10 Years of AOTC: Review Part 3

And the last part of Grant Elliot’s piece:

In light of the fact that I have concluded my overview of the story of Attack of the Clones I would like to give my personal review of the film. I will do so by first critiquing the main arguments given by all the maniacal “fanboys” that give this film a thumbs- down. Then I will give my short personal reasoning why I think this film definitely deserves a thumbs-up. First when examine and critiquing the arguments given by the ever so negative “fanboys” one could go on forever trying to nuance and critique every venomous attack made against Attack of the Clones. But what I will do is narrow it down to the three main basic articles of contention that I have consistently heard time and time again, like a pedantic broken record. These arguments are made over and over again to the point that it seems that the people who express these views are not expressing their own individual ideas, but are just blindly following the negative ills of a mindless popular culture that have no idea of what they are talking about. The three articles of contention that I speak of that I will critique are George Lucas’s use of computer generated images (CGI) for his visual effects, the acting in the film, and finally the love story between Anakin and Padme.

First, concerning George Lucas’s use of CGI technology for his visual effects many of the negative arguments given by the maniacal “fanboys” is that they claim that Lucas overuses the technology, and it looks fake and not real. They also express that they would have preferred Lucas to use the old technology of model ships and puppet aliens for the visual effects, which to my knowledge is the only advise that they actually offer for any of their polemic complaints. In addressing those critiques I would like to offer that at best it might be the fact that the “fanboys” are just not used to CGI technology, being that it is still a fairly new technology in film making and one has to visually adjust their senses to it in order to appriciate it. At worst the “fanboys” who are making these venomous critiques are down right ridiculously absurd in their arguments against the CGI technology that Lucas makes use of. And to point out my case let me say that geniuses of Lucas in his use of CGI technology is when after a couple of years after the release of Attack of the Clones, he announced to a surprised public that all the clone troopers were CGI characters rather than actors in costumes. If the public did not know this fact, and indeed they were fooled by the CGI clone troopers, then that proves that all the arguments made by the “fanboys” against Lucas’s use of the technology are asinine, for if CGI is so fake as they claim then everyone would have recognized from the get-go that the clone troopers were computer generated.

In responding to the desire by the “fanboys” for Lucas to go back to the old technology of model ships and puppets let me say that there is no way that we would have any of the Star Wars films (prequel trilogy or even original trilogy) without the use of CGI technology. We could not have any of the exotic locations in the Star Wars universe without CGI, and in spite of how great the puppet Yoda was in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi there is just no way that we could have had the awesome fight scenes of Yoda in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith with the puppet Yoda. Plus if you really want to be rigidly antiquated you can push using old visual effects technology in film making back to the the original Doctor Who series, the original Star Trek series (which Paramount has recently updated all 79-episodes with CGI technology), or even go back to the old 1930’s and 40’s Flash Gordon and Buck Roger serials were you can actually see the strings holding up the space ships. Please do not get me wrong I love Doctor Who and Star Trek, for they are both awesome science fiction story telling series, and they inspired me before Star Wars came along in 1977. But lets face the facts that both Doctor Who and Star Trek had cheap low-budget visual effects that truly looked fake.

Second, concerning the acting in the film many of the negative arguments given by the “fanboys” is that they claim that all the characters are one-dimensional “cookie cutter” characters that have no depth, and they also accuse the actors in the film as giving horrible performances. In addressing these critiques let me express that none of the six Star Wars movies, of both the prequel trilogy and the original trilogy, are actor movies. And what I mean by that is that Star Wars is not a Shakespearean play were the acting is nine-tenths of the art of story telling. George Lucas has never claimed to be an expert on the art of acting in story telling, but his claim to fame is that he is a visual story teller, and that is what Star Wars is all about, an epic science fiction saga that visually tells the story of the battle between good and evil in a mythological universe. In response to the “fanboys” complaint that Attack of the Clones had horrible acting I say if you are into acting go see an actors movie, or go see a Shakespearean play at live theater, but if you want to see an epic science fiction series that has excellent visual story telling then go see Star Wars. The acting in Attack of the Clones is more than adequate for what Lucas set out to do in production of the film. Plus not to mention that much drama in movies and television shows that are currently praised for great acting is way overrated, and more melodrama than good acting that grates on one’s nerves, like nails on a chalkboard.

