15 things I like about Star Wars: Attack of the Clones


Image credit: Lucasfilm

In honor of the 15th anniversary of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, here is a list of 15 things our assistant editor likes about the oft-criticized prequel.

It’s been fifteen years since the premiere of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones in theaters. Since its release, the second installment in George Lucas’s prequel trilogy has been probably the most criticized of all the Star Wars movies. Critics and fans alike have trashed on its wooden dialogue, stiff acting and the (from a certain point of view) creepy romance between Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala.

But while our voices are often drowned out by the louder ones of Episode II‘s detractors, there are many of us who love or at least enjoy watching it.  So, in honor of the film’s 15th anniversary, here are 15 things I love about Attack of the Clones.

1.  Obi-Wan Kenobi

Image credit: Lucasfilm

What is not to love about Ewan McGregor’s portrayal of Obi-Wan in this movie? He has attitude, he has cool gadgets, and he gets to go on a sleuthing adventure. And let’s be honest: Few people can rock a mullet and a beard, but Obi-Wan wears both well.

2. Padme Amidala

Image credit: Lucasfilm

Padme is at her best in Attack of the Clones. She commands Jedi and clones with perfect ease and knows how to take care of herself in any situation. Her outfits in this movie are also some of the best costumes in the entire saga (the lake dress is my favorite). But more importantly, she has a big heart. Some people might deride Padme for falling in love with Anakin, who is not only a Jedi but is also rather immature. But I see her love story as a tragic and human one. Sometimes even the wisest and strongest people make questionable choices

3. The speeder chase

Image credit: Lucasfilm (screenshot via photo library Elaine Tveit)

This scene takes place right near the beginning of the film. It has so many cool plot elements. It sets up Anakin and Obi-Wan’s relationship as a banter-filled daily struggle; shows off the gorgeous speeder designs and the landscape of Coruscant; and is prefaced by Obi-Wan crashing through the window like a total badass. If I were to sum this whole sequence up in a word, that word would be “fun.”

4. Zam Wesell

Image credit: Lucasfilm

Say “hello” to Star Wars‘s first female bounty hunter with lines of dialogue! There are plenty of cool things about Zam, from her rad gadgets to her purple outfit. But there is more to Zam than meets the eye. She is a changeling, which means she can change her appearance to look an entirely different species. Even though she dies soon after she is introduced in the film, she is still a memorable character.

5. Coruscant’s underground club life

Image credit: Lucasfilm

The Outlander Club is like the Cantina on Tatooine, but made for a slightly more sophisticated (and fashionable) clientele. I love that Lucas decided to show us another side of Coruscant, one decidedly apart from the pristine senate building and Jedi Temple. One of the things I appreciate most about the way Lucas tells stories is his worldbuilding, and he does that perfectly in Attack of the Clones with places like the Outlander Club.

6. The mystery

Image credit: Lucasfilm

Everyone loves a good mystery. Attack of the Clones‘s who-dun-it keeps the movie’s pace up so it can spend time building Anakin and Padme’s romance in the other parts. There are plenty of fun elements to it, such as: new non-human species, a missing planet, and a space dogfight full of twists and turns and cool explosions. And, of course, there are Obi-Wan and Jango. Combine those characters together, and you have the perfect action adventure.

7. Jango Fett

Image credit: Lucasfilm

In my opinion, Jango Fett is way cooler than his far more popular son, Boba. He has a lot more dialogue as well as a witty, dignified personality. Plus, he impressively carries and fires two blasters at a time. He is also a central figure in Attack of the Clones‘s mystery plot as the original model for the clones. I wish there was a way he could come back to life, like Boba did in the Expanded Universe. But I think getting your head cut off pretty much seals your fate.

8. The fight between Obi-Wan and Jango

Image credit: Lucasfilm

This sequence is probably one of the best fights in Star Wars. It is a combination of blaster, lightsaber and fisticuffs, and all of it is fought in the pouring rain. This sequence was also the first time in the saga (at the time of Attack of the Clones‘s premiere) a prolonged fight took place between two equal opponents without lightsabers on both sides. In the end, both Obi-Wan and Jango are so good that neither of them wins. Instead, they take the fight into space. Like so many other things in this movie, the battle on Kamino is just fun to watch.

