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Movie Review: Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)

Updated on February 2, 2021
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Natalie is a writer who works at her local library. She enjoys writing reviews, watching anime and TV shows, and playing video games.

Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones Blu-ray cover.
Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones Blu-ray cover. | Source

Quick Info

Director: George Lucas
Distributor: LucasFilm, formerly 20th Century Fox
Released: March 22, 2005 for DVD, November 10, 2015 for blu-ray
Runtime: 143 minutes
Availability: on DVD, blu-ray and purchase digitally, streaming on Disney+

Story Summary

Senator Padmé Amidala is nearly murdered by an assassin and Supreme Chancellor Palpatine assigns Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi and his Padawan Learner Anakin Skywalker to protect her. Anakin pursues a romantic relationship with Padmé even though love is forbidden by the Jedi Order.

The Story Idea Is Good, but the Execution Is Flawed

I have always loved the story of the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy, but many fans have always had something to complain about, mainly the dialogue that Lucas wrote in the Prequels because a lot of it sounds silly when the actors and actresses say it out loud.

The Prequels have however retained some popularity because, despite the clunky delivery of some of the awkward dialogue, much of the Prequel’s dialogue has been used for humor in Star Wars Prequel memes.

If you look at the plot and overlook some of the silly dialogue, the plot is very interesting, Anakin trying to resist his romantic feelings for Padmé while Obi-Wan is trying to find out who is trying to kill her.

On paper, the plot is interesting, but it’s undermined by silly dialogue and awkward delivery from the actors, but I’ll talk about that later.

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones - Trailer

The Visual Effects Look Good, but the CGI Stands Out Too Much

The practical effects for this movie look great, and they always will, unfortunately, the CGI is what sticks out and has not aged that well at all, like for example Dexter Jetster, Obi-Wan’s informant, his scene may be very brief, but he definitely looks like a CGI character, some of the other aliens that were CGI looks dated now compared to CGI made today.

The clone troopers are CGI and they do look amazing, but the graphics do look a little dated. But they still look really cool, but people could tell that they are CGI because they don’t walk like normal people in a suit do.

Sometimes effects look good and sometimes they don’t, but when they don’t it really sticks out.

In the time it came out, Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002) was nominated for an Academy Award for visual effects but it understandably lost to The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) made by WETA Digital, but at that time, the effects were definitely great, but they didn’t age that well compared to The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The Grand Army of the Republic.
The Grand Army of the Republic. | Source

The Sound Effects Are Unique and Amazing

I don’t really mention sound design a lot, but this movie does have some amazing sound design. The space chase between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Jango Fett has some amazing sound design that is probably one of the most memorable scenes in Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones when it comes to sound effects, it’s just so amazing how they created some very unique sounds that I’ve never heard used in another Star Wars film.

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The Acting Is Okay, Better for Some of the Cast, and Meh for Others

The acting for this movie ranges from meh to they did a great job. Hayden Christensen portrayed Anakin the way George Lucas wanted him to. Anakin is a whiner who tries to look mature but isn’t as mature as he thinks he is. While Anakin on paper could be interesting, it seems that George wanted Hayden to play up Anakin’s whining and complaining. And that doesn’t make him an endearing character.

He does play up some of the happier emotions and when Anakin is angry, but in the scenes where he is angry he does an okay job, but it seems more like loud whining more than angry shouting. He does an okay job, it’s just George made his character whine too much.

Natalie Portman is decent as Padmé Amidala, but like Hayden Christensen, she’s got a lot of awkward and corny dialogue. She’s a good actress, but sometimes the delivery of her lines isn’t the best. She did okay in this movie, but I think she did better in Revenge of the Sith (2005).

Ewan McGregor was great as Obi-Wan Kenobi because he makes all his okay dialogue work and he doesn’t overact, sometimes I feel like the other actors were trying too hard to make the dialogue work. He did a great job in this film. He’s one of the highlights of the Star Wars Prequel trilogy.

Christopher Lee was good as Count Dooku, it wasn’t his greatest performance ever, but it was still good. But since The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) had come out the year before and The Lord of the rings: The Two Towers (2002) came out in December while this movie came out in May. It did feel like Lucas made Dooku a knockoff Saruman and it really sticks out, especially if you’ve seen both film trilogies as I have.

