Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones

The Coarse, Rough, and Irritating Second Entry


After the controversial start of the new trilogy, fans were nervously excited for the next step in the descent of Anakin Skywalker’s journey into the infamous dark lord of the sith, Darth Vader. The championed visionary of the Star Wars universe, George Lucas, set out to make a film that follows Anakin dealing with his own emotions and journey as a Jedi Padawan. However, this film suffers from the same faults that plagued the first outing in the infamous prequel trilogy, painfully bogged by a boring plot and characters that severely lack chemistry. As a preface, it must be stated that this is my least my favorite movie in the saga, so there won’t be any welcome surprises with my review of Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones.

With most of the cast from returning from the previous entry in the saga, with the notable exception of Jake Llyod due to a time jump in the story, the chronicles of Anakin Skywalker’s time as a Jedi trainee would continue through actor Hayden Christensen. Notable veterans of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace include Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Samuel L. Jackson, Ian McDiarmid, Ahmed Best, and the villainous newcomer, the late Christopher Lee. The 2002 release received a much more critical response than its predecessor, rightfully so (in my opinion), called out for many of the same flaws as its earlier entry in the saga.

Set ten years after Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman), with her term over as Queen of Naboo and now instated as the planet’s senator, is nearly assassinated after an attempt on her life by mysterious bounty hunters. As a result, the Jedi council enlists the help of Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and his unruly Padawan Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) to protect the senator. As the war between the separatists and the republic rages on, Obi-Wan Kenobi leaves his Padawan and the senator to investigate a secretive army engineered by the Kaminoans, the titular clone army. During his investigations, Obi-Wan becomes entangled in the sinister plot of ex-Jedi Master Count Dooku (Christopher Lee), now known as Darth Tyranus. Meanwhile, Anakin and Padmé engage in a painfully written romance that lacks any chemistry to feel real, awkwardly acted by both Christensen and Portman. Famously introduced into this entry is Jango Fett, played by Temuera Morrison, father of Boba Fett, becomes the central figurehead of the clone army. While the schememing between the separatists and the republic ensues, the newly elected Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) orchestrates the odds in his favor, slowly plotting the growth of his future empire under the title Darth Sidious.

As stated earlier, Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones suffers from the detriments of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, such as a slow, monotonous plot, outdated CGI, and dialogue that would later become the painstaking trademark of this trilogy, and the saga, from a certain point of view. The CGI in this film is atrociously terrible, at least by today’s standards, which detracts from the series’ well-known immersion through the use of practical effects. This poorly aged use of the computer-generated imagery is evident throughout a chase sequence in the beginning of the film, which felt like a cutscene from a Playstation 2 game. In contrast, Williams’ music is beautifully used throughout the film, the standout track easily being the love theme for Padmé and Anakin, “Across the Stars”. Another highlight is the film’s use of Ian McDiarmid’s Chancellor Palpatine, who brilliantly manipulates every move on both sides of the galactic war.

Even with great production design and basic ideas for character that could’ve been invigorating for the audience, the execution is less than ideal. A key example is within the lightsaber duels of this film, which reach a boring level absurdity and overuse. With the lightsabers being used nearly in every scene with a jedi or sith, the power and magic of the visually striking weapon is detracted as film goes on. Among the plethora of negatives, there is a standout scene, that being the glimpse of darkness seen in Anakin as he commits an irredeemable act. Christensen, against popular belief, is not an inherently terrible actor, which is showcased in his massacre against the sand people, as well as this film’s sequel, Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. Even with this moment of pure instinct and aggression, the film remains my least favorite of the Star Wars franchise, earning its rating of 4/10. Do you agree with my review? Comment below and let me know what you think of Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones. Be sure to follow my Star Wars film review series as we near the end of the Skywalker saga with Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker!