Ten years ago today, a boy in first period Algebra dropped little tidbits about Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. He’d gone to the midnight showing, something I wasn’t aware the local theater participated. He spoke of an amazing lightsaber duel, plenty of action and that something happened at the end regarding Luke and Leia. I was particularly puzzled over the last bit.
I’d been looking forward to AotC for months. I spent more than a buffering the first theatrical trailer on the family’s old computer with dial-up internet. I taped and watched a variety of specials about the movie and Star Wars in general. I still have those tapes, but no working VCR. For some reason, I can’t make myself throw them in the trash. I collected various articles. That was how I found out about the Star Wars convention a mere hour drive away at the beginning of the month. Had I known about it before, I would have waited to have knee surgery.
That Saturday, a friend, my brother and I met at the movie theater. It was quite the experience. Anakin’s moment with the Tuskan Raiders shed so much more into his character. Obi-Wan’s one-liners and quick thinking impressed. Granted, his lightsaber skills at the end bothered me. He was so skilled in TPM and then fell flat. The excuse of a different fighting style doesn’t work. Qui-Gon would know how his Master fought and pass on the knowledge. Yoda stole the end with his fight. Count Dooku added a more complicated villain to the mix.
And then there was Padme.
It took about .5 seconds for me to think Padme was a fantastic character in The Phantom Menace. She didn’t waver from her convictions just because someone wanted to kill her. She maintained a desire for a peaceful solution over war, similar to TPM. Rather than wait to die or hope that Anakin or Obi-Wan would rescue her, Padme came up with her own plan to try to avoid death in the Geonosian arena. Instead of hiding behind Anakin’s lightsaber when the battle droids appeared, she grabbed a blaster and shot back. It never felt as if she was the one being rescued, or that she wasn’t an equal part of the team.
Padme also had a killer wardrobe. Thinking back on it, it seems rather important to separate her from the others this way. Her costumes showed her personality. She could move in them, yet they added to her natural regale stance. They made her appear more comfortable, more like herself. The complex, restricting gowns wore as Queen of Naboo maintained a strict, somewhat rigid image. Padme became another person in those ensembles. It didn’t seem as if she had to dress prettier because she was a girl. The clothing choices fit the character.
I’m not sure which my favorite is. The blue outfit on Tatooine has a certain casual flair to it, while the picnic gown is gorgeous. Even her arena garb was done well—except for the tearing that was rather unnecessary.
It’s incredibly easy to rip on the corny lines spoken by both Anakin and Padme. They sound ridiculous if you take them at face value. In a movie, we tend to expect more smooth, touching lines. Most of Anakin’s dialogue actually sounded like what a 19-year-old man would say. Most people in love say things that sound cheesy to outsiders, especially at a young age. Yes, it would have been great if the lines were better, no argument there, but I can live with them.
Ten years later, despite the flaws, I still love Attack of the Clones. It’s hard to believe that it’s been this long since Yoda’s first big screen lightsaber duel.