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

Drew Struzan’s Release Poster – 20th Century Fox
Drew Struzan’s Release Poster – 20th Century Fox

The following is a retro review of Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, a George Lucas film.

While I don’t love every film in the franchise, I clearly love Star Wars. I write about the franchise all the time. So while it is pretty obvious, it pains me to admit that The Phantom Menace wasn’t a good movie. I tried not to tear that film apart in my review of it.

I wanted to review this film right after reviewing The Phantom Menace, but, for some reason, it took me a very long time to finally muster up enough strength to write about this film. This review has been delayed for way too long. Let’s finally talk about the worst Star Wars film.

Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones follows Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi (played by Ewan McGregor) and his Padawan Anakin Skywalker (played by Hayden Christensen) as they are assigned to protect Padmé Amidala (played by Natalie Portman).

Assassins and bounty hunters force Kenobi and Skywalker to split up. Kenobi travels to a mysterious planet called Kamino, which houses an army of clones. Meanwhile, Anakin takes Padmé to his home planet to look for his mother. Tragedy and betrayal bring them back together on a planet called Geonosis.

The best thing I can say about Attack of the Clones is that Ewan McGregor actually did a pretty good job here, all things considered. I didn’t love him in The Phantom Menace, but this was the film where McGregor took control of his character. Oh and there’s not a lot of Jar Jar Binks in the film. That’s always good. But that’s pretty much it, really.

I know some people think the prequel trilogy shouldn’t have started with Anakin as a kid. That the trilogy should have started with Anakin as Obi-Wan’s Padawan, like he is in Attack of the Clones. I think that would’ve been better for the trilogy. But while I have a lot of problems with The Phantom Menace, it isn’t the low point in the film series.

Attack of the Clones, on the other hand, is. Let’s start with the acting. These are the worst performances I’ve ever seen in a Star Wars film. The one word that best describes the performances of especially Portman and Christensen is ‘lifeless.’ But, to be perfectly honest with you, I don’t blame them.

They had to act in front of blue screens with the worst dialogue ever put to film in a Star Wars film. Sure, some of the line delivery is atrocious, but the dialogue isn’t good either. There’s a lot of exposition, not a single iconic line. Come to think of it, what’s the line everyone remembers from Attack of the Clones?

“I don’t like sand. It’s coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere.” – Anakin Skywalker to Padmé.

It’s also just a really uninspired story with no memorable moments. I know that some people like the chase through Coruscant, but I actually think it is really boring. Anakin and Padmé’s love story is also just terrible. The best action sequence – maybe the best sequence in the film – is Obi-Wan’s battle with Jango Fett, but there’s not a lot else to really enjoy.

I love Star Wars. To be honest, there’s not a franchise in the world that I love more than Star Wars. But whenever I rewatch Attack of the Clones, I think it actually gets worse. While Obi-Wan was a pretty solid character in the film, this prequel is shockingly bad.

4.5 out of 10

– Jeffrey Rex

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