Friday, May 31, 2013

May the 4th: Attack of the Clones

(Originally Written for Jedi News)

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…


Episode II

There is unrest in the Galactic
Senate. Several thousand solar
systems have declared their
intentions to leave the Republic.

This separatist movement,
under the leadership of the
mysterious Count Dooku, has
made it difficult for the limited
number of Jedi Knights to maintain
peace and order in the galaxy.

Senator Amidala, the former
Queen of Naboo, is returning
to the Galactic Senate to vote
on the critical issue of creating
to assist the overwhelmed

The Phantom Menace grossed a stupendous amount of money, but many people who were alleged fans were beginning to turn on George Lucas. But the kids still loved it, and at this point that was all that mattered. Besides, George probably felt, the rest will come around once they see the whole story.

Lucas also knew this was a point in the story where he might lose some more of his traditional audience, but at the same time might gain a new one. In order for Luke Skywalker to be born to save the galaxy, his mother and father have to fall in love. This couldn’t be the slap-slap-kiss of Han and Leia, neither of their personalities would fit. This would have to be something more courtly, akin to a more Romeo and Juliet feel. “Mushy stuff,” as the traditional little boy audience would call it. But Star Wars had been thought of as “a boy thing” for far too long anyway. Lucas wanted Star Wars to be thought of as movies for everyone, and hoped this would drive that point home by paying due to the many present and future female fans. Lucas knew he was going to need help refining this part of the story, as well as fitting it in neatly with the rest of the plot, so Jonathan Hales was drafted.

Something else had to happen in this Episode, something Lucas knew would drum up excitement in all true Star Wars fans. When the title of Attack of the Clones was announced, after a split second of thinking it sounded like a ‘50s monster movie, our minds immediately went to A New Hope.

“You served my father in the Clone Wars.”

“You fought in the Clone Wars?!”

The Clone Wars have been shrouded in mystery since 1977. There were many theories, but even the EU writers weren’t allowed to touch it. We were finally going to see how it all started! We were going to know! How could anyone not get excited for this?

Well, I suppose there’s no escaping the elephant in the room. September 11th, 2001 changed everything, especially in the US. People were scared, depressed, and annoyingly uber-patriotic. It was a dark time. But, honestly, that didn’t dim my excitement. If ever we needed a follow-up to The Phantom Menace, still the most fun I’ve had in my life, now is the time.

Attack of the Clones, debuting in 2002, was not this.

Even going into the theatre, something felt different for me. Oh, I loved the movie, but whereas all the other films had me on the edge of my seat with excitement, this one felt more ethereal, more dreamlike. For a long time, it remained at the bottom of the favorites list and today has risen to merely number 5 for one very ironic reason:

Attack of the Clones is, quite simply put, amazing and inconceivable as it may seem even to me at times, the absolute best Star Wars film ever made.

Not only does it manage to be the perfect blend of philosophical thought, subtle symbolism, multi-faceted narrative, and classic homage; it also keeps the vintage Lucas tone, which is where Empire fell short. Clones is still very serious at times, and can play the pathos well, but it’s peppered with the right amount of great Star Wars gags, whereas Empire was more restrained. For example, I doubt Empire would deign to visit a ‘50s style diner, but the rest of the films probably would. Here, in Clones, we do see one. Not only is the concept hilarious, but the scene turns out one of the better in the film. It’s decently shot, has some good effects, gives some subtle character development for Obi-Wan, and deftly sets up a major plot point.

The movie is absolutely brilliant on its own, but coming into it after seeing even what was available of the Saga at the time, it plays on our expectations beautifully. We expect the Clone Troopers to be out-and-out bad guys. After all, they’re obviously the Stormtroopers, and they’re cloned from a Fett. What we don’t expect is to see YODA lead them into battle.

Every time I watch this film, I find new things to love. Even things I previously disliked, I’ve come to realize are actually quite brilliant. Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker rubbed me the wrong way at first, until I realized he was subtly aping David Prowse’s movements and James Earl Jones’ cadence while keeping enough of Jake Lloyd in there to make the transition natural (and, let’s face it, if he didn’t whine, he wouldn’t be a Skywalker). Similarly, I was a little uncomfortable with the all-important romantic subplot until I realized that, hey, that’s what people in love sound like, especially people with clear emotional issues. Hell, it’s what I sound like. Why do you think it’s so uncomfortable to be around couples in real life?

I used to roll my eyes at C-3PO’s shenanigans in the droid factory and the opening battle for Geonosis, until I realized that it was a metaphor for the entire movie; bad puns aside, it symbolizes how the Jedi and the good senators are fighting for the wrong side, but they don’t know it yet. Even that one Dug in the Coruscant chase scene, who always bothered me because it looked like the animator had fallen asleep at the keyboard or the test shot was accidentally edited into the film, I’m no longer convinced isn’t intentional. It moves like one of the classic low-tech puppets, and is just the sort of thing Lucas would throw in with a wink and a smile.

