Obi and Anakin are still boring us with politics, Anakin saying not all politicians are bad by citing Palpatine as an example. Obi actually starts talking smack about him too, something that he'll instantly forget the next scene. When the centipedes start crawling closer to Padme, this somehow notifies the Jedi and they rush off to her rescue. I guess the Force can detect when a bug has murder on its mind, something you think they would have sensed a bit earlier. Anakin runs in and lightsabers the centipedes to death while Obi looks out the window at the droid... and LEAPS OUT THE WINDOW TO GRAB IT.
Oh God. This is one of the more memorable scenes in the film and one I do remember seeing the first time, but like all of those scenes, it's for entirely the wrong reason. Okay yes, it looks BADASS as hell, which is what Lucas had in his mind when he wrote it. The PROBLEM is that (and get used to reading this sentence) it makes no sense! First of all, why wasn't it Anakin recklessly jumping out the window without a second thought while Obi killed the bugs? In the few minutes that we've gotten to know him, we've already learned Anakin's whiny ass is a hot headed punk who acts without giving a single thought to what he's going to say or do while Obi is cool, calm, and reserved.
Second, how in the world did Obi know this tiny little droid would be able to support his weight? Is he an expert on assassin droids and their weight limits? Maybe he's using the Force to keep himself from falling to his death, but somehow I doubt it. And why isn't the droid trying to shake him off, either through its laser or by smashing into nearby buildings?
Because then we wouldn't have a chase scene! Action is what matters, not pointless things like LOGIC. Anakin hops in his speeder and tries to track the droid down, which is just casually flying across the city skyline while Obi hangs there dodging the occasional flying car. This really isn't that exciting, no matter what the music wants us to think. We see the droid is returning to Zam's public hiding place and she does too, so she pulls out a... sniper rifle?! RHAAARGH! If she had a fucking sniper rifle, why didn't she just shoot Padme from a distance instead of carrying out the droid and centipede bullshit? Is EVERY scene going to be like this where I have to pause the movie to rant? If so, I may need a couple remote controls to get through this thing.
Zam headshots Obi, his dead body falling far to the ground while the droid returns to her so she can make her escape. No wait, that's what she SHOULD have done. Instead she shoots the droid which causes Obi to fall, but did she honestly think that would finish a Jedi? Of course not, because there's Anakin swooping in to the rescue. He tries to crack a zany one liner about why it took him so long to show up, but Lucas' comedy writing is as competent as his cohesive storytelling so it falls flat. The Jedi pursue Zam's speeder for another chase scene, although this is most likely demo footage from the Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter video game or whatever. This is as sterile and fake looking as possible, something this film REALLY pioneered. The last film was loaded to the brim with CGI, but Lucas did balance it out with some gorgeous live action sets. So far nothing like that has shown up in this film, and (spoilers!) never will.
This goes on forever, with Obi's character losing any ounce of cool he had left as he WHINES AND COMPLAINS the entire time. Again, this is supposed to be funny but it's a FAR FAR FAR cry from the back-n-forths Han and Luke shared. Finally Zam appears to lose the Jedi, so Anakin parks the speeder in midair and looks around the city while Obi nags him. Sadly, Obi doesn't take out his oversized purse and start comically beating Anakin around the head with it. Anakin asks Obi to excuse him, and then jumps out of the speeder to his death. Nah, he lands on Zam's speeder with perfect, inexplicable timing. Another shot I'm sure Lucas was high fiving himself over, but there's a LIMIT to badassery you know? When our characters are pulling this Looney Tunes shit this early on, it really doesn't create a lot of tension since it makes them seem completely invulnerable.
Zam tries to shoot him off with her pistol, but ends up crashing the speeder on the streets below. They engage in ANOTHER chase scene, this one on foot, as Obi must not have taught Anakin how to run like the Flash yet. That sure would have been helpful because Zam easily outpaces the young padawan, ducking into a club to hide. Obi catches up to Anakin and berates him for, well... everything, and then they enter the club. Obi quips that one day Anakin will be the death of him, but doesn't turn to the camera and wink like he should have. What the hell, Lucas? How do you miss that obvious joke?
The club is full of sexy weirdos, Obi sending Anakin to search it for Zam while he goes and has a drink. Normally I'd bitch about Obi-Wan Kenobi choosing to knock back a few instead of trying to catch an assassin, but I feel his pain. I really, really do. You earned that booze Obi. Anakin walks around while Zam sneaks behind him, pistol drawn. I assume he can't sense her because she can block the Force or whatever, there's a precedent for that so we'll go with that. OH CAMERA TRICK! Zam was actually sneaking behind OBI, who does sense her and cuts her hand off. OH HO HO, it's just like in A New Hope when he did the exact same thing! Referencing the good movies makes this one good too, right?
Obi and Anakin drag Zam outside, questioning her about who hired her. She's about to tell them when Not Boba shoots her in the neck with a lethal dart and flies off on his jetpack. Look at that, dead in one shot. Remind me again why Not Boba didn't kill Padme himself? The Jedi just watch the bounty hunter fly away, not bothering to pursue him because four chase scenes in ten minutes would be too much for even THIS movie. Oh, and Zam says something in her native tongue that isn't subtitled before dying in Obi's arms. I'm counting that as something stupid, so take your shots folks. The next day the Jedi report this incident to the council, who are NOW suddenly interested in finding out who's behind the assassination attempts. What, why can't it still be disgruntled spice miners? They could hire a bounty hunter just as easy as the next person could.
