|On finally seeing Attack of
Ahhhh, the floodgates
open. I ran across so damn may spoilers over the past few months,
but nothing too major, thankfully. I can finally flip through the
Episode II Visual Dictionary (my favorite piece of "literary"
Hell, I haven't even read the back of the packaging for the action
I bought (they're in a pile out of sight, under my desk).
A fan (obviously) echoed
on the IMDb: "Everything George Lucas did wrong in "The Phantom
the disappointing prequel to his "Star Wars" trilogy, he does right -
right - in "Attack of the Clones." This time out, the force is strong
him - in a very big way."
Another valid point: "The film
structure of franchise peak "The Empire Strikes Back", and co-writer
Hales' contribution is keenly felt, with better defined characters and
an altogether smoother story." I told a friend of mine the other
day that this may very well be the ESB of the new lot. Phantom
was definitely the RotJ.
Here's another couple lines I
"Despite the silly title (a tongue-in-cheek nod to the old movie
Attack of the Clones is a more mature motion picture. In fact, the only
age group who will probably like Episode II less than Episode I are
under 10, who may be frightened or intimidated by the darkness and
of this outing." It really pissed me off that it took roughly 20
years for people acknowledge that ESB was the pinnacle of the original
Star Wars (it is my all-time #1 movie in several categories; more on
some other time). In fact I used to evaluate movie critics by
their film guides. If RotJ received a rating equal to or greater
than ESB, fuck his worthless opinion on everything else (yeah, screw
One reviewer pointed out that
revelation" of ESB was lacking in this episode. True, but we kind
of know where we're going. However, I did enjoy little things
the lineage of apprentices fully revealed this time: Yoda -> Dooku
Gon -> Qbi-Wan -> Anakin.
Another reviewer commented that
stand up to repeated viewings. Indeed. I can't wait to see
it again for the story revelations more than just the eye candy.
I had the opposite feeling with tPM. I didn't want to watch it
lest I get sick over how goofy the plot(?) was. I have only
gotten to the point where I enjoy it in terms of an
The Fifth Element had the same effect on me; the juvenile story made me
ill, but the visual style broke away from the pitiful script upon
One parallel with ESB that I
anyone else pick up on is the re-shuffling of characters. The
brilliant feature of ESB was that they separated the obvious pairings
Luke and Leia, and R2 and C3-PO(they *did* keep Han and Chewie
of course). Splitting up Obi-Wan and Anakin totally rocked.
One critic commented that the separation is when the movie "really
From another review: "The pod
race in Phantom
is still probably the best action sequence in the series so far."
Welllllllll, I wouldn't go that far. I think the original
field chase from ESB kicks everything so far. However, I thought
the Coruscant chase could have been paced a bit better. It was
slow compared to the Pod race. I really thought that was a high
of tPM even though everything peripheral to it was crap!
Here's a scary thought from
"Much of Episode II feels like it's ticking off items to make sure we
to the appropriate state of the galaxy by the end of 2005's Episode
There's still a long way to go -- Anakin has to turn evil and
Amidala has to have two kids, split them up, and have one become the
of a planet still not introduced in the series; Yoda and Obi-Wan have
become hermits; and then there's the matter of the Death Star, which
to be built. Episode III is either going to be a complete disaster or a
work of genius." Oh shit, he's right! This damn
business is exactly what fucked up tPM.
Here's another funny bit from
"An impromptu conversation with another filmcritic.com staffer set us
on a number of incongruities and simply baffling moments that might be
pointing to Lucas' senility. For example: When did R2-D2 become able to
fly? When did Obi-Wan become afraid of flying (or afraid of anything
that matter)? What's with Jimmy Smits and his Elizabethan collar? Since
when does a Jedi Knight have to go to a library to figure out where a
is? And why didn't Lucas get the hint about Jar-Jar Binks the first
The battle between Yoda
was sort of silly. First of all, why have Dooku fight everyone
at a time. We see Obi-wan and Anakin fight everyone else in the
Save Dooku for Yoda. The let-down of it was that you basically
this same fight in the Jedi Knight video game. Still, the rest of
the audience seemed to enjoy it, so maybe that was just me.
How about some new musical
There was only one, the nauseating love theme. Actually, it has
to grow on me since I have heard multiple arrangements, but my first
of it was blah!
