Star Wars Attack of the Clones Review: Can The Prequels Improve? Probably Not, No.

So, I’ve done five of the seven Star Wars films, including The God-forsaken Phantom Menace. Doing the last of the Prequels, The Attack of the Clones, is inevitable.

I’ll use the same format as The Phantom Menace (where I watch the film and post the notes I’ve taken throughout), as a) it seemed to be well received, and b) saves me from having to come up with a narrative for what I imagine is going to be another terrible, terrible film. So here we go!

0:10. I’m already regretting my life choices.

1:25. Oh good, political talk. Pleased to see they kept that in there.

2:53. I see they’ve also not made any effort to improve the CGI, either. Why am I watching this again?

3:28.

“I guess I was wrong. There is no danger”

Explosion.gif

Oh snap, son.

7:44. Oh man, Jar Jar Binks? Really? Could they not have taken him out to a Tatooine desert and shot him or something?

12:21. I don’t know how they’ve managed it, but this is somehow even MORE boring than The Phantom Menace. Look at the kind of things I’ve been writing about above. They are the only things worth note in the first TWELVE MINUTES.

13:52. Ooh, I take that back, something is happening. Some weird thing is attacking Padme. Cool, let’s get this film started, shall we?

14:42. *sigh*

So, these weird slug things try to kill Padme, and Anakin and Obi Wan rush after this weird robot thing to follow it somewhere. Could be going anywhere. Could not be related to the slugs for all they know. But they jump on this thing and leave Padme unguarded, even though the whole reason they are there is to guard her.

Like, what would they do if the assassin just sneaked in and killed her now? Probably regret going back on that “we’re here to protect you, not start an investigation” thing they said literally two minutes ago, I imagine.

17:52. They’re still chasing the assassin, FYI.

19:04. Stiiiiiill chasing.

20:54. And the chase ends.

21:01. Oops, no, it just continues on foot.

23:59. So the assassin runs in to a bar and the Jedis follow him in. They go to look for him, when the assassin tries to sneak up on Obi Wan so he can shoot him. Yes, sneak up on him, even though he’s holding a projectile weapon. Not the smartest assassin I’ve ever seen, to be honest.

Anyway, Obi Wan senses him coming or something and cuts off his arm, like in A New Hope (it’s like poetry…). That’s it. Ten minutes of chasing for one call back to one scene from the original film. Delightful.

27:04. I just realised I haven’t looked at the screen for two minutes. I’m looking aimlessly around the room, inspecting the windows and sh*t. I get annoyed when my girlfriend does that during films, but NOTHING has happened for almost five minutes. They are literally just sat in circles talking.

27:26. Oh God, Jar Jar is being made in to a politician? I take it back, nothing is preferable.

28:48. STOP. F*CKING. TALKING.

29:06. I realise I could probably just say this on repeat for two hours, but Anakin is such a poorly written character. Here, he goes from listening to Padme bore on about political talk to nearly crying in anger over how much he hates Obi Wan in TWENTY-FIVE SECONDS.

Like, are they trying to make him unlikeable? Wasn’t the whole point of Return of the Jedi that Darth Vader was supposed to be a good guy deep down? Why is he so unlikeable in this film? Is that the plot? Unlikeable person does horrible things?

Still, a better plot than The Phantom Menace, I guess.

31:45. A 1950s diner in space? Really?!

31:51.

Somerset_Thing.gif

WHAT THE F*CK?

32:48. Hang on, does this… thing… have a Somerset accent? What the f*ck am I watching? Is this some sort of a test to see how much horsesh*t one person can put up with?

39:17. Something really needs to happen here. I can’t justify spending this much time doing nothing.

41:40. Let me get you up to speed (this shouldn’t take long).

The thing with the Somerset accent tells Obi Wan about a planet. Obi Wan somehow knows where it’s supposed to be but still looks it up in a space library (?), but it’s not there. A terrible, terrible, TERRIBLE child actor works out that it must have been removed from the files in the most obvious mystery ever, and Obi Wan goes to check it out. He arrives, and I presume it’s somewhere in Scotland given that it’s raining all the time.

Anyway, it seems like after FORTY MINUTES we’re actually getting to something that registers somewhere on the “interesting” scale.

42:34. Ooh, okay, now we’re talking. There are these weird alien things (terribly CGI’d, obvs) that are all creepy and sh*t. They say they’ve been waiting for Obi Wan for years even though he just found out about them. Hmm… creepy aliens, on a planet deleted off the files, where…

Oh, never mind. They just sat down to have a conversation. Great.

44:41. YES.