There's a twist to this though, Yoda wants Obi to handle the investigation while Anakin gets Padme duty. Mace wants Anakin to take Padme back to Naboo where she'll be safer, but he worries she won't leave Coruscant before the Separatist issue is resolved. Yoda tells him to go speak with Palpatine to get his help to convince her, which leads to one of the genuine good scenes in the film. Palpatine agrees to help Anakin before segueing into saying how proud he is of him finally getting his own assignment. He proceeds to stroke Anakin's ego by saying one day he'll be the most powerful Jedi of all, Anakin respectfully listening to him.
Just like the last film, Ian McDiarmid is the only truly great thing going on. He puts effort and intensity into all of his scenes, as it's likely Lucas didn't try to mess with his style due to their previous history. I like this scene a lot because McDiarmid gives it depth, you can see him slyly pulling Anakin's screens without being all “mwa-ha-ha” about it, while Christensen's histrionics are kept completely in check here. You really get the impression he cares what Palpatine thinks, the only negative to this scene is it contradicts a line he said earlier in the club where he told Obi he's like a father to him, when it's CLEARLY Palpatine. Sure, Anakin could have just been saying that to pacify his master, but it's said earnest because we're supposed to believe Obi and Anakin's friendship is a thing.
We get a brief scene of Obi expressing his concerns about Anakin not being ready to fly solo to Yoda and Mace, but they don't care. Mace mentions the prophecy from the last movie about Anakin being destined to bring balance to the Force, something I hope Lucas would have forgotten about by now. Yet again we get no further information on this famed prophecy, like what the entire thing says or what it entails, but Anakin's REALLY important! You're just going to have to trust us on this one, folks. The next scene has Padme agreeing to return to Naboo, entrusting her peoples' best interests to... Jar Jar Binks. Yes, you read that right. The allegedly intelligent Padme Amidala just gave Jar Jar senatorial power. What can you even say about that? But I'm sure it won't come back to bite her on the ass or anything.
Padme begins to pack her bags while Anakin undresses her with his eyes, barely able to contain his excitement that he gets to be alone with her. This is cut short when two more killer probe droids fly up to the window and- oops, my bad. They're just window washer droids. Good to see security is as strong as ever after two attempts on Padme's life! Anakin begins to whine in full force about how Obi doesn't respect him or his power, and I do mean WHINE. Padme's expression of “oh my God, just shut the fuck up!” is priceless here, as she tries to talk him down before he pulls out a guitar and starts an impromptu performance of his favourite Linkin Park songs.
Boosted by this, Anakin attempts to flirt with her again. She flat out tells him to stop and that he makes her uncomfortable, and BLOODY HELL this movie is bad. How do you get the character of Anakin Skywalker SO wrong? I can understand the first one, he was just a little idiot kid who didn't know any better, but here? He should be this humble and sympathetic figure that we all come to love, thus making his eventual transformation into Darth Vader all the more tragic. Instead, we get him written him as a brash asshole that'd probably break into a laundromat to smell a woman's underwear when she wasn't looking. Or hell, he'd do it right in front of a woman that rate he's going. How does Anakin respond to this? I'll let you decide: it's either a heartfelt apology while looking chaste, or a mega creepy rapist smile while he mugs for the camera.
Anakin and Padme make their way out of Coruscant on public transport so as not to draw attention to themselves, because the film tries to weakly set up a plot about the assassins will follow them to Naboo if they know Padme is leaving. Um, won't they know that the second Jar Jar shows up at the next Senate meeting? It's not like Padme is using another decoy here. Padme expresses her fear to Anakin, who consoles her by saying he's also afraid since it's his first solo mission. Realizing he's fucked up yet again, he tries to lighten the mood by saying they don't have to worry since R2 will be going with them as well. R2 replies with a series of beeps that I'm sure translate to “FUCK. YOU.”. Obi and Typho watch them head off, Obi saying he's worried Anakin will do something foolish. Typho counts with Padme is the one he should worry about, which makes me wonder what kind of stuff he's seen while protecting her. Can we watch a movie about that instead?
Obi gets started on his assignment right away by going to a... nostalgia 1950s style diner. Um... He meets with the boss of the place, a big fat stupid CGI alien named Dexter Jettster. He's an old friend and informant of Obi, who asks him if he knows anything about the dart that killed Zam. Dexter examines it and concludes it's a saberdart, a weapon of choice for a race of aliens called the Kaminoans. He says they're a race of “cloners” who live on the edge of the outer rim, Obi having never heard of them. He heads to the Jedi archives to look up their planet, but can find no evidence of it. He sits stroking his beard, trying his hardest to evoke some kind of giant interesting mystery. He fails.
