Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Attack On "Clones"

Last week, with the recently concluded Star Wars epic much on my mind after two successive posts on the subject, I happened upon a copy of Episode II: Attack of the Clones in the Whetstone libraries DVD section and snapped it up, wanting to see if it was really as bad on a second viewing as I remembered.
The truth is that it had been some years since I had seen Episode II, at a small gathering of some of my then best friend's other friends friends who I sort of knew but weren't really my friends, shortly after the film's initial release on DVD and I really didn't remember it all that well. All I remembered was laughter from the people I was watching the movie with in places that
George Lucas surely did not intend there to be laughter and an impression that I had was seeing perhaps one of the worst films I would ever see in my life. So, foolishly perhaps, I decided to give Episode II another chance.
I realize now that the reason I didn't remember much about the film is that it simply is not at all memorable. The main problem is the so-called love story that is supposedly the heart of the piece. I just didn't buy it. In one of the "making of" featurettes,
Natalie Portman, the actress who played Padme Amidala in the three prequels, allows as how Lucas had never made a love story before. She really didn't have to tell me. It is that obvious. Actually, after watching this clunker, you might think he'd never even been in love before. Which would be sad, if true, for a man his age.
In Episode II, as in
Revenge of the Sith, events happen not because they make sense, but because the story says they have to. Annakin and Padme must fall in love, because Luke and Leia have to cme from somewhere. However, Annakin comes off as such an unlikable jackass here that I had trouble believing that anyone could even like him, much less want to marry him. The romance progresses in a series of cliched scenes borrowed from just about every other romace flick ever shot, up to and including the hackneyed "confession of love just as we think we're about to be killed" bit.
Truthfully, there is not one original idea in evidence here in this movie. Obi-Wan's investigation into assassination attempts on Padme plays like Dragnet in outer space, a concept that was pulled off with far more pinache in a Daffy Duck cartoon over fifty years ago.
I said above that I remember laughter in places where it probably wasn't intended, and there were some places where Lucas was going for laughs but couldn't deliver. The comic relief bits with C3PO reveal the audience that George was really writing the last three movies for, as the 'droid dfelivers a series of obvious puns that no intelligent person over the age of five would be amused by.
Given all that I've just written, I have no idea what possesed me to check out The Phantom Menace just a few moments ago. Perhaps a vain hope, in spite of my experience with Attack of the Clones, that just maybe this one is even slightly better than I remember it being. However, I also scooped up A New Hope, so after I've finally waded through the last of the prequels, I'll reward myself by watching that one.
On Friday, my friend Gabe told me that after viewing the latter day trilogy, he wondered whether the reason he was unimpressed with it was that Lucas had lost his touch or his own tastes had changed, so he went back and watched A New Hope and found himself enjoying it as much as ever. So, as Bill Murray said in Caddyshack, I've got that goin' for me, which is nice.

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