Third and last, concerning the love story between Anakin and Padme in Attack of the Clones many of the negative complaints given by the “fanboys” is that they claim that the love story is dry, one-dimensional, and seems as if it was forced. Ironically long before Attack of the Clones was released Lucas predicted that fans would have the most trouble with the love story. But again the complaints of the “fanboys” are unfounded, and in addressing their critiques let me express that Attack of the Clones was never meant to be a love story. But to the contrary it was meant to tell the story of Anakin Skywalker’s journey to the dark-side of the Force, focusing on his life as a Jedi being disgruntled that he is forbidden to be with the love of his life due to his oath to the Jedi Order. The story is not meant to be saccharine and sappy that you would see in your average love story, but a realistic portrayal of a conflicted and socially awkward young man who is controlled by his emotions and passions rather than his convictions and responsibility. Again I say if you are into love stories then go see a Danielle Steel movie, but if you want to see an epic science fiction saga, with the love story being the pretext in telling a relatable human story of a young man letting his emotions and passions get the better of him, taking him down the tragic path of destruction, then see Attack of the Clones.

There are many reasons I could nuance to give for why I think Attack of the Clones is a superb five-star movie, but the greatest of these reasons, in my opinion, is the fantastic story-arc that we get in the revelation of the history of the infamous Clone Wars. Alluded to in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope Star Wars fans have been fascinated by the Clone Wars, which preceded the Galactic Civil War, which was the war fought in the original trilogy. Speculations on the nature and history of the Clone Wars went wide and eccentric in the fandom world of Star Wars fans. Fans have speculated that the Clone Wars was a war fought between the Jedi Order and the mythic warrior race of the Mandalorians, while others have speculated that the Clone Wars were similar to the Kryptonian tales of their Clone Wars in the DC Comics mythology of a planetary civil war fought for the rights and dignity of clones.
As it turned out George Lucas’s vision of the Clone Wars was very different than what most fans speculated on. As a matter of fact Lucas vision for the Clone Wars was not only a coherent story and history of that war, but it did many things to enhance the
Star Wars mythology. First it relates to the real life historical scenario of our own American civil war, where (states) or (planetary systems) separated over political ideology, and were a civil war ensued to keep the (country) or (galaxy) together as one. Lucas story-telling of the Clone Wars expressed the complex nature of war, the grey- matters of choosing sides, and how evil can use war to manipulate good into falling into its will. Most of all Lucas did a superb job at showing how the Clone Wars was solely used by the Sith Lord Darth Sidious (aka. Palpatine) to manipulate the entire civilized galaxy into absolute totalitarian control over them. Lucas created the ultimate villain in Palpatine, and Ian McDiarmid did such an awesome job at playing that role that it sent chills up my spine.

Finally in making my last point in this review I want to preemptively respond to any of the “fanboys” who would accuse me that my bias blinds me from any solid criticism of Attack of the Clones. To which I would respond in two ways, which the first is to say the same can be said about them, in that their negative bias towards George Lucas and the prequel Star Wars trilogy blinds them to any positive aspects they could appriciate about the films. Secondly I would say yes that my positive bias towards the prequel Star Wars trilogy has the potential of blinding me to any well thought out critiques of Attack of the Clones, with the exception that in spite of my love for the film I have never claimed it to be a perfect movie with no mistakes. Movies and television shows are made by humans, in which all humans are flawed, so in retrospect all movies and television shows that have been made throughout the history of film making are flawed to one degree or another. No matter how great a movie or television show is, and no matter how classical it is respected for by popular American culture, it is by no means perfect. If one wants to be aggressively nit-picky one can find any movie or television show, irrespective on how popular American culture views it, with many flaws that would make one not want to bother viewing the film. That is why a movie or television show should not be judged in its artistic ascetic value based on nit-picky content, but instead should be evaluated and judged on its overall story-arc content and the philosophical worldview that it offers its audience. And that is why I say that all six-chapters of the Star Wars saga, including Attack of the Clones, stand the test of time. May the Force always be with George Lucas and the legacy of his Star Wars saga.

