Anyone who knows that I am a Star Wars fan, should also know that I am a Prequel lover and that Episode III: Revenge of the Sith is my favorite Star Wars movie and one of my all time favorite movies. There are many reasons for this and I was recently reminded of some of them. In an article published on The Chronicle of Higher Education’s website in October 2012, the author of the essay, Camila Paglia, enumerates on why Episode III is an artistic masterpiece.
The essay is lengthy and discusses George Lucas’ beginnings and how he came into Star Wars starting from Star Wars in 1977, but the end of the essay delves into Revenge of the Sith. This essay is actually an excerpt from her book, “Glittering Images: A Journey Through Art from Egypt to Star Wars”, which I have yet to read but plan to do so at some point.
Who is the greatest artist of our time? Normally, we would look to literature and the fine arts to make that judgment. But Pop Art’s happy marriage to commercial mass media marked the end of an era. The supreme artists of the half century following Jackson Pollock were not painters but innovators who had embraced technology—such as the film director Ingmar Bergman and the singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. During the decades bridging the 20th and 21st centuries, as the fine arts steadily shrank in visibility and importance, only one cultural figure had the pioneering boldness and world impact that we associate with the early masters of avant-garde modernism: George Lucas, an epic filmmaker who turned dazzling new technology into an expressive personal genre.
13 reasons why Attack of the Clones is a great Star Wars movie:
I have to admit that up until recently, Attack of the Clones was one of my least favorite Star Wars movies. I would alternate between Episode II and Return of the Jedi as my least favorite of the Saga. However, during a recent re-watch of the Saga, I realized just how good Attack of the Clones really is and how many important and critical moments there are in this Episode of the Saga. I wrote down a few moments from the Episode that really stood out to me and why.
(*I just re-discovered this article I had written in 2014, but for some reason never published.)
Anakin and Obi Wan’s relationship
We see Anakin and Obi-Wan as Master and Padawan for the first time since it was first discussed by old Ben Kenobi in Star Wars A New Hope. We see how Anakin is headstrong and how Obi-Wan is constantly having to rein him in. We see how they both frustrate each other and respect each other at the same time. We see how Anakin is more powerful than Obi-Wan and how they both know this and how Anakin struggles with this, but is still willing to accept Obi-Wan’s mentorship. This is one of the key relationships in the whole Saga, one that ends up having a strong effect on the whole galaxy. Up until Obi-Wan’s death in Episode IV, the Star Wars Saga is much of an Obi-Wan Saga as it is a Skywalker Saga. Their relationship, just as much as Anakin’s and Padme’s, is front and center in Episode II.
Anakin and Padme’s adventures
From their departure on Coruscant on the unregistered transport, Anakin and Padme get to spend some alone time together for the first time in ten years! They arrive on Naboo and spend a day or two there. They depart to Anakin’s childhood home, Tatooine, and track down Anakin’s missing mother, Shmi Skywalker. Padme is there with Anakin when he brings home his deceased mother and is also there for the little funeral at the Lars homestead. From Tatooine, they then travel to nearby Geonosis to help Obi-Wan who is in trouble.
Anakin and Padme learn to work together in the rescue of their mutual friend, Obi-Wan. They both have their strengths and have to figure out how to step back and let the other take charge when needed. In doing so they are able to survive the first battle of The Clone Wars.
Chancellor Palpatines manipulations
We see more of Darth Sidious’ machinations and how he is now playing both sides, the Separatists and the Republic, not only against each other, but ultimately against the Jedi. Chancellor Palpatine also is laying the groundwork to eventually have Anakin join him as a new apprentice, much like Count Dooku is in this Episode. Palpatine is playing the long game and the Jedi are unable to see it.
Finally, the clones make an appearance in the Saga. We see how they were created, who they were created from and how Boba Fett fits into the story. We get to see the clones in their first battle and how well they work together and how their training is exceptional in battle.
Anakin is too late to save his mother
This is a key moment in the Saga and we see how even the best Jedi can give into hate. Who wouldn’t feel the same as he did? Having such anxiety and angst over the safety of his mother for years and then finally finding her, Anakin arrives only to have her die in his arms. That’s heavy stuff. Hayden Christensen plays that scene perfectly, as he goes from joy to heartache to anger all in a matter of moments. This is one of the scenes that I’m sure George Lucas had in mind when he picked Hayden to play Anakin and he plays it more than perfectly.
