If somebody tells you that your long-dead colleague ordered the creation of a clone army after the time of his death, and you say that can’t possibly be true and find the situation suspicious, why would you then proceed to enlist said clone army to help you?
That is the question that hangs over my head when I watch Episode II: Attack of the Clones. I also wonder why the movie is called Attack of the Clones, considering the clone army only shows up at the very end to defend the good guys.
Once my favorite of the prequels, my feelings toward Episode II changed back in 2015 when I watched it to prepare for The Force Awakens and hated it. Same story when I revisited it before The Last Jedi. Maybe it was because the wife and I started it right after finishing the abysmal Episode I, but hey this time around it wasn’t THAT bad.
I still don’t get the whole clone army thing, though. It seems obvious that this is some kind of nefarious plot, yet the Jedi fall for it. While looking for the person who tried to kill Padme, Obi-Wan discovers the existence of a clone army that is based on said person, bounty hunter Jango Fett.
Obi-Wan tells Sam Jackson and Yoda that the clone army was commissioned by Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas ten years prior. Only problem there is Obi-Wan is under the impression that Sifo-Dyas died more than ten years ago. Mace Windu and Yoda say nothing to refute that, only remarking whoever did this acted without the Jedi Council’s approval. Fett goes on to say that he has never heard of Sifo-Dyas, rather he was recruited by a man named Tyrannus.
I’m thinking of three words right now: RED FUCKING FLAGS.
It seems like next steps are clear:
- Bring Jango Fett in for questioning.
- Determine if Sifo-Dyas really died more than ten years ago.
- Investigate the existence of Tyrannus, who apparently knew of Sifo-Dyas’ plot to create a clone army and enlisted a bounty hunter, who would go on to attempt to assassinate one of the Republic’s most important Senators, as the basis.
- Do nothing with the clone army because this is sketch to the max.
To Obi-Wan’s credit, he does attempt to bring Jango in, but he gets his ass handed to him in their fight. After he fails to capture Fett, he follows him to Geonosis and gets a lot of juicy details about the evil machinations at work in the galaxy. Concerning, though, is that during all of this Yoda just says “fuck it” and decides to check out the clones, enlisting them into the war with the Separatists.
I’m sorry, what? Jango Fett tries to kill Padme, is discovered to be the template of a clone army that was commissioned by a Jedi Master who is understood to have died before he could have ever requested such an army, was hired to be the template by somebody the Council has never heard of, and then goes to a planet where all of the major Separatist personnel are hanging out. But this army he helped with is ready to be used!
Guys, I’m not a military strategist by any means, but all of this seems really fishy to me. It’s even weirder since Mace Windu and Yoda both seem to find the creation of the clone troopers to be pretty odd, but everybody just jumps on board with the war effort without further questions after Obi-Wan is taken captive while pursuing Jango Fett.
Is the intention to show that the Jedi Order is so shitty and they’re so done with being the Republic’s police force that they will use any solution on the table to rid themselves of that burden? Because if so, that is an interesting look at how maybe the Jedi are not as wonderful as they want people to believe.
But alas, this is a Star Wars prequel so there is no real explanation. And I don’t give a crap about Sifo-Dyas being fleshed out more in The Clone Wars cartoon or something. The mark of a successful movie series is being able to tell your story without having people go watch a ton of outside content to get it. That is why All Elite Wrestling falls short as competition to WWE right now, because they assume that I will watch different Youtube series to understand more of what happens on their weekly programming. No, I will not go do more research because you cannot effectively tell your story in two hours.
Aside from that gaping plot crater, Attack of the Clones is fine to watch. Alas, this is a Star Wars prequel so of course there are some really stupid things, though. The Anakin-Padme love story is supposed to be, I think, this epic and sweeping tale of forbidden romance. It fails to tug at the heart strings like Before Sunrise or something, instead coming across horrendously thanks to some historically bad dialogue and acting. Frolicking in a field while Anakin muses on how sweet a dictatorship would be does not give me the warm and fuzzies.
Maybe Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman can act, but you would not know it from these movies. Anakin yelling and crying is supposed to be powerful and emotional yet somehow brings a smile to my face and a hearty laugh from my belly. What does not make me laugh, however, is how perverted and rapey Anakin acts toward Padme. It’s weird, and how she gets swept away by it is weird.
Again, way too much CGI. Everything in these prequels looks so phony and has aged poorly – the droid factory scene is a perfect example. Another big issue is that George Lucas and horrible reaction shots are the most iconic duo in all of Star Wars – the scene where Sam Jackson kills Jango Fett looks like it belongs in a Syfy movie.
One other issue, albeit a minor one, is the opening of the movie. Padme has another body double in this movie, and this one gets blown the fuck up. As Corde dies in Padme’s arms, she says, “I failed you, Senator.” Um, what? How did you fail by somebody else killing you?
But honestly I had fun watching this. I think the whole chase with Obi-Wan and Anakin trying to catch Zam Wesell is cool. I like Anakin starting to turn toward the dark side by slaughtering all the Tusken raiders. Finally seeing all of the Jedi Knights teaming up is kind of neat. Christopher Lee is the man. Yoda using a lightsaber is preposterous but it’s fun to laugh about.
What makes Episode II such an improvement over the first one is that it feels like the events in this movie actually advance the plot of the prequel trilogy and the series overall. Episode I just felt like some Star Wars-themed stuff thrown together to show you that Anakin Skywalker was a little kid once.
The biggest issue with this movie is that every time cool stuff happens, completely uncool things happen to balance things out. Whatever George Lucas finds funny, or thinks kids would find funny, is not funny at all. And the dialogue is big yikes.
My final verdict is that Episode II is meh. It kind of sucks, but it isn’t that bad. Aside from the fact the clone army becoming the Republic Army is terrifying and exposes the Jedi to their future demise for no reason other than they are all idiots and never took five minutes to think about the situation.