Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones takes place ten years after the events of Episode I. Galactic civil war seems imminent as Count Dooku, an ex-Jedi turned-sith, poses a threat to the Republic. Senator Padmé Amidala, dealing with official business on planet Coruscant concerning the establishing Separatist movement, is nearly killed in an assassination attempt plotted against her. Thus, the Jedi Council appoints Apprentice Anakin Skywalker and his Master Obi-Wan Kenobi to protect her. As Obi-Wan travels to Kamino to investigate the source of Padmé’s bounty, a love-connection begins to transpire between her and Anakin, establishing their relationship behind the Jedi Council’s back. In Attack of the Clones, we take a journey through the galaxy as we uncover the truth about Padmé’s attempted assassination, witness Anakin’s unfortunate homecoming on Tatooine, and embrace a “love story for the ages” as tensions between both sides rises and a galactic showdown commences.
Let’s get this straight; Attack of the Clones is not a good movie. The complex story and constant creative world-building of the Star Wars franchise calls for such an amazing final product but, sadly, each aspect of the rich cinematic universe we know and love seems to inevitably fall flat. With such an all-star cast including the likes of Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Samuel L. Jackson and a surprise performance from Saruman from Lord of the Rings (I mean Christopher Lee) could not do this lackluster story justice. Probably at the hands of George Lucas’s terrible directing, none of the characters individually stood out in performance or as a unique individual. For example, Mace Windu was just Samuel L. Jackson in a Jedi Robe, as if the character itself simply seemed like the person playing the character. In addition, rather than being the compelling, conflicted protagonist that we wanted him to be, Anakin was just a whiny jackass, with a rather stale performance from Hayden Christensen at that. Despite the fact that his character was so painfully annoying, Lucas decides to revolve a large portion of the film around their love story.
Their love story was one of the major factors that threw off my enjoyment of the film. In one of the beginning scenes, Anakin interrupts Padmé during their conversation to vent about the difficulties and hardships of being an apprentice under Obi-Wan’s mentorship in what turned out to be some sort of therapy session. Then all of a sudden, in my guess out of sympathy, she falls in love with him and they are secretly married at the end of the film. Or was it his dashing good looks? She did not seem to mind when he destroyed an entire pack of Tusken Raiders on Tatooine. Although they abducted and killed his mother and we as an audience can understand his inclination, you would have thought that Padmé, being in the position that she was in, would have sensed the “Darth Vader” in him and gotten away while she could, if not because of his petty childishness.
Sadly, this is only the beginning of my negative feelings towards Attack of the Clones. It was the bleak characters and uninspiring love story that made this, and the rest of the prequels (to an extent), into something almost too annoying to watch. Or was it the fact that Count Dooku lacked a driving purpose and was merely a villain for the sake of being a villain, or that Yoda was a maniacally flipping, flying acrobat that somehow did not have the means to defeat him, or that Naboo was just Venice, Italy, only with lackluster CGI and sci-fi gondolas?… Well, at least they held back Jar-Jar.