Star Wars: Episode 2 – Attack of the Clones

Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman, and Ewan McGregor in Star Wars: Episode 2 - Attack of the Clones.

Star Wars: Episode 2 – Attack of the Clones has the hard part of setting up much of the next film in the trilogy but was terrible in execution.

This film had a few things to do.  One is setting up the relationship between Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) and Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman).  The second is coming up with the origins of the Clone Wars, where Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) fought alongside Skywalker.  At some point or another, Skywalker must start his turn towards the dark side.  We see just a brief glimpse of this after Anakin’s mom dies.  Those poor Tusken Raiders had to die so that Skywalker could eventually become Darth Vader.

While Anakin is off protecting Senator Amidala, Obi-Wan Kenobi has gone off to Kamino, home of the cloners.  This is where he discovers that an order of clones was being produced for the Republic.  Their genetic template is none other than Jango Fett (Temuera Morrison).  If this name sounds familiar, it’s because Jango’s 100% genetic son is Boba Fett.  You’ll probably want to remember that name for one reason or another.  He’ll also learn from what happened in the asteroid field because the same moves were made later in The Empire Strikes Back.

Everything comes to a climax on Geonosis where the Separatists, led by Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) have made their base.  They have grand plans for the Republic–that is, if the Jedi prevent them from advancing.  For a lot of storytelling to make sense between the end of this film and the start of Revenge of the Sith, it’ll be a good idea to watch The Clone Wars on Disney+.  In fact, it’s going to be on my agenda shortly after The Rise of Skywalker is released.

It’s hard to look at Palpatine’s rise to power by way of emergency powers without thinking of world history.  There’s also some foreshadowing in how it happens.  Here’s the menace in charge of the Galactic Senate but not even the people close to him know how dangerous he really is.

This isn’t to say that the film is fully redeemable because there are some good things that do take place.  We get some exciting speeder chases on Coruscant.  There’s also the climactic battle on Geonosis which features some of the great action that we’ve come to love about the Star Wars saga.  Unfortunately, the action on Geonosis isn’t enough to save the film.  There’s not enough of the charm that we saw in the original trilogy.

Musically, this is a film that gives us another memorable tune from John Williams in “Across the Stars.”  Not surprisingly, we get a hint of things to come when “The Imperial March” makes a return late in the film.

It’s hard to say where the problems lie in Attack of the Clones.  For one, there’s the script written by George Lucas and Jonathan Hales.  The second is the acting by Hayden Christensen.  Christensen’s acting comes off as forced even when Anakin Skywalker is displaying angst.

For all of its faults, Attack of the Clones showcases the impressive technology that would help pave the way for a new era.  When it comes to digital filmmaking, George Lucas is an innovator.  He may not always write the best dialogue but he’s certainly innovative when it comes to the digital world.

While the film tries its best, Star Wars: Episode 2 – Attack of the Clones is the worst film in the entire saga.

DIRECTOR: George Lucas
SCREENWRITERS:  George Lucas and Jonathan Hales
CAST:  Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Ian McDiarmid, Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Lee, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Frank Oz

20th Century Fox opened Star Wars: Episode 2 – Attack of the Clones in theaters on May 16, 2002. Grade: 2.5/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.