Honestly, the only real flaw I can really find with the film now (aside from the requisite “some effects age better than others” I’ve attributed to the entire Saga) is one confusing edit near the end of the second act. Anakin races off across the sands of Tatooine to find his mother, interrogating Jawas as “Duel of the Fates” blares full force. We wipe to a rocky outcropping; has Anakin found them? Wait, that’s Obi-Wan. We’re back on Geonosis? The landscapes are superficially similar enough that anybody can be confused at first glance. And even that is small enough to be forgivable, and I wouldn’t be the least surprised if you came up and told me that audience confusion was the entire point and edited thusly on purpose.

There are two more arguable points that don’t amount to much in the end. There is a great scene where Anakin and Padmé are put in a kangaroo court on Geonosis that was deleted from the final cut. But while I think the movie would be better with it, it works great enough without it. Maybe it would have been better for general audiences, especially in the US, if George Lucas had been more strict with his intended pronunciation of “Doe-Koo” rather than the phonetic pronunciation of Dooku we all know, but to be honest it never really bothered me and I can think juvenilely with the best of them at times. Plus, Christopher Lee is a genius, and gets the absolute coolest lightsaber hilt of all. Honestly, if this is the worst I can say about it, it really is a great film.

The rest of the performances are great. This film was the first big-budget picture shot with HD digital cameras, changing the way movies are made, which is especially noteworthy. The effects are great, both digital and practical. Watto is STILL the best actor, the model of the arena on Geonosis is one of the more exquisite in the Saga, the eyes of the Kaminoans are just mesmerizing, and nothing is as visually and aurally perfect as the seismic charges. And, after the fiasco that was Phantom Menace’s Yoda puppet, they switched to a very well-done CG model, allowing the Jedi Master more freedom of movement (while still moving recognizably like the classic puppet from Empire and Jedi). There was not a single audience that didn’t go bananas the second Yoda pulled out a lightsaber and became the whirlwind of destruction that earned him his reluctant reputation as a “great warrior.”

Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. While initial sentiments were positive, subtle elements like Anakin’s character arc were misunderstood and labeled “bad,” thus continuing the cycle. Worse, though Clones made good business, it was not the ruler of the roost. Attack of the Clones became the first and, to date, only Star Wars movie to not be the highest grossing picture of its year. It placed second to the highly anticipated introductory installment of what would become Sam Raimi’s epic Spider-Man trilogy, released just weeks prior. As to what I thought of that film, well, there’s a doodle in one of my high school notebooks of the Green Goblin arguing with Yoda about whose film was better. Yes, that film is amongst my favorites too, and what hurts is that Spider-Man of all things was the feel-good Phantom Menace follow-up I had been hoping for at the time.

Another low blow came from the third place grosser that year, and another favorite of mine. The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers featured a photorealistic CGI Gollum that blew everybody’s minds. While Weta and the LotR team acknowledged that they were simply refining the actor-driven motion-capture technology that ILM had created for Jar Jar Binks, the general public lavished praise and accolades on Gollum while continuing to sling mud at poor old Jar Jar. Speaking of whom, Jar Jar’s tragic character arc turn of being manipulated into giving Palpatine emergency powers seemed to merely give people an excuse to hate him more than they inexplicably already did.

Attack of the Clones’ legacy is nearly as tragic as that of Phantom Menace, because not only does it go largely unappreciated and misunderstood, but it seems to fall off a lot of people’s radars. However, there is a silver lining. Its nearly flawless filmmaking is usually recognized among those who continue to love the newer films. I even feel bad that it’s this low on my personal list. But there are just scenes in the other four I love more than scenes in this. It is close, though, so very close.

In any case, George Lucas still had one last part of the story to tell. This would be the hardest to tell right, because frankly everyone more or less knew what had to happen. How can any filmmaker make a decent, engaging, and surprising movie with that kind of roadblock? Meet me next week for the answer…

