Anthony's Film Review
Star Wars - Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)
Great special effects do not make up for poor characterization and storyline...
The second chronological episode of the Star Wars saga had as much anticipation as the first. After some disappointment with The Phantom Menace, fans had hoped for the next installment to be more exciting and better than before. I know I had the same thought months before it came out. Boy, was I in for a surprise when I finally saw it. At first, I couldn't tell if The Phantom Menace or Attack of the Clones was worse. Now, there were some things I liked about Episode II, but let me start with the negative points.
First and foremost, Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker. I hadn't seen his other films before this one, so I won't say if he's a good actor or not. I can definitely say, however, that his performance in this movie was below par. Anakin Skywalker is supposed to be a Jedi with a gift as well as a lack of patience. Ten years pass between the events of Episodes I and II, so one would assume Anakin would be very skilled in the Jedi arts.
Instead, it looks as if Anakin didn't learn a single thing in his training. He acts like a child rather than a skilled, but arrogant, student. Yes, there are scenes where Anakin's dark side is hinted at, but Christensen just didn't to play them right. As for Anakin's relationship with Obi-Wan Kenobi, you can see how Obi-Wan is just easily fed up with teaching Anakin. It's hard to see him as the father figure from the original Star Wars.
The earlier Star Wars films are great because they deliver excitement from the beginning. Here, we have Anakin being a bodyguard for Padme Amidala while Obi-Wan looks into the Republic's secret clone army. The only action scene in the beginning involves an aerial chase through city streets after an attempted assassination on Amidala.
I had a problem with that scene. It looked too much like the sci-fi movie The Fifth Element, as if Lucas needed to get ideas from other films to make this one. A friend commented that maybe George Lucas was never a good director to begin with, and the original trilogy succeeded because other people were involved in their making. Maybe he's right. Lucas now has total creative freedom without anyone to fix and improve what he had written.
Going back to Anakin Skywalker, the other big issue with the film is the romance. The problem isn't the fact that it doesn't belong in a Star Wars movie. It was done before already with Han Solo and Princess Leia, and that worked because there was real emotion that was hard to see but was there. In Episode II, the romance between Anakin and Amidala is poorly done. Consider the shot when Anakin slowly moves closer to kiss her, and when he's real close, the music suddenly cuts off as Amidala says no. Music cutting off just like that? I'm sorry, but it really ruined the scene.
So it was kind of a bad film, but let's see what I did enjoy about it. Some of the characters were interesting. I liked C3PO and R2D2 as usual, and seeing them in a funny scene at a droid factory added some amusement to the film. Yoda is a fun character as usual, and I liked the Jedi Archive scene along with him fighting with a lightsaber. So finally, we see what these characters did before the original Star Wars. And Count Dooku is another good villain like Darth Vader in the old movies.
After seeing Episode II, I wasn't sure if I would look forward to Episode III, but I still planned to watch it just to see how the gap in the story is finally filled. I still think Episode II - Attack of the Clones is the low point of the Star Wars saga, but it's part of it nevertheless.
For more information about Star Wars - Episode II: Attack of the Clones, visit the Internet Movie Database.
In addition, check out my reviews of the following:
Main Star Wars Films
Other Star Wars Films