine).
The kid in me comes out when I re-watch Attack of the Clones, I hate to say it. There are SO MANY lightsabers in this movie. Finally we got to see the Jedi Order working together for one cause. Because I had the action figures, I could name so many of them, so it made it that much better for me. Kit Fisto, Ki-Adi-Mundi, Plo Koon, and then you had Mace Windu with his purple lightsaber. The purple lightsaber irks me because I always thought your lightsaber color meant something. Blue was courageous and active, green was wise and patient, and red was just pure dag-nasty evil. Then George Lucas asked Samuel L. Jackson was lightsaber color he wanted for Mace Windu and told him for Jedi it was either blue or green. Jackson literally just asked for purple on the fly and now because of this, it completely throws any meaning to a Jedi’s lightsaber color out the window.
Speaking of lightsabers, I hate Yoda with a lightsaber, now, to be honest. It was cool when I was younger and I’ll admit it’s still entertaining when Yoda fights Count Dooku (My favorite character in this movie played by the late Christopher Lee); but coming back to it, I like the idea that Yoda is so powerful in the force that he doesn’t even need a lightsaber.
Like I said, I love the Battle of Geonosis so much it really cements itself in my favorite of the prequels. I can deal with the cheesy love plot between Anakin and Padmé for it; and besides those two, Obi-Wan’s sideplot is pretty interesting as he unravels the Separatist movement and finds out Qui-Gon’s former master, Count Dooku, is involved. I really love Dooku because he doesn’t seem like a BAD guy. He seems like someone who was in the Jedi Order during a totally different generation and now he feels out of time and doesn’t share the same ideals anymore – so he left. He’s not against anyone or has any personal vendettas, he just doesn’t have the same ideals and so he removed himself. Only then he joined the Dark Side and became Sidious’ apprentice after the death of Darth Maul. His fight with Obi-Wan is good, and I liked the stylized fight with Anakin and the lightsabers, red and blue, wish-washing over their faces. It was different.
Of course the main point of Attack of the Clones is that the Republic gained a clone army with the help of Jango Fett (shoehorned into the movie because his son, Boba Fett, sold the most action figures from the original trilogy). The clones will eventually become Stormtroopers, and Palpatine has total control of them… Because Jar Jar Binks gave him emergency power in the meeting of the senate… Way to go, Binks. It’s ironic that we like the Clonetroopers in this movie, despite the fact that in the back of our heads we know they become the relentless Stormtroopers. Attack of the Clones is a decent set up for what’s to come, and despite it’s mediocre performances from the cast and awkward pacing between action and exposition, like Phantom Menace, I can’t help but feel like a kid when I watch it and enjoy it for what it is.
Next: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
IMAGES: http://devmd.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Attack-of-the-Clones.jpg, http://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/starwarsmovie/images/c/cb/ANAKINCOOLPICYEAH.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20140908100834, http://vignette4.wikia.nocookie.net/starwars/images/5/50/Duel_in_the_Geonosian_Hangar.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20080117181308