Favorite Lines:
·         “I will not allow this Republic that has stood for a thousand years be split in two. My negotiations will not fail.” “If they do, you must realize there aren’t enough Jedi to protect the Republic. We’re keepers of the peace, not soldiers.”
·         “Senator Amidala. Your tragedy on the landing platform, terrible. Seeing you alive brings warm feelings to my heart.”
·         “Master Jedi, may I suggest the senator be placed under the protection of your graces?” “You really think that’s a wise decision under these stressful times?” “Chancellor, if I may comment, I do not believe –“ “The situation is that serious? No, but I do senator. I realize all too well that additional security might be disruptive for you. But…perhaps someone you’re familiar with? An old friend, like…Master Kenobi?”
·         “You seem a little on edge.” “Not at all…” “I haven’t felt you this tense since…since we fell into that nest of gundarks.” “You fell into that nightmare, master, and I rescued you, remember?” “Oh…yes…”
·         “Obi? OBI! Mesa so smilin’ to seein’ yousa!” “Good to see you again, Jar Jar.” “Senator Padmé! Mesa pallos here! Looky-looky, senator, desa Jedi alright!”
·         “…Ani? My goodness, you’ve grown!” “So have you. Grown more beautiful, I mean…well, for a senator, I mean…” “Ani, you’ll always be that little boy I knew on Tatooine.”
·         “I don’t need more security, I need answers. I want to know who’s trying to kill me.” “We’re here to protect you, senator, not to start an investigation.” “We will find out who’s trying to kill you, Padmé, I promise you.” “We will not exceed our mandate, my young padawan learner.” “I meant that in the interest of protecting her, Master, of course.” “We will not go through this exercise again, Anakin. And you will pay attention to my lead.” “Why?” “What?” “Why else do you think we were assigned to her if not to find the killer? Protection is a job for local security, not Jedi. It’s overkill, Master. Investigation is implied in our mandate.” “We will do exactly as the Council has instructed. And you will learn your place, young one.”
·         “Mesa bustin’ with happiness seeing yousa gain, Ani!” “She hardly even recognized me, Jar Jar. I’ve thought about her every day since we parted, and she’s forgotten me completely.” “Shesa happy. Happier than mesa seein’ her in a longo time.” “You’re focusing on the negative, Anakin. Be mindful of your thoughts…she was pleased to see us. Now, let’s check the security…”
·         “What’s going on?” “Ahh, she covered the cameras. I don’t think she liked me watching her.” “What is she thinking?!” “She programmed R2 to warn us if there is an intruder.” “There are many other ways to kill a senator.” “I know, but we also want to catch this assassin, don’t we Master?” “…You’re using her as bait.” “…It was her idea…Don’t worry, no harm will come to her. I can sense everything going on in that room…trust me…” “It’s too risky. Besides, your senses aren’t that attuned, my young apprentice.” “And yours are?” “…Possibly…”
·         “Be mindful of your thoughts, Anakin, they betray you. You’ve made a commitment to the Jedi order; A commitment not easily broken. And don’t forget, she’s a politician, and they’re not to be trusted.” “She’s not like the others in the Senate, Master.” “It’s my experience that senators focus only on pleasing those who fund their campaigns. And they’re in no means scared of forgetting the niceties of democracy in order to get those funds.” “Not another lecture. At least not on the economics of politics…and besides, you’re generalizing. The Chancellor doesn’t appear to be corrupt.” “Palpatine is a politician. I have observed that he is very clever in following the passions and prejudices of the senators.” “I think he’s a good man. My…” “…I sense it too!”
·         “What took you so long?!” “Oh, you know Master, I couldn’t find a speeder that I really liked.” “There he is!” “With an open cockpit…and the right speed capabilities…” “If you spent as much time practicing your saber techniques as you do your wit, you would rival Master Yoda as a swordsman.” “I thought I already did.” “Only in your mind, my very young apprentice!”
·         “You know I hate it when you do that!” “Sorry Master, I forgot you don’t like flying.” “I don’t mind flying, but what you’re doing is suicide!”
·         “Where are you going?! He went that way!” “Master, if we keep this chase going any longer, that creep is going to end up deep-fried. And personally, I’d very much like to find out who he is and who he’s working for. This is a shortcut…I think…”
·         “Well you’ve lost him.” “…I’m deeply sorry, Master…” “That was some shortcut, Anakin. He went completely the other way. Once again you’ve proved –“ “If you’ll excuse me!” “…I hate it when he does that…”
