||In Episode II, Yoda shows fools
the bitch-end of the force!
Art by Daniel
Click graphic for larger version.
Christensen, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Samuel L. Jackson and Christopher
Directed by George Lucas
ANTHONY GIVES AWAY PRETTY MUCH EVERY SINGLE PLOT POINT TO "ATTACK
OF THE CLONES." IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN IT, READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!!!
After three long years, and,
in this reporter’s opinion, a good but imperfect first episode in the
Star Wars saga, the magic that George Lucas captured in the original
"Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope" has been rekindled.
Not that the film is faultless.
You won’t find Oscar winning performances, Shakespearean dialogue, or
complicated treatises on the alienation of the American Housewife.
What you will find is a kickass
summer blockbuster, and, as some folks are saying, the best Star Wars
Therein lies the charm of
"Attack of the Clones."
The story itself hearkens
back to a simpler time in America. A time when you could turn on the
television or go to the theater and thrill to the adventures of brave
men with rocket backpacks saving beautiful princesses from space pirates
and nefarious villains.
These are the stories near
and dear to the heart of many a boomer, even inspiring one George Lucas
of Modesto, California to create what is arguably the most important
and successful film series in the history of American cinema.
In Episode Two, we find erstwhile
Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi in the center of a conspiracy involving assassination
of public officials, which leads to an investigation which all too quickly
makes Obi-wan a sort of intergalactic “Sam Spade.”
Old Ben Kenobi’s sleuthing
leads him to the planet Kamino, home to a race of “cloners”, beings
who create clones for the highest bidder. The plot unfolds dramatically
as he discovers that the clones were created for the Republic itself,
thus exposing the most important element yet in the saga of a galaxy
This may be Obi-Wan’s story,
but we certainly cannot forget the importance of “the chosen one”, Anakin
Skywalker, the brash, arrogant, headstrong apprentice of Obi-Wan, and,
as many of the Jedi council believe, the fulfillment of prophecy.
Hayden Christensen gives
what I believe to be the strongest performance yet of any actor in a
Star Wars film, as Anakin, the boy who would be Darth Vader.
He is, like any young adult,
conflicted, troubled, and confused. Taken as a young boy from his beloved
mother Shmi (what a name!) to a council of arrogant aesthetes in the
form of the Jedi Council, he is told that he would not be able to fulfill
his dreams of being a Jedi Knight. He is then granted padawan status
under the tutelage of Obi-Wan only when Obi-Wan makes his defiance of
the council’s wishes and his promise to his master Qui-Gon Jinn all
Imagine being told that you
were possibly the most important person in the galaxy, that an entire
religious order is counting on you to make things right for the cause,
that you were the fulfillment of ancient prophecy, and then answer me
this: How would you deal with it?
This whole point is the crux
of the entire saga.
Anakin Skywalker as Mahdi,
Christ, and Shiva all rolled into one.
The ability to do one’s duty,
to follow the path of one’s fate, though that fate may lie upon the
road of destruction and misery, and to willingly accept all of the consequences
entailed in this metaphysical rite of passage.
The thing is, Anakin does
not realize this. He is simply a young man with extraordinary powers
and a willingness to serve, to do good, and to do right by his master.
The young and fetching Senator
Padme Amidala presents the first of many obstacles for our intrepid
young hero, as Anakin is ordered to guard her after an attempt to take
her life fails when her double, Corde’, is killed in her place.
It all comes down to the
two of them when they are ordered to Padme’s planet of Naboo
in order to safely hide.
The pieces fall into place
as they both fall deeply in love with each other, only to have to deny
said love in order to do their respective duties.
Many movie critics, as well
as real people, have voiced their displeasure at the handling
of the romance in the film. I have heard such things as “It slows down
the plot”, “The dialogue is stilted”, “I hate romance because I am a
fat, ugly nerd with no social life save those friends I made during
my six months in line waiting for this movie I am bitching about”, and
many other comments.
Did I like it? Yeah, kinda.