We switch off to Anakin and Padme, now flying to Naboo. Padme says how much being a Jedi sucks and how you have no freedom to do what you want. Anakin tries to be a playa and adds you can't be with the people you love either, to which Padme replies she thought the Jedi were forbidden to love. Ah yes, THIS concept. This was all over the advertising for the movie before it came out, using the tagline of “A Jedi shall not know anger, nor hatred, nor love.”. Like pretty much everything in these movies, it's not explained so we're forced to play connect the dots. It's safe to assume a Jedi can't love because that can cause emotions that can be exploited and used against them, but isn't love the ANTITHESIS of what the Dark Side stands for? That's way too deep of a question for this movie though, so let's see how Anakin answers this:
“Attachment is forbidden. Possession is forbidden. Compassion, which I would define as unconditional love, is central to a Jedi's life, so you might say we're encouraged to love.”.
Got that? I hope so, because I sure as hell don't. Anakin then tells Padme she's just like she is in his dreams, which causes a massive uncomfortable silence while he eye rapes her. THAT was an important scene! Obi continues his mission to pad out the movie's run time by visiting with Yoda, who is in the middle of training like twenty Jedi children, or “younglings” as the prequels hilariously call them. This is another homage to the original trilogy, as all of the kids are wearing blast helmets while trying to hit a hovering ball with their mini lightsabers.
This is one of the homages in the prequels that actually make sense to me, despite a lot of people complaining about it. As you (hopefully) know, an elderly Obi-Wan put Luke Skywalker through a similar test in A New Hope to help him hone his budding Force abilities. The complaint people have is Lucas just ripping himself off again instead of coming up with something new, but come on... this is where Obi got the IDEA to train Luke that way. It's subtle, and probably the only time in this review you'll see me use that word earnestly. Although it does call into question where he got the floating orb from on the Millennium Falcon...
Obi brings up a map showing where the planet should be, indicating that the gravity in the area show a planet should be there and yet there is nothing. He's VERY confused about this, Yoda suggesting he fly out to the area and see if it exists for himself. SERIOUSLY? That was the crux of this entire scene? Obi couldn't have thought to do that on his own? I really love how the prequels go out of their way to utterly ruin all of our beloved characters by making them dumber than Jar Jar. Obi asks how it's possible a planet could have been erased from their archives, Yoda replying that only a Jedi could have done it. Good thing there aren't any rogue Jedi in this movie so this TOTAL MYSTERY can continue unabated.
The ship carrying Anakin and Padme lands at a giant green screen with Naboo projected on it, the two going to meet with the new queen of the Naboo, Jamilla. The queen asks about the situation with the Separatists, Padme saying she's worried they'll turn to the Trade Federation for help. THE MOTHERFUCKING TRADE FEDERATION IS STILL AROUND?!? But wait, our old friend Sio Bibble pipes up and says that after FOUR trials in the Supreme Court that Nute Gunray is still running the show. HOLY SHIT. You know, Palpatine could have saved a LOT of time and three shitty movies by just joining the Trade Federation since it's obvious the can do whatever the hell they please.
Jamilla just kind of shrugs and is like, whatever, I got my paycheck already. She asks about Padme's plans, Bibble asking the Master Jedi what safety measures he has lined up. Padme cuts across Anakin by announcing he's still a padawan, then rips off Anakin's pants and castrates him. Girl gots no chill. Anakin gets pissed off, and for the first time ever I have to side with him on this one. He gets into a little tiff with Padme, once again forcing everyone in the room to look at each other awkwardly. He's got a gift, I'll give him that. He finally offers Padme a sarcastic apology as she just glares at him like “you just lost your chance, whitebread!”.
From one boring plot to the next, we find Obi discovering Kamino exactly where his information suggested it should be. I sure am glad he wasted like ten minutes of our lives talking about it instead of flying directly to it. Kamino is a water covered planet with the cities hovering above the stormy waves, it'd be very scenic looking if the CGI wasn't so awful. He enters one of the buildings, met by an alien from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It's kind of funny, Dexter said the aliens could be dangerous but we just saw Obi land on their planet and waltz right into a building with no form of security present whatsoever. Consistency! The alien informs him that the Prime Minister has been expecting the Jedi, taking Obi to meet the guy in charge, Lama Su. Confused, Obi follows the Kaminoan through some of the worst green screen hallways EVER. It's honestly like they didn't have time to create a backdrop so just threw in some hazy blue walls and called it a day.
Lama Su tells Obi they have 200,000 units already completed, with a million more on the way. Obi, having NO fucking idea what's going on here, just bullshits his way through the conversation. Lama Su mentions Obi's master, Sifo-Dyas, was the one who placed the order for the units. This is a surprise to Obi, who tells Lama Su Sifo-Dyas was killed ten years ago. HMMM, ten years ago you say? Did anything else big happen ten years ago? I can't remember. We go on to find out the units in question are a clone army, Obi asking if Sifo-Dyas said who they were for. Lama Su answers for the Republic and WOW THAT'S LIKE THE BIGGEST COINCIDENCE IN THE HISTORY OF EVER! The Republic just happens to need an army to fight in the upcoming war against the Separatists! What are the odds Obi would just stumble across such an army while investigating an assassin that left the Jedi a VERY distinct calling card?
Click here for Part 3!