Frank Oz does a great job voicing Yoda and he doesn’t have to do any puppeteer work because Yoda’s all CGI in this film and he gave a fantastic vocal performance

Ian McDiarmid did a great job as Chancellor Palpatine and he’s still good in his performance.

Overall, the acting is very hit and miss for some of the actors. It’s not the best movie, it’s not the worst movie, it’s just okay, I suppose it depends on how much corny dialogue you can put up with listening to.

Anakin and Padme spending time together.
Anakin and Padme spending time together. | Source

Across the Stars: Love Theme

The Score is Amazing!

John Williams’ score is amazing. It’s one of the highlights of the film. I love the soundtrack of this film. It suits the atmosphere and themes of the story and the characters. It’s a very well done and memorable soundtrack.

"Across the Stars", Anakin and Padmé's musical theme, is the most memorable music score of the film and embodies the sad and tragic fate of the couple in the Star Wars saga.

Overall, I love the soundtrack of the film and it's one of Attack of the Clones' postive aspects

Courtly Love Is Just Awkward

The reason Anakin and Padmé’s romance feels awkward is that not only is it a tragic romance because of Revenge of the Sith, it’s also based on medieval courtly love, and courtly love is very different than how we think of romance in a modern sense.

Anakin constantly resisting her is actually a part of courtly love, and it’s just odd because of the cheesy dialogue too. Some people like the romance while others don’t. It’s mainly interesting as an idea, but the cheesy dialogue makes the execution look silly at times.

The Cheesy Dialogue Is Annoying

The dialogue is very cheesy and unintentionally funny at times, it’s because of how it’s written and how the actors delivered their lines that just make it humorous for all the wrong reasons.

Like how Hayden Christensen’s Anakin is supposed to be angry, but when he screams sometimes it just sounds whiny and that is both kind of funny and annoying at the same time, and then some of his lines are just silly like, “I don’t like sand”, which has become a meme.

Some of the dialogue is too cheesy to take seriously and this film has a serious tone. On top of that, the humor is just cheesy too.

Obi-Wan fighting for his life in the arena.
Obi-Wan fighting for his life in the arena. | Source

It’s a Decent Star Wars Film, but Not Amazing

Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002) isn’t a perfect movie, but I still enjoy it, it’s not the best Star Wars movie, but it’s not the worst either, it’s not my favorite, but it’s still fun.

I like this movie but I don’t love it. It has too many glaring flaws for me to give this film glowing praise. It’s a decent watch, but it’s not the most amazing Star Wars film I’ve ever watched.

Quick Summary

What Works:
What Doesn't Work:
Decent story, characters and world-building
Some actors don't give the best performances
Some actors give great performances
The dialogue is clunky
Fantastic soundtrack
The romance feels awkward

It’s worth your time, but don’t pay too much for it if you don’t have to.

— ReViewMeMedia

My Grade: C

Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002) is a decent Star Wars film, but it’s not perfect. The movie has a decent story but doesn’t have the execution to make it as good as it could be.

The dialogue is hokey and cheesy and the effects don’t hold up as well as time goes by and films with better CGI are released.

I still like the movie but it’s not the must-buy unless you buy the trilogy as a complete set. It’s a decent film and I like it, but it’s not one I watch over and over.

It is worth your time as people say to watch Attack of the Clones over The Phantom Menace but it does show Anakin’s slow descent into using the Dark Side of the Force, but the execution just isn’t the best, although it has many good ideas on paper when it comes to the plot, Anakin’s excessive whining is not endearing, instead, it’s annoying, I know he’s supposed to be immature but it doesn’t help that his default characteristic is whining.

Obi-Wan’s mystery is what makes the film interesting. The mystery is decent but it can’t carry the entire film.

Overall, it’s fun to watch but not going to be your favorite Star Wars film. I like it, but it’s not the best of the Prequel trilogy. It’s worth your time but maybe you should borrow it from the library or watch it on Disney+.

It’s worth your time, but don’t pay too much for it if you don’t have to.

My Rating

3 stars for Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)

© 2019 ReViewMeMedia

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    • profile image

      Michael115 

      23 months ago

      I might have to revisit the prequels someday! I remember having fun with them when I first saw them, but I will have to see if they stand the test of time. Thanks for the review!

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