It was, admittedly, sort of corny in dialogue department, but we must
remember that these are two young people in love. Young people really
do act like that when they are in love. Do we really need to make it
more like a Showtime After Hours movie?
But I digress.
To make a long story short
and complicated, Anakin has a bad dream about his mommy, he defies (Shocking!!)
the Jedi Council when he travels to Tatooine to find her, then has the
great displeasure of finding her already dying in the clutches of a
Tusken Raider encampment. (Note that he meets Owen Lars, his stepbrother,
his girly friend Beru, and Owens pappy Clieg before this happens.)
Shmi dies, and our boy Anakin
loses it. What happens next I will leave to your imagination and not
spoil for those whom have yet to see it, but I will say that we finally
(!) get to see glimpses of Anakin’s ultimate descent into fear, anger,
hate and suffering.
In a word. The Dark Side!
Meanwhile, our man incognito,
Obi-Wan Kenobi, gets in a fight with the fella who was copied to be
used for the clones, one Jango Fett (love that name), galactic bounty
hunter and doting father to some kid named Boba.
Jango escapes; Obi-Wan follows
in close pursuit, to the planet Geonosis, where he discovers something
nasty: A scheming Count by the name of Dooku (FUCKING CHRISTOPHER LEE,
GODDAMMIT!!!!!) is chatting up a bunch of intergalactic businessmen
and bankers, gettin’ ‘em all hot and bothered about their little plan
to secede from the Republic and form their own government.
Our Master Sleuth Jedi informs
Yoda and Mace Windu of these sinister doin’s, but is quickly captured
and is interrogated by Count Dooku.
I can’t say enough about
Christopher Lee in this movie. He is one of my favorite actors of all
time, and the delicious irony of his character being a Count only makes
it that much more fun.
Count Dooku informs our hero
that not only have the dreaded Sith, or for expediency,” Dark Jedi”
returned from exile, but a Dark Lord of the Sith is actively in control
of the Republic through influence of The Galactic Senate.
We then get the familiar
“Join me, and we can end this now” speech once used by Darth Vader against
his son in Return of The Jedi.
Of course, Obi-Wan refuses,
and thus the final set piece is set into motion.
After the burial of his mother,
Anakin and Padme travel to Geonosis to “rescue” Obi-Wan, only to be
captured themselves. They then are prepared to be eaten by various ugly
beasts, Padme finally confesses her love to Anakin, and the real action
begins! (No, not THAT kind of action!)
Things go well for our heroes,
as they ably dispatch the wretched monsters meant to eat them, and for
a time, things are looking up for the good guys.
In what has to be the most
memorable finale in a movie this summer, a whole shitload of Jedi Knights
join the battle. The battle ensues, with great losses on both sides.
So, there’s a standoff, and
things look grim.
In comes the Cavalry, commanded
by none less than Jedi Master Yoda, fool!!
The surviving Jedi are lifted
to safety, and the major ground battle begins.
I must admit that I quite
enjoyed the fact that we get to see Yoda in command of what becomes
the Stormtroopers, as the Republic wages war for it’s very existence
in a spectacle never before witnessed on the silver screen.
On to the finale, as Anakin
and Obi-Wan meet their match in the powerful and charismatic Count Dooku.
They definitely saved the
best for last though, as we see the shadow of a familiar short pointy-eared
fellow enter the scene. The crowd absolutely went nuts when they figured
out it was Yoda, about to kick some Sith ass.
They have a force showdown
of sorts, which was fun, but not what we were meant to go apeshit over.
I ain’t lying when I tell
you that Yoda puts the smackdown on that old fool Dooku. This has to
be the SINGLE GREATEST STAR WARS MOMENT EVER!!!!
Kudos to ILM for making what
could have been strange and silly something spectacular and wondrous.
So Yoda saves the day, Anakin
loses half an arm, but gains a wife, and our buddy the venerable and
selfless Chancellor Palpatine is voted emergency powers to fight the
I almost forgot. You know
who proposes these emergency powers in the Senate?
“Meesa no sayin!”