Bright Lights Film Journal On AOTC

Mike Thorn posted a recent piece (Nov. 16) on Bright Lights Film Journal called “George Lucas’s Wildest Vision: Retrofuturist Auteurism in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones”.

This is a real critique of art from the standpoint of someone who is serious about cinema as an art form:

Returning to the comparison between Attack of the Clones and *Corpus Callosum, I would also argue that both films are born to differing degrees from avant-garde traditions, given Lucas’s directorial background and origins (his early work in short films is largely comprised of formalist experimentation, and even his feature debut THX 1138 [1971] eschews many of the customary characteristics of its genre). What defines Attack of the Clones more than anything is its wild formal inventiveness, which remains unprecedented in mainstream cinema. And like Snow’s Callosum, Lucas’s film deals with the futuristic possibilities of digital filmmaking, in this case, resulting ultimately in the alteration of an entire art form.


7 Responses to “Bright Lights Film Journal On AOTC”

  1. Pedro Felipe Says:

    Indeed, such an amazing movie, Lucas really pushed the envelope with digital technology and the movie looks gorgeous to this day. The color grading is amazing, the special FX is amazing, the ACTING is amazing, the STORY and WRITING is amazing, screw you haters, I UNAPOLOGETICALLY love it.

  2. Pedro Felipe Says:

    Great to see people coming out praising the prequels. We need to speak out. I know I shouldn’t, but right now I feel like Darth Maul:

    At least we’ll reveal ourselves to haters, at last we’ll have revenge.

    And when I see the guys at the Blast Points podcast praising the prequels I love it, but I can feel in their voices the fear of backlash, in the Attack of The Clones episode they were very concerned they might “loose their credibility with their viewers”. To them I say:

    No. Don’t you see? We don’t have to run away anymore! We no longer have to hide our love for the prequels. We are more powerful than the haters, We… We can overthrow him! And together, We can rule the fandom! Make things the way we want them to be!

    Well, I can dream can’t I?

  3. George Shot First Says:

    Terrific article. The reviewer’s take on AOTC as a piece of “retrofuturism” and the concept of it being both pre- and post-cynical is incredibly insightful. He articulates a feeling I’ve had about Star Wars in general and AOTC in particular but never been able to put my finger on.

    The essence of Star Wars and the genius of George Lucas is that knack for instilling and exhibiting unapologetic childlike wonder while being simultaneously so technically meticulous and audacious.

    The epic blockbuster as intimate indie film is a genre that is practically exclusive to Lucas, and he takes full advantage of it. The prequels in particular never fail to excite my inner child while still captivating the thinking, philosophical, and occasionally pessimistic adult that shares the same body.

    • Pedro Felipe Says:

      That! It’s unbelievable! Kind of reminds me of what Steve Jobs sad about Pixar movies: “It’s really easy to make a movie kids will like, what is really hard is to make a movie the kids and their parents will like. Attack of The Clones is wonderful and whismical, but is more profound than the darkest and gritiest movies. The movie is about deep human dilemas and issues, as a kid I loved it, and as I grew up and rewatched it, I’ve come to love it even more. While it is very, extremely entertaining, it is also extremely profound and makes you think hard.

  4. Marshall Says:

    One of the reasons I love films like the prequels, “Avatar”, “Galaxy Quest” and “The Iron Giant” is because they were loving homages to the sci-fi of the past – raygun gothic in particular – and weren’t ashamed to show it.

  5. Keith Palmer Says:

    I’ve been rewatching the saga lately (one film a weekend), and this time around I decided to try “flashback order” again, where the three new movies follow Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back. (It perhaps continues to make a bigger deal of “we ‘need’ Star Wars’s dialogue-based introduction to the Force and the Jedi” than I quite feel is required any more, but it can be an interesting change.) Anyway, the latest movie I’ve watched was Attack of the Clones, and I did get to wondering “I seem to have had a good time with The Phantom Menace, so maybe I’m at risk of AotC not feeling quite right as the ‘middle film’ or something,” but once again I seem to have had another good time… if not quite as “articulate” as this article had it. I did find some interest in its comment that “interpretations that impose modernist or contemporary psychology” might not work because “it is a fault of modernist critiques that rely on customary gauges of character “development” and “motives” while refusing to view differently, to see anew”… which is not to say I was having difficulty with the characters, either.

  6. Jacobesico Says:

    You know I felt a THX-1138 vibe in the Kamino scenes.

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