Keith Palmer (krpalmer) wrote,
Keith Palmer
krpalmer

Rewatching Attack of the Clones

Still intent on going through all the movies of the Star Wars saga, I managed to rewatch Attack of the Clones on holiday Monday.

By the time the first trailer for Episode II came out late in 2001, I had become pretty beaten down about Star Wars. I hadn't watched any of the four movies for a while, in part because of the vague fear that the anti-Special Edition and anti-TPM contempt clogging up off-topic discussions would suddenly erupt from within me when confronted with the hard evidence, and I had just sort of drifted away from interest in the novels. It's true that fernwithy's Star Wars fanfics were a tenuous thread linking me back to the saga and suggesting that it could be viewed as a whole in an intelligent way, but I wouldn't dare to investigate any further discussions supposed to be about Star Wars for anything. What was more, the sour, unpleasant mirth about the just-announced title of Episode II and the rumours that N'Sync would appear in the movie was far from heartening. (I actually still don't know just what happened to those rumours.)

When I watched an online version of the first trailer, though... all those feelings faded away. I was interested again, and that built with every new trailer, even if I was still very careful not to search out too much other information on the approaching movie. (That reached all the way to leave me a little shocked, though, when I saw Amidala identified as a former queen in the opening crawl. fernwithy's fanfics had placed great importance in her being a queen.) The funniest thing about how little I'd heard, perhaps, was that the yelling and screaming about the romantic dialogue reached me only so far as to make me think I was just supposed to be braced for a line about sand. After that, I was fine, and I wound up very pleased with the movie along with what seemed all the rest of the opening-night audience... and yet, there's a dark undertone to that too. Perhaps I assumed that other people could have been offended more easily by The Phantom Menace's comedy relief, and perhaps I even viewed Attack of the Clones as a response to how its predecessor had turned out (no matter how much of an odd sort of pleasure I took in seeing Naboo fighters and battle droids in the trailers)... but when the sour, unpleasant mirth built up again, I wanted to shout to the world, "You liked it!" (That does, though, leave me wondering if subtler criticisms would affect me more. Somebody could easily say, "These movies are very exciting when you first see them but don't hold together that well once you think about them"... but presumably people always want to go for the big hit.)

I think I've made my peace with things since, and I can see how Attack of the Clones fits into the saga on different scales, of events and characters alike. Too, I'm aware that right from the start, as with The Phantom Menace, the characters just seemed to feel right to me. (This, though, did worry me a little at the first when I compared them to the assorted people of the novels. I was concerned they might be more "real" to me just because they were appearing on a screen... although maybe I'm still not quite sure on the topic.) In some ways, my feelings do shift a little from viewing to viewing. I decided to go see Attack of the Clones an unprecedented third time in the theatres to judge for myself how it looked in digital projection, and wound up worrying that I was nodding my way through the romantic scenes to get to the action at the end. Then, having worked my way through those feelings, I wondered somewhat later (when I managed to watch all six Star Wars movies in one weekend) if I had become a little sated early on with clones blowing up droids near the end, in impatient anticipation of the final lightsabre duels. Being aware of that feeling seems to have kept me from being hit by it this time, though. Instead, after a viewing that didn't seem quite as obsessed with what's to come as my previous one was, I began wondering if Padme being knocked out of the gunship is one of the crucial accidents of the saga, if avoiding that would have kept Anakin from being angry enough to charge straight into Force lightning. Of course, Revenge of the Sith might hint that things wouldn't have been that different...
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