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Much of this movie reminds me of the science fiction novels I used to write when I was twelve. Novels that were inspired by a childhood full of watching Star Wars. This movie is very reminiscent of me looking through one of those old novels I wrote in that it makes me grimace almost uncontrollably. But these novels were written by a dim-witted twelve-year-old and not an esteemed Hollywood movie maker. When Anakin finds out that his mother has been kidnapped by Tusken Raiders and then decides to find her, the scene that takes place is unacceptable. Anakin wanders into the camp and takes out his lightsaber, cutting open the first hut that he sees to reveal his mother tied to a post with a few cuts on her face. Anakin and she exchange several coherent sentences until she just dies, apparently from a nick on her forehead. Anakin then proceeds to get really pissed off. There was no apparent reason for her to die, she looked like she had gotten into a minor fight at a middle school. Anakin actually puts his hand over her face to closer her eyes, you know, like they do in every movie. As in the first movie, Pernilla August turns in possibly the best live action performance as Shmi Skywalker. Shmi Skywalker, however, is still a dumb name.
Cheese For Anakin's Whine
Anakin gets all pissy after he can't save his mother from the sand people. He goes on this tirade that is supposed to show us how he has a dark side. Once again something like this could stand to be a little more subtle since about one fifth of the Earth's population is already quite aware that Anakin has a dark side. His second temper tantrum has him screaming five-year-old things like: "I will be the most powerful Jedi ever!" and "I should be all-powerful!" Then he throws some stuff and says, "It's all Obi-Wan's fault!" What? What does he mean? How could this be Obi-Wan's fault? You would think that Lucas could think of a better reason than NO REASON AT ALL for Anakin to want to turn on his master. Oh wait, no you wouldn't!
"I will never join you!"
While Obi-Wan is imprisoned in a strange blue field, Dooku offers Obi-Wan a deal. "Join me," he says. "And together we will destroy the Sith." It's a really crappy cliche that has no purpose because you don't see any sort of emotion on Obi-Wan's face at all. He simply turns his head slightly and then simply says, "I will never join you, Dooku." End of story. It is clear that Obi-Wan's decision has been made. He is calm and firm about his answer so the audience is never thinking, Gee, what's going to happen? Is Obi-Wan being tempted? It's not like in The Empire Strikes Back where Luke is confused and doesn't know what to believe or what to do. Luke is torn between believing someone he trusts who may have been lying to him and believing someone he hates who, deep down, he knows is telling the truth. "Join me!" "Nope." "Okay." Just doesn't have the same sense of urgency.
Jar Jar's role is small in this film. Small but important. In the beginning of the film when he was on screen you could have cut the tension in the theatre with a knife. Everyone just joined in a collective cringe with every word that came out of his mouth. You could just feel it. While it is stupid that he was appointed to fill in for a senator it cannot be argued that Jar Jar had the most important role in the film and possibly in the entire series as a whole. Palpatine, through simple parental-like reverse Psychology, manages to get Jar Jar to bear the brunt of the responsibility of beginning the Clone Wars. It's very disturbing that it's presented in a humorous manner as if this was just another of Jar Jar's antics. Jar Jar's decision will ultimately put Emperor Palpatine in power and destroy all but two of the Jedi Knights. Even those cute little kids we get to see Yoda training in the Jedi Academy sequence. All of those kids are going to be ruthlessly murdered. Four and five year olds, dead and the blood is on Jar Jar's hands. Ha ha ha! Okay you got me, that is pretty funny! Oh Lucas, you card!
The Assembly Line
When Padme, Anakin, C3P0 and R2D2 finally arrive on Geonosis they find that Count Dooku has set up a factory which is manufacturing battle droids. Manufacturing them in this giant plant complete with molten metal, conveyor belts and presses. I'm surprised that George Lucas didn't dig up some old Carl Stalling records to insert into the soundtrack here seeing that it already looks exactly like a Warner Brothers cartoon. For no good reason they are knocked down onto a conveyor belt and are forced to time their jumps carefully as not to be crushed by these giant stamps that crash down onto the metal plates. Where have I seen this before? Oh yeah, in EVERY video game I have every played!
