After The Phantom Menace I just wasn't interested in seeing Episode II in the cinema. I don't think I made any effort to see it or even had any anticipation for it's release.
To be perfectly honest, it wasn't because Episode 1 was particularly bad, it just didn't have any of my favorite characters in it. Specifically Han Solo and Chewbacca.
I was also a huge Boba Fett fan, but I didn't know at the time he was even in Episode II, such was my disinterest in the film. When the film was shown on free to air TV the first time I did find this out but it was kid Boba Fett and a Clone Army of Jango Fett's kind of ruined Boba Fett's uniqueness. Even though, technically Boba Fett didn't have bits of his brain (or whatever they take out of the clones) missing to make him compliant and easy to control.
George Lucas, I seem to recall, once described Episode II as a love story. Which, I suspect, is why I failed to sit through it upon first viewing on free to air TV. This was my first introduction to Hayden Christensen as an actor and all I can remember is I just wanted to punch him in the face in the hope he would go away. His Anakin Skywalker was such a whiny, ungrateful, brat (with a face like a smacked baby's ass - which is my favorite expression for anyone who looks unhappy without good cause).
His character and performance alone completely killed any flickering flame of Star Wars fandom I had left. When Episode III came out I had no interest at all in seeing it. Not even on free to air TV.
I'm sure by now many people have picked these movies to death. It's really not that hard to see the shortcomings. After finally sitting through the entire movie for the first time last Saturday here's what stood out to me...
- R2 D2 Ten years older and still not old tech. The movie is set 10 years after Episode 1 and R2 D2 was already looking well worn then. I know droids in this universe have full autonomy but they're still subservient and built for a purpose. If R2 isn't already an antique he definitely will be by Episode VII.
- After Senator Padmé Amidala's fairly slow and uneventful arrival on Coruscant, we get a moment of action when her ship is blown up on the platform, followed by the usual Jedi council rabble spouting uninteresting politics and a flaky premise of having a Jedi guard the former Queen simply because Ben is available. Guess most of her entourage must've been blown up.
- Anakin, on first reuniting with Senator Padmé, despite her recognizing him and remembering him as the little boy from Tatooine, Anakin says almost immediately, to Jar Jar that the Senator didn't even recognize him and had forgotten who he is. I mean, what the? Did anybody even proof read this script? It's like he expects her to remember him from the last year or so ago even though this is their first ten year reunion.
- Ten years later, Anakin still hasn't gone back for his mother... he doesn't call, he never writes... you're mother's a slave dude... you couldn't at least get someone to go and look out for her?
- Ben Kenobi just jumps straight out of a upper story window to grab a very small assassin droid. Could he not like, use the force to bring it inside or something? I mean, in Episode V Darth Vader rips whole structures out of place and throws them a Luke with the force.
- Anakin must jump out of cars a lot because Ben says he hates it when he does that. Perhaps they should get a flying car with a roof?
- Anakin whining to Senator Padmé and getting angry about how Kenobi is holding him back even though he's barely spent any time with her to be this familiar. Already the relationship looks a bit creepy and it's beyond me how a former Queen could find Anakin even remotely attractive when he's showing this level of immaturity.
- Kira Knightly really dodged a bullet playing a less than memorable role in both this and the previous film as the queen's personal assistant. Seriously, I never knew she was in these movies until I started writing these blog posts. You'll never hear her say "When I worked on Star Wars..."
- Ben couldn't deduce for himself that information could be erased from the Jedi Archive but a child Jedi in training almost immediately suggests it. Apparently only a Jedi can delete info from the archive. Not even Yoda can think of who and needs time to ponder it.
- I don't understand how the clone army can be under construction for nearly ten years without any contact from the Jedi that commissioned them. Particularly since that guy died and it seems nobody bothered to cancel the order. Must have paid for it all in advance?
- Anakin's first kiss scene on Naboo... creepy as!
- Anakin's grasp of politics isn't too sharp as he describes exactly what politics is as an alternative to the status quo. Clearly Padmé isn't into Anakin for his intelligence. Really bad CGI of Anakin riding a... whatever that Naboo creature is?
- Over an hour in and no real action since the senator's space ship was blown up. Bouncing from one dialogue scene to another. Probably why I couldn't watch this all the way through for a long time. Just plain boring.
- Anakin says he will do anything the Senator asks - "How about leave me alone you whiney dick". That's pretty much what she's saying through out the whole scene.
- Some how Yoda realizes their ability to use the force has been diminished. How? It's an energy property of the universe that doesn't have a power dial that can be turned up and down. Is his midi-chlorian count down?
- Obi Wan attacks Jango for no apparent reason other than he suspects him of being involved in the plot to kill the senator. Way to go peacemaker!
- Kind of cool spaceship battle between Jango and Kenobi in an asteroid field but we've seen a better one already in Empire.
- C3 PO already working for Uncle Owen, yet in Star Wars Owen has no memory of having owned a similar droid previously. Even worse, C3 PO has no memory of Owen. Must be too many languages in his brain circuits to remember such a fun fact? No wait... didn't George Lucas once say the whole saga was intended to be told from C3 PO and R2 D2's point of view - That's why they're in every movie.
- Anakin going postal on the Tusken Raiders after the death of his mother... should have gone after her sooner, I mean geez it's been 10 years.
- Apparently Yoda can sense Anakin in pain as he massacres Sand People on Tatooine even with diminished force ability.
- Oh God, Droid factory is the computer game sequence of the film. R2 Literally pushes C3 PO into danger. Whole sequence is pointless and does nothing to really advance the plot. It feels like Star Wars Mario Brothers.
- Colosseum execution sequence and battle is probably one of the most memorable parts of this film simply for the sheer scale of it with so much going on. Certainly when I think of this film I think of all the Jedi warriors brandishing light sabers and being surrounded in a brief stale mate. It's also one of the reasons I dislike the film. There's nothing exhilarating about watching lots of people using light sabers.
- Senator Padmé using a blaster is pretty awesome, not least because she's actually pretty accurate. She should start a business teaching Stormtroopers to shoot straight.
- Yoda fighting Count Dooku is pretty cool but does loose some of its edge because we've kind of OD'ed on light sabers at this point.
I'm also confused because it appears to me that both the Separatist armies and the Clone Armies are actually controlled by Darth Sidious? Except I don't actually care because whatever Darth Sidious has going on it's the least interesting sub plot of the prequels... boring political game playing.
At least I can now say I've watched it all the way through. I will concede that Hayden had to contend with a poorly written script in terms of the romance aspect. George Lucas just can't write romance.
To me Anakin comes across as a classic case of a future domestic violence perpetrator. He's just too intense and inappropriate with his emotions around Senator Padmé and I still don't buy that a highly intelligent, worldly former Queen would fall for his BS.