Each week leading up to The Rise of Skywalker, we will be asking certain team members for their takes on every Star Wars film in chronological order. Last week, we discussed–of course–Episode I: The Phantom Menace.
(Catch up if you need. We’ll wait…)
This week, we unfold our thoughts about Attack of the Clones. And after the disappointing release of The Phantom Menace, this film didn’t release to any less divisiveness. Ten years after the events of the previous film, this one follows Anakin and Obi-Wan as they return to investigate the recent assassination attempts of Princess Padme Amidala, while discovering a secret clone army along the way.
Although this film is at the bottom of many people’s lists, there is still a lot to like about it. Let’s see what the members of MoviesMatrix think about it:
Q1. General Thoughts?
Marsellus Durden: Another underrated and unfairly picked-on entry, this film blew my mind for continually showing the audience something they’ve never seen before. I remember watching magical moments vividly, such as the thrilling sky ways and seedy underbelly of the city planet Coruscant, full-scale scenes of war, an all-out Jedi Knight battle, and a full duel between a bounty hunter and a Jedi. For years, fans have always really wanted to see what Boba Fett could do and this film gave us the pleasure of showing his father Jango give Obi-Wan a pretty good run for his money in an exciting conflict on the rainy ocean planet of Kamino.
Logan Slavin: Attack of the Clones is an enjoyable movie. It has pretty good action and Obi-Wan is great. It’s not one of the best movies Star Wars has to offer, but it’s got some good moments.
Owen: Like The Phantom Menace, this movie is underrated by most people. They see the boring romance; I see Obi-Wan’s adventure. They hear bad dialogue; I see the grand story. The movie isn’t great, but it’s packed with adventure and fleshes out prequel planets like Coruscant and Geonosis.
Michael Colan: This is the weakest of the prequel trilogy. Like The Phantom Menace, I don’t think it’s quite as bad as some make it out to be, but it’s saddled with a script that doesn’t know how to resolve its central mysteries. Also, the film features a really stilted romance. But there are some incredible moments too. From the battle on Geonosis to dealing with Jango Fett, the Attack of the Clones features a lot of small character moments that really work. It can be a little rough around the edges but by no means unwatchable.
WriteOnGeek: Look past the campy lovelorn relationship of Anakin and Princess Padme. Maybe focus on that fantastic battle between Jango Fett and Obi-Wan. Despite its overblown weaknesses, this movie was a skilled set-up for what we were going to get with Revenge of the Sith. Because at its soul, this is a good story that needed to focus on the details so Sith could be a great experience. In short, Clones was precisely what it was supposed to be, and for this lifelong Star Wars nerd, that made it just fine with me.
Q2. CGI: Good or Bad?
Marsellus Durden: The use of CGI was a necessity at that point of time in order to tell the story George needed to tell but it certainly has not aged well. Particularly, the green screen-heavy sequence in the droid factory and the gladiator sequence versus the beasts.
Logan Slavin: The use of CGI, while I understand why they did it, was not very good. This film features some of the worst CGI I’ve ever seen. It does not hold up well and makes the film worse because of it.
Owen: I’m going against popular opinion because I believe the use of CGI wasn’t just necessary, but it has in fact aged fairly well. After re-watching it on digital, the CGI doesn’t stand out as much as I remembered it and is necessary to properly show the all the worlds in the movie.
Michael Colan: The CGI hasn’t aged super well, mostly due to the overuse of it. But unlike many Star Wars fans I don’t want to knock Lucas here. He was pushing technology forward like he did with the original trilogy. The movie has its moments of awe and visual wonder, while other moments can feel like a tech demo. All in all, it did lead to great things in later films.
WriteOnGeek: The problem is Lucas leaned on CGI to do things he believed his fabled models could not. It worked wonderfully for Yoda, Grievous, and some of the captivating scenery. Not so much when it came all those clone troopers, which not one was created or acted out the natural way. You know, like the original trilogy? If only Lucas would have rested on what brought him here in the first place. He is a visionary with a bevy of tools at his disposal but should have relied on that one tool the most — his imagination.
Q3. Least Favorite Aspect?