·         “She went into the club, Master!” “Patience. Use the Force. Think!” “Sorry, Master.” “He went in there to hide, not to run.” “Yes, Master.” “Next time, try not to lose it.” “Yes Master…” “This weapon is your life!” “…I try, Master…” “Why do I get the feeling you’re going to be the death of me?” “Don’t say that, Master, you’re the closest thing I have to a father.” “Then why don’t you me?” “I am trying.”
·         “I think he’s a she, and I think she’s a changeling.”
·         “You wanna buy some deathsticksss?” “You don’t want to sell me deathsticks.” “I…don’t want to sell you deathsticksss…” “You want to go home and rethink your life.” “I want to go home…and rethink my life…”
·         “Easy. Jedi business. Go back to your drinks.”
·         “I will talk with her. Senator Amidala will not refuse an executive order. I know her well enough to assure you of that.” “Thank you, your excellency.” “And so…they’ve finally given you an assignment. Your patience has paid off.” “Your guidance more than my patience.” “You don’t need guidance, Anakin. In time, you will learn to trust your feelings. Then, you will be invincible. I have said it many times, you are the most gifted Jedi I have ever met.” “Thank you, your excellency.” “I see you becoming the greatest of all the Jedi, Anakin. Even more powerful than Master Yoda.”
·         “Yes…yes…a flaw more and more common among Jedi. Hmm…too sure of themselves they are. Even the older, more experienced ones.”
·         “I’m taking an extended leave of absence. It’ll be your responsibility to take my place in the Senate. Representative Binks?” “Mm-hmm?” “I know I can count on you.” “Mesa honored to be taking on disa heavy burden. Mesa accept dis with muy muy humility and..ah…” “Jar Jar, I don’t wish to hold you up. I’m sure you have a great deal to do.” “Of course…m’lady.”
·         “I haven’t worked for a year to defeat the military creation act to not be here when its fate is decided!”
·         “Take good care of Dormé. The threat’s on you two now.” “He’ll be safe with me.”
·         “Suddenly, I’m afraid…” “This is my first mission on my own, I’m scared too…don’t worry, we have R2 with us.”
·         “I do hope he doesn’t try anything foolish.” “I’d be more concerned about her doing something than him.”
·         Heyyy! Old buddy! Hahahaa! So, my friend…what can I do for ya?” “You can tell me what this is.” “Wow…whattaya know…I ain’t seen one of these since I was prospectin’ on Subtrrel, beyond the Outer Rim.” “Can you tell me where it came from (thank you)?” “This baby belongs to them cloners. What you got here is a Kamino saber dart.” “I wonder why it didn’t show up in the analysis archives.” “Y’see funny little cuts on the side, they give it away. Those analysis droids only focus on symbols. Heh, I should think that you Jedi would have more respect for the difference between knowledge and…hehehe…wisdom.” “Well if droids could think, there’d be none of us here, would there? Kamino…I’m not familiar with it, is it in the Republic?” “No, no, it’s beyond the Outer Rim. I’d say about…umm…twelve parsecs outside the Rishi Maze. Should be easy to find, even for those droids in your archives. Heh. These Kaminoans…Keep to themselves. They’re cloners. Damned good ones, too.” “Cloners…are they friendly?” “Oh, it depends.” “Depends on what, Dex?” “On how good your manners are. And how big your, eh, pocketbook is. Hehehehe…”
·         “If an item does not appear in our records, it does not exist.”
·         “Hey you. No droids. Get outta here.”
·         “Are you allowed to love? I thought that was forbidden to a Jedi.” “Attachment is forbidden. Possession is forbidden. Compassion, which I would define as unconditional love, is central to a Jedi’s life. So you might say…we are encouraged to love.”
·         “Mmmm, lost a planet Master Obi-Wan has. How embarrassing, how embarrassing…”
·         “Hmmm, gravity silhouette remains, but the star and all the planets – disappeared they have. How can this be? Hmm? A thought? Anyone?” “Master? Because someone erased it from the archive memory.” “Mmhmhmhmm!. Truly wonderful, the mind of a child is! Mmhmhmhmh! The padawan is right. Go to the center of gravity’s pull, and find your planet, you will.”
·         “It’s outrageous, but after four trials in the Supreme Court, Nute Gunray is still the Viceroy of the Trade Federation. I fear the Senate is powerless to resolve this crisis.”
·         “The day we stop believing democracy can work is the day we lose it.”
·         “Jedi Master Syfo-Dias is still a leading member of the Jedi council, is he not?” “Master Syfo-Dias was killed almost ten years ago.” “Oh…I’m so sorry to hear that, but I’m sure he would have been proud of the army we built for him.”
·         “But you must be anxious to inspect the units for yourself?” “That’s…why I’m here.”
·         “I don’t like sand. It’s course, and rough, and irritating…and it gets everywhere. Not like here. Here everything is soft…and smooth…”
·         “Clones can think creatively. You will find they are immensely superior to droids.”
