While the prequel movies for Star Wars are often considered the “black sheep” of the franchise, there are some things about each movie that make them great. Since we have already taken a look at the things that make Episode 1 great, let us now examine Star Wars Episode 2 with greater appreciation. For Episode 2: Attack of the Clones is indeed a vital part of the Star Wars world. These are some of the things that make it so important.
It’s been ten years since young Anakin Skywalker was accepted into Jedi training. Amidst the political strife Count Dooku has caused, the Galactic Republic is attempting to hold on to what control they have left. Meanwhile, after an assassination attempt on Padme’s life, Anakin and his mentor Obi-Wan are assigned to protect her and investigate who tried to have her killed. It is in this way that the three are drawn into more danger than ever before as the threat of the Clones is discovered. This is the overall main plot – now I will go into the movie in greater detail.
The second prequel movie for the Star Wars franchise, Star Wars: Attack of the Clones was released in 2002. Boasting stars like Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Samuel L. Jackson and even Christopher Lee, George Lucas set up “Attack of the Clones” to be a big hit.
There were clear differences in the story telling aspect of this movie as compared to most of the others. Attack of the Clones was meant to show the changes in the Republic, so much of the movie focuses on political and moral discussions. It also relies a lot on foreshadowing, showing the way that Anakin was slowly changing from the path of a righteous Jedi to a much darker person. In addition, there is the discovery of the Clone army, which brings about several questions of morality. This focus on a much larger picture is something that draws the movie apart from any of the original films. Sure, the original films have larger themes as well. The difference with Attack of the Clones is that these themes are brought more clearly to the light, and made apparent to us.
While some of the politics in Attack of the Clones are monotonous, they are also important to continue the story. Lucas tries to switch between the political discussions and other, more interesting things. Thus we have the love story between Anakin and Padme, Obi-Wan’s chase of the bounty hunter and Anakin’s return to Tattooine spaced out over the course of the movie. I personally appreciate that Lucas formatted the movie this way. It connects all of the separate actions of the characters, and also makes it more believable that everything was happening all at the same time.
One of my personal favorite parts from the film was the arena battle. Padme, Anakin, and Obi-Wan have all been captured by Count Dooku, who chains them to pillars and releases three deadly creatures to kill them for sport. Each member of the trio finds a way to take down their beast, then moves to ride out to freedom. Count Dooku and his allies block their way, and all seems lost until the Jedi show up. It is inspiring to watch a horde of Jedi rushing into battle, especially as during the time of the original movies there was never hope for such a thing. Unfortunately, many Jedi are killed in this fight. Master Yoda and the Clone army come in to save the day, saving the remaining allies.
Another important storyline was that of Anakin returning to Tatooine. Anakin finds that his mother has been taken and is distraught. Although his stepfather tells him that his mother is probably long since dead, Anakin sets off to rescue her. He does manage to reach her, although it is too late. His mother dies in his arms. Here is where we see Anakin change. His anger overflowing, he murders every last one of his mother’s captors. This is where we glimpse the beginnings of the Darth Vader he will become. While it is clear Anakin would not yet hurt the people close to him, we begin to understand that he is struggling a darkness within himself.
Some of the fights that happen near the end of the film are also noteworthy. We get to see Obi-Wan face off with Count Dooku briefly, followed by Anakin. Anakin shows he is a force to be reckoned with for a moment, wielding two lightsabers. Then as Anakin is thrown to the ground next to his mentor and Count Dooku appears to have won, in comes Yoda. Again, the Yoda vs. Dooku fight is one of the more interesting parts of the film. Yoda doesn’t always like to resort to violence, which we see as he attempts to talk to Count Dooku. Only when it is clear that he must does Yoda take up his lightsaber. Even though Yoda is a tiny green alien, he possesses far greater skill than Count Dooku. While some of the CGI here may be cheesy, watching Yoda fight is always enjoyable. He rarely does anything but train others and provide wisdom, so seeing him prove himself here is fans of this Master Jedi should relish. Count Dooku tries to kill Anakin and Obi-Wan by crushing them, which Yoda is forced to stop. Dooku gets away in a nearby spaceship while Yoda is distracted.
Attack of the Clones begins to wrap up, in preparation for the next and last prequel movie, Revenge of the Sith. Anakin and Padme are married, Dooku contacts his Sith lord, and the Jedi have a tenuous control of the Clone army. The original Jango Fett is dead, and we see his son pick up the bounty hunter’s helmet, a clear sign that he will probably be following in his father’s footsteps. The beginning of the Clone Wars has begun.
While a lot of fans love to hate Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, this movie doesn’t truly deserve all of the disdain. The movie is an important part of the Star Wars franchise, setting up for the emergence of Darth Vader and the war to come. While there are some moments of cheesy dialogue, this does not take away from the overall importance of the film. We see the changing mind of Anakin as he struggles to deal with his mother’s death. We see a lot of discussion about morality, especially with the Clone army. We also see some epic fights from the Jedi, both in a group and as individuals. Without the setup from this movie, we would not have been able to understand a lot of the changes in the Star Wars universe to come. I enjoyed Attack of the Clones as a whole and appreciate the movie for what it is – a great addition to the franchise.