VIDEO: Star Wars Episode II: attack of the groans

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  • Joel Kazoo

    George Lucas is notorious for not being an actor’s director. Apparently, Hayden wasn’t happy with some of the dialog, thinking it was very stilted and unnatural, and when he tried to bring this up to George, George quite emphatically said “You will read it the way I wrote it!”, and Hayden was just doing what George told him to do.

    • Jill Bearup

      That would explain so very much. So. Very. Much.

    • Hal_10000

      The line “I know” from Empire was famously ad-libbed by Ford. If Lucas had his way, it would have been “I love you too”, which would have been terrible. Ford also talked about how Lucas wanted to rush through rather than give the actor’s time to get into a scene.

    • Imagine if Joss Whedon had written and directed these movies based on an outline by Lucas. How much more emphasis would have been placed on snappy dialogue.

  • Jonathan Campbell

    Actually in the case of THIS movie, I’ve heard that they really DID do the same scene in only one or two takes. George Lucas wasn’t interested in the acting except that it moved along the plot of his movie.

    On a slightly different note… I vaguely remember you Tweeting once that you didn’t think Palpatines’ evil plot made any sense. Before you get round to doing RotS…am I recalling that right?

    • Jill Bearup

      Yes…sort of? I will be explaining my problem with Revenge of the Sith’s broken logic chains.
      At length. Which include Palpatine. Heavily.

      • Jonathan Campbell

        Yeah, and I’ll….probably be disagreeing with you. At length. Heavily.

        I’ve heard people argue against the logic of Palpatines’ (INGENIUS) master plan before and I’ve debated fiercely with them many, many times and…yeah, I side with the Dark Lord of the Sith.

        Just a…courtesy pre-emptive warning. I think I have a pretty good idea of what your arguments will be, and I plan on utterly demolishing them and salting the Earth where their broken corpses lie.

        With respect.

        http://www.troll.me/images2/godfather/you-must-understand-it-is-nothing-personal-im-just-on-a-meme-kick.jpg

        • RockyDmoney

          I will take you down in terms of arguing the insane logical gaps in Palpys “plan”

        • Presumably it makes sense if you take, “He was clouding the minds of key individuals at key moments” as a given. But I find that to be too far a stretch.

          • Jonathan Campbell

            Actually it’s established in the movies (by Yoda) that “the Dark Side clouds everything”, so it’s not so much that’s doing it to key individuals at key moments, as he and the Dark Side are doing to everyone, everywhere, all the time. The EU novel Darth Plagueis expands on this and shows Palpatine and his master actually using their powers to create some sort of Force shroud to that effect, accidently creating Anakin Skywalker in the process.

            But no, that isn’t the only thing I was talking about. The fact that Sidious actually has these kind of powers certainly helps, but it isn’t the only reason I think his plans make sense. I think what Ursa was confused about was what he was after and why he did certain things, like his manipulation of Anakin and the way he went about it.

  • CaptainCalvinCat

    I have to say: I have nothing against the prequel-Movies.
    Must’ve something to do with the fact, that I’ve seen far worse flicks.
    Oh, there are far worse movies out there, believe me. ^^

    • So your ground state of ‘awful’ is lower?

      “I’ve seen worse,” is not really a compliment to the movies.

      • CaptainCalvinCat

        Actually yes – after you’ve seen a movie, which is critically acclaimed, in which a crook is torturing a police-officer with a knife, all the while he’s dancing, my ground state of “awful” is so much in the basement, that it went straight through the earths core and came out in china.

        danbreunig

        “I just think of them as the first three chapters of a book written
        twenty plus years after the three chapters in the middle of the book,
        with a potential final three chapters coming.”

        I couldn’t agree more 😉
        “I wrote about this recently in another AB forum (“Why long-awaited sequels

        are never that good”). You can enjoy or dislike a director, creator,
        artist, actor, franchise, universe to any extent, but in the end you’ll
        never be fully happy if a fictional universe keeps going after lying
        dormant for decades. And it’s really more about *you* the audience (not
        you specifically, CCC, or anyone else reading this). After you grow up
        and gain more experience and perspective in life, it’s unrealistic to
        think that you can go back to the fictional universe you experienced
        happily when you were younger, and then expect the close-to-exact same
        euphoria to remain.”

        You can call me Cal. ^^

        Plus – another thing that plays into that are “expectations”.

        Back way back when, I got the original Star Wars movies on VHS – no “special edition”, no cgi-stuff, just the original versions.