·         “And where is this Bounty Hunter now?” “Oh, we keep him here. Apart from his pay, which is considerable, Fett demanded only one thing: an unaltered clone for himself. Curious, isn’t it?”
·         “You really don’t like politicians, do you?” “I like two or three, but I’m not really sure about one of them…heh…I don’t think the system works.” “How would you have it work?” “We need a system where the politicians sit down and discuss the problem. Agree what’s in the best interest of all the people, and then do it.” “That’s exactly what we do. Th-the trouble is people don’t always agree.” “Well, then they should be made to.” “By who? Who’s going to make them?” “I don’t know, someone.” “You?” “Of course not me!” “But someone.” “Someone wise.” “Sounds an awful lot like a dictatorship to me.” “Well…if it works…” “…you’re making fun of me!” “No, no I’d be much too frightened to tease a senator!”
·         “Your clones are very impressive. You must be very proud.” “I’m just a simple man trying to make his way in the universe.” “Ever made your way as far into the interior as Coruscant?” “Once or twice.” “Recently?” “…possibly…” “Then you must know Master Syfo-Dias.” “…Boba, [untranslated]…Master who?” “Syfo-Dias. Is he not the Jedi who hired you for this job?” “Never heard of him.” “Really?” “I was recruited by a man called Tyrannus on one of the moons of Bogdon.” “Curious.” “Do you like your army?” “I look forward to seeing them in action.” “They’ll do their job well. I’ll guarantee that.” “Thank you for your time, Jango.” “Always a pleasure to meet a Jedi.”
·         “And when I got to them, we went into Aggressive Negotiations (thank you).” “’Aggressive Negotiations’? What’s that?” “Ah, well, it’s negotiations with a lightsaber.”
·         “From the moment I met you…all those years ago…not a day has gone by when I haven’t thought of you…and now that I’m with you again…I’m in agony…the closer I get to you, the worse it gets…th-the thought of not being with you…I can’t breathe! I’m haunted by the kiss that you should never have given me. My heart is beating…hoping that that kiss will not become a scar. You are in my very soul, tormenting me. What can I do? I will do anything that you ask…if you are suffering as much as I am, please tell me.”
·         “You are asking me to be rational. That is something I know I cannot do! Believe me, I wish I could just…wish my feelings away! But I can’t...”
·         “Tell your council that the first battalions are ready. And remind them: if they need more troops, it will take more time to grow them.”
·         “R4, scramble Code 5 to Coruscant, care of the Old Folks Home!”
·         “They say Master Syfo-Dias placed an order for a clone army at the request of the Senate almost ten years ago. I was under the impression he was killed before that.”
·         “Blind we are, if creation of this clone army we could not see…”  “…I think it is time we inform the Senate that our ability to use the Force is diminished.” “Only the Dark Lord of the Sith knows of our weakness. If informed the Senate is, multiply our adversaries will.”
·         “Don’t go…” “I don’t want to disturb you…” “Your presence is soothing.”
·         “[A Jedi? Whatever it is, I didn’t do it!]” “[I’m looking for Shmi Skywalker.]” “…Ani?...little Ani? Nahh….You are Ani! It is you! Hahahaha! Ya sure sprouted, eh? Hehehooo…A Jedi? Whaddaya know? Ehe…hey, maybe you could help with some deadbeats who owe me a lotta money.” “My mother.” “Oh yeah…Shmi…ahh…she’s not mine no more. I sold her.” “You sold her?!” “Years ago. Sorry Ani, but you know, business is business, eh? Heheh…yeah, I sold her to a moisture farmer named Lars…least I think it was Lars…Believe it or not, I heard he freed her! And married her! Can ya beat that, eh?! Hahaha…” “Do you know where they are now?” “Oooh, long way from here…someplace over on the other side of Mos Eisley, I think…” “I’d like to know.” “…eh…sure! Absolutely! Hahah, let’s go look at my records, eh? Hehe…”
·         [The seismic charge noise. I know it’s not a line, but it belongs here]
·         “He doesn’t seem to take a hint, this guy…”
·         “Oh, blast! This is why I hate flying!”
·         “The shifter broke. Life seems so much simpler when you’re fixing things. I’m good at fixing things…always was…but I couldn’t…why’d she have to die? Why couldn’t I save her?! I know I could have!” “Sometimes there are things no one can fix. You’re not all-powerful.” “Well, I should be! Someday I will be. I will be the most powerful Jedi ever! I promise you! I will even learn to stop people from dying!” “Anakin…” “It’s all Obi-Wan’s fault! He’s JEALIUS! HE’S HOLDING ME BACK!” “…what’s wrong, Ani?” “…I…I killed them…I killed them all…they’re dead…every single one of them! And not just the men, but the women and children too! They’re like animals, and I slaughtered them like animals! I HATE THEM!” “…to be angry is to be human…” “…I’m a Jedi…I know I’m better than this…”
·         “I wasn’t strong enough to save you, Mom…I wasn’t strong enough…but I promise…I won’t fail again.”
