What’s to say that hasn’t already been said about Attack of the Clones? Well, a lot actually.
While The Phantom Menace is the most maligned of Star Wars films and Revenge of the Sith is deemed the best of the new films, AOTC is often forgotten about when discussing the most recent three movies set in a galaxy far, far away.
I’ve always had a soft spot for Clones and remember leaving the cinema on its release absolutely loving it. It was only on multiple viewings in the proceeding years that my thoughts softened and I begun to realise that it was a very much flawed film.
Attending today’s world premiere of the 3D version at Celebration Europe II (Disney/Lucasfilm have abandoned all plans to release AOTC and Sith in 3D in theatres) I and my fellow FTN team were one of the few hundred people to see the film – and ever likely to see it on the big screen, or any other for that matter.
The film itself holds up a lot better that I thought. There is an undercurrent of fear running throughout the story as the Jedi struggle to keep a lid on the growing power of the Sith. The performances from the main actors compared to the TPM are much stronger and more convincing – thanks in part to a better script.
Hayden Christensen is much maligned for his performance in this film and while he is very much one dimensional it really is the fault of the screenplay rather than the actors’ work that causes the problems. In saying that I quite like the Canadian actor and enjoyed his performance despite many chuckles from surrounding viewers during the Natalie Portman love scenes.
Talking of love scenes, these are probably the worst things about the film (apart from Ewan McGregor’s obvious fake facial hair during the re-shoots). However, again the actors attempted to handle the poor writing as best they could.
But, when it comes to the main story and action scenes, AOTC really sets the bar high. From the aerial chase through Coruscant to the final battle on Geonosis, George Lucas really gave fans what they wanted following a lackluster TPM.
I particularly loved McGregor’s growth as Obi-Wan Kenobi and his early face-off with Jango Fett. And ofcourse who can’t forget the final lightsaber duels between Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker and Count Dooku followed by Yoda and the aforementioned Sith.
The fight between Skywalker and Dooku after Kenobi is badly wounded is superb. With the lights out, the twirling lighsabers and baleric movements of the actors really sets this saber battle apart. But it is the final fight between Yoda and Dooku that remains as good as I remember it. The Jedi Master looks more cool than clunky as he dances around the Sith Lord and while things go very close to being laughable, the dark surroundings save things and give fans a battle to remember.
What about the 3D I hear you ask. Well, AOTC is easily the finest conversion of a standard movie I’ve ever seen and strikingly better that TPM. Emmersive but not intrusive, the ILM team have produced probably the finest 3D movie I’ve seen yet. Granted I’ve yet to watch Avatar in that format, however the work is the perfect match between eye catching to eye popping. It truly is a stunning piece of work and a real disappointment that fans across the world won’t get to see this on the big screen.
I particularly loved the scenes set in space. The tiny fighters including the likes of Slave 1 and the Jedi starfighter look lost but realistically so in the vastness of space. Really wonderful. The battle of Geonosis has also been tastefully worked on providing fans with real edge of the seat immersive action.
So there you have it, while AOTC is definitely not the worst of the six films, it is far from the best but the performance of McGregor, the final lightsaber duels and the 3D conversion certainly made this viewer a happy man.
If only Disney/Lucasfilm could give us a final gift with Revenge of the SIth in 3D!
3 out of 5 nerds