Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (Star Wars #2)

Onward!

The things that I remember most about Attack of the Clones are the atmosphere of Kamino, the final battle on Genosis (mostly from the game Star Wars Battlefront), and some rather cringey burgeoning relationship dialog from Anakin and Padme.

I was not disappointed.

Overall, I actually find Attack of the Clones to be even weaker than the Phantom Menace, although the two are close. I think that some of it might be nostalgia (I saw Phantom Menace far more times), but really it’s a lot of politics in what should be a more personal story while at the same time the personal bits are weird and awkward and shouldn’t have gone anywhere.

It’s still worth a place in the general Star Wars canon, but there are better Star Wars films. So it goes.

[last lines]

Obi-Wan: I have to admit that without the clones, it would have not been a victory.

Yoda: Victory? Victory you say? Master Obi-Wan, not victory. The shroud of the dark side has fallen. Begun the Clone War has.

A few thoughts on particular points:

Relationship Drama

One of the big criticism leveraged at Attack of the Clones is the absolutely cringeworthy dialog between Anakin and Padme. Especially after seeing the whole series, we know they end up together (more or less), but it certainly doesn’t start well.

But on a rewatch… you know, it actually kind of works?

Anakin: 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 breath. 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.

Anakin looks so young–because he is young. He’s supposed to be 19, but he’s been raised by the Jedi for the past decade. He doesn’t really know anything about the real world, so dialog that sounds like a moody theater geek is pretty hilarious but actually kind of works.

It didn’t work as well when I was even younger than he is supposed to be, but 20 years later… it fits a lot better.

Padme: We used to come here for school retreat. We would swim to that island every day. I love the water. We used to lie out on the sand and let the sun dry us and try to guess the names of the birds singing.

Anakin: I don’t like sand. It’s coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere. Not like here. Here everything is soft and smooth.

Well. Mostly.

Visuals and Battles

The initial descent into Coruscant is pretty cool. Kamino is spectacular. Lining up the Storm Troopers (I mean clones) is pretty cool. And that battle on Geonosis is pretty awesome. Granted, it works better as a video game (I spent a lot of time in Battlefront), but say what you will otherwise about the prequels, they did some pretty things with big battle scenes.

Another particularly cool bit was actually seeing a pile of Jedi actually fighting together. We’ve had any number of 1 on 1 or 2 on 1 / other small scale duels, but nothing like this. That … was very cool. And yet, numbers overwhelm them.

Technology

One random thing that bugs me a lot about the prequels is world building. It’s something that Star Wars in general is very hit or miss on. For the most part, it’s whatever sounds good and makes a good story. That’s how you get lines like ‘making the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs’–leaving the extended universe to try to make it all make sense.

In particular, this time around, we have two issues.

  1. Communication. We clearly see Obi-Wan speaking in real time with Tattooine from Geonosis. If that’s possible… then why do people have to travel so much? Why does the Senate even have to meet in one central location? Why is there a ‘central’ authority? I think the general idea without this is that you cannot communicate faster than light, but this breaks that.

  2. Droids.

    C-3PO: Oh my goodness! Shut me down. Machines building machines. How perverse.

    They’re intelligent, self-aware. But they’re still treated as machines. And yet … it’s unusual for C-3PO to see a factory building more droids? I guess that could be specifically a C-3PO thing, given his own creation, but surely he has the knowledge of how it’s usually done–and at scale, there have to be droid factories somewhere.

    Really… it just doesn’t make much sense.

Rankings

Anyways.