·         “It seems he’s carrying a message from an Obi-Wan Kenobi…Master Ani, does that name mean anything to you?”
·         “Ani, are you just going to sit here and let him die? He’s your friend, your mentor – “ “He’s like my father! But you heard Master Windu, he gave me strict orders to stay here!” “He gave you strict orders to protect me, and I’m going to help Obi-Wan. If you’re going to protect me, you’ll just have to come along.”
·         “This is a crisis. The Senate must vote the Chancellor emergency powers. He can then approve the creation of an army.” “But what senator would have the courage to propose such a radical amendment?” “If only…Senator Amidala were here…”
·         “Oh no, my friend! This is a mistake, a terrible mistake! They’ve gone too far! This is madness!” “I thought you were the leader here, Dooku.” “This had nothing to do with me, I assure you. I will petition immediately to have you set free.”
·         “It’s a great pity our paths have never crossed before, Obi-Wan. Qui-Gon always spoke very highly of you. I wish he were…still alive. I could use his help right now.” “Qui-Gon Jinn would never join you.” “Don’t be so sure, my young Jedi. You forget that he was once my apprentice as you were once his. He knew all about the corruption in the Senate, but he would never have gone along with it if he had learned the truth, as I have.” “The truth?” “The truth. What if I told you that the Republic was now under the control of a Dark Lord of the Sith?” “No, that’s not possible. The Jedi would be aware of it.” “The dark side of the Force has clouded their vision, my friend.  Hundreds of senators are now under the influence of a Sith Lord called Darth Sidious.”
·         “It may be difficult to secure your release.”
·         “Itsa clear desa Separatists made a pact with a desa Federation du Trade! Senators, dellow felagates, in response to dis direct threat to the Republic, Mesa propose that the Senate give immediately emergency powers to the Supreme Chancellor!”
·         “It is with great reluctance that I have agreed to this calling. I love democracy. I love the Republic. The power you give me, I will lay down when this crisis has abated.”
·         “Look, whatever happens out there, follow my lead. I’m not interested in getting into a war here. As a member of the Senate, maybe I can find a diplomatic solution to this mess.” “Don’t worry, I’ve given up trying to argue with you.”
·         “My obtuse little friend, if they had needed our help they would have asked for it. You obviously have a great deal to learn about human behavior.”
·         “Oh my goodness! Shut me down! Machines making machines! How perverse…”
·         “Not again…Obi-Wan’s gonna kill me…”
·         “Don’t be afraid.” “I’m not afraid to die…I’ve been dying a little bit each day since you came back into my life.” “What are you talking about?” “…I love you…” “…you love me? I thought we had decided not to fall in love…that we would be forced to live a lie…and that it would destroy our lives.” “I think our lives are about to be destroyed anyway…I truly…deeply…love you. Before we die, I want you to know.”
·         “I was beginning to wonder if you got my message.” “I retransmitted it just as you had requested, Master…then we decided to come and rescue you.” “…good job.
·         “I’ve got a bad feeling about this…”
·         “My legs aren’t moving. I must need maintenance.”
·         “What’s all this noise? A…a battle! Oh, there’s been some terrible mistake! I’m programmed for etiquette, not destruction!”
·         “Die, Jedi dogs! Wha…what did I say?!”
·         “You call this a diplomatic solution?” “No, I call it aggressive negotiations.”
·         “Master Windu! You have fought gallantly. Worthy of recognition in the archives of the Jedi order. Now, it is finished. Surrender, and your lives will be spared.” “We will not be hostages to be bartered, Dooku!” “Then…I’m sorry, old friend…”
·         “Around the survivors a perimeter create!”
·         “[I’m sending my warriors to hide in the catacombs. The Jedi must not find our designs for the ultimate weapon. If they find out what we are planning to build, we’re doomed!]”
·         “Master Kenobi, you disappoint me! Yoda holds you in such high esteem. Surely you can do better!”
·         “Brave of you, Boy. I would have thought you had learned your lesson.” “I am a slow learner.”
·         “It is obvious that this contest cannot be decided by our knowledge of the Force, but by our skills with a lightsaber.”
·         “The Force is with us, Master Sidious.” “Welcome home, Lord Tyrannus. You have done well.” “I have good news for you, my Lord. The war has begun.” “Excellent. Everything is going as planned.”
·         “I have to admit that without the clones, it would not have been a victory.” “Victory?! Victory, you say? Master Obi-Wan, not victory! The shroud of the dark side has fallen. Begun, the Clone War has.”