C3P0's Stunts & Antics
C3P0 is awfully limber all of a sudden. The droid that can barely bend his knees and can't seem to bend his elbows at all is suddenly graced with an acrobatic grace throughout this one flawed scene. In a change of events more reminiscent of the Droids! cartoon than of Star Wars, Threepio is suddenly hanging on to a speeding cart by his fingertips and climbing around with physics-defying skills similar to those displayed by Anakin earlier in the film. By stretching the term "suspension of disbelief" as far as possible so that it is approximately one atom thick, one can assume that the Force plays a part in Anakin's stunts. How can Threepio's stunt be explained? Undoubtedly there will be an inept definition of machine midi-chlorians in the next movie.
And Threepios's antics are possible the worst Threepio antics to date. He was annoying in A New Hope, distracting in The Empire Strikes Back, downright despicable in Return of the Jedi and just dumb in The Phantom Menace. In Episode II we see Threepio bumbling around in yet another unfunny attempt for laughter. The comedic ineptitude seems as if it will never end as his head is put on a fighter droid's body and a fighter droid's head is put on his body. You can only imagine the hilarious scenes that ensue as Threepio is now unwillingly fighting in a droid army. Oh for fun!
This may have been the most insulting point of the movie for me. What midi-chlorians made me feel in Episode I, R2-D2's flying made me feel in Episode II. I was enraged when he began flying around. Since when? Since? When? When I saw Artoo flying around in the trailers I was willing to give that scene the benefit of the doubt. Maybe something latched onto him and was carrying him around. Maybe he got shot through the air with some blast or something. Nope. He just came to the end of the floor and decided he was going to reveal these hidden jets in his legs and fly. What's more is that he decided he would never do it again! Artoo rolls around through the sands of Tatooine, he gets blocked by immoveable objects on Cloud City and he stupidly falls off of Jabba's sail barge to avoid the explosion. What about this situation in Episode II seemed to warrant these rockets is beyond me. It is clearly just visual and effects masturbation on Lucas's part.
In the conveyor belt sequence Anakin's arm is stamped down into a piece of metal. All the other metal is stamped flat but for some reason Anakin's arm is encased in an Anakin's arm shaped piece of metal instead of being crushed. So now he's trapped. At first I thought that Anakin may end up having to chop his own arm off to escape the situation. I thought how that could be a really great moment and how he could have been the one who begins the disfigurement which will ultimately end up leading him to his signature Darth Vader suit. Then I remembered in the trailer how he duels with two lightsabers so that wouldn't happen. I also remembered that Lucas is a fool. Instead Anakin, after struggling for a minutes to try to work free from the molded metal that is imprisoning his arm just simply pulls his hand free at the last moment with no given explanation.
The Execution Sequence
Ah, the classic movie problem of villains executing people in a much too elaborate fashion. This time the concept is stretched beyond the limits of human reason. Let's take three people and chain them to poles and then release three monsters, so ridiculous looking that it will be impossible for the audience to not laugh at their sheer absurdity. Then we will have three guys with electric prods, force these terrible monsters towards the three people seeing as how the monsters won't be very interested in the people at all. Great. Count Dooku is supposed to be this brilliant man. At one point Jango Fett becomes the voice of reason and basically says: "You know, this isn't going as well as we had hoped. Let me shoot them." And Count Dooku won't allow it. Why is this? Is he having second thoughts? Is he really a good guy? No. There's no explanation given. He just won't allow it. I guess Count Dooku really had his heart set on having them eaten by animals. Poor guy.
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"I've got a bad feeling about this."
Typically this line has been given when nothing particularly bad is going on but there may be a sense of foreboding. This is clearly not a GOOD situation that they are in as these giant monsters are approaching them. Lucas can't even seem follow his own stupid rules.
Reasons to Hate Star Wars
Episode I (78 Reasons to Hate!)
Episode II (64+ Reasons to Hate!)
Episode III (91 Reasons to Hate!)
The Nitpicker's Guide to Star Wars
Episode IV: Special Edition (12 Nitpicks!)
Episode V: Special Edition (8 Nitpicks!)
Episode VI: Special Edition (17 Nitpicks!)