Monday, June 7, 2010

90 Minute Review: Attack Of The Clones

I featured the prequel review of The Phantom Menace earlier this year and I have to say that this one is even better:

I know what you’re thinking—nine 10-minute long YouTube videos that dump all over the Star Wars prequels doesn’t sound like your thing. I thought that too. Until I watched the first segment of the latest 90 minute-long review of Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. The review is, from what I’ve seen, hilarious if for no other reason than the reviewer, Mike Stoklasa, has fully embraced his geek rage towards George Lucas for whiffing it so bad with the Star Wars prequels and created a rambling but thoroughly scathing and spot-on takedown.

The best part is that Stoklasa knows all too well that he sounds like an irate and thoroughly depressed nerd and he vamps it up to the hilt as his alter-ego, “Mr. Plinkett,” an crotchety old man that may or may not be a serial killer (“Now I’m the last person in the world who you’d call an expert on love considering that most of my relationships seem to end up inside different trash bags.”).
I actually find the intermediate serial killer jokes to be a bit pedantic and labored (and that's coming from someone who is admittedly morbidly fascinated by serial killers) but speaking as a sci-fi nerd the review is pretty damn spot on. In fact, just as in his first review, I'm fairly impressed with his grasp of narrative and story telling and his explanation of how Lucas has failed on so many levels in his beautiful yet irrelevant prequel endeavours (and I love the Last Starfighter references). Here's part one (you can find the rest at YouTube):


magpie said...

Before the prequels were made I had a particular impression of what the Jedi of old were....

What they weren't was a bunch of priests sitting in circles in absolute luxury in a big dorm on the capital of the galaxy, bickering about rules about how many apprentices you could have, about whether you get called "master" or not, and behaving like a cult.

I thought they were ascetic and unexalted individuals scattered across a million worlds, living simple lives and helping people in the manner of Kwai Chang Caine. That was how I imagined them. Maybe the fact that a lot of the action in the original trilogy happens on mostly unpopulated worlds gave me that idea too.

According to Obi-Wan in the original trilogy, when he first met Anakin he was already the best star pilot in the galaxy. Allowing for a little hyperbole of praise, that told me he was already an adult when they met.

Stepping into the ideas that Lucas presents though... Obi-Wan isn't kidding when he says he "failed" (he also implies he had more than one pupil).
He fails Anakin utterly. Does nothing but try to impose his will on him.

How old is Anakin by Episode 3...? He still seems to be in his teens. Does it not occur to these paragons of enlightenment that he is ripe for romantic obsession, particularly as the first thing these guys do to turn people into Jedi is take them from their mothers while still children?

How bad was your first major crush on a girl?
The lack of understanding that Obi-Wan - who seems never to have noticed a girl's chest wobble in all his days - and the other Jedi have for basic psychology is woeful.

The guy makes a good point about the lack of the friendship we were expecting too. Contrast this with Judah and Messala in Ben Hur - they're deadly adversaries for most of the film but in their first scene together there is not a shadow of doubt in the mind of the audience that these men were as close as brothers once.

shansmith said...

Wow. I don't think that I have ever put that much thought into anything. I can't tell if I am sad about that or pretty content.

JBW said...

I don't know if you're talking about the actual review or just what my buddy magpie wrote, Shannon. Either way, I think both are spot on.

JBW said...

I agree, magpie. I'm assuming that Lucas was trying to portray the order as having gotten soft and decadent, too impressed with their own power and abilities, which would indeed make them pretty crappy Jedi Knights (and they never see the end coming in Revenge of the Sith, of course).

I too pictured them being much like Caine (maybe Obi-Wan just showing up in the desert like it was the old west to help Luke set that expectation early on, plus the Jedi have always reminded me of Shaolin monks). Interesting that after Sam Jackson's character Jules decides that he wants to "walk the Earth" like Caine at the end of Pulp Fiction Lucas completes the circle by making him Mace Windu, a casting choice Stoklasa rightfully criticizes I think.

He also hits every one of your notes about Anakin's puberty and Obi-Wan's strange sexlessness later on in this review, making the comparison that even the seemingly emotionless Vulcans still get married and have sex. If you have a free hour and a half I highly recommend watching the entire thing (I say this only because you're a sci-fi nerd like myself, amigo).

Anonymous said...

Curse you for bringing out the inner geek in me.

JBW said...

Come to the dark side of late-night movie discussions, one L. The ability to speak Klingon is a plus but is not required (and no, I most decidedly do not).

magpie said...

Vulcans go crazy and beat each other up, and then have sex.

I'd be all up for that, but it only happens once every seven years.

Dunno what the Klingons do... but I'm sure it's impressive.

JBW said...

I don't care how good the sex is, magpie: once every seven years is unacceptable. I couldn't live like some pointy-eared ascetic locust.