Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Ghoul Versus Star Wars Episode II: Attack Of The Clones (Part 5)

Click here for Part 4!

Instead of freeing the others, Padme climbs to the top of her pole and out of harm's way. That's quite smart of her, figuring out that both Anakin and Obi are going to be in the next trilogy so they won't need her help. One of the arena monster scales the pole in pursuit and slashes at her, but only succeeds in tearing her shirt into a belly-baring midriff. Spellbound by the sight of Padme's toned abs, it decides not to kill her and instead just descends to the ground to ogle her. Can't say I blame it... Nute watches this unfold, suggesting someone just shoot her. Congratulations Mr. Gunray, it took you nearly the length of two films but you finally said something INTELLIGENT!

No one does though, because having another boring battle is much more important than the carefully crafted plan of the Separatists. Anakin and Obi manage to get free while dodging the attacks of their monsters, and this goes on for awhile as tediously as possible. Nute orders Jango to fly in and kill them, but Dooku tells him to have patience. How is it Nute is suddenly the smartest person in this movie?! And where does Palpatine find these morons to serve as his apprentices, you'd think after Darth Maul he would have really stressed that whole “kill your enemies the first chance you get, DON'T give them time to regroup because that never ends well” thing.


RIGHT ON CUE, here comes Maximus to save the day! Wait, it's just Mace and the rest of the Jedi Council. They all draw their lightsabers, and you know where this is going... SEIZURE TIME! Bugs and battle droids storm the field, and the fight is on. I can't even process any of because it goes too fast and there are lightsaber and blaster blurs EVERYWHERE, I get overloaded trying to focus on any of it. C-3PO is among the battle droids, keeping up his rapid fire delivery of knee slappers to keep this battle as epic as possible. Terrible jokes make ending battles good, right? At least one positive comes out of all this, Mace decapitates Jango as nonchalantly as possible for his only Samuel L. Jackson-esque moment of all the prequels.

Lucas immediately ruins this by having R2 roll up out of nowhere and attach a cable to C-3PO's head, dragging it back to his body while C-3PO bleats “this is such a drag”. Yes, yes it is. All hope looks lost as the Jedi get surrounded by HUNDREDS of droids, who somehow can't land a shot of any of them despite all firing at once. A Jedi can only swing a lightsaber so fast, how are they blocking like five hundred laser beams a second?! I get our main heroes not getting hit, but Stupid Looking Jedi #13 and #17? How the fuck do they get Main Character Forcefields? Their execution is imminent... until Dooku has the droids stop and gives the Jedi a chance to surrender. Normally I'd complain about this bout of infuriating idiocy, but since Christopher Lee is LITERALLY a James Bond villain he gets a pass for this one.

This is dragged out juuuuuuuuuust long enough for Yoda to arrive with ship upon ship of Clone Troopers to kick off Attack of the Seizures Episode Two. Dooku escapes, the Jedi boarding the ships to hunt him down. R2 finishes his repairs of C-3PO to get us laughing again, which gets squashed in the very next scene where we see Boba holding his father's severed head. Uhh, that was abrupt. At least you got your precious Boba Fett origin you've been waiting two decades for, hope it was everything you thought it'd be and more!

Dooku hightails it to another facility with Nute and company, everyone wondering how the hell the Jedi got such a massive army. What?! Dooku doesn't KNOW about the clones? He IS Darth Tyranus, right? That hasn't been revealed in the film yet, but duh. Jango said he was hired by a man named Tyranus to be cloned, and we definitely know Jango was working for Dooku. The fallen Jedi wanted Jango to kill Padme is what was presumably deal for Nute's Trade Federation helping the Separatist movement, so it's safe to assume he was in on the whole assassination plot. This means he should know all about the clones, considering how Jango was shacked up on Kamino.

In true Lucas writing fashion, this whole thing is a total clusterfuck. In the original script, Sifo-Dyas was Sido-Dyas, a pseudonym for Darth Sidious (Sido-dious, get it?) himself. Sidious originally placed the order for the clones directly, which made complete sense. However when the script was being typed up Sido-Dyas became Sifo-Dyas due to a simple typo, and Lucas liked this new spelling so went with it instead. This resulted in him writing Sifo-Dyas an entirely new character, one whose backstory wasn't fully revealed until MARCH OF THIS YEAR. Yes, we had to wait twelve years for an explanation on this bullshit.

The canon animated series the Clone Wars tried its best to clear all of this up, explaining Sifo-Dyas was an ex-Jedi kicked out of the council because he was too “extreme”. He was still a good guy though, so commissioned the clones to prepare for what he saw as Sith controlled future. Dooku, also recently kicked out of the council and was now serving Palpatine, found out about the clones and had his old friend assassinated so he could take control of the clones for his new master. Dooku took Sifo-Dyas' blood and had it transfused into the cyborg warlord that would eventually become General Grevious, which explains how he was able to attain a mastery of the Force.

