My New Found Appreciation for AOTC

I really dislike Attack of the Clones. I find it to be unbearable in some instances. Of all the films, I find it the weakest and I’m always surprised by people who prefer it over The Phantom Menace. I forced myself once to watch it and try to find 10 things to like about the movie.

The script writing is atrocious and we never get to see if Hayden Christensen is a good actor because of it (if you’ve seen Shattered Glass – he is a better actor than most people give him credit for). Natalie Portman works her magic as best as she can, but I feel there are only a few times her skills really get to shine. Ewan McGregor seems to be the only saving grace of this movie. Though there are times that are also halting and a little awkward with him, he seems much more comfortable on a green screen and with funny, jilted, strange dialogue.

While watching one movie every weekend (I lie – sometimes it’s been 2.5 movies in one weekend because I’m really behind) in the Machete Theory Order to prepare for The Last Jedi, I watched AOTC over the Thanksgiving break.

I enjoyed this movie for primarily one reason:

Ewan Mcgregor/Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Ewan McGregor totally steals this movie as Obi-Wan. He is excellent in it and his entire plot line had me riveted. Even when I think I know everything about Star Wars, it goes to show that it’s full of surprises.

Two things that struck my interest this time around:

  1. Obi-Wan’s treatment of Anakin got me pissed off, and
  2. This is the only Star Wars movie where we see an entire plot line that is a mystery.

 

Obi-Wan & Anakin

Obi-Wan derides Anakin constantly in Attack of the Clones. No wonder Anakin wants to throw off his yoke and thinks he is better than Obi-Wan! The entire beginning of the movie is Obi-Wan berating Anakin and emphasizing how young he is.

We are not going to exceed our mandate, my young Padawan learner.

We are not going through this exercise again, Anakin. You will pay attention to my lead.

We will do as the Council has instructed, and you will learn your place, young one.

It’s too risky… and your senses aren’t that attuned, young apprentice.

If you’d spend as much time working on your saber skills as you do on your wit, young Padawan, you would rival Master Yoda as a swordsman.

 

It was starting to get under my skin, and quickly. I could not figure out if this was a normal way for Masters to speak to their Jedi Apprentices or if it was unique to Obi-Wan and Anakin. Even if it was the norm, Anakin clearly did not do well with that kind of instruction.

I’m not sure why I noticed this dialogue more closely than I have in the past but it opened my eyes to the relationship between Obi-Wan and Anakin and helped me understand why Anakin could have been much closer to Palpatine than the brief glimpses we saw in the movie.

Palpatine was always building Anakin up, telling him how wonderful he was, and how he would become the greatest Jedi Knight. For someone with such high standing in the galaxy to be telling you that…I would want to be more in his presence as well.

This was briefly touched upon when Obi-Wan is talking with Mace and Yoda. They discussed that the padawans were becoming more arrogant of their powers over the years. Perhaps the way Obi-Wan talked down to Anakin was his way of trying to curb that arrogance.

Another thing to keep in mind was that Anakin had been hearing about how he was the “chosen one” since Qui-Gon brought him before the council. So not only does he have great power, he also believes he’s some sort of prodigy.

Don’t get me wrong – I believe Obi-Wan was doing the right thing by criticizing Anakin and taking him off his high horse. But I also think he did it a little too much and he may not have realized it.

Watching Obi-Wan’s interaction with Anakin in AOTC and seeing how it shifts in ROTS (it’s much more friendly and equal in the third episode) helped me empathize with Anakin and how he felt like he was constantly being held back.

 

The Mystery

Obi-Wan’s plot in AOTC is the only plot in Star Wars where we have a mystery. There are subtle mysteries, to be sure, like wondering who Luke’s father is, who are Rey’s parents, etc., but this plot line was very deliberate and elaborate.

It starts with Padmé’s ship being blown up as soon as we open the movie. From there, there are covert directives from a strange bounty hunter to an assassin, along with a Jedi chase. A planet has been lost and cloners are brought into the mix.

If this wasn’t an interesting enough chase of information, the kicker is when Obi-Wan arrives on Kamino to find that Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas had ordered an expansive clone army without any of the Council’s knowledge, and, Sifo-Dyas is dead.

