May 31, 2002
I dont remember actually seeing Star Wars for the first time, though it must have been soon after my find. I remember HBO playing it again and again in those early days of cable. I learned the lines to the movie by heart. I fell in love with George Lucas universe, which simultaneously combined every little boys favorite fantasies: fast vehicles, spaceships, the Knights of the Round Table, guns, robots.
And so it is that I went into Attack of the Clones, perched at the edge of 30 (sigh) but still able to conjure the wide-eyed fantasies of my inner child.
I am not an objective reviewer. A 12-inch talking Darth Vader doll and Darth Maul action figure/drink cup (from that Taco Bell promotion) guard my desk. Boxes of the original toys sit in my closet. I listen to John Williams "Battle of Yavin" piece when I want to get inspired and get chills at the same time. Im listening to it as I write this.
So, Im forgiving of Lucas. I tried my best to defend The Phantom Menace as a sort of introduction, and I enjoyed most of Attack of the Clones. Most of it. And I saw ways it could have been much, much better. Yeah, I know: Its Georges universe, and what I think isnt important.
If you believe that, look at Boba Fett: an incompetent bounty hunter whose only success was guessing how Han Solo would escape from a star destroyer. Seriously go back and check the movies if you dont believe me. And yet the guy had so many fans that George inserted him into the Star Wars Special Edition and Episode II.
I think whats most missing is the audience surrogate. The original trilogy had multiple surrogates, most notably Han the unbeliever, to whom everything had to be shown, and Luke the inexperienced, who was learning as the audience did. Attack of the Clones (and even The Phantom Menace) are populated by true-believers who take their universe in stride. Hell, Watto even mouths off to Jedi master Qui-Gonn in Episode 1. No big whoop. Except that it is, to us.
Beyond that, the love story is paced slowly. I honestly expected it would pick up intensity to match Obi-Wans storyline, culminating in stormy consummation a while Obi-Wan fought Jango Fett. You know, ratchet up the stakes for both plots. Instead, I found my mind wandering during the "romance" scenes and then snapping back to the movie for Kenobi.
I did understand where they were going with Anakins whining. Hes 16! Hayden Christensens performance has gotten a lot of flack, but come on, I know I was a whiny-ass bastard at 16. Most of yall were, too. I just wish wed been able to see the fury take over when he tore apart the Sandpeople. Instead, Lucas pulls his punches. We should be horrified at our heros actions, but they lose impact when they go unseen. Episode III had better take an abruptly dark turn to reflect Vaders character. It has to be dark no matter what I look forward to that.
Dont agree with me? Tell it to me in the forums. Otherwise, Ill be over here playing Jedi Knight II.
(C) 1998-2002 ESC