ALL OF THE OSCARS. BEST FOREIGN DOCUMENTARY, I DON’T CARE. GIVE THIS SCENE THEM ALL.

45:35. I want to recap this love story from the perspective of Padme for a minute.

She is a Queen who became a Senator (???), and is given the protection of a young Jedi who she last saw as a ten year old. They spend one day together, during which he cries about his boss and gets told off for watching her sleep. He then talks about sand, and she falls in love with him.

This is top-notch writing, I have to say.

50:16. I feel like I’m using the word “literally” every six words at the moment, but it’s the only way I can accurately represent what’s going on. Like, I don’t want to say something like “they’re rolling around in a field in front of waterfalls” and have you think I’m somehow exaggerating or talking in metaphors to try and convey how ham-fisted and clichéd this love story is. When I say “they’re rolling around in a field in front of waterfalls” I want you to know they were written to LITERALLY ROLL AROUND IN A FIELD IN FRONT OF WATERFALLS.

This is like a depressed, 50 year old divorcee’s interpretation of a Jane Austen novel.

52:52. Interesting. Obi Wan meets Jango Fett, a Kiwi Bounty Hunter who is living in this weird, raining, Scottish island with the creepy, secret aliens. They have a whole conversation where no-one is saying what they mean and there’s an undercurrent of mistrust going on, like they know they’re enemies but are playing it cool for now to not give themselves away. Intriguing.

53:56. aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand we’re back to the love story. They’re now chilling by a fireplace.

This is like an idiot’s checklist of “romantic things”

  • Rolling around in fields ☑
  • Sitting by fireplaces ☑
  • Talking about sand ☑

54.50. Actual dialogue from Anakin (I swear to God I’m not making this up):

“From the moment I met you, all those years ago, not a day has gone by when I haven’t thought of you. And now that I’m with you again… I’m in agony. The closer I get to you, the worse it gets. The thought of not being with you… I can’t breathe. I’m haunted by the kiss that you should never have given me. My heart is beating, hoping that kiss will not become a scar. You are in my very soul, tormenting me. What can I do? I will do anything you ask.”

Jeez, Ani, want to tone it down several billion notches?

1:00:01. Obi Wan goes outside and gets attacked by Jango (the “D” is silent) Fett, and they have a fight on a rain-covered helipad. Maybe at Glasgow International Airport. I don’t know.

Anyway, it’s visually a mess, but it’s pretty cool. It’s a solid 6/10 set piece, making it the highest scoring moment of the Prequels so far.

1:14:21. Meanwhile, Anakin has gone to the Lars home in search of his mother, and found out she has been taken by the Tuskan Raiders (sister team of Oakland, I imagine). Then he and Padme have a scene outside which is shot through shadows where he leaves her behind, ready to travel a barren land in the search of his mother as the John Williams score swells.

I think the last two scenes were written by someone else.

1:17:25.

Weird_Looking_Thing.gif

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! I could make a better-looking alien than that using Microsoft Paint.

(I swear swear swear I did not alter or doctor that Gif in any way. That is genuinely a character in a Star Wars film).

1:20:06. Anakin finally finds his mother, just seconds before she dies from the torture and imprisonment she has been made to suffer.

Bet you wish you hadn’t waited TEN YEARS to go back and visit her now, huh?

1:21:00. But seriously, guys, make sure to call your mothers more often. They’d love to hear from you, and you never know when they’ll be tortured and murdered by the sister team of the Oakland Raiders.

1:21:36. If it’s not abundantly clear, I’m bored again.

1:24:38. Hey, how about we check in with how likeable Anakin is at this totally random point, shall we?

Padme: “You’re not all-powerful, Ani”.

Anakin: (crying like a child) “Well, I should be. Someday I will be.  I will be the most powerful Jedi ever. I promise you. I will even learn to stop people from dying”.

Eesh. Maybe you should sit down or something, Anakin. You’re getting kind of worked up there and… oh, you’re not done?

Anakin: “It’s all Obi Wan’s fault! He’s jealous! He’s holding me back!”

Erm, I’m not sure what Obi Wan…

Anakin: “I killed them”.

Oh, jeez.

Anakin: “I killed them all. They’re dead, every single one of them”.

You’re making it wors…

Anakin: “And not just the men, but the women and the children, too. They’re like animals, and I slaughtered them like animals. I hate them!”

You know what, don’t worry. Carry on. I’m sure Padme is getting really turned on by how you went from “I like fixing things” to “I just slaughtered innocent children like animals” in less than a minute.

1:38:31. So, Darth Maul is gone, which is a shame after he was the only good thing in the previous film.

