Wednesday, May 20, 2015

31 Day Star Wars Challenge, Day 20: Favorite Scene in The Attack of the Clones

Via Star Wars Wiki
Damn, this one is hard. Out of all of the prequels, Attack of the Clones is my absolute least favorite, so picking a scene that isn't just full of suck is kind of the opposite of Sophie's Choice. Which one isn't the worst? Okay, I am ridiculously tough on this movie, mainly because I loathe the stupid romance subplot bullshit, but I think it's warranted. Even Revenge of the Sith, with all its over the top, yet still wooden acting, has more going for it than this does.

A major problem with Clones - and, for that matter, the entire prequel trilogy - is that it takes itself so damn seriously while at the same time trying to up the ante when it comes to campiness. The whole sequence with Threepio in the battle droid factory is a good example of this; his lines - like "This is such a drag!" as his head is being tugboated behind Artoo - just don't fit within the universe* that Lucas created. However, there are some scenes that, despite their general too-serious tone, are still pretty fucking cool.

Once our main trio - Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Padme - got together on Geonosis for their gladiatorial execution, I actually checked my phone for the time. It was bad enough that Obi-Wan had spent nearly the entire movie playing intergalactic detective and that Padme and Anakin had been playing googly eyes for nearly an hour, but now they had to trade trite-sounding quips at each other while battling creatures for the entertainment of winged insect-people.
Via Jedipedia
But then the movie had to (nearly) totally redeem itself with Mace Windu coming up behind Count Dooku with his purple lightsaber. Now, I'm going to admit that I believe, no matter what movie it is, Samuel L. Jackson can make anything better**. Even his cliche "This party's over" line was pure awesome. In that moment, Samuel L. Jackson was Mace Windu, badass Jedi Master extraordinaire, and everyone's reaction befitted that fact. I mean, look at Jango up there: he's not necessarily shitting his pants, but his expression is pretty much, "Well, fuck me." Nowhere else in the prequels do I see Mace portrayed as this expert Jedi; sure, he leads the Jedi Council and discusses politics with the rest of them, but he doesn't necessarily seem to be this wise leader that everyone makes him out to be. Granted, that's a shortcoming of these movies, anyway; there's a lot of telling, not so much in the realm of showing, but here? You see that Mace Windu commands respect.

Everything following that scene, even when Mace beheaded Jango Fett, was pulpish nonsense, and this is coming from a woman who enjoys her pulp novels. It wasn't even really that much fun, which is what I expect from movies like these. I feel like George wanted Attack of the Clones to have a similar tone to that of Empire Strikes Back, but he's no Irvin Kershner, who managed to balance humor and seriousness in a way that makes that movie pretty much everyone's favorite of the entire saga. Instead, he got a mishmash of occasionally interesting concepts, bad acting, and pure foolishness.


* In one of the Star Wars novels - I think it's The Truce at Bakura - Luke is introduced to a magical new drink by Lando, and he's like, "I believe it's called ... hot chocolate!" I rolled my eyes so hard at that. It's like JRR Tolkien's beef with CS Lewis when the latter incorporated Santa Claus into Narnia; it takes you out of this carefully constructed universe and makes the reader (or maybe just me) wonder if the author really believed in what s/he was writing enough for it to carry itself.
** Yes, I am including the Robocop reboot. That movie was pretty much awful and stupid, but damn it, Sam owned that role. 
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