BUT the movies are exempt of any of this pesky “explanation” stuff, so unless one is to assume Dooku was feigning ignorance about the clones to Nute for some unfathomable reason, THIS SCENE IS ASININE. Dooku really is one of the most poorly conceived villains in sci-fi history, and every time he steps into frame I just cringe. With the Jedi closing in, the Neimodians turn tail and run. The leader of the bugs, Poggle the Lesser, pulls up holographic blueprints for the Death Star and states it cannot fall into the hands of the Republic. Dooku takes them, promising to carry them to safety back to his master on Coruscant. We see the bugs are quite fond of the round design for their orbital weapons of doom, as all of their spaceships basically look like miniature Death Stars. I'll give the film a point for this, it's a nice change of pace here where something from the original trilogy gets a nice bit of insight that doesn't utterly ruin it.

Dooku boards what looks like Darth Maul's speeder bike and departs for his ship, still being chased by the good guys. Droid ships blast at the main ship housing all of our leads, which causes Padme to FALL TO HER DEATH to the ground below. My bad, she's totally fine! That was a HELL of a fall there, at least fifty feet at insanely high speeds. I know her Main Character Force Field is strong and all, but DAMN! I'm having a hard enough time buying, well... ANY of this, why waste what little credibility the film has left by pulling something like this? Anakin wants to go back for her, but Obi reminds him stopping Dooku is more important. After all, if they can catch him they can end the war before it begins. I do question this though, Poggle seemed quite quick on the uptake and probably would have gladly stepped in to continue the war.

They finally corner Dooku in a hangar where his ship is, which means it's time for another epic two on one lightsaber duel. Well, epic is probably the wrong word since Christopher Lee ain't no acrobatic Ray Park at this point in his life. Still, Lee is more badass than anyone else in this film so let's get this party star- oh. We cut back to Padme lying in the sand. I thought we were done with this whole “quick cutting between scenes to kill momentum” stuff? Guess not. A clone helps Padme up, the senator declaring they have to get to the hangar and stop Dooku. The... hangar? Did the Jedi have a complete map of the entire planet showing where Dooku's ship was parked? Otherwise, there is NO WAY she should know where he was headed. This VITALLY IMPORTANT scene now done, we return to the Duel of the Fates 2: The Redueling.

Dooku kicks everyone's asses AS HE SHOULD, going as far as to cut Anakin's right arm off. Hey, just like in the Empire Strikes Back when the same thing happened to Luke! That makes this movie MUCH better, right? RIGHT?! How awesome would it be in Dooku revealed he was really Anakin's father right now? Alas, the latest chapter of my Star Wars fanfiction “Fuck Midichlorians” doesn't come to pass because here comes Yoda to save the day. Again. This is where I turned off the movie back in 2002, so I've never seen anything past this point. Can't wait to see on all the glorious storytelling I missed out on!

Things start off great with Dooku using the Force to throw various shit at Yoda, but he deflects it all with waves of his hand. Okay, that's more like it! Maybe the lightsaber stuff was just a bad hallucination I had that- oh, there it is. Yes, Yoda whips out a lightsaber and they begin to duel. Yoda, who just moments ago was laboriously breathing as he limped into the room, is now moving around the area like a young Bruce Lee. Do I even have to talk about how WRONG this is? How this violates everything he talked about in Empire? “A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack” ring any bells? WELL FUCK THAT, it's way more important to look badass!

How about how Yoda NEVER had a lightsaber in that movie and never once taught Luke a single thing about it? Oh sure, Yoda fighting and flipping around LOOKS cool, which is ALL that Lucas cared about in the prequels. Nevermind that silly “characterization” gibberish, it'll look SO FUCKING AWESOME in the trailer!  Fortunately, this only goes on for about a minute before Dooku realizes he's in over his head and escapes in his ship. Good thing the Jedi didn't stake any ships around orbit of the planet to prevent such an action from happening or anything! Dooku flies to Coruscant where he meets up with Darth Sidious, announcing everything went according to plan and the war has begun. Sidious is pleased, but I don't think taking advantage of these fools is anything to be happy about. You get happy when you steal candy from babies too, you asshole?

Across the city Obi meets with Yoda and Mace, wondering if Dooku was telling the truth about Sidious running the Senate. Yoda calls Obi a fucking idiot for believing this, because no there is no way a shadowy man who keeps ending up at the center of nonsensical conflicts and keeps obtaining more and more power as a result could EVER be evil. Seriously though, how lucky was it they had a clone army just waiting for them?! That couldn't have worked out any better unless it was planned in advance to unfold that way! Yoda laments the beginning of the Clone Wars, and I sure am glad one of the biggest defining moments of the Star Wars universe will happen almost completely off camera. NO A CARTOON DOES NOT COUNT, I don't care if it is canon.

This monstrosity finally ends on Naboo, where Anakin and Padme are getting married. Because they're so in love, remember? We see Anakin's right arm has been replaced with the robot hand from Terminator 2, because apparently prosthetic limbs with skin won't be invented until Empire. Badmouth Palpatine all you want, at least he got sweeping medical reform pushed through after he seized control of the Republic. They kiss AND WE ARE FUCKING OUT OF HERE!