9. The space battle

Image credit: Lucasfilm

One of the things I love about Star Wars movies are their sounds. The space dogfight between Obi-Wan and Jango is a great example of a Star Wars scene filled with incredible sound effects. (I can hear Jango’s seismic charges go off in my mind, it’s such a distinct noise.) The battle itself is also one of the best space fights in the saga. Once again, Attack of the Clones was the first Star Wars movie where a dogfight was fought one-on-one with no one else around. That aspect makes the scene more exciting, because there is no one to help Obi-Wan if he gets shot down. The whole sequence is a great example of action-adventure braced with life-and-death tension.

10. The romance

Image credit: Lucasfilm

What’s more tense for some people to watch is the romance between Anakin and Padme. A lot of the moments between them are a bit cringeworthy, thanks to Anakin’s awkwardness. But for my part, I love a good romance in my Star Wars. This love story heightens the drama and the space opera-aesthetic of the saga. It is also the key to Anakin’s journey to the dark side and back again. So, weird dramatic suffering on Anakin’s part aside, I like the romance the way it is.

11. The costumes

Image credit: Lucasfilm

Ah, the costumes. Specifically Padme’s. Some of them are lush and exotic, while others are simple and utilitarian. But there are plenty of other great costumes, like the different colors and styles of the Jedi’s robes; the skimpy evening wear of the Outlander Club’s patrons; and the armor of Jango Fett and the clones. Attack of the Clones was nominated an Oscar for Best Visual Effects, but it should have been nominated for the Oscar for Best Costumes, too.

12. The beasts

The Nexu. Image credit: Lucasfilm

Move aside, Rancor; it’s time for the Nexu, the Acklay and the Reek to take the spotlight.

Seriously, though, these creatures are cool. They all look so different. I admire Lucasfilm’s creativity in imagining them. They are not just fun to watch, however; they add to the worldbuilding of the Star Wars universe. You get the sense that these beasts are from different planets, which means there must be some kind of illegal trade to capture these animals and pit them against victims in an arena. In this way and many others, Attack of the Clones contributed a lot to the depth of culture in Star Wars.

13. Mace Windu’s badass entrance

Image credit: Lucasfilm

“This party’s over.”

How many times have you said that in your day-to-day life? It’s a great line and perfect for Mace Windu, who is played by the master of attitude, Samuel L. Jackson. Sure, bringing all those Jedi to a virtual slaughterhouse wasn’t the best idea. But if you’re taking a risk, you might as well look good doing it. And Mace and his purple lightsaber sure look good in Attack of the Clones.

14. The Jedi

Shaak Ti and Luminara Unduli. Image credit: Lucasfilm

After only seeing three Jedi in the original trilogy, it is pretty awesome how many are in Attack of the Clones. And they are all so diverse! So many different alien species, as well as both male and female genders. I love the way Shaak Ti, Kit Fisto and Aayla Secura look. One thing I wish the new Star Wars movies would take as a cue from Episode II is its gorgeous and varied characters, human and non-human. In Attack of the Clones, anyone can be a Jedi.

15. Yoda’s lightsaber battle with Count Dooku

Image credit: Lucasfilm

More from Dork Side of the Force

Part of me wishes I had been older than nine or ten when I first watched Attack of the Clones. I didn’t appreciate the awesomeness of the moment when Yoda draws his lightsaber for the first time in the saga. But this scene is still cool and expertly rendered by Industrial Light & Magic, Lucasfilm’s special effects company. It’s also different; you wouldn’t expect a being that small and old to fight with someone as tall and forbidding as Christopher Lee’s Dooku.

But that’s what great about Attack of the Clones: It takes risks. Some of those risks pay off, and some don’t. But what’s the point of a Star Wars movie if it doesn’t at least try to be revolutionary?

What are some of the things you like (or dislike) about Attack of the Clones? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

Happy anniversary, Episode II!