Friday, December 18, 2015

Star Wars Memory Lane: Attack of the Clones

May 22, 2002 (This journal entry comes two and a half years after my last one...apparently I was too busy to write during my senior year of high school and first year of college)
After three long years of waiting, Episode II of Star Wars was finally released. Lindsay and I were prepared this time. We were determined to get a good spot in line, and since we didn't have school to worry about, we spent the night! That's right, we got there Tuesday around 4:30 p.m. and waited unti lMidnight Wednesday (technically Thurs.) to see the movie. I must say that it was worth the wait. The movie was awesome, completely enthralling. And after catching so much flak for falling asleep during Episode I, I knew I couldn't in this one. But this one was just so good there was no chance I was going to sleep. I've already seen it four times in five days, that's how good it is!

Lindsay and I had just returned to Pocatello from a year in Ephraim at Snow College.


I do remember seeing the film multiple times, but I nearly forgot that I was so enamored with the film when I first saw it. I think that the bar was set so low with Episode I that it wasn't difficult for this to seem better. So in comparison, yes it's better than The Phantom Menace, but still not great.

Let's start with the fact that this film takes place ten years after Phantom. Here's where I think George got it completely wrong. Those ten years are important. Anakin, the kid who is going to become Darth Vader probably experiences a lot in those ten years. Likely has experiences that shape him. His relationship with Obi-wan develops completely off-screen. Instead we are treating to an opening scene that is supposed to set the tone of their relationship - Obi-wan the patient and wise teacher, Anakin the petulant padawan. But it's based on dialogue setting up the relationship instead of us seeing the relationship unfold. I also feel like the attitude of Anakin as petulant and whiny to be a bit forced and over the top, which it has to be jammed in our faces because we've had no time with him between little kid and now.

The relationship with Padme is even more troublesome Instead of seeing it develop, we get a few sentences by Anakin stating that he's thought about her every day for ten years. She, of course, has not, as she's been busy doing the political stuff and trying to stay alive from attacks by Count Dooku. Naturally she still thinks of him as that "little kid on Tatooine." But then they are thrown together, he her protector as they travel back to Naboo. And then they are falling in love, even though they say about ten words to each other. He's actually slightly creepy in the way he looks at her and touches her (that balcony scene, and the floating food one after, and then the scene of them by the fire....ugh). It's ridiculous. If we're going to buy that Anakin turned to the dark side due to his love for Padme, it needed to be a more developed relationship.

This is where the structure of the two Episodes so far fails. Menace needed to be condensed into thirty minutes, instead glossing over the kid Anakin and focusing on the growing Anakin. Those are the important years. Relationships would have developed on-screen and made more sense. Then we could have spent an entire film with the Clone Wars, instead of one attack at the end of the movie. That's all we get of the infamous Clone Wars. More time with Anakin as a padawan would have made his turn to the dark side in Episode III seem less rushed.

And still with the CGI. Obviously it wasn't going to miraculously go back to the effects of the Original, and yet I still complain about it.

The structure of the film is quite similar to Empire, in that it separates into two separate storylines that eventually converge at the end. Obi-wan is on a mission to find out who was behind the attack on Senator Amidala, leading him to discover the droid army and a mysterious Darth Tyranus; this mirrors the Luke storyline in Empire. Padme and Anakin fulfill the Han/Leia/everyone-else-storyline, except to much lesser effect. Instead of the subdued love story of Han/Leia, we get Anakin and Padme. Which I guess should be more passionate since it changes the course of the Galaxy. 

You know what I do love? The Padme/Anakin love theme. I think it's lovely. And Yoda showing off why's a Jedi Master. And Mace Windu's purple light saber.



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