Film poster for Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002) is the fifth Star Wars science fiction movie released and the second part of the prequel trilogy which began with Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.
It is the first Star Wars film which used a high definition digital 24 frame system for most of the movie's live action scenes. (http://www.starwars.com/episode-ii/news/2000/04/news20000409.html).
The film grossed over $300 million in United States box office, a financial success which nevertheless was overshadowed by the even greater box-office success of The Phantom Menace. However, it was not the top grossing film of the year, the first time a Star Wars film has not had that distinction. That film turned out to be Spider-Man which also enjoyed a more favourable critical reception.
The opening crawl from Attack of the Clones
There is unrest in the Galactic Senate. Several thousand solar systems have declared their intentions to leave the Republic. This separatist movement, under the leadership of the mysterious Count Dooku, has made it difficult for the limited number of Jedi Knights to maintain peace and order in the galaxy. Senator Amidala, the former Queen of Naboo, is returning to the Galactic Senate to vote on the critical issue of creating an ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC to assist the overwhelmed Jedi...
Ten years after the events of The Phantom Menace, in 22 BBY, the Galactic Republic is in the grip of a crisis: a group of systems led by Count Dooku, a former Jedi (played by Christopher Lee), threaten to secede, potentially leading to a civil war. After an assassination attempt against Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman), Senator and former Queen of Naboo and leader of the loyalist faction, Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) are assigned to protect her. While tracking the assassins, Kenobi stumbles into the secret development of a clone army, ordered mysteriously ten years ago on the Republic's behalf. Meanwhile, Skywalker and Amidala fall in love. Kenobi tracks the assassin, bounty hunter Jango Fett, from the clone army to Dooku's separatist conspiracy, which is itself building up a droid army based on the Trade Federation's technology. To counter this threat, the Senate gives Chancellor Palpatine emergency powers, with which he calls the clone army into battle; the separatists are forced to retreat, but the Jedi suffer heavy losses and the galaxy is plunged into a civil war orchestrated by Dooku and the mysterious Darth Sidious.
Filming primarily occurred at 20th Century Fox studios in Australia, with additional location shooting in the Tunisian desert, at the Plaza de Espana in Seville, Spain, and in Italy at the Villa del Balbianello on the Lake of Como, and in the Royal Palace in Caserta.
Initial reviews of the film were mixed, with general admiration for the action sequences and special effects, and criticism of the more traditional cinematic elements such as character development and dialogue, particularly with respect to the relationship between Padmé and Anakin.
Fans consider the visual effects superior to The Phantom Menace; many were pleased to see that Jar Jar Binks plays only a minor role and that the attempts at comic relief seen earlier were toned down.
Selected plot elements
Anakin's mechanical hand
Anakin has his right hand cut off by Count Dooku, just as Luke has his hand cut off by Darth Vader (who is Anakin) in The Empire Strikes Back. This dual hand severing becomes important later on in Return of the Jedi, when Luke fails to kill Vader when he sees they both have a cybernetic hand. It is worth noting that Luke's electronic hand is far more sophisticated than Anakin's, which is probably due to development of technology between 22 BBY and 3 ABY. The composition of the group of C-3PO, R2-D2, Anakin and Padmé on the balcony at the end of Attack of the Clones is similar in nature to the end of The Empire Strikes Back.
The political atmosphere in Attack of the Clones is similar to the Cold War, except that it eventually escalates to a real war. Since the original drafts for Star Wars were written in the 1970s, this could have been a political statement as to what a nuclear war would mean.
Other observers believe that Palpatine's power grab is very similar to Hitler's climb to power in Nazi Germany, since he as Chancellor of Germany, was granted "emergency powers" like Chancellor Palpatine of the Republic.
Geonosian style execution
Within the movie, Geonosian style execution is a form of capital punishment practiced on the planet Geonosis. The origin of the term is that it was originally employed by the Geonosians. The scene depicting this execution method takes place in the Geonosian arena. The persons to be executed are chained to a pole, awaiting execution. The beastlike creatures approach from the arena door, and attack and eat the condemned persons in the manner of a wild beast. (This scene appears to reference an execution method employed by the ancient Romans at the Colosseum where lions and other dangerous predator animals were permitted to have their way with condemned prisoners.) Count Dooku sentenced Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and Padmé Naberrie Amidala to be executed in this method. However, the executions were nullified by the timely arrival of Jedi reinforcements, led by Jedi Master Mace Windu.
- Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Retrieved Dec. 10, 2003 from http://www.movie-locations.com/movies/s/sw_attack.html
- Saxton,Curtis John, Hans Jenssen, Richard Chasemore. Star Wars: Attack of the Clones: Incredible Cross Sections. Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 2002.
- StarWars.com's official Episode II site (http://www.starwars.com/episode-ii/)
- Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0121765/) at the Internet Movie Database
- Defense of the Clones (http://www.brightlightsfilm.com/38/clones1.htm), from the website of a Portland, Oregon-based film journal