Following the $1.027 billion dollar box office hit of Episode One: The Phantom Menace was Episode Two: Attack of the Clones, another set-up movie for Anakin Skywalker’s eventual demise. This movie contains some of the most controversial content in the Star Wars universe, as the older generation and younger generation finally agreed on something: George Lucas cannot write a love story.
In this movie, Hayden Christensen, a 20 year old at the time, played Anakin Skywalker as a padawan. The seeds of Darth Vader were planted in Anakin through the loss of Qui-Gon Jinn and his mother, the resentment he felt towards his master Obi-Wan Kenobi, and the romantic relationship between him and Padme Amidala. Christensen is an actor that can use anger to his advantage, and Anakin needed a dark dynamic, even from the beginning. Unfortunately, the script hindered Christensen and Natalie Portman’s Amidala from delivering a believable love story, which is neither of their faults. The love aspect dragged the movie down and gave fans a reason to complain (rightfully so).
Ewan McGregor reprised his role of Obi-Wan Kenobi and absolutely nailed it. Recovering from the loss of Qui-Gon, he is thrust into the role of master for Anakin. Because of Anakin’s abilities, Kenobi struggles to redirect his padawan’s intuition. Given his means of instruction, Kenobi wasn’t prepared to become a master, and McGregor balances Kenobi’s wisdom and maturity with his inability to adjust to Anakin’s needs. He was pompous, sarcastic, and charming– McGregor added more flair to Obi-Wan, yet his role as master seemed textbook to the Jedi Order. Unfortunately, he, like Anakin, was thrust into an uncomfortable scenario where he could only do what he felt was necessary, and that’s why he seemed like a bad fit for his padawan.
Padme Amidala’s arc peaked in Episode Two: Attack of the Clones, as she transitioned from her status of queen to senator. Amidala is strong willed, stubborn, and acts in a chaotic good manner. Portman is most like Carrie Fisher’s Leia Organa in this movie, as she brings a new level of spunk and charisma to the character that was unseen in The Phantom Menace. Amidala finds herself enamored with Anakin, and her dialogue fares no better than Christensen’s, but she still sticks the landing. Portman was the centerpiece in this film, especially since the entire plot is built around her Separatist enemies wanting her dead.
Fan service is apparent in the movie, as Mace Windu and Master Yoda finally ignite their lightsabers and go into action. Because the duel between Yoda and Count Dooku featured Christopher Lee, an actor who definitely could not move with the aggression and intentionality of a duelist, and a character who was originally a puppet, the green Jedi was redrawn with CGI. That feature came as a surprise, but it was fun to watch Yoda duke it out with a Sith Lord. Another feature of fan service was the addition of Boba Fett, the infamous bounty hunter seen in Episode Six: Return of the Jedi.
The biggest issue with this movie are the love scenes– they feel forced, but there’s only so much actors can do with corny dialogue. The romance between Anakin and Padme is necessary, and the final battle on Geonosis between the Jedi and the clones versus the droid armies and Count Dooku was a lot of fun to watch. Hayden Christensen’s portrayal of Anakin has always been understood, but he really didn’t do too bad of a job. Otherwise, this movie has an easy plot to follow, plenty of action, and isn’t as terrible as you’ve been told it is. Overall, I’d give it a 7.75/10.