Friday, May 04, 2012

May the 4th Be With You: Flashback Friday on Attack of the Clones

As Star Wars fans are well aware, May 4th has become "Star Wars Day". If you've never seen these films, then you probably might be wondering why May 4th, since all six movies were released between May 22nd and Memorial Day in the years 1977, 1980, 1983, 1999, 2002, and 2005. Why May 4? Because of the most memorable phrase in the series: "May the Force Be With You." Okay, so saying, "May the Fourth Be With You" makes it sound like you have a lisp, but it works.

Of the prequel trilogy, Episode II: Attack of the Clones is far and away my favourite one. Which is not surprising, as I love Empire Strikes Back the best of the entire series and this one made quite a few allusions / tributes to the greatest of all episodes. And like Empire, Episode II is the most spiritual film within the trilogy.

For example:

The Jedi Archives / Library is mesmerizing for the eyes and I imagine this is how the library in the spiritual dimension might look. Can't wait to see that someday. I'll be spending a lot of time in there, I'm sure.

The other spiritual scene that I love is when Obi-wan Kenobi interrupts Master Yoda teaching Jedi younglings to solve a problem regarding a missing planet. The three dimensional map of the galaxy is awesome and Obi-wan uses the force to locate where the planet should be. I'd love to be able to access information that way. Yoda asks the younglings for an answer about why the planet of Kamino does not appear on the map. When one of them answered, "Someone erased it from the archive memory," Yoda laughed and said, "Truly wonderful, the mind of a child is." I love his laugh. Reminds me of the Dalai Lama.

Obi-wan flies off to Kamino, which is a water planet that has some fierce storms. I love the scenes on Kamino, with the lean and super tall aliens that walk with grace and have an interesting way of speaking. Obi-wan learns about their cloning technology and that the Republic had ordered a clone army of more than a million over a decade ago.

We're introduced to Jango Fett, the father of Boba Fett, who is a popular character from the original trilogy. As Star Wars fans learned, all the Storm Troopers are clones of Jango Fett (played by a New Zealand actor with a Maori background) and Boba Fett is an unaltered clone (according to the movie series' mythology, clones have a speedy growth gene so that they will be fully grown and trained in ten years rather than twenty, and they are also docile so they don't question orders). There's an exciting fight on the stormy landing platform between Obi-wan and Jango and when both are aboard their ships on their way to the Mars-like planet of Geonosis, they fly through an asteroid belt (another allusion to the great Empire Strikes Back).

Many fans complained about the romantic scenes between Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala. While I didn't think it was all that vomit-inducing, I did think it was a little cliched. They mess around in a field of flowers before taking a tumble over each other, they have a romantic dinner, and then things get intense when they sit on a loveseat next to the fireplace. In these scenes, Anakin reveals his political thoughts (he's okay with a strong-leader / authoritarian form of government) and Padme shares about her first love. They shared a kiss on a beautiful patio overlooking what we know as Lake Como, Italy but is the Lake District on the planet Naboo. What a beautiful place! When I lived in Italy in the early 1990s, I had never even heard of Lake Como. Someday, when I make it back to Italy, I want to visit Lake Como. I'm sure I'll feel like I'm in another world.

Visions of his mother in pain causes Anakin to violate Obi-wan's orders and fly to his home planet of Tatooine to rescue his mother from the vicious Sand People. When he slaughters the whole village and confesses to Padme, she doesn't get scared away but her compassion is drawn towards him. She should've seen the warning signs, though. Anakin whines about Obi-wan and claims that he will become the most powerful Jedi of all time and prevent people from dying.

The final action sequence on the film takes place in a gladiator type event on Geonosis, which is inhabited by insect aliens who were the creators of the battle droids that were used by the Trade Federation in Episode I: The Phantom Menace. The fight gets expanded when the Jedi joins, and then the Clone troopers for a major battle sequence. The insect aliens were also the creators of the Death Star and give their plans to Count Dooku, who is also known as Darth Tyranus, who became Darth Sidious's apprentice after Darth Maul's demise in the first episode. His task was to start the war between the Clone troopers of the Republic and the battle droids of the Trade Federation. This war is instrumental for the Supreme Chancellor Palpatine to move the Republic towards an empire.

The most crowd-pleasing scene in this Episode is Yoda's lightsaber battle with Count Dooku. Fans have been waiting to see this for a long time and it did not fail to excite. Yoda moves with lightning speed and the humour is enhanced when he pretends to be too old to walk without a cane towards an incapacitated Obi-wan and Anakin after his fight. Count Dooku manages to escape and the flight of his ship with solar sail back to Coruscant is one of the most visually stunning moments in this film. I love the design and look of it.

Also, what I love about this film are the early action sequences in Coruscant, the capital planet of the Republic (the whole planet is one big city, which is interesting in theory but unlikely to ever be reality because there are no natural resources to sustain such a planet). Chase sequences through the multi-layered "streets" surpass anything in any other movie with car chases. Obi-wan and Anakin were chasing down a bounty hunter that tried to kill Padme Amidala twice. Audiences get to see the relations between the two Jedi. Anakin admits that Obi-wan is the closest thing he has to a father, but he's still rebellious and still in love with Padme, even though she told him, "You'll always be that little boy on Tatooine." Not exactly the kind of words a young man wants to hear from the lady he loves.

It's hard to believe that this film was released ten years ago now. Where does the time go? I saw this film 6 times in the theater and if it comes out in 3-D next year, I'll probably go see it, even though I was disappointed with the 3-D conversion of Episode I this year. It's difficult to convert a film to 3-D, but filming in 3-D, such as Avatar and Hugo makes for a fantastic movie going experience. Perhaps George Lucas should make a third trilogy (post-Return of the Jedi) and film in 3-D! Of course, that won't happen, because he's much older now and making a trilogy is a brutal undertaking of ten years of his life. While fanboys seem to hate the prequels and some even go so far as to say that Lucas "ruined" the series for them (really?), I actually love the prequels for the visual effects. The prequels are a feast for the eyes, while the original trilogy is beloved for the characters and storyline. Plus, people need to take in to consideration that you tend to love what you saw first. For example, if you love a song, you'll probably hate the remake, but if you heard the remake first, you might prefer it to the original song. Also, there were less expectations for the original trilogy when they came out. The expectations were huge on the prequels and fanboys already created their theories about how Darth Vader and the Empire came into being. Because their theories didn't match George Lucas' vision, they hate the prequels. I'm just grateful that Lucas made the prequels. It was quite the thrill ride in the summers of 1999, 2002, and 2005.

So, don't fret. May the Fourth Be With You!


Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

May the Force be with YOU, Sansego. You really understand the mythological vision Lucas brought to thee films.

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Oops, that was supposed to be THESE films!