True story: a couple of weeks ago I was at bar trivia and the host, who I’m friendly with, stopped by our table for some casual chit chat and – as casual chit chat at bar trivia often goes – Star Wars was referenced. And by Star Wars, I specifically mean Attack of the Clones. And by “referenced,” I mean a joke was made at the expense of Attack of the Clones. It was one of those moments where, at first, I played along, hoping the subject would soon change. But, alas, I couldn’t take it anymore and I blurted out for anyone that was within earshot, “I like Attack of the Clones! It’s my favorite prequel!”
As time goes by, I become more and more fascinated by the Star Wars prequels. In nine months, Revenge of the Sith will celebrate its 15th anniversary. I moved to New York just a few months before Revenge of the Sith was released and I always have to remind myself of that because all three of the Prequels feel like they belong to another time and another era of my life. Compared to the Original Trilogy, they look like cartoons. Compared to the new Disney Star Wars movies, well, they also don’t fit in because the new movies are trying to emulate the Original Trilogy. Yet, as kids who were, say, age six when The Phantom Menace came out, they are now 26 and the popularity of these movies seem to be rising on a wave of nostalgia. I’ve written about this before, but eventually there will be so many Star Wars movies and they will all look so different than the Prequels, the Prequels will become these weird outlier movies that, someday, people will be surprised they exist.
It’s funny, when I tell people my favorite of the Prequels is Attack of the Clones people look at me like I’ve said something truly crazy, like I just said my favorite of all the Star Wars movies is Attack of the Clones. Look, in no way do I think Attack of the Clones is a “good” movie, I just think it’s the most rewatchable of a not great bunch. The Phantom Menace is one of those movies I used to at least pretend I thought was somewhat rewatchable, but, boy, does it drag. Revenge of the Sith is a failure on almost every level, mostly because it should have been the easiest one to do well. We have three Prequel movies and the only amount of actual “plot” is pretty much all contained in the third film, yet it somehow screws this all up. At least with The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, I give them credit for existing at all without having a plot.
But, yet, every time I run across Attack of the Clones, I find myself watching. And, yes, I fully admit Attack of the Clones has some of the worst scenes in any of the Star Wars movies: which is pretty much anytime Anakin and Padme flirt or express their love for one another, which happens quite a bit in this movie. But there’s one simple reason these scenes don’t kill the entire film: those terrible scenes are scattered throughout and are fairly short, while there are four killer action scenes spaced out pretty perfectly throughout.