'Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones' Review By John M

The Journey of Obi-Wan Kenobi
  • Story
  • Acting
  • Directing
  • Visuals
I think most people would say that Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones is a step up from Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace, but their wrong. Attack of the Clones is a step down from the Phantom Menace. Don't get me wrong I still really enjoyed the film. It's a four star film, but it has some problems including miscasting of certain characters, poor romantic chemistry and bad acting which I will be getting into in my review including the good stuff like the badass and always cool Samuel L. Jackson and the great acting by Ewan McGregor.

The plot of the film follows the events of the Phantom Menace except that ten years have passed. The former queen Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman) turned galactic senator arrives at Coruscant where there is an assassination attempt on her life. That brings in the Jedi council and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and his apprentice Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) who are charged with her protection and routing out the assassin. During this time Anakin has what I call more of a sick obsession with Padme then love, but I'll get to that later. Anakin and Obi-Wan manage to get the assassin, but is killed before she can reveal anything. That leads to the two Jedi to separate with Anakin accompanying Padme back to Naboo as her personal body guard while Obi-Wan goes to track down the assassins employer's. I have no idea what Padme saw in Anakin, but I'll get to their relationship later. Obi-Wan heads to Kamino discovering a very large clone army and runs into the bounty hunter Jango Fett the father of Boba Fett (Though technically since their clones their brothers, but it doesn't really matter.). After their fight Jango escapes with Obi-Wan following him. While Obi-Wan is following him Anakin gets a vision of his mother in pain, and heads to Tatooine with Padme. Arriving Anakin learns he is too late to save his mother and he boils over in rage killing all of the Tusken Raiders tribe that killed his mother. On Geonosis Obi-Wan learns that Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) was the man behind the assassination attempts on Padme's life, and that he is creating a new droid army, but before he can leave Obi-Wan is captured. Anakin and Padme disobey orders from the Jedi Council and go to save him followed by the Jedi Knights and the clone army. As you would suspect Anakin and Padme get captured and put in a gladiator arena with Obi-Wan. The fight to free themselves, but are outnumber and that's when Mace Windu and the rest of the Jedi Knights followed by Yoda and the clone army show up. A battle begins and rages on culminating in a fight between Anakin, Obi-Wan and Count Dooku, and then between Yoda and Count Dooku. Count Dooku manages to escape leaving a wounded Obi-Wan and Anakin.

The plot was pretty good. The problem I had was with the characters. First Anakin is annoying and unlikeable character. I guess it works if you want to know where Luke gets it from, but he's even worse than Luke. Then there is Padme what is wrong with her. I know people will say love is blind, but does anyone believe an intelligent woman like her would fall for a petulant childlike Anakin who has a borderline dangerous obsession with Padme. I mean every other part of the film she's a strong woman and a good representative for her people, but when she's around Anakin she loses any semblance of intelligence. George could have written their romance much better including the chemistry between the characters which was nonexistent. All right let's move onto Count Dooku who wasn't in my opinion real threatening. I know Yoda says there can be only one master Sith and apprentice, but I truly believe George could have fit both Darth Maul and Count Dooku into the film, and I think it would have worked better. All right that's now that I harped on what I didn't like let's move onto what I did. Obi-Wan Kenobi for one. The character shows he's growth as a leader and a Jedi, and just like I said that the previous trilogy was really about Han Solo the prequels in my opinion are really about Obi-Wans journey. Then there is the expanding role of Yoda which I thought was great and much needed. I think everyone wanted to see Yoda in action at least once. Also again how awesome is Mace Windu? I love the character. The battles were intense especially the one Geonosis. Overall the story was really good; it's just that the character and the chemistry between them didn't live up to the story.

Can Hayden Christensen act? That's what I've been asking myself before writing this review and during it. He does at best a serviceable job as Anakin, but from the films I've seen him in that include the Star Wars prequel films, Takers, Awake, Jumper and Vanishing on 7th Street he's an average actor at best. Apparently he's been nominated for some awards for Life as a House, but I don't see what they see. I would call this bad acting, but more of miscast in the name of Christopher Lee. The man is a good actor from roles in The Lord of the Rings trilogy to his great role as Dracula and the rest of his horror films. He did pretty good job with the role, but he just didn't seem like a good fit. Outside of those two major complaints with the acting and casting I was happy. Ewan McGregor was again outstanding as Obi-Wan Kenobi. Natalie Portman was good in all her scenes except for her romantic ones with Hayden. She definitely didn't seem into it, and wasn't believable. What can you say about Samuel L. Jackson except he was awesome and seems to have truly enjoyed his role as Mace Windu. Ian McDiarmid does a great job exuding intelligence and sinisterness in his limited role as Chancellor Palpatine, and so does Temuera Morrison as Jango Fett. Do I wish they could have expanded his role into The Revenge of the Sith yes, but I understand why Lucas decided not to.

The special effects by ILM were outstanding again including the climax Geonosis. The battle and effects there were great. The only problem with the action I had was the climactic lightsaber battle between Obi-Wan, Anakin and Count Dooku. It wasn't very good and isn't nearly as good as the ones in The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, The Phantom Menace or Revenge of Sith. The cool little battle between Yoda and Dooku did help make up for it a little. The directing by Lucas was again pretty good, but again he could have done a better job especially with the acting of Hayden, and the scenes between Hayden and Natalie. The music by John Williams was good, but is the worst of all the prequels. It just didn't have the same feel of his other films.

While Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones is a flawed film that includes some bad acting, miscasting, and bad chemistry between characters it is overall all a really good film with a great story, pretty good acting, excellent special effects, really good action, above average directing and music. Attack of the Clones is the fourth best of the six Star Wars films.

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Comments (21)

  1. A7sus4

    I like that you agree it's a step down from Phantom. For me this film is the worst of the lot and it's solely because it fails to set up a believable love affair between Anakin and Padme which is rather important. Frankly, Hayden Christiansen is fine, excellent in my opinion, this is what Lucas wanted from him. I can hear him egging Hayden on for "more intensity". Lucas is an awful writer and director. This story deserved a far more delicate and thoughtful approach. Obi-Wan's adventure was pretty good and the way the to paths came together were pretty good.

    9 months agoby @a7sus4Flag

  2. the MovieGhost

    @corey Oh gag me Corey. While those were good, the KotOR games, Republic Commando, and Battlefront 2 will always remain my personal favorites.

    @john-m Nice review. I agree with most of what you said above, only slightly disagreeing on the part about Hayden Christensen. While he may not be the best emotional(?) actor, he's a great physical one, moreso in Revenge of the Sith than here. I agree, in AotC he's an immature teenager, but in RotS you can see the pain on his face during those hard choices.

    2 years agoby @the-movieghostFlag

  3. Corey W.

    @john-m I can understand where your coming from. The best Star Wars anything was The Force Unleased video-games :D

    2 years agoby @coreyFlag

  4. John M

    @corey: It's not blasphemy it's just the truth. A New Hope and Return of the Jedi are flawed and majorly flawed films and I grew up in the 1980's blindly loving them, but as a adult you have to face reality and see the problems with the films. It's doesn't mean they still aren't good or that A New Hope and Lucas shouldn't be praised for what he achieved with A New Hope. I just means that people need to see the films without rose color glasses.

    2 years agoby @john-mFlag

  5. John M

    @skywise: Thank you. Yes Natalie and smart and beautiful and she does a really good job with the role as Padme. I just wish she had a better romantic partner and better story line with him

    2 years agoby @john-mFlag

  6. John M

    @instead8909: Yes George has created and produced a lot of shows and films. It shows how good of an business and idea's man he is.

    2 years agoby @john-mFlag

  7. John M

    @instead8909: I don't know much about his children or their abilities to comment on how good I think they'll be at running things.

    2 years agoby @john-mFlag

  8. Corey W.

    @john-m By the looks of it you enjoyed the newer trilogy over the original. BLASPHEMY. haha. Great review man but I disagree. Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and about half of Revenge of the Sith were all epic fails in my opinion. The originals f*ck the world :P

    2 years agoby @coreyFlag

  9. Sean

    @john-m You're welcome :) .

    2 years agoby @themoviefanaticFlag

  10. skywise

    @john-m Very well written review. There was definatly no chemistry between Portman and Christensen but I could watch those scenes and be satisfied just because Natalie Portman is so gorgeous. (Ok a little shallow I know).

    Its unfortunate since a good portion of Anakin's transformation into Vader hinges on their relationship.

    2 years agoby @skywiseFlag

  11. WongFu


    I just took a look at his imdb page and I had no idea that George produced Young Indy jones TV films. I counted 7 in total. The last one was in 2007

    2 years agoby @instead8909Flag

  12. WongFu

    @john-m hey you're right about that, though one of his daughters is running it now. Which I personally think is a giant no.

    2 years agoby @instead8909Flag

  13. John M

    @jasdjqs: Thanks glad you like my review.

    2 years agoby @john-mFlag

  14. John M

    @themoviefanatic: I combined them in that paragraph, but I was talking more about the action then the special effects. It just wasn't compelling and seemed to be a little poorly choreographed.

    Also thanks I'm glad you like my review.

    2 years agoby @john-mFlag

  15. John M

    @instead8909: That's what he's doing now. I believed Lucas officially retired from running his company last year if I remember correctly. Lucas is an above average director, but I agree he's a far better idea's man then a director.

    2 years agoby @john-mFlag

  16. John M

    @narrator: Thanks I'm glad you liked my review. As for being a Star Wars what does that have to do with my ratings. If you think that you should see my reviews for A New Hope and Return of the Jedi. The prequels are just good films.

    2 years agoby @john-mFlag

  17. Sean

    @john-m Very good review! That is an interesting point you've made there about ILM. I've never noticed that problem with the lightsaber cgi though, in the battle between Obi-Wan and Anakin and Count Dooku.

    2 years agoby @themoviefanaticFlag

  18. WongFu

    Your right about Hayden, I found him wooden and boring but over all I do enjoy the films for other actors.
    Chris Lee could have been a whole lot better and you can tell that he was holding back.

    I've never thought the George was a good director but at least he tries. I've always felt that he needs to step back and let other directors do their thing and not interfere with film making.
    He's better as a producer (the money) that has little or no say and that's what he should do for now on.

    2 years agoby @instead8909Flag

  19. jasdjqs

    Nice review my friend, I too felt the chemistry between The senator and Luke's Dad was missing ,

    2 years agoby @jasdjqsFlag

  20. the Narrator

    I enjoyed your review as it allowed me to see a fan of the films perspective a little better. Regardless, this is my least favorite of the Star Wars franchise, garnering a paltry 2 stars from me, as opposed to Phantom Menace's 3 and Revenge of the Sith's 4 (the original trilogy is something else).

    2 years agoby @narratorFlag