James King, A&E Writer
Star Wars: Attack of the Clones is a better kind of mess than Phantom Menace. With Phantom Menace, I was begging to see characters emote. I wanted something memorable and the movie just left me frustrated. Attack of the Clones is definitely a step up from its predecessor, but not much of one. I wouldn’t call it a good movie, but I wouldn’t call it bad either. It’s just kind of generic and forgettable.
The story is much better involving a duel plot of a who-done-it mystery and Anakin’s turn to the dark side. Though that in and of itself is one of the movie’s problems, as we as the audience know who the bad guy is already so that takes away much of the interest in following the mystery. Anakin’s story doesn’t fare much better as he comes off creepy and even sometimes whiney. The movie does eventually introduce many of the villains, but they come off completely ineffectual because neither are really given enough time on screen to flesh them out. Obi-Wan and the other Jedi felt a lot more fleshed out in this movie though and their dialogue was some of the better in the movie.
This movie also felt like it had a little more of a graphical upgrade. The backgrounds look a lot less bare and the actual war scenes in this movie are fun to watch. You can still see the seams though, especially in the final third of the movie, where most of the movie, is completely CGI. There are a few places here and there where the CGI doesn’t mesh well with the real actors in the case for some aliens and animals. They tend to look videogame-y and lack a lot of detail.
The problems that the movie had though were much less pronounced then they were in the Phantom Menace. I actually had a lot more fun sitting through this, though the movie does drag a bit in certain areas. The love story felt completely basic and felt really unromantic as actors would sprout awkward lines, give one another creepy looks, and just completely lacked any form of chemistry. There was just not much that really wowed me though. The fun dialogue from the previous movies is there, but few and far between. The action scenes in this movie are great, but it’s not enough to keep the movie afloat.
Movies like this are extremely hard to talk about in review form especially when you can’t really drum up any strong emotions tied to the movie. If a movie is bad you can tear it down, you can talk about its story flaws or talk about its visual faults. If a movie is great you can sing its praises and celebrate its visual and story mastery. Movies that fall in the middle of the road just become forgettable. Even writing this review right now, I’m struggling to remember parts of the movie beyond basic beats. That’s where this movie falls, good moments, but ultimately forgettable.