From Syfy Wire:
“The release of this month’s Solo: A Star Wars Story is still a few weeks away, so what better way to celebrate the advent of everyone’s favorite Star Wars holiday, May the 4th (be with you), than by rewatching an episode of the Star Wars saga? I chose Episode II because it’s one of the ones fans are least likely to rewatch, um, ever. […]
So great was my need to never see a bad Star Wars film that I did not see Episodes I or II ’til early 2017, 18 years and 15 years after their respective releases. By then, the saga had been rebooted to mostly great effect, and it was no longer possible to hide in a hole with a VCR and three ’80s-era VHS tapes marked “Star Wars/ Nothing But Star Wars.” (Not that I did that, but you know what I mean.) I watched both much-maligned episodes for the first time a little over a year ago, and, now, Episode II for the second time. Believe it or not, I really love Attack of the Clones. […]
Okay, so, what’s the good news? Well, aside from Anakin’s toxic behavior and the four-ish minutes of Jar Jar Binks screen time, pretty much everything else.
First off, the look of the film is beautiful. From the speeder-chase in a bright yellow sports-speeder on Coruscant to the asteroid belt fight scene against the glowing backdrop of the red planet Geonosis to the “machines making machines” C-3PO factory nightmare sequence, any number of frames of this film could be wall art. Any number of stills look like one-pagers in a comic book. Take, for instance, just a random shot of Amidala surrounded by her captors in the droid factory. It’s like a painting.
Having not seen the early ‘aughts Star Wars films as many times as the ’70s/’80s films, I forgot (or never realized) how great they look. Even something like Yoda’s fight scene with Count Dooku, which seemed out of place in some way the first time I saw it, didn’t bother me the second time around. The look of this film, from Naboo’s Space Italy to Coruscant’s PG-rated Blade Runner City, was a real visual feast. (Side note: I also really dug all the panoramic views and wall-to-wall carpeting inside the buildings in Coruscant. Coruscant-chic could totally be a thing.)
Secondly, the humor was just right. This film was written by George Lucas and directed by George Lucas, and so it has that very, very exact brand of George Lucas humor one expects in a Star Wars film. […]
For instance, in the following frame, a beheaded C3PO is saying, “I’m beside myself right now.”
That, my friends, is some good old-fashioned cornball Star Wars humor.
Third (but maybe first): The plot of this one is great. It’s creative, it’s complex, it unfolds organically from a very small story (preventing the assassination of Senator Amidala) into a larger one, and never lags. Every scene feels important, every scene is of interest. Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu really shine. I’d watch a whole film just of Obi-Wan as a space P.I. trying to crack tough space cases. It works. The scene on Kamino in which Obi-Wan bluffs his way through to his inspection of the clones is among the best and most surprising in all the films. The plot of this film turns and twists but never breaks, and rarely shows its hand. It undeniably works as a whole.
Which brings me to a two-minute sequence in the film that I’m sure must be divisive but that I absolutely loved: Dex’s Diner.
I love the Space Diner. I love Dex, I love Dex’s mustache, I love the droid waitress, I love the chrome stools, I love the Jawa juice — I love Dex’s Diner.
I want to listen to a podcast that is just Obi-Wan and Dex chatting on the topics of the week live from Dex’s Diner. (Someone in real life made a lollipop out of Jar Jar Binks’s tongue, so I don’t think wanting this podcast is asking too much.) Oh, you may say, what is an actual 1950s diner doing in space? And to that I say: Multiverse, chaos theory, why should a cantina be a more basic form of human organization, or a Senate, or a nightclub, or a farm, than a 1950s diner? And yes, you might say the chrome stools would truly be a random thing to be replicated on another planet, and to that I’d say, “Look, your worshipfulness, I take orders from just one person: me!”
But, seriously, there is something so bold and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy-ish about choosing to have a 1950s-style diner in space. After this rewatch, it’s one of my new favorite two minutes of Star Wars.
Lastly, the origin stories we see in this film are phenomenal. Boba Fett’s childhood (Boba Fett picking up his father’s helmet/head is one of the most affecting shots of the entire film), the origins of the Stormtroopers (in my first viewing it was truly outrageous to see Stormtroopers defending Jedis), and our very first sighting of a rendering of the Death Star are all in this film. There’s certainly a lot to like in Attack of the Clones, especially where the character of Obi-Wan is concerned.
Watch it again I might.”