This whole time, we have a backdrop of political unrest in the galaxy’s capital – Coruscant. The separatists are leaving the Republic and the only reason Padmé returned was to vote on the Military Creation Act which coincidentally ties into the discovery of the clone army on Kamino. As a seasoned Star Wars viewer who in a twisted way admires Palpatine, I have to wonder if he planned all this on purpose. Did he mean for Zam Wesell to fail in her missions, for Obi-Wan to get a glimpse of Jango, and see the dart? Was he working this entire time to try and figure out a way to get the Jedi to Kamino?

 

It’s enough to make your head spin. Actually, I believe I missed many finer points for the first 10 years that I watched the movie.

This mystery side plot IS the main plot of the movie and I misunderstood this for a long time. I watched the movie focusing on Anakin and Padmé’s romance and cringed so much that it made the movie unbearable.

I found a new appreciation for Attack of the Clones when I watched it last weekend and focused on Obi-Wan’s chase to unravel a large hole in the Jedi’s knowledge. I understood where The Clone Wars took directive from in their short episodes. One of the primary thoughts I had was that Obi-Wan’s plot reminded me of a fleshed out TCW episode. The movie became riveting and I learned more information than I have in the past.

I never thought I’d write this, but I left my viewing of AOTC extremely satisfied and I enjoyed it.

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Friday Fives: Characters That Deserved More Screen Time

The Star Wars universe is amazing, we can all agree upon that.  There are so many characters, planets, ships, that our imagination can be taken beyond hyperspace and we know we could live in that world if we wanted to (oh, hell, I would love to live in the Star Wars universe).  But the stories we’ve seen in the saga thus far only focus on one family and the people that touch their lives.  Which is great and all, but unfortunately, we don’t get to see the background stories of other characters.  Here are 5 characters that I think deserve more screen time and wouldn’t mind if they were honored with a standalone movie.

Five Characters That Deserved More Screen Time

  1. Sabé. This woman was Padmé’s loyal bodyguard and decoy.  Sounds fun, right?  Uhhh, sounds dangerous.  How did she get to this position at such a young age?  What was the training like in order to learn all the young Queen’s Sabemannerisms, voice inflection, how to be a bodyguard, and learn all these secret ways of asking Queen Amidala for advice when you don’t know the answer?  Sabé showed great strength during the Battle of Naboo and was thrust into a position where she probably was always trained for, but didn’t expect to use in such a dire situation.  Was she even able to fool Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon?  She later fought in the Battle of Naboo and threw out the great line of “Viceroy! Your occupation here has ended!” Playing a pivotal role in distracting him so that Padmé could get the guns and corner Nute.  I would love to know more about Sabé, her past, and what the future held for her.
  2. Bib Fortuna. I haven’t talked about him much, and he’s clearly doesn’t have the strongest bib fortunamind, but I think he was actually a pretty savvy guy.  He was with Jabba for at least 30ish years (we saw him in TPM) so it shows that he knew the right things to say at the right time. Plus, he looked ugly meshed with evil.  The red eyes with greasy skin and lekku just made him this character I wanted to stay far away from.  According to the Legends, he actually really hated Jabba and tried several times to kill him unsuccessfully.  Poor guy.  To fail so, so, so many times.  But you know what?  Sounds like Jabba never knew or he wouldn’t have kept him on so it further proves my point that I think Bib was sly, cunning, and smarter than most.
  3. Syfo-Dyas. AOTC is not my favorite movie, but I was extremely interested in the clone army and how it was kept under wraps for so long.  The back story was explained to us slightly in The Clone Wars, sosifo dyas it fleshed out this mystery on who Syfo-Dyas was and how he kept the clone army hidden from others.  But I’d like to see a more robust version of this story and learn more about his Jedi past and the experiences that shaped him to make the decisions he did.  Why did the top Jedi not listen to him about the “growing darkness”?  Was this the beginning of someone being dissatisfied with the Jedi Council, even before Ahsoka?  Was there more unrest within the Jedi than we knew about and how did those seeds plant throughout the Order?  Knowing the ending of the movie (Spoiler alert!  He dies), could actually heighten the plot.
  4. Shmi Skywalker. Hear me out on this one.  We know a lot about Shmi already, but mostly just how she relates to Anakin’s story.  I’d like to see a more female centric Star Wars story that shmi skywalkerdeals with more everyday issues of life, with a sprinkling of Star Wars.  This could be a very interesting look at slavery in the Star War universe, something that is clearly abhorred by those closer to the center as implied by Padmé’s shock, but still very prevalent in the outer worlds.  Shmi was in slavery most of her life.  And imagine her shock when she became pregnant for no apparent reason?  This could be a very interesting movie/story, and if someone did it right, they could really do a good job with making it very separate from any Christ-like similarities.  Shimi doesn’t need to be visited by any angel or vision, she could just all of a sudden become pregnant.  Imagine the fear and confusion that lives with her for 9 months.  And when she gives birth, she devotes herself to her son and sees it as something happy, but he is taken from her at such a young age.  From there, she goes on to lead a happier life with Cliegg Lars.  This could be a very real life, tough and gritty, female-life story that I’d love to see on the big screen, even though I doubt it’ll ever happen.
  5. Nien Nunb. I have this this weird fascination with this character because I feel like they kind of dumped him in the nien nunbstory and then threw him away.  I mean, he got to be first mate to Lando during the final battle in ROTJ.  You have to be pretty good for that, especially as he doesn’t seem to speak a lick of Basic, but understands it.  According to Legends, he was once a smuggler and befriended Lando during one of his flights.  So much potential here!  Smugglers are always interesting so it would be great to see his adventures and the movie would be in all subtitles!  It would be a foreign action film, but Star Wars style.