CUE THOSE CREDITS!


Ladies and gentlemen, that was my pick for worst movie of all time. Now of course that's just my opinion and not a fact, I'm sure there's much, much worse out there because I have yet to see every movie ever made. And what makes a movie bad is completely subjective, because where do you even start? People like to point out films such as Tommy Wiseau's The Room or Birdemic as the contenders for this award, and they are justified in saying that. These barely even count as films, with every single level botched just horribly. But the difference between those and Attack of the Clones? They're ENJOYABLE. Yes, it's all unintentional comedy that has you laughing AT the movie and not with it, but ultimately you're having fun. Hell, if you have a sense of humour you're going to have a BLAST with those movies! I can honestly say the Room is more entertaining than hundreds upon hundreds of other movies I've watched.

What about those horrible B movies from the 1950s and 60s as popularized on Mystery Science Theater 3000? Manos: The Hands of Fate or Santa Claus Conquers the Martians? BEYOND wretched on every level possible, any of these could easily make the case for the worst film ever. But again, these are a BLAST to watch. Same goes for pretty much any film made by Ed Wood or Roger Corman, or if you want to go modern, Uwe Boll. And yes, you can expect to see a Uwe Boll movie appear on this blog sooner than later because I have House of the Dead on the way. Yay...

Genres can also pretty much be ruled out because of their inherent niche, so that rules out things like horror and comedies. Do you really go into things like Friday the 13th Part 91, Ashley Judd Rom-Com #6,531 or Adam Sandler Fart Movie #56,297,399 expecting very much? This really only leaves Big Budget Flops like Heaven's Gate, Ishtar, Battlefield Earth, or Waterworld, which we'll be taking a look at next year. The difference between these and Attack of the Clones is these are just standalone stories, something you can watch and then go “Wow! That was BAD!”. But Episode II goes further with this, as it damages an entire OTHER set of movies. And not just any movies, but the single more popular trilogy of all time until Lord of the Rings stole its thunder. It is now impossible to watch the original trilogy without thinking about how brain dead Yoda was or how much of a whining baby Darth Vader was. Or Midichlorians existing.

Based off everything going into this movie and what it needed to be, I've yet to see a movie fuck up harder than this. The Phantom Menace was atrocious, but in comparison to this film it's a goddamned bastion of quality. Everything was stupid there, but Episode II compounds the stupidity to a near immeasurable degree. You can go superficial and point out how the lousy CGI takes you out of EVERY scene because it's so sterile and artificial. The majority of the scenes you can just picture the actor in front of a green screen looking confused while Lucas shouts at him or her what he's meant to be looking at. There is no sense of believability with any of this stuff, and the worst part is this extends to mundane scenes like characters just WALKING AROUND. Just because you can make an entire movie on a computer doesn't mean you SHOULD.

In my last review I talked about how Lucas trail blazed the current state of movies being all mindless action at the cost of everything, obviously writing the set pieces first and then clumsily constructing a story around them. This is on full display here, even moreso than Episode I. You can't tell me he wrote the arena scene with ANY kind of thought how it'd fit into the plot, that could easily be awkwardly shoehorned in later. This set a horrible example for other filmmakers who saw this and how much money it made, copying it over and over again for their own films.

The problem with this is that Star Wars made all of its money because it's Star Wars, this could have been two hours of people sitting around talking and it STILL would have made all the money. Don't believe me? Watch Revenge of the Sith! When Generic Summer Action Blockbuster apes this formula with no preestablished license (which is, admittedly, getting rarer since four of every five movies is now based on a comic book), it is just another mindless movie that you've already seen a million times over. Thank you for that, George.

Strip away all of the tension free action, and what do you have left? A love story that makes 50 Shades of Grey look moving, a love story that is so paper thin and free of ANY kind substance that Lucas is forced to supplement it with Obi trying to solve the world's most obvious mystery. Fucking Fred and the Scoobies could have solved this thing before the first commercial break! It really didn't help either that the second one of the dueling plots were on the verge of becoming vaguely interesting, the film would cut to the other one to put you back to sleep. And it accomplished this with a fury, it took me FIVE days to finish this freaking thing. Every other scene had me stopping the movie and doing something more entertaining, like watching my lawn wilt in the cold winter air.

This is it though, this is the story that sets all of Star Wars into motion. The darkness in Anakin Skywalker's soul, the grand machinations of Emperor Palpatine, the galaxy changing Clone Wars, all of this begun here. Did you feel the majestic origins of all this? Between watching Anakin creep on Padme and the Jedi Council wandering around with their mouths hanging open, I was inspired. Weren't you? This is the final nail in the coffin that was Star Wars, and my new synonym of cinematic failure. Just think though, there's one more movie left to finish shoveling dirt of the space opera to end them all. I can't wait!