I had extremely bad memories of Attack of the Clones going into this. I think I had probably watched it 2 or 3 times. And it is the prequel film that gets the most negativity online in my experience. So I did not have high hopes for this rewatch. Perhaps that worked in its favour though because to be honest I quite enjoyed it. I felt the storyline was a lot better, with some detective moments from Obi-Wan, in particular the segment on Kamino. And the pacing overall was much less jumpy than Phantom Menace. It took its time in telling the story and allowed it more space to breathe which was good. The plot is still a bit tough to follow in places, in terms of who leads the droid robots, who made/owns the clone army, who Count Dooku is working with, who Jango Fett is working for. And particularly because Palpatine is pulling all the strings it can be hard to follow who’s being played and who’s in control. It’s certainly not the easy-to-follow good v evil of the original trilogy. But I don’t mind that. It’s an aspect of the prequels that I now accept and I certainly found it better portrayed in this film than in Episode 1.

To be honest the concept of Anakin’s slow turn to the dark side is a good one. I can see how it could have worked well to have little drops of stubbornness and anger seep into Anakin’s personality over the course of the film and it’s great to see Palpatine nudging him along. But the main downfall of this movie in my opinion is Anakin and Padme’s terrible storyline and Hayden Christensen’s script and acting. You just don’t feel for this guy at all. We are introduced to this new actor and right from the start he’s snarky, moody and obstinate. We don’t get to like him before he begins his turn. That was such a missed opportunity. There’s hardly any banter between Anakin and Obi-Wan too. That strangely doesn’t really come until the next film. I don’t want to lay this all on Christensen either. I think it was mostly Lucas in his writing and his directing. But every time I look at Anakin in this film I’m just turned off. This guy becomes Darth Vader for goodness sake. He should be cool and clever and charismatic, not just stubborn, childish and moody.

And then the storyline between Anakin and Padme is just bizarre and creepy. She starts off by shooting him down right away by saying she’ll always think of him as that little boy on Tatooine, and then he just completely and openly obsesses over her, stalks her and is just generally really creepy. Some of the things he says and does should have made Padme take a restraining order out on him, but she just brushes them aside (including when he admits he kills lots of sand people, including the women and children, in cold blood) and then completely out of the blue admits that she loves him too. Where did that come from?! NOT a good role model for any young women out there. I totally lose respect for Padme’s character at that moment which is a real shame as I think she is a very strong character.

My summary of The Phantom Menace was that it was a shame, but my summary of Attack of the Clones is that it was a wasted opportunity. If they had done the Anakin slow turn and the Anakin v Padme relationship better then I think this could have been a pretty good movie. I’m very surprised that I’m writing this and not completely slagging off the film. I think I’m starting to slowly accept the prequels more and more. Hmmm, interesting.

• Palpatine’s chair which is extremely reminiscent of his Emperor’s throne in ROTJ
• The plot actually doesn’t jump around as much as Phantom Menace. The first 30mins is allowed to breath
• Anthony Daniels’ cameo in the cantina
• Palpatine beginning to groom Anaking to be his apprentice
• Jedi School was pretty cool
• Obi-Wan’s hyperspace ring
• Kamino and the clones. I found all that very interesting
• Obi-Wan’s fight with Jango Fett
• Seeing more of Slave 1 flying
• The Lars homestead – I enjoyed seeing the same set as in Ep 4 and meeting earlier Lars’ family members (although perhaps a bit strange that Owen didn’t recognise C3-PO in Episode IV after it’s shown here that he used to own him)
• Christopher Lee / Count Dooku
• The arena monster fighting scene

• Ewan McGregor’s beard (fake in places)
• All the blue screen work
• Anakin is just so annoying, and constantly whining about Obi-Wan
• The chase sequence on Coruscant with the assassin is just way too long
• Continuing confusing references to bringing the Force into balance
• Anakin and Padme’s creepy, bizarre relationship
• Dex and his ridiculous 50s diner
• Anakin and Padme’s romantic picnics
• C3-PO’s factory scene and head replacement. Awful
• R2’s rockets?!
• Padme falling in love with an arrogant monster like Anakin
• The arena Jedi fighting scene
• The number of times that Obi-Wan says “My young Padowan”
• The terrible ending / final scene

I thought I would have Phantom Menace miles ahead of Attack of the Clones here but actually after rewatching them I have them much closer and find it hard to separate them. Both are good in places but both are very, very bad in places. Although I hate the Anakin / Padme story and acting I think I might hate the politics of Episode 1 even more. I think I might actually controversially put Phantom at the bottom. But to be honest I could flip-flop these two extremely easily. I might even come back and change this ranking after watching all 6 movies.

1. Ep 2: Attack of the Clones
2. Ep 1: The Phantom Menace