All characters in a movie are there to serve a purpose, whether it be a decoy for a queen or the mother of the most important character.  But sometimes I think that they should get a little more time to show their side of the story and how they got where we saw them.

Who would you pick?  Do you have anyone from the movies you’d like to see more of?

Darth Tyranus vs. Darth Maul Showdown!

In April, I promised a post on the Sith. I started writing it and got bored writing it, and left it alone, and went back to it, and got bored again, so I realized that if I can’t even be interested in my post, nobody else would be.   Then this past week I started thinking about pitting Jedi against Jedi and Sith against Sith and I thought…actually, this is a more interesting way to think about my post.

I was planning on writing an entire post on the four Sith we see in the saga, including Vader vs. Sidious, but it’s too long! So I’m cutting it up and today’s excerpt will just be Darth Tyranus vs. Darth Maul. And yes, I am also planning on doing a Jedi Showdown at some point, I just need to get to it.

So introducing our first pair in the rink! (They can’t be paired with Sidious because of the different weight class. Sidious is obviously much heavier with the Force and would ruin them as soon as the buzzer went off)

This is ranked on a point basis: 10 means they exhibit the qualities to the extreme, 1 being that they show too many Jedi qualities 😉 Points will be given based on intelligence, ruthlessness, experience, and lightsaber combat.

 darth-maul-vs-count-dooku

DARTH MAUL VS. DARTH TYRANUS SHOWDOWN

Presenting Darth Tyranus! A formidable fighter, but can he withstand the brutality of his Dathomirian counterpart? 

Darth Tyranus comes into the ring:

  • Intelligence: 8/10. As someone once respected by the Jedi (known as Count Dooku), I’m sure he was able to get away count dooku sidiouswith a lot more before anyone caught on that, hey, wait a minute, you’re no longer a Jedi. Tyranus took over the clone army project and erased Kamino from the Jedi Archives. He also was a leader of the Separatists and trained quite a few chilling opponents of the Jedi. This guy was pretty organized and intelligent – helping Sidious pave the way for an Empire ruled by Sith. He lacks two final points because he was not quite smart enough to realize that he was just a pawn in Sidious’ game.
  • Ruthlessness: 6/10. Once turned to the dark side, Tyranus had no qualms killing those he loved. Looking at his backstory, you can see that he was once good friends with Jedi Sifo-Dyus, and murdered him in order to become a full Sith and take over the clone army project. He also took on Asajj Ventress as a pseudo apprentice but ordered her killed as well. Though he didn’t succeed, it shows that he has no problem abandoning those he should also have some sort of attachment to. The only reason I don’t give him more points is because he seems to be a bit of a coward. He ran away from Yoda in AOTC and sent someone else to try to kill Asajj Ventress.
  • Experience: 9/10. Tyranus was pretty formidable even in his older age. All those years as a Jedi and now a Sith leads to one thing: he knows his stuff. He knows how the Jedi fight and also how to outmaneuver them, as we saw in AOTC. He is experienced in politics and the Force, which makes for a deadly combination. He trained Jedi and then went on to train leaders in the Separatist Droid Army: Durge, Asajj Ventress, and General Grievous. Plus, he knows how to create Force lightening and you can’t do that as a rookie.
  • Lightsaber combat: 8/10. Wookieepedia says that Dooku was a well respected instructor at the Jedi Temple and “one of the most renowned swordsmen in the galaxy”, up there with Yoda and Mace Windu. I think that was pretty obviouscount dooku vs yoda when in AOTC, he took on Obi-Wan, Anakin, and finally Yoda in a battle where he bested 2/3 of his opponents. He even did pretty well in ROTS when he again took on Obi-Wan and Anakin. Though he lost his life, he held out for quite a while. It’s clear that Obi-Wan wasn’t much of a match for him. I almost gave him 9/10, but the fact that he ran from Yoda and died at Anakin’s hands shows that he wasn’t the best.