Anakin and the slaughter of the Tusken Raiders
His first act of hatred, and to be honest, it’s one that I understand. How can you condemn a man who takes justice into his own hands on the lawless planet of Tatooine? These Tusken Raiders kidnapped and tortured his mother until she died, I get it. Anakin’s follow up conversation with Padme at the Homestead as he describes to her how he killed the Raiders is another great Hayden Christensen moment. The anguish, the guilt, the lack of remorse, the shame, all of these conflicting emotions that he feels at the same time as a result of Anakin’s act is portrayed perfectly by Hayden and shows why he was chosen for this role.
Padme admits she loves Anakin
Now this is a tricky one. But the key factor in this moment just before they are taken into the arena, is that they both think they are going to be killed in the arena. (We all know they won’t be killed, because of the OT, but obviously – they don’t) But since they believe that they are going to die a horrible death, so what has Padme got to lose at this point? We all know she is attracted to Anakin, she admits as much on Tatooine. The “reasonable Padme” knows it can’t work if they want to live in the real world. But if your real world is about to end, why not at least tell the one you love that you love them in your final moments? Again, I get it. Plus, at the end of the film, they get married in secret creating even more drama for the Prequel story! In this Episode we are treated to the most romantic Star Wars theme, and in my opinion one of the top romantic themes in all of cinema. I would also argue that Across the Stars is one of John Williams’ best Star Wars themes.
Battle of Geonosis
One of the best battles in the Saga! First we are treated to 200 Jedi fighting battle droids and Separatist Geonosians in the Arena battle. How amazing is that moment?! Another moment we have been wanting see since the beginning. From there we move outside of the Arena and see the Clones fighting droids with the Jedi leading them to victory.
Dooku and Obi Wan’s talk
So much information is disclosed in this scene. First of all the set up of the scene is just plain cool, with Obi-Wan held prisoner in a energy field, with Dooku taunting him with Obi-Wan’s helplessness. Then Dooku straight up tells him all about the Sith plan! Darth Sidious is in control of the Senate and is running things. Dooku brings up Qui-Gon Jin and how Qui-Gon would have joined him. He reveals to the audience that Qui Gon was his padawan.
Yoda’s duel with Dooku (his Padawan)
Not only are we amazed that Yoda can throw down with a lightsaber, but we see more of how powerful he is in the Force. It is also revealed that Dooku was once Yoda’s padawan! How emotional of a moment is that for Yoda, knowing that his padawan is now a Sith Lord and is responsible for the Separatists and this Clone War, and now he’s having to try to kill him.
After not doing much in the previous Episode, we get to see Mace Windu in action in the Battle of Geonosis. We get to see him face off with the bounty hunter, Jango Fett, as well as multiple battle droids. Mace is a powerful Jedi Master.
3PO and R2’s first adventure
C-3PO and R2-D2 go on their first adventure together and we see how from the get go they are always blasting each other, but we see they become “friends” real quick. While they were introduced to each other in Episode I, it is in this movie that we get the groundwork laid for their antics and bickering in the Original Trilogy.
Death Star plans
It is revealed that the Death Star plans were developed by the Separatists and that the Geonosians had a big part in their design. We see that the future Empire’s devastating planet killer has been in development for over 20 years. It makes one wonder what took so long? I don’t doubt that we will see this dilemma explored in upcoming Star Wars stories. (*Update from 2017 – read Catalyst to find out why)
These are a few reasons why Attack of the Clones is so appealing to me and how it plays a major role in the whole Star Wars Saga. I know that it gets criticized a lot and is the butt of many jokes. One of which is sand and how it gets everywhere, I’m sorry, but it’s true! Sand is irritating and it does get everywhere! Haven’t you been to the beach and had to constantly clean sand off of you? Then when you get back home and wash your clothes, guess what? The sand is everywhere and it’s very annoying. I can’t imagine living on a planet of sand, such as Tatooine, for years and liking sand.
But anyways, again I think Attack of the Clones is unfairly criticized and firmly belongs in the Saga as major Star Wars story events occur non stop in this film. I challenge you to re-watch Attack of the Clones with a new mindset to see how pertinent it is to the whole Saga and how important these events are to the overall Star Wars story.