Dangerous Universe
Lame Rationalizations for Another Disappointing Star Wars Prequel

The reviews are in, the box office tallies are mounting up (though perhaps not as quickly as many would have hoped), and anyone with $7 and over 2 hours to spare can watch "Attack of the Clones" in the comfort of their local multiplex. Odds are, there are plenty of seats available. By now, you're probably thoroughly sick of debating whether or not the move was any good. But the gigabytes worth of discussion already existing aren't going to dissuade me from having my say. Following are just a selection of excuses I'm tired of hearing about "Attack of the Clones."

 

"Lucas will explain it in the next flick"

Didn't we fall for this one three years ago? And aren't we all still waiting for an explanation for the "Midochlorins" or whatever the hell they're called supposedly saturating Anakin's blood? I'm sure you have your own "Prequel Mystery" that needs explaining. Don't hold your breath. We're giving Lucas way too much credit. I'm beginning to believe that what we're seeing are not the pieces of some ingenious masterplan but basically sloppy storytelling. The plot to the first trilogy was airtight, and the 3 movies basically stood on their own as stories with a beginning, a middle, and an end. The prequels have bigger holes in them than the Titanic. Hear me now and believe me later: at the end of the third movie, we still won't know who the hell Sifo Dyas is.

"Star Wars movies have always had bad acting"

Maybe. Maybe not. I don't expect King Lear when I go see a Star Wars movie. But "Attack of the Clones" is the first Star Wars movie that relies on emotion to move the plot forward. To do that, you need people who can act or (and pay extra close attention to this point) A DIRECTOR WHO GIVES A DAMN. Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen aren't bad actors, and it also must be very difficult for an actor to sound convincing when they're saying words like "Naboo" and "Jedi" and "Jar-Jar." But to bring some of the wooden dialogue between Anakin and Padme to life, you need someone working with the actors. If Lucas doesn't want to spend the money on a real writer to provide dialogue an actor can work with, why can't a movie with a multi-million dollar budget at least invest in a dialogue coach?

"It's just a fun popcorn flick. It's just entertainment."

Was there anyone out there who was thoroughly entertained by "Attack of the Clones?" Is there anyone who really thinks this movie belongs in the same class of "fun popcorn flicks" or "good entertainment" as the original trilogy? The Indiana Jones movies? "King Kong?" In order to find "Attack of the Clones" entertaining, you need to be a serious Star Wars fan. You need to know the Star Wars "mythology." I went with someone who wasn't a mega-fan but had seen the previous movies several times, knew the stories and generally enjoyed them. This person fell asleep during "Attack of the Clones." What's wrong with having to know the Star Wars mythos to enjoy the flick? Nothing, I suppose. But one of the good things about Star Wars is that it isn't Star Trek. It's open to everyone. That's how it broke out of the "geek ghetto" and became not just a successful series of movies but a major cultural phenomenon. "Attack of the Clones" was not entertaining; it was a 2+ hour distraction.

"Star Wars is really for kids and the kid in all of us"

Of course it is. But there's something missing from "The Phantom Menace" and "Attack of the Clones," and it's not my youth. Besides, show me a kid who can follow the "plot" to "Attack of the Clones" and I'll show you a kid who is probably way too smart to be wasting his or her summer staring at a movie screen.

"You're not a true fan. A true fan would love this movie"

I am a true fan. That's why I still care. Why do I still care? That's a question I don't have the space to answer right now.

And will I be waiting in line for the third installment?

You bet. 06/11/02



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