Marsellus Durden: Although we, as an audience, needed to see the love story develop between Anakin and Padme, this clearly wasn’t a strong suit of Mr. Lucas. This episode clearly could have benefited from another screenwriter or director assisting with the vision. The wooden, clunky debate by the fireplace is just as cringe-inducing now as it was 17 years ago.
Logan Slavin: The worst part of the film is definitely the CGI. As I stated earlier, it’s awful. I especially remember a scene in a diner where Obi-Wan talks with a creature. That creature did not look like it was actually there. It was some of the worst CGI I’ve ever seen and it took me out of the movie a bit.
Owen: While the dialogue is kind of dry, the acting is what really does it for me. The dialogue could’ve been handled well like A New Hope, but a lot of the scenes come off wooden and bland.
Michael Colan: The romance. I’m a sucker for a good romance in just about anything, especially in fantasy. I don’t hate it but it’s just blandly written and the direction lacks emotion. I wanted a little more out of that.
WriteOnGeek: The love story needed to happen. It’s how we got Luke and Leia, so people should lighten up. And then you see how that romance was portrayed in the movie and you wouldn’t be upset if those scenes ended up on Mystery Science Theater 3000. George Lucas rom-coms would probably be forced punishment in a dank hallway of hell. Yeah, it was that bad.
Q4. Favorite Scene and Why?
Marsellus Durden: “This party’s over,” Mace Windu authoritatively announced. The Jedi battalion rescue of our main heroes in Genosis was a genuinely crowd pleasing moment. I geeked out three years prior during the final epic lightsaber duel of The Phantom Menace but seeing this many Jedi in action arguably topped that moment in terms of sheer excitement.
Logan Slavin: The choreography, as usual, was great! It’s the best part of this movie. I especially like the scene where all the Jedi are fighting at once on Geonosis. It’s so cool to see an all-out war with lightsabers!
Owen: Easily, the Coruscant chase. Coruscant is my favorite Star Wars planet, so exploring the city in depth, going from Padme’s high-rise room, to a grimy bar on the streets, the world-building in this one scene is perfect.
Michael Colan: My favorite scene in the movie is when Anakin finds his mother with the Tuskin Raiders. Lucas keeps the dialogue minimal, letting the actors convey most of the emotion visually. This is where Hayden Christiansen really shines. The death of his mother turns from sorrow to anger as Anakin massacres the village, his first major temptation to the dark side. It’s one of the small character moments I mentioned earlier that really works.
WriteOnGeek: I enjoyed several aspects of this film, but much like my fascination with Darth Maul, it all came down to one character — Jango Fett. His truculent but stoic son is almost mythical (that’s why The Mandalorian is so great…leads up to Boba). Yet, we learned where Boba got his chops. That scene on Kamino is one of the best one-on-one fights in the entire saga. Sabers, guns, and even fisticuffs! It was splendid.
Q5. Favorite Piece of Music?
Marsellus Durden: Despite the awkward romantic delivery on screen, flowing passionately over it most of the time was “Across The Stars.” It’s not quite on the level of “Han and The Princess,” but it’s just about as moving and beautiful. The heartfelt kiss in the shadows before Anakin and Padme get sent to their execution was quite effective especially with John Williams’ soaring melody.
Logan Slavin: My favorite piece of music is “The Homestead.” It’s a good score and makes the scenes on Tatooine emotional. To elaborate, the way they use music in the scene where Anakin’s mom dies is really well done and shows his rage well.
Owen: The score over the Coruscant chase scene has always stuck out to me. Besides being an awesome sequence, the music really elevates the tension and action, and gets stuck in my head all of the time.
Michael Colan: “Across the Stars.” I may not care for the romance but John Williams does some heavy lifting as his love theme does much of the work while we watch what’s on the screen. It’s beautiful. It’s large. It is full of emotion but also a hint of sadness to it, after all this is a tragic love story we are telling. “Across the Stars” deserves a bit more love.
WriteOnGeek: While I enjoyed the path of John Williams’ score throughout the movie, he really flexes with “Across the Stars.” Throughout the trek of the melody, we are swept up in the emotion of the score and the portrayal on the screen. The frames build, unlike most of the other musical selections in the movie. This particular song had a story, even if you weren’t watching the movie. Want to know why John Williams is considered “the man” of scores? This is one reason why.