The clone army was a bad idea
Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones Review
At first glance, Episode 2 seems to be doing everything right. The incoherence of Episode 1 has given way to a consistent tone of voice throughout. Jar-Jar and annoying child actors are mostly absent. There is clearly a greater focus on character development than in the predecessor. The film should be a massive step forward - so why is it only marginally better in the end?
First I wanted to praise the positive aspects of the film, but it struck me that the main problem lies here: almost everything that he does right is countered directly by something that doesn't work. Let's take the first major action sequence, a chase in a flying car through the urban canyons of Coruscant. On the one hand, the scene is quite creative and even exciting, but at the same time it suffers from the fact that the heroes never seem to be in real danger - falls over a hundred meters are simply put away as if there was nothing, real tension does not build up. The following scene has similar problems: the Jedis are looking for an assassin in a chic bar. This one is a shapeshifter, so she could be hiding anywhere. So we have a very interesting initial situation ... which nothing is made of. The assassin never transforms, but instead simply tries to shoot Obi-Wan in the back in front of everyone. Good idea, messed up execution, that describes a lot in episode 2.
Trailer for Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones
Unfortunately, the plot also falls into this category: After Padme was almost murdered twice, she is brought to safety in Naboo with Anakin as a bodyguard. Meanwhile, Obi-Wan tries to find the people behind the attacks and discovers the mysterious clone army, while Palpatine is expanding his power in the background. Basically not a bad starting situation, apart from one problem: Obi-Wan and Anakin spend most of the film separately, the focus is clearly on the romance between Anakin and Padme. Which would be perfectly fine if this worked, but that aspect of the film is definitely its biggest weakness. The affair of the two is not credible for a second, Anakin looks either like a murderous stalker or like a whining child and Padme reacts to his admission that he murdered an entire tribe of sand nomads only with "To be angry is to be human. ”Apparently, mass murder is not a big problem in this regard. And when the two exchange romantic phrases in front of an open fireplace, the dialogue is so stilted that nothing happens except for a few involuntary laughs.
The Obi-Wan plot is better because, at least in the beginning, it builds up an interesting mystery about the clone army and the bounty hunter Jango Fett. Some character moments - like a verbal confrontation between Jango and Obi-Wan and an interrogation by Count Dooku - work pleasantly well and even if the action scenes suffer from badly aged effects, they are well integrated into the plot. That changes in the end when the film mutates into a non-stop action orgy. After a scene, apparently inserted at the last second, in which Anakin and Padme flee through a factory, we get heroes against monsters, Jedis against droids, clones against droids, Jedis against Dooku and Yoda against Dooku without any real breathing space, a lot of it seems like action for the action's sake and gets pretty tired after a while. That the once so mystical power degenerates into a gimmick when Obi-Wan fends off lightning with his lightsaber doesn't help either.
The politics part of the film is more in the background, which is probably a good idea as it falls apart quickly on closer inspection. Palpatine's plan to seize power only works because Padme inexplicably makes Jar Jar her deputy, and the fact that the Galactic Republic does not have its own army is quite absurd. It can be argued that the Jedis played this role, but Mace Windu himself explains that these are not soldiers, and in a galaxy where one can easily create hordes of combat robots from the ground, at least an emergency plan should be in place. The fact that the “random” clones are accepted at exactly the right time from the nowhere appearing clones without real objections also makes no one look really good - not even Palpatine, who apparently could have done without politics and simply conquered the galaxy with robotic and clone troops.
Ultimately, the biggest disappointment is Anakin's development. The film clearly tries to establish him as a tragic character, driven to the dark side by love and strokes of fate, but his relationship with Padme, as mentioned, is absolutely implausible and that he is a friend of Obi-Wan's, as well as a familiar Palpatines, becomes the viewer said, but never really shown. This is a big problem because in the end the prequels are supposed to tell his story, but we are not offered anything that makes him likeable or even interesting. And the film depicts his mass murder (including children) as a forgivable dropout when it should actually mark his clear change to the dark side. Episode 3 is indirectly damaged at the same time, because the character has to be rebooted there.
That makes episode 2 a frustrating experience. The chaos of episode 1 is over, you can clearly see what the filmmaker's goal was: a character study of the future Darth Vader, paired with a political thriller about a - in the truest sense of the word - fabricated war. But the unsuccessful execution almost destroys the progress, if one part of the film hardly works and one only halfway, any goodwill built up at the beginning is quickly lost. Somewhere here is the seed of a good movie - it's a shame it didn't come up properly.
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