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12 Responses to “10 Years of AOTC: Review Part 3”

  1. Adam D. Bram (Collor Pondrat) Says:

    It should also be noted that there’s plenty of anamatronics on background characters, and most of the buildings were models.

    • Grant T. Elliott Says:

      Point taken. I was just trying to demonstrate that all the negative press against Lucas’s use of CGI is unwarranted.

  2. Slicer Says:

    The PT films have alot of old school effects besides CGI and it can be hard to tell them apart. But the manic fanboys are blind to the facts, which is often the case.

  3. Dave B Says:

    “These arguments are made over and over again to the point that it seems that the people who express these views are not expressing their own individual ideas, but are just blindly following the negative ills of a mindless popular culture that have no idea of what they are talking about”

    This is more or less true. I think making fun of the Prequels has become like when stand up comedians make jokes about bad airplane or hospital food, dishonest mechanics, car salesmen or politicians, and rude DMV employees. Even though these things are untrue more often than not, they’ve become an easy “go to” joke that a comedian can make, because people are programmed to laugh at them, without even questioning whether or not it’s true. The sort of joke a hack of a comedian would make.

  4. buick runner Says:

    Exactly, even Joel from MST3K made a quick remark how George f…ed up the prequels to cover a flubed riff during one of his live shows he does now. It has really become an easy and lazy go to joke.

    BTW, less than a quarter of Joel ‘s audience even laughed at his pt putdown. He was visibly shocked by the lack of laughter, good.

  5. Stefan Kraft Says:

    To be fair, some fans/fanboys may argue that they did not expect great performances of the actors or a perfect love story, but that they were underwhelmed nevertheless, i.e. that they did not expect great or really good, but that they got bad instead. They may also argue that they do not have any problems with CGI, but that they were rather looking for the right mixture of “old school” and CGI effects. However, if they start talking like that, there’s room for a civilized discussion IMHO. (Unfortunately, that’s not always the case, I know.)

    Apart from that, I think that Dave B nailed it with his comment: making fun of the prequels or saying how much Jar Jar / Star Wars Kinect has ruined Star Wars has become an easy joke/comment where you expect that everyone will agree with you.
    When reading articles even loosely related to Star Wars (and where it is not mentioned how bad the prequels were etc.), you can be most certain that the usual “the prequels suck / George Lucas was surrounded by yes men / …” comments will pop up, which certainly contribute to the topics discussed in the article. (Or not.)
    (Another example for a typical twitter conversation: “Never seen the prequels, but they are shown today on TV.” Answer by @johndoe1138: “Skip them, they suck.” Or “Don’t watch them, stay away from Jar Jar.”)

    • Stefan Kraft Says:

      Now it’s getting off topic, but nevertheless… I was wondering recently whether casting Simon Pegg as Dengar was a good idea. I mean, he commented on Twitter that TCW made Star Wars cool again, so that the usual suspects will stop bashing the series (“Hey guys, watch The Clone Wars – it’s cool, approved by Simon Pegg.”)

      I should again stress that I do not have problems with negative opinions on the prequels, as long as they are expressed in a civilized manner and not in the “it is a natural law that the prequels suck” way – or the usual comment at the end of an article (“it’s bad, but still better than the prequels”).

  6. Dave B Says:

    Interesting but sad comment by Simon Pegg. Was that made before or after he was cast?

    • Stefan Kraft Says:

      Hello Dave B,
      AFAIK, after he was cast & the episode broadcast. (By the way, I meant “whether casting Simon Pegg as Dengar was a good idea in the end” in my first post. English is not my mother tongue, so wait for more strange sentences. 😉 )

  7. Dave B Says:

    Thanks, Stefan Kraft. No problem about the strange sentences. 🙂

    • Stefan Kraft Says:

      On the other hand, I might also be wrong… I should check Pegg’s twitter account to find the message I cited, but since that would take some time and I am not in the mood for it, I leave it open whether Pegg actually twittered that message or not. However, I am pretty sure I have read something like “Watch The Clone Wars! Pegg says it has made Star Wars cool again.” somewhere. (Was it an article on the EW website?)

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