Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002) Review

Director: George Lucas

Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Science-Fiction

Runtime: 142 minutes

MPAA Rating: PG

IMDb Page

While Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999) was basically The George Lucas Show, things get reined in just a tad for its sequel, Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones. This one’s about Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) investigating assassination attempts on the life of Padmé (Natalie Portman), which could lead to galaxy-wide war. This is the weakest entry into the Star Wars prequel trilogy, but it’s not so bad when viewed as a standalone movie.

The primary flaws with Attack of the Clones, as everybody will tell you, are its atrocious, chemistry-free romance scenes. You might just find yourself having to avert your eyes from the screen due to how awkward and bizarre they are. Many of the characters who first appeared in the original trilogy are damaged here. What the filmmakers did to Yoda (Frank Oz) was a disgrace, and the mystique of bounty hunter Boba Fett (Daniel Logan here) was ruined (if you consider the film an actual part of Star Wars canon, that is). Of course, Anakin Skywalker gets the worst of it, being turned into a creepy, bratty, whiny, literally genocidal maniac who is far from being a “good friend” of Obi-Wan Kenobi.

The best aspect of Attack of the Clones is John Williams’ musical score. It does most of the heavy lifting in the picture and the majestic love theme, “Across the Stars,” shouldn’t have been wasted on such a dismal onscreen couple. The flick excels at world-building, breathing life into all of the unique worlds the characters encounter. The high-octane action scenes (while reliant on oft-dated computer-generated effects) are eye-popping, and the extended, battle-heavy climax makes up for all of the embarrassing romance scenes that preceded it.

Like The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones has to be viewed as non-canon to get much out of it. The entire prequel trilogy detracts from the original trilogy, but, when considered a completely different franchise, they make for satisfying, yet quirky, entertainment. Well, if you can survive the love story, that is.

My rating is 8 outta 10.

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