The circumstances of Shmi's
the antithesis of the Pod race in the Phantom Menace. Let me
The pod race was excitement without a real emotional investment or
of urgency (I mean, shouldn't they have just stolen a ship to get back
to Naboo; they were wasting time cheating Watto on a long shot to get
ship repaired). There was room for more development of this
an even in the life of the future Darth Vader. When did Tuskin
start kidnapping humans anyway?
Contrary to what
has said, I was surprised at how well-acted it was. Once again,
is on the basis of very low expectations. Where the acting was
I felt the direction and subsequent editing was largely to blame.
If you leave the camera on someone after their "moment," you're just
to pull the curtain back and reveal that it's just a show.
The action seemed entirely
time around. In the past Star Wars movies have either been
(chopped into 3 acts according to location) or (as with tPM)
Throughout tPM I really felt like they were just going places just to
an interesting backdrop. This time around everything happened
it did because that was the best place to do it. On that note,
read a number of reviews that pointed out that the plot of AotC was
smoother than tPM. Indeed! That was the one thing that was so
about it. Once again there was the bifurcation of the heroes as in ESB
(Luke and R2 vs. the Falcon's crew). There were only two storylines
one for Obi and another for Anakin and Padme. This reflected, in part,
a resolution of my earlier complaint against tPM: too many characters!
It wasn't that they were hard to keep up with (I had already grown
with the action figures several weeks prior), it was just that they
up too much screen time. There were more heroes in tPM on the Queen's
than there were characters at the end of the original trilogy after
brought everyone onto the field: Lando, Jabba, the Emperor, etc. The
effect on Jango Fett's "sonic bombs" (I forget what they were called)
awesome. I think part of the sound effect is a heavily distorted
A string on an electric guitar. Of course, there are multiple
of processing and layers of additional sounds.
Whereas ESB was more a bridge
of the action
between the adjacent episodes, I think AotC really holds something
There are more than references to what's coming; there are secrets
slowly revealed. I'm not talking about the Death Star
There is much more meat to this episode. At the end of ESB we
to find out what happened to Han. This time there is still the
regarding the order from a supposedly dead Jedi master to produce the
Anakin's move to the Dark Side
up nicely. One reviewer commented that no one bought it in the
movie. This time, boy, he's kinda scary. Oh yeah, and now
know where Luke got that whine from!
Generally I like the emotional
of the entire series, but, once again, this movie was the antithesis of
tPM. That movie just had the actors running around doing things
motivation. By contrast AotC was hardly an Ingmar Bergman movie,
but there were sections when you just had pure character
Some people are reacting to this the same way as they did to the last
element of the saga: Jar Jar. I bought most character's
To elaborate on the "flatness"
there are some people who work well in a Star Wars movie and some who
wouldn't. Sally Field would never fit. She would draw too
attention to herself. Ewan McGreggor and Harrison Ford both give
great performances without making you watch them. You just follow
Which armies were on
Damn, I'm confused. Okay, I think I can keep it straight.
Jedi are all good (except for the bad ones) and everyone else is bad
for the girls unless they are bounty hunters).
Why did they take 3-PO with
them when they
left Tatooine? Did they steal him? Buy him? Did he
to go and the Lars family just had no use for him? Does "Uncle"
have a stroke somewhere down the line and forget he ever owned 3-PO for
10 years when he runs across him at a Jawa sale with Luke twenty years
"Size matters not," but Yoda
has a big
problem keeping that pillar from falling on the heroes. He
have any such problem pulling his saber into his hand, yet he needs a
to walk. What's up with that?
There are a number of
that advance footage seemed to indicate would be present. Check
the list (growing all the time) at theforce.net. Many of these I can
are *not* rumors. I really hope a bunch of them are re-inserted
the DVD (which is scheduled -though I doubt they'll do it- to be out in
I'm curious to see how AotC will
into the rank of the saga. My current ranking: ESB, ANH, tPM,
At the moment AotC falls right in the middle. That's not saying
but the competition is pretty fierce on one end and non-existent at the
other end of the spectrum. ESB happens to be my favorite movie of
all time and RotJ is among the most disappointing (it's a rehash of
they start on Tatooine with a bunch of creatures in a cantina and end
a party after they blow up the Death Star).
In closing (I know... finally!), a
tale of audience participation.
A friend of mine told me about
saw AotC. At the moment when Mace shows up and puts the
to Jango Fett's neck on the arena balcony with Dooku, someone in the
called out (in his best impression of Jules Winnfield, Jackson's
in Pulp Fiction), "I'm sorry, did I break your
I would have loved to have been there for that!