Biggest “What Do You Mean It’s For Kids?!” Moment
The incident at the Tusken Village (both what we see happen and what we’re told happens), and the sudden beheading of Jango Fett.

(on a scale of 1-6 where 1 is the best)
Personal: 5/6
As a Film: 1/6


  1. "Its nearly flawless filmmaking"

    ...yeah. I have to take issue with this, given that the film is directed like a soap and outright amateur most of the time. The cinematography is awful, the lighting unremarkable, the editing basic- in terms of technical film-making skill the film fails in almost every regard. Not to mention the fact that digital is a substantially weaker-looking medium than film, but that's another issue entirely.

    And also, that's not how people in love behave. The dialogue is more befitting to something like The Notebook than it is reality.

    1. You've clearly never been in love before, because that is how people in love talk to each other. The Notebook too. Take it from someone who's married here.

      We can argue digital over film all day (I usually prefer film too, but it doesn't bother me here), but that's beside the point.

      The cinematography is amazing, the lighting is fantastic, the editing nothing breathtaking I'll admit but aside from that one time it gets the job done. In terms of technical filmmaking, the film succeeds in almost every regard. It's few flaws are those shared with the rest of the Saga.

      It's no Citizen Kane. I can name a lot of films that are better made, but few of them are Science Fantasy and none of them are Star Wars.

    2. Really? In what way is the cinematography (which includes things such as the positioning of the camera, the depth of focus, how the light hits the actors, the coloring of the scene, use of filters, etc.) "amazing"? How do the choices made in cinematography, lighting, acting guidance, set (well, CGI set) design, and blocking help to advance the storytelling in the best and most nuanced way possible and actively make the film visually compelling?

      I was thinking to myself earlier that the script for AOTC is actually not on the face of it much worse than the one for Star Wars, but it's the direction that totally lets it down. If handled by someone like, I don't know, Paul Thomas Anderson or something (weird example, I've just got Punch Drunk Love on my mind right now) it could actually be fairly brilliant but as is it's close to amateurish.

    3. Clearly we're watching two very different movies here.

      The SW-related authors in my blogroll have already explained it better than I ever could. I have neither the time or patience to go through the film scene by scene for a third time right now. I barely got this done on time.

    4. Allright, well, it's about time I offered my analysis of the direction since it's been conspicuously absent in our previous discussions. Later today I'll pull up a random segment of the film and take a look at the dialogue scenes to explain what I mean.

    5. Well, finished it up but it ended up being much longer than I anticipated, post!

    6. This is how this debate sounds to me.

      You: It's bad because it's pink.

      Me: What's wrong with pink?

      You: It should be blue. Blue is clearly better.

      Me: But it's not supposed to be blue. This was clearly meant to be pink, and it's a very well-done pink.

      You: But its brothers are Blue, and they were awesome.

      Me: No, they were clearly pink. They may have had flecks of blue, but it's predominantly pink. If you're really looking for blue in this one, I see some flecks over in this corner...

      You: I don't see it. It's not there.

      Me: *eye twitch*

  2. Oh no, there are still people trying to tell others how every single person on earth behaves in love......certainly they're all unable to just admit their love in the moment when it might count the most....but well, let's forget that.

    I love Anakin's character a lot in that movie. I really feel for me. I mean, ten years later he's still a slave (of the Jedi) in some regard who is not allowed to even free and save his mother. That must be highly frustrating.
    He finds this love in his life and is not allowed to be with her. He has to accept a terrible loss.
    It's tragic.

    I've considered AOTC Lucas' best directing on Star Wars for some time too. Every single images tells more than a thousand of words. There is a lot of symbolism, just thinkg of shadow-Vader, Yin/Yang or the love pledge.

    I've also always loved the thematic correlation between THX 1138 and Kamino. They're visually reminiscent of each other but also thematically. The clones' emotions are restrained, they're created to "work" without having a free will.
    I love how Lucas referenced THX 1138 visually as if he wanted to say: "If you're interested in a deeper analysis of that matter, watch THX 1138".

    I think the only little weak point is the editing. While there are plenty of excellent transitions, it feels eneven in some parts for me.

    But that's a minor issua if I look at the wonderfully melacholic ending montage with the beginnig of the war and a fateful couple. You really get a sense of doom here.

    AOTC was certainly my least PT film for many years, but it was become my absolute favourite within the last year.
    It's brilliant.

    1. I've no doubt there are probably some people in the corners of the Earth that act this way in love, but here it's just weak writing. It's Romeo and Juliet with narrative contrivances instead of actual reasons and outright creepy behavior being treated as somehow romantic. I could accept a lot of readings of these scenes (and indeed if directed properly they could give way to a lot of complexities) but the film expressly treats the plot as 'destined star-crossed lovers' and nothing more than that.

    2. They were directed properly. Again, people in love ALWAYS ACT THIS WAY to some degree whether they realize it or not. Your brain shuts off ans makes your mouth run. If you had been in love, you'd know.

      "How I Met Your Mother" describes it as the "Dobbler/Dahmer effect," where the only difference between whether the object of your desire sees your courtship as sweet or scary depends entirely on reciprocal feeling, as there's little difference in the actual action.

    3. "you had been in love, you'd know."

      Thanks for that assumption.

    4. Well, then you should know. If you're in a long term relationship and you truly care deeply for the other person, make notes on the kinds of things that come out of your mouth when you aren't thinking about it.

