Monday, December 7, 2015

Movie Review: "Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones" (2002)

Image Source
Movie"Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones"
Director: George Lucas
Year: 2002
Rating: PG
Running Time: 2 hours, 22 minutes

A separatist group lead by former Jedi Count Dooku has broken off from the Republic and are amassing a droid army to lead a rebellion. In response, certain members of the senate wish to create a central Army of the Republic to combat the rising threat, a proposal that senator Amidala (Natalie Portman) strongly opposes. Recently, she has been the target of multiple assassination attempts, so the Jedi council appoints Obi-wan Kenobi (Ewin McGregor) and Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christiansen) to guard her and find out who is behind these attacks.

George Lucas forges onward in his prequel "Star Wars" series, doing his best to complete his vision with as little damage as possible to the original classics. Regardless of how you feel about "Episode II - Attack of the Clones," at least he took one note from the fans for this second installment: he greatly reduced the amount of screen time for Jar Jar Binks. Yes, Jar Jar is still here, but he is far less spastic and his actual time on camera is probably less than five minutes. Of course, in that time, Jar Jar manages to set in motion the entire destruction of the Republic, but we wouldn't expect any less from him, honestly. Taking over the role of Anakin Skywalker this time around is Hayden Christensen, and though he is less whiny than Jake Lloyd, still has his annoying moments of angsty teenage attitude and an often wooden delivery. His acting is so stiff that he has earned the nickname "Mannequin Skywalker" from many fans, and rightfully so. He and Natalie Portman share some awkward and uncomfortable scenes together full of stiff dialogue and some cringe-worthy vernacular. Though we'd pick Christensen over Lloyd any day of the week, it's still only by a slim margin. For cinema's most powerful villain to have such irksome beginnings makes us sort of angry, but, we digress.

"Attack of the Clones" is the first Star Wars film to be shot in a purely digital shooting style. It is almost entirely comprised of artificially computer generated settings, scenes, and characters, which leaves a lot to be desired. There is still some really good practical make-up, but nothing like the original trilogy. Whenever a practical character is shown next to a digital one, it makes the difference all that much more jarring and takes you right out of the movie and straight into anger for George Lucas. Much like "The Phantom Menace," these digital graphics have not exactly aged well. This is most apparent in the droid factory scene on Geonosis, which might as well have been a cartoon it looked so fake. In fact, a lot of the scenes here look like the should have been part of the extended canon in a Star Wars cartoon. We just have to shake our heads whenever C-3PO goes from a costumed actor to a digital rendering because it just looks that bad. This biggest problem in "Attack of the Clones" is not the overuse of digital effects or even Hayden Christensen's acting, but in its pacing. There are so many dull and slow moments in this film, many of which involve Anakin and Padme having this cheesy, unbelievable, and nonelectric romance that is supposed to come off as natural but always feels phony and forced, as if Lucas is screaming "see! How romantic this is! See how in love they are!" Really, the two never seem to have real chemistry, and even the dialogue written around their romance is trash. This might be the worst Star Wars film ever made, but it's not a bad movie. It's just not the kind of movie we love. There are some really great scenes in this film and the final battle at the arena is still exciting today, Obi-Wan's mission is an interesting plot point, and Anakin's attack on the Tuscan Raiders is our first real glimpse at his true potential on the dark side. Ultimately, this is still a case of George Lucas not having someone there to tell him to reign it all in, so "Attack of the Clones" ends up being an unnecessarily long, poorly written CGI-fest with a couple redeeming moments.

My Rating: 6.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 6.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 56%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?
To see our review of "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace," click here.

To see our review of "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith," click here.

To see our review of "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope," click here.

To see our review of "Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back," click here.

To see our review of "Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi," click here.

No comments:

Post a Comment