Monday 13 June 2022

Attack of the Clones at 20

Star Wars: Attack of the Clones celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.

Ewan McGregor (Obi-Wan Kenobi) and Hayden Christensen (Anakin Skywalker) are currently reprising their roles from the prequel trilogy in the spectacular Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi spin-off series on Disney+.

Nick Smith remembers the first sequel to Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.

Guest post by Nick Smith

As I drove past the Odeon movie theatre in Lincoln, UK, back in 2002, I wondered if my son would be able to handle the scary, intense moments in the PG-rated Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, Episode II in George Lucas’ sprawling space saga?

My kid, Sam, was only two years old, but I was itching to share my love of Star Wars with him. I’d heard the movie contained fantasy violence and I didn’t want my son to be so scarred for life that he’d turn to the dark side and become a Star Trek fan or something.

Better to check it out, myself, first. So I did.

I still remember the sheer joy I felt watching Star Wars: Attack of the Clones for the first time. Sure, Anakin Skywalker’s padawan training obviously did not include acting lessons, but this was a brand new Star Wars film on the big screen and there were enough breathtaking battles and cinematic moments to give me a two-hour adrenalin rush.

Rather than marking time before the main event of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, director George Lucas (Star Wars) threw plenty of memorable set pieces into the film – a flying car chase, the monster-crammed Petranaki Arena, and the subsequent Jedi battle.

In this film, we see how powerful the Jedi really are, from a sky-diving Anakin to a flipping little Yoda. The Jedi are almost too powerful, helping to explain – if not excuse – Order 66 in the sequel Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.

It took a few more years for Sam to get into Star Wars. Now he’s graduated from college and the Nexu is his totem animal. He’s a big fan of Boba Fett, following the Young Boba books spun off from Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, and the violent bits in the movie don’t bother him one bit.

20 years after its release, the fight scenes are spectacular, the darker moments are still mesmerising, and Sir Christopher Lee (Count Dooku) is sadly missed. Hayden Christensen’s casting aside, Lucas tells another mythic story with symbolism that is easy to absorb whatever your age, appealing characters and enough dialogue to inspire an army of memes for decades to come.

What are your memories of watching Star Wars: Attack of the Clones? Let me know in the comments below.

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