This review contains mild spoilers
The prequel trilogy of Skywalker saga continues and so does our blast from the past. After reminiscing the young Anakin’s rare talent and his dark potential in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999), along with the mood to welcome the release of Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens this December, we’ll be continuing the Skywalker legacy within attack of the clones.
Set a decade after the events of The Phantom Menace, the pre-adult Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) is now a young Jedi. Also an apprentice of now Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), little does he know that the darkness inside him starts to emerge due to some unseen dangers.
Although Anakin is a lightsaber-savvy and an avid spaceship flyer, unfortunately these skills can’t make him a Jedi should be. His lack of emotional control, especially on his mother’s death and his affection to Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman), cracks his heart a darkest hole towards Dark Side. Seemingly an intriguing plot, Episode 2 screws up and delivers the worst chapter instead. Sad, isn’t it?
Instead of being likable, the romantic substance arouses this episode is criticized for stumbling upon cheesy and laughable one liners. Definitely not learning from the failure of The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones is even more deteriorated by the chaotic storytelling and weak performance of leading casts, especially Christensen.
Attack of the Clones
Apparently, Attack of the Clones wants to show us the origin of the Clone Wars previously mentioned by the old Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. But before the wars itself begin, we’re introduced to the mastermind behind this turmoil, Count Dooku (Christopher Lee).
An ex-Jedi Master, Dooku orchestrates a separatist movement which aims the entire solar system leaving Republic, thus makes the remaining Jedi find it very difficult to maintain peace and order in the galaxy. As a solution, a public voting to build an army of Republic is held. During this, we’re introduced to now a senator Padme.
Becoming an important political figure representing her people, Padme’s life starts to be thrilled by danger, especially when she gets assaulted by a mysterious attacker. Furious about the situation, she then visits Jedi temple in Coruscant, demanding Jedi to find out her attacker. While Yoda (Frank Oz) and Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson) agree to investigate the matter, they suggest Padme into protection of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin and here’s exactly where the disaster starts.
Since The Phantom Menace, finally it’s the chance for Anakin to rekindle his admiration turning love to Padme. However, like we’ve mentioned before, little does he know that such feeling violates Jedi protocol and put Padme in a more dangerous situation.
Unlike Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson), Yoda finally proves he’s right about Anakin. Yoda with Force strong in him, has sensed that young Anakin possesses a very ambiguous energy which is inevitably stronger than Yoda’s Force, something actually Yoda has been worrying about. It’s just a matter of time his revelation to come true.
The Force Gets Weaker
Technically speaking, we can never despise a George Lucas. Lucas knows how to deliver his fanboys series of stunning visual, from Tatooine to Coruscant, from Naboo to Kamino. But unfortunately, we can’t praise him when it comes to writing script and executing storyline.
Rather than a intriguing story with dynamic pace or at least an elegant-shot romance, Lucas repeats his failure in Episode I, thus makes Force gets no stronger. Overwhelmed by the itchy bitchy romance of Anakin and Padme, Episode 2 is more into a crappy love story with interchangeable sci-fi and political elements. We even wish our eyes get shut while seeing these lovebirds frolicking in the garden state of Naboo.
This already overwhelmed romantic situation gets worse when it’s finally revealed (implicitly) and (luckily) we found out that that Jar-Jar Binks (Ahmed Beast) is actually the sole responsible of all the turmoil in Galaxy. Confused? Please rewatch and take a really great attention, particularly on Supreme Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) “emergency power” election.
Hayden Christensen Is No Good for Anakin
It’s easy to point out who’s the worst casting decision here. Playing the titular role, Lucas must’ve been out of his mind picking him. We even personally think Jay Laga’aia who portrays Captain Thypo looks a much better actor than Christensen. Neither his facial expression nor dialogue delivery satisfies us but stiff and laughable. By now, we bid farewell to the energetic and passionate young Anakin and feel forced to welcome this immature and spoiled Jedi on board.
Unfortunately, Portman with her natural beauty and talent can’t help his partner’s poor acting skill, so does McGregor with his adequate tolerance and patience. It’s just Christensen is no good for Anakin. He can’t make a good Jedi or even simply a good husband for Padme. In conclusion, Christensen’s debut in this saga has never made his career brighter but dragged him away from the Force, into a dark pit just like his Darth Vader.
Director: George Lucas
Cast: Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor, Liam Neeson, Frank Oz, Ian McDiarmid, Anthony Baker, Christopher Lee, Samuel L. Jackson
Duration: 142 mins