Star Wars: Attack of the Clones (2002)
Director – George Lucas
Writer – George Lucas
Starring – Hayden Christensen, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Christopher Lee
Rating – PG
Metascore – 54/100
Rotten Tomatoes – 65%
This is going to be the hardest of the franchise to review because I really, really want to like this movie, but unfortunately due to its placement in the trilogy and writing it ends up feeling like a glorified filler episode in your favorite TV show that you are obligated to watch.
Attack of the Clones suffers, as The Phantom Menace did, under the pen of George Lucas. While the acting is slightly better, they still have to work with his dreadful script, resulting in “brilliant” scenes like this.
That clip presents a very complicated issue: Hayden Christensen. His character is regrettably creepy, clingy, and whiny. What this movie should have been about was Anakin’s descent into the Dark Side, but instead we have an, at best, uncomfortable romance. Lucas really wanted this movie to have romance but he doesn’t actually sell it, instead we get insufferable conversation and claustrophobic trysts between a stalker and a Senator with no requited feelings. Now, this is obviously not entirely on the part of Christensen who, shows some acting chops when he gives one of the better performances of the film whilst slaughtering a tribe of Sand People.
The reason the scene works, however, is because HE DOESN’T HAVE ANY LINES. And, just as Lucas gives us a credible performance he completely eliminates its significance by making it laughable when Anakin begins to speak about the incident.
A particular problem that Lucas created in the prequels was the need for a new villain in each film, (Darth Maul, Count Dooku, and General Grievous) respectively contrasting Darth Vader, who remained the villain throughout the original films. This means that the audience is getting a continuous cycle of underdeveloped villains who have no depth at all, but we gotta have new toys and new bad guys to put on the posters! Why George why?! A more compelling story would be Darth Maul surviving the prequels and having Obi Wan defeat him opening a spot for Anakin beside Darth Sidious as Vader. But, I digress.
Sadly, you can’t always get what you want; instead we get Count Dooku, a tender old man sitting around talking politics with CGI blobs. The potential that Lucas had with an acting legend like Christopher Lee is utterly wasted and, once again, underdeveloped and forgettable. The blaring downfall of the movie, however, is the CGI. Throughout the entire film there isn’t a single real Clone Trooper, only a CGI stand-in for an actor. If you thought that the Phantom Menace was too dependent on CGI take a gander at this.
Notably though, John Williams’ score is infinitely better than this movie itself and McGregor really steals the show. But the acting talent of Christensen paired with Lucas’ writing makes the main character utterly cringe worthy. Natalie Portman really does nothing with her role and you can tell that she partially regrets making the life decision of forever labeling herself as “Padme Amidala.” Lucas is a glutton for CGI and holds back no punches in filling this entire movie with it.
TLDR – John Williams is an absolute legend. Hayden Christensen’s acting paired with Lucas’ writing makes the romance awful. Ewan McGregor is a shining light in a pile of Bantha Fodder. Lucas’ reliance on CGI makes this as visually stimulating as a Spy Kids movie.
499 rating – 5.5 / 10
Authors : Jesse Ingram, Blake Burrough