Tyranus total points: 31/40 or a 78% chance of winning in the rink.

And now we have…Darth Maul! A formidable, rage-filled opponent, but does he have enough experience to defeat the older veteran?

dooku vs maul

 Darth Maul comes into the ring:

  • Intelligence: 5/10. I always got the impression that Darth Maul was more of a mercenary than an intelligent being valued for his input and ideas. Reading up on his history in Wookieepedia, I see that I was kind of right. Apparently he was trained while Sidious was still an apprentice to Plagueis. Plagueis was aware of Maul, but agreed to train him to be “expendable”. You don’t train intelligent people to be expendable, because they will catch on and turn on you. Also, Maul failed to see that Obi-Wan was using the Force to jump up and grab Qui-Gon Jinn’s lightsaber. Do you remember his baffled look as he slowly tried to figure out what Obi-Wan was doing? Not the brightest bulb.
  • Ruthlessness: 10/10. Yes, I give Maul a perfect score on this. This dude is legit crazy. Not only was he trained as a Sith, he was also trained as a Sith Assassin, where horrible torturing techniques were used on him to hone him into a skilled, heartless warrior.darth maul tcw Maul survived his encounter with Obi-Wan Kenobi by living off of his rage (I like to pretend this storyline doesn’t exist but alas, it’s part of canon now) as his “mental equilibrium slowly became undone.” If you watch these TCW episodes, you’ll see how ruthless he really is. When he is brought back to some sort of normalcy (well, “normal” for him) he goes off on a mad hunt for Obi-Wan, killing multiple people in the process in bloody rage. He is cray cray, and that leads to him being a ruthless Sith.
  • Experience: 7/10. When Maul starts out, he doesn’t have much experience other than his training. He almost dies on Naboo (okay, he totally does, grrr), but then goes on to lead his bloody rampage. When we last see Darth Maul, Sidious has kidnapped him and plans to use him for his own purposes once more. Darth Maul built his way up from almost being killed, to gaining more experience battling Jedi, pirates, Nightsisters, and even dabbles in the politics of Mandalore. He definitely does not have the same amount of knowledge as Tyranus does, but given time, he may be near indestructible when his rage is combined with his experience.
  • Lightsaber combat: 7/10. I struggled with this ranking. We only see one fight from Maul so it’s almost unfair to rate him.darth maul fighting However, from this one battle we can see he did manage to kill Qui-Gon, but in the end was bested by Obi-Wan. But to be defeated by Obi-Wan means that your lightsaber combat skills cannot be the best of the best. I only say that because, well, we’ve never actually seen Obi-Wan kill any Sith Lord other than Maul. He failed against Tyranus, Anakin (though that may have been emotional), and couldn’t even really hold his own against Grievous who doesn’t even have the Force. I’m not saying Obi-Wan is easy to fight, I just don’t think he’s the best. Maul does a much better job in lightsaber combat in TCW, so I upped his points, but he still can’t manage to beat Obi-Wan.

Maul total points: 29/40 or a 73% chance of winning in the rink.

And the winner is…drumroll…

darth tyranus

Darth Tyranus! Also known as Count Dooku, this man possesses the right combination of experience, intelligence, and combat skills to defeat one who relies primarily on his rage.

I really enjoyed writing this post and learned a lot in the process about these two Sith. We all know I’m a Jedi girl, but this was just pure fun. Personally, I like Darth Maul better than Dooku and I wish he hadn’t died in TPM. The lightsaber battle is one of my favorites of all time.

Do you guys agree with my little assessment? Think Tyranus would win if he was placed against Maul?

Also, Rebels finally has a release date!