Monday, June 4, 2007

STAR WARS: Episode II: Attack of the Clones

By Guest Reviewer Alan Trehern [And Updated by Alan Trehern! © 2013]

Greetings again. Penning this review is none other than your friendly neighborhood science-fiction guru, Trehern. And what Star Wars saga would be complete without the Clone Wars? Episode II of the six-part Star Wars story is the breakout of the Clone Wars (first made mention of in A New Hope) and, in my opinion, the first of the new trilogy (1999-2005) to actually tie in events that would affect the Star Wars galaxy for decades to come.

The movie opens with the arrival of a Nubian ship carrying Padmé Amidala, now Republic senator for the planet of Naboo, onto the city planet of Coruscant. After an assassination attempt, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker are assigned to protect her by Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, who grows ever more powerful in the Senate and in the Republic. The protection of the Senator leads to a full out investigation, which separates Anakin and Kenobi onto two different missions. Obi-Wan is on the search for an assassin from a planet that doesn’t even exist and Anakin must protect the senator on her home planet of Naboo. I think there is a love story that begins at this point, and if Hayden Christianson (Anakin Skywalker) had any type of acting abilities, Lucas may have been able to pull the love story off. Unfortunately, the Skywalker/Amidala romance is near absent.

However, do not consider this a sub-standard film. There are some points where the movie gets really good. First, Obi-Wan’s side mission gives us a glimpse of how Kenobi of the old trilogy (1977-1983) would have thought and what adventures he had when he was young. Ewan McGregor, somewhat lacking in Episode I, finally finds his place and portrays the Jedi Knight as wise, calm and adventurous, just like the Obi-Wan Kenobi of earlier decades. Second, the politics of the universe get evermore turbulent as the Senate of the Republic hits critical mass. As I mentioned above, the Supreme Chancellor has gained more and more persuasion in the Senate; and with growing trouble with the Separatists (defined later in this review), the Senate votes him emergency powers that Palpatine claims he will lay down when the danger has been subdued. With these powers, Palpatine orders the creation of a Grand Army of the Republic, using clones from the planet of Kamino (investigated by Obi-Wan while these events occur on Coruscant). The Separatists have a huge druid army supplied by none other than the Trade Federation (one of the few minor characters to be featured in all three of the new trilogy movies was Nute Gunray, Viceroy of the Trade Federation. How does he get in and Darth Maul not?).
A third positive of this movie was the complete readjustment of Yoda. Even though he is CG, he looks almost exactly like TESB (The Empire Strikes Back) Yoda from 1979, and his character is the most perfectly portrayed of all the characters in this movie. Not only is he the best-portrayed character, but he also closes the movie with a spectacular duel with Count Dooku, Sidious’ new Sith apprentice, which leads me into another point of topic... 

Characters and Events That Should Have Been Portrayed Deeper in Episode I 
So One Can Understand Them In Episode II 
1. Darth Sidious: After Episode I was released, Lucas tried to fool the public by saying Darth Sidious and Senator Palpatine had no connection whatsoever. In actuality, as a young thirteen-year-old, I saw through his lies and easily realized that Palpatine and Sidious are one and the same, and the plan to begin a war within the Republic would leave it weak enough for him to take power. Does it work? YES. Should we have known his plan from the beginning? YES. Would it have made a darker and more in-depth film? ABSOLUTELY. 

2. Mace Windu: One of the coolest Jedi Masters, Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson) is the tough guy of the Jedi Council. People claim he was the toughest with a lightsaber and the most “in your face” Jedi of the saga; I agree. Although, why wasn’t he featured more than just a talking head in Episode I? What makes him so firm of mind and greatly feared? Thank goodness he got some action in the Clone Wars. Who’s to thank for the purple lightsaber? Me, brother…me. 

3. Clones: No mention at all in Episode I. No mention of technology or Kaminoans (?) or side effects or even plans. In Episode II, the Kaminoans claim the order for the clones was made by a Jedi Master by the name of Sifo-Dyas, but Kenobi explains that he was murdered almost ten years ago, the exact time as the events in Episode I. Did we know of this Sifo-Dyas and his clone orders? NO. Should we have? YES. My speculation can only determine that Sifo-Dyas’ death occurred after the Battle of Naboo and Palpatine/Sidious himself, under the dead Jedi’s name, ordered the clones. Since Kamino is outside the Outer Rim, who are they to know of these events? 
4. Boba Fett: I want to make this point clear. I DO NOT want to know about Boba Fett’s father, nor do I want to know about Boba Fett's life as a little boy (somewhat of an obsession with Lucas). All I need to know is Boba Fett is a ruthless bounty hunter and should be portrayed as such in the Star Wars movies. If I want to know about his childhood, I’ll pick up the Fett trilogy, chronicling his adventures from troubled youth to callous hunter. Fett could have easily been portrayed as a twenty-year old in Episode II, just as Jango Fett was, and in the old trilogy he would have been about forty, so it works out. Another thing not mentioned? Where does he get the Mandolorian armor? In the mythos, the Mandolorian armor was used during the Clone Wars, however there is only one suit and no origin story. Mandoloria isn't even mentioned. Hmmm… (It's come to my attention that the planet is known as Mandolor; but I didn't know about that until The Clone Wars (2009 TV series) came out.  So sue me! - Trehern, 2013

5. Count Dooku (Darth Tyranus): Played by the monotone and lackluster Christopher Lee (Saruman, Scaramanger), Dooku is the new apprentice of Darth Sidious, carries a limp lightsaber (take that as you will) and heads the Separatist movement. They call him a political idealist, as was Qui-Gon Jinn, and he was one of the twenty to leave the Jedi Order. Now he’s evil. How did we miss all this information? He should have been featured in Episode I, at least briefly, perhaps arguing against the Council in some scene. But then again, his character could have been eliminated altogether and replaced with a certain someone named Darth “The Enforcer” Maul. Donning ancient Sith robes and finally gaining high power in his master’s favor, Maul could have easily led the Separatist army against the Republic. That way, Anakin and Obi-Wan could have faced him as a team in honor of Qui-Gon. Wait, wait…I think that may have been too deep for Lucas. 

6. The Padmé-Anakin Love Story: Quick fix: Make Anakin 14-something instead of 10 in Episode I. A 10-year old hooking up with a 14-year old? Eww? (Actually?  Fist bump. - Trehern, 2013) This way, the two lovers would be the same age and we would see young love bloom and eventually suffer throughout the trilogy. (Refer to the Episode I review to read my thoughts on an older Annie). Other than that, the film was very good (Eh, it was only "okay"... - Trehern, 2013). The Clone Wars turned out pretty awesome, although when I first saw A New Hope, I thought it was the Jedi vs. the Clones, but I guess this works. You also start to see the birth of the Galactic Empire (i.e. Clone-Stormtrooper armor, Star Destroyers, plans for the Death Star).
So if you enjoy romance, action and a sweet lightsaber battle between Yoda and Dooku, then check out Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Want to see what happens after Padmé and Anakin get married, and when Dooku gets away, and how does Anakin feel towards Obi-Wan, then check out Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and my review for it in the next couple weeks…or days…heck I could watch and write it tonight. No one knows. Bye.


Anonymous said...

You sir need to get some facts straight.. !st BoBa fettt is a key player in the Start Wars Universe as we all know it. Second, Mandaloria? Not the name.The deal with the armor... there are many sets being the Mandalorians are a group of people with enough thought to make armor for the masses. By the way its Mandalore.

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