Fun with Franchises: Final Thoughts on Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
All right… we’ve watched the film, talked about it, had fun with it, and then we went and listed our favorite images from the film yesterday. Now all that’s left is to finish up with what we actually thought about the film as a whole.
This is our space to go over what we liked and didn’t like about each film we watch for Fun with Franchises. We talk about specific things as we get to them during the articles, and we’ll mention our general thoughts during them, but we don’t really ever get to sit and do broad strokes during the articles. So this is why we do these Final Thoughts. We get to take a step back and talk about the films as a whole, rather than discussing specific scenes or images. We’ll talk about how we felt about the film, how we liked it as a film, how we liked it as a member of its franchise, and where we think it falls within that franchise.
Again, it’s not very complicated, but it is a place to find out what we actually thought about certain movies, since, while we’re having fun with them in the articles, it may get difficult to tell sometimes. Because we’ll just rip things to shreds for fun, even if we love them.
So here are our final thoughts on Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones:
Final Thoughts on Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones:
I guess it’s time to write about Attack of the Clones. We usually get these things done weeks and weeks in advance; I’m coming up on the deadline now. I guess I was holding out, hoping that a meteor would slam into the earth before I had to talk about this awful movie. They should have called it Attack of the Groans.
This movie is all about the writing for me. I wish it wasn’t, but it has to be. Mike broke down a few scenes, and I let myself attack some of the broad strokes (which made me feel like I was having a broad stroke), but the truth is that we were holding back. A lot. If I had written in all of my complaints and reactions to hackneyed dialogue, the articles would have been long and depressing.
The main arc of this film is the romance, which is why things went so poorly. George knows NOTHING about love or romance (Congrats on your wedding, George!), which shows in how little development their relationship and attraction get. I can understand Anakin’s motivation, mostly because of the…developments…that Natalie Portman brings to the space table. So I’ll let that half slide. But from the very beginning, Padme finds Anakin to be arrogant, pushy, impolite, inappropriate, inexperienced, and whiny. HE’S LIKE A CHILD! AND SHE LECTURES HIM LIKE A CHILD! I HATE HIM!
See that? I did a thing where it was like the line, but it was actually my point…never mind.
The point is, we have a relationship with a basis in…nothing. In fact, it seems like the whole time George is shoving fake obstacles in our face – a political career, the Jedi Order – when in fact the primary obstacles to them having a relationship should have been the fact that they have nothing in common and that he’s terrible in almost every conceivable way. The only thing that happens between her being repulsed by him and her “truly, deeply” loving him was him committing revenge genocide. Ask Slobodan Milošević – ethnic cleansing is the quickest way to a woman’s heart. I shouldn’t have to remind anyone that it was the horrifically bad, clichéd dialogue that ruins everything. We’re told they love each other, even though it never looks that way. Instead of Anakin telling us that not a day has gone by that he hasn’t thought of her, why don’t we see him looking at his hidden stash of newspaper clippings about her? That IS creepy and even sort of cliché, but it’s still not as bad as what they did.
The other half of the film is Obi Wan discovering following leads, discovering the clones and the clones then becoming the Army of the Republic under Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. Not only do the Jedi do all the wrong things when presented with a mystery too simple for a Hardy Boys novel, they ignore serious alarming developments and maintain a general air of uneasiness. Lucas has a general formula that gets applied a few times in this and the next film.
1. “I sense a plot to destroy the Jedi.”
2. Send someone to investigate a lead.
3. Something unexpected happens.
4. “The Dark Side clouds everything.”
5. Well, let’s just deal with this situation now.
6. “I sense a plot to destroy the Jedi.”
This is exactly how the clones arc works in this movie. Obi Wan is sent to investigate Kamino after Yoda and Mace decide something’s fishy. Obi Wan discovers the Clones and follows Jango to a bad guy planet. Rather than recognizing Jango as the obvious link between the clones and the bad guys that he is, the Jedi continue to complain about how cloudy the Dark Side makes things. But no matter, because instead of asking further questions, they take the clones and start using them to fight a war. As the film ends, they’re all scratching their heads and whining about a plot to destroy the Jedi — or exactly where we started.
So yeah. This movie is a standout for bad writing, which is saying something for this franchise.
But as I said in our final thoughts for Episode I, I consider this to be the most unforgivable of all the Star Wars films. I know Mike disagrees (on the VERY reasonable grounds that Phantom Menace derailed the prequels), but my reasoning is that with the ten year gap in the story between the two films, Attack of the Clones is a fresh start no matter how awful Episode I was. So it doesn’t really matter how bad Episode I was, as long as Episode II gets the ball rolling again and sets up Episode III effectively. Unfortunately, Lucas squandered his shot at partial redemption with this piece of crap. He didn’t learn anything the first time around. This was a $115 million exercise in spiteful stupidity. It was justice that this movie came in fourth place at the box office. This is the first Star Wars film that ever lost the first place spot at the box office, which is largely due to the fact that between around 1999, big budget franchises started to pick up and brought the pain.
As I don’t really even consider The Phantom Menace to be in the running, I have to say that this is the Star Wars film that upsets me most and fucked things up so badly.
My Final Thoughts:
I loved this movie.
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Tomorrow we start Revenge of the Sith, and finish up this franchise with both a bang, and a whimper. And a double tap, to stop the whimpering.
(See the rest of the Fun with Franchises articles here.)