Attacked by the Clones: Star Wars Review
Dawn Xiana Moon, originally published on RelevantMagazine.com
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away... Star Wars was about creating a mythology, about confronting the ideas of good and evil, and exploring deeper truths. It was about telling a story, an epic. Somewhere along the way, it seems George Lucas lost sight of his original vision and caved in to marketing pressures and the urge to show off his technical wizardry.
Don't get me wrong, Attack of the Clones was much better than Episode I, which catered to boys under 13. However, the new movie made another mistake: it catered to teeny-bopper girls. Since the majority of Star Wars fans are male, it was clear even from the "Love" trailer for Episode II Lucas was trying to reach the young female crowd. Hey, why not increase the audience? Cast Natalie Portman to get all the guys into the theater (many guy friends have commented, "Who cares if she can't act? She';s hot!!") and cast Hayden Christensen and integrate a sappy romance to get all the girls. Ok, we all knew the love story had to get in there somewhere, but come on - rolling around in fields? I think Lucas explored every romantic cliché there is: flowery fields, the intimate moment by the fireplace... not to mention the horrible lines: "I've been dying a little bit each day," "The sand is rough and coarse, but you, you're everything soft." Good grief. And I'm a girl!
Frankly, Lucas needs to hand the reins over to other people, as he once did. He wrote and directed Star Wars: A New Hope but allowed Irvin Kershner to direct Empire Strikes Back and Richard Marquand to direct Return of the Jedi. He also hired Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan to write the scripts. Most people would agree Empire and Return are much better than A New Hope. Lucas wrote and directed Episodes I and II. Hmm. Not only was the script clichéd, but capable actors looked like they were acting, which is obviously not the desired affect. Overall the cast was dry, almost monotone - which is acceptable for one or two characters, but not for an entire cast. Since it was a cast-wide problem, I';m more inclined to blame the director than the actors.
The other main problem with the movie was the overabundance of CGI. Computer graphics are nice, but when every scene is obviously CGI the film loses a sense of reality, verisimilitude. Maybe it's time to go back to some models instead. Too many scenes had that slick computer graphics texture. I imagine this was difficult for the actors as well, since most of the time all they had to react to was a blue screen.
However, the saving grace of the movie was Yoda. Yoda was hilarious. One minute he's hobbling around on a crutch, the next he's flying in the air and twirling his lightsaber in a way you could never imagine possible. Wow. It's almost worth sitting through the movie again just to see him fight Count Dooku.
Overall, the movie was better than I feared, but worse than I hoped it would be. I have high expectations from Star Wars, gleaned from years of reading the books and watching the movies. Hopefully Episode III will redeem the first trilogy. I'm crossing my fingers.