But don’t despair! George Lucas is on it! He rather brilliantly realised that people  loved that red and black skinned ninja with horns, so decided to… cast an old white dude? The complete opposite of the one thing people actually liked?

Did we really go from this:

Darth_Maul_1(1).gif

And this…

Darth_Maul_4.gif

To this?

Dooku_2.gif

Ugh, we did, didn’t we?

1:38:50. Anyway, plot recap time.

There’s a whole load of political chat, in which someone called “The Supreme Chancellor” is given dictatorial powers so he can create an army to the applause of a bunch of alien politicians. You know, the kind of stuff the everyman can relate to.

While this is going on, Obi Wan finds the old white dude (Count Dooku, hilariously) and gets captured, but Anakin knows where he is and goes to find him. However, he, Padme, C3PO and R2D2 to get lost in an appallingly fake-looking factory and have to dodge around this weird machinery and sh*t.

Padme_Factory.gif

I take back all the nice things I said earlier.

1:44:11. The factory scene goes on for longer than I thought humanely possible, and ends with Anakin and Padme being caught. On the way in to a Gladiator-esque arena in the middle of nowhere with a completely sold out crowd ( ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ) Padme says she loves him and they kiss. Guess that “child slaughtering” thing did work after all. Shows what I know.

1:48:38. So a bunch of monsters attack the Jedis and Padme in a Gladiator type deal for a while, and everything looks hopelessly fake even by Prequel standards. Then the greatest moment of any film ever happens:

Anakin_Jump_2.gif

1:49:08. Oops, I lied. This is the greatest moment of any film ever:

Padme_Jump.gif

1:50:22. Suddenly, a load of Jedis arrive to save the day. And when I say “suddenly” I mean they appear in the middle of a crowded arena FROM NOWHERE.

1:51:24. God, this is a mess. There’s so much going on my brain can’t process it all. Jedis are recklessly waving lightsabers around and running about and droids are shooting aimlessly and it’s horribly over-stimulating and bright and long and boring.

Seriously, look:

Battle_Scene_1.gif

1:57:32. Finally Yoda shows up to save the day, marking the second deus-ex-machina save of the scene.

Old Man Dooku runs away, no doubt regretting the THREE SEPARATE OCCASIONS he had the Jedis beat and decided to stall for absolutely no reason. Man, being a General is hard.

1:59:30. So a battle erupts between droids and stormtroopers, which raises an important question: how did they get thousands of stormtroopers to a battlefield in so little time? Did they have army-ready space carriers to bring them by?

1:59:45.

Battle_Scene_3.gif

Ugh, tone it down. My brain can only process 400 billion things per second.

2:02:48. Want to know why this battle scene is so boring (apart from “for every reason”)? It’s a fight between indistinguishable robots and indistinguishable masked clones that we know nothing about and have no investment in the results.

2:04:23. Old Man Dooku rides away on a hilarious flying scooter thing as Anakin, Obi Wan and Padme follow. Padme is knocked off the ship, and Anakin screams for them to turn around. Obi Wan pleads for him to find sense, arguing that the war will end if they find and kill Old Man Dooku. Anakin is conflicted, wanting to save the woman he loves, but reluctantly agrees with his mentor. Good, honest conflict we can understand and get invested in.

WHY HAS IT TAKEN FOUR AND A HALF HOURS FOR THIS TO HAPPEN?

2:05:27. So we’re at the Official Lightsaber Ending Scene™. We’ve gone from Ewan McGregor and Liam Neeson fighting a devil ninja to Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen fighting an 83 year old English guy. Splendid.

2:09:21. Ah, the Yoda lightsaber fight. Mr Plinkett covered this fairly extensively so I’m not really going to bother, but what he didn’t mention was how inane it is. You can talk about how it ruins the logic of the force, Jedis and Yoda until you’re green in the face, but the biggest problem is that it’s just not interesting. It’s stupid. Nothing more, nothing less.

The long and short of it is they fight for a bit, it looks beyond idiotic, and Old Man Dooku runs away from Old Man Yoda like the old man that he is. It’s roughly as exciting as it sounds. Maybe a little less so.

2:14:01.

Yoda: “Begun, the Clone War has”.

Well, you found the clones and brought them across the galaxy to a battlefield to save two of your friends, I’m not sure you can be all that surprised.

2:15:56. And it’s finished. Five hours and two films later, and the total amount of story progression is “there are stormtroopers”.

 

Star Wars Attack of the Clones Rating: It’s an ending. That’s enough.

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3 thoughts on “Star Wars Attack of the Clones Review: Can The Prequels Improve? Probably Not, No.

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