    5. The thing is that I'd be able to accept the idea that both of them act this way due to immense attraction for each other except that we never clearly see why it is Padme likes Anakin in the first place. He's consistently jerkish and dangerously unpredictable (speaking as someone who used to suffer from depression and accidentally unloaded it on someone who did care very deeply about me, that shit doesn't get you girlfriends) and we don't really see their relationship develop stably enough that we can believe in her handling moments like the breakdown after the Sandpeople massacre (she's also very passive in the film, which I find rather odd).

      To take a film I mentioned above, Punch Drunk Love's protagonist has legitimate mental issues and a sever anger management problem, but we're able to see enough reasons as to why Watson's character likes him that makes the later development of the film absolutely believable. We don't see this enough with Padme, which makes a lot of it fall apart for me.

    6. Well, Padme has been in the emotionally clouded world of politics so long, that Anakin's lack of filter must seem a breath of fresh air to her. The fact that he's also something of a broken bird might inspire her to want to care for him - that kind of thing can start as many relationships as it ends.

    7. Perhaps, I don't think that's really enough to explain her relatively calm reaction to him massacring an entire tribe of people.

    8. After what they did and what the locals think of them? I'm sure she was disquieted, but it was overridden by the person she cared about being in deep turmoil from a number of sources including, yes, guilt for what he did.

    9. You have to remember that the sand people kidnapped and totured Shimi, killed and mamed the 40 farmers that tried to rescure her. Plus the fact that the sand children would grow up to be killers as well. They deserved to be punished for what they did, which doesn't completely excuse Anakin revenge. It's supposed to be pretty grey.

    10. Whoah, now. No matter what atrocities people commit I don't think genocide is *ever* the answer. Anakin's actions in the film are framed pretty explicitly that he overreacted and let the darkness take over within him.

    11. That's true, but all Padme knows is what she's been told about them, which is that they're basically vicious beasts. It's not right, but it is understandable.

  3. When people say to me that AOTC is their least favorite of the saga the main reason is that ATOC "takes itself way too seriously". I understand why; TPM and ANH take themselves seriously and still have fun with themselves, same thing with ROTJ, even ESB and ROTS whiich were the darkest of their respective triloges and still manged to have fun with themslves. ATOC seems to not have that as much as the others (in fact this was the only Star Wars movie the late Roger Ebert gave a negative for). I still love all the Star Wars films very equally and I can't pick out which I like above the others.

    1. Except Clones has fun with itself in a number of ways. Empire takes itself the most seriously.

    2. I agree, it is why the silly space slug scene just doesn't fit that well with TESB's tone.

    3. I know, the Courscant chase, Jango vs, Obi-Wan, the Jedi battle, the factory sequence, Yoda vs Dooku, ATOC is full of fun moments, but think it's the love story and the politics that discourage the average viewers.

    4. Which would be a shame, since both are done spectacularly.

  4. Mr. Nilbog, as a woman let me speak up for you. I fell in love with Anakin when I first saw "Attack of the Clones" in theaters because Hayden Christensen was sooo handsome to me. People always get this crazy idea that women aren't as easily swayed by looks as men are. This is false. Women can be as easily trapped by a pretty face as a man can. That's why in the justice system, there's the issue of "courtroom crushes"-women jurors and spectators whose judgements are clouded by the perceived attractiveness of the men on trial. I'm not saying that Anakin is a criminal but since Padme had never been in love before, let alone never had a man praise her beauty before, it got to her. As to her lack of shock at Anakin's slaughter of the Tusken Raiders, let's also remember that Leia followed in her mother's footsteps by nearly allowing Chewie to kill Lando for betraying Han, yet forgetting that the Empire could have destroyed Bespin if Lando hadn't cooperated with them. Her attraction to Han made her forget about what the Empire did to Alderaan.

    1. Those are some great points. I suspected as much.

    2. When I finally bought all six films on DVD for Star Wars Day, and viewed the entire saga, I saw how Luke and Leia were close to making the same mistakes their parents made but were lucky enough not to succeed (let's also remember that they when they were introduced to us, they were much older than Anakin and Padme). To me the Star Wars saga is Lucas' observations about the baby boomer generation ("Like Father, Like Son, Like Hell")

    3. There's that balance between fate and free will. God thèse movies are so brilliant it's easy to forget they're silly space movies for kids.

  5. Every time I watch AOTC, the more I like it. It is a film that really grows on you with each viewing.

    BTW I found Anakin and Padme to be less cornny than Han and Leia were.

    1. All the Star Wars movies take multiple viewings to see the true depth and nuance. People just didn't seem to want to give I-III that chance.

      The romances are really two flavors for different preferences. I prefer this one hands down.