        As a special of some sorts, a short interview with George Lucas was put in there – a guy named Leonard Malton (or so) asked Lucas questions and he told a bit about his work on Star Wars. In one bit, GL told the audience, that he would be writing the Prequels, that the original films could have the title “Skywalkers Rescue” and that the prequels would be telling the story about Skywalker.

        And when I read, that there would be an Episode 1 – for me, it was crystal clear, that Anakin wouldn’t just be a minor player in this.

        Then I watched Episode 1 – and I have to say: sure, it was not “the best movie ever seen”, but I was geniunely hooked for the episodes 2 and 3.

        “Maybe one of twenty people on the whole planet who’s watched all these movies may have the capacity to see how the two trilogies are different without necessarily
        praising one while disowning the other. I like to think I’m one of them.”
        Same here, Dan, same here.

        I think, both trilogies have their awesome and their cringeworthy moments, the classic one is not necessarily worse than the prequel-one.

        “Oh, and Captain Calvin Cat–Glücklich ein Tausendstel Kommentar!”
        Danke sehr. ^^

    • danbreunig

      I just think of them as the first three chapters of a book written twenty plus years after the three chapters in the middle of the book, with a potential final three chapters coming. They all collectively tell the same story. If they all don’t share the same consistency, I chalk it up to the fact that ANYONE who starts a three-chapter story, waits twenty years, gets older and has more life experience and perspective (for better or worse), has more advanced technology and tools at his/her disposal, then uses all that to go back to the beginning to write the whole story’s first three chapters…

      I wrote about this recently in another AB forum (“Why long-awaited sequels are never that good”). You can enjoy or dislike a director, creator, artist, actor, franchise, universe to any extent, but in the end you’ll never be fully happy if a fictional universe keeps going after lying dormant for decades. And it’s really more about *you* the audience (not you specifically, CCC, or anyone else reading this). After you grow up and gain more experience and perspective in life, it’s unrealistic to think that you can go back to the fictional universe you experienced happily when you were younger, and then expect the close-to-exact same euphoria to remain.

      In this case, whether it’s a good or bad thing, Lucas has grown and changed. Star Wars has grown and changed. Movie technology has grown and changed. Movie fans’ attitudes have grown and changed. ALL OF US have grown and changed. Very few of us can and will look at all six Star Wars films and not walk away thinking “these three are better or worse than those three”. Maybe one of twenty people on the whole planet who’s watched all these movies may have the capacity to see how the two trilogies are different without necessarily praising one while disowning the other. I like to think I’m one of them.

      Oh, and Captain Calvin Cat–Glücklich ein Tausendstel Kommentar!

      • NameWithheldByRequest

        I’ve heard this type of argument from a lot of defenders of the prequels, and I ain’t buying any of it. The idea that we’ve all grown and matured (well, d’uh) and somehow can’t recapture the enthusiasm that we had for a movie/TV show/novel/whatever when we were kids, which is why why we don’t like the new stuff, is, to put it bluntly, utter bullshit. Why? Well, let me tell you a story. When I was a kid, I was a huge fan of the original Battlestar Galactica series. I watched the show every week, I bought the action figures and other toys, and read the comic books and novels. A couple years after the show was cancelled, the re-runs disappeared, and I never saw it again till around 2002-3, when it was brought back to TV because of the upcoming Ron Moore reboot. My friends and I eagerly awaited the first episode. And then a funny thing happened. We realized just how awful it was. And this despite our nostalgia for the show. But guess what? We loved the new Battlestar Galactica series. There was no contest which was the better show. Yet according to the logic employed by the defenders of the prequels films, I should have hated the Galactica reboot.

        The point of all this is, our nostalgia and childhood enthusiasm for the original trilogy is not why so many of us don’t like the prequels. We don’t like the prequels because they are terrible movies. The idea that one can’t be objective in one’s evaluation of the quality of a film or TV show or whatever, in spite our emotional attachment to a particular franchise, is the type of argument defenders of the prequel trilogy use to dismiss our legitimate criticisms, because they can’t defend the prequels by arguing for their merits: “The prequel movies aren’t bad,” they keep telling us, “you just can’t objectively see how good they are.” Yeah, sorry, but that’s bullshit.

        • CaptainCalvinCat

          The difference between “Star Wars and the prequels” and “Bsg / NBSG” is, that Moores BSG is – as you said it: A reboot.
          They are expected to do things a little bit differently and – as you said: You realized how awful it was and despite that you liked the show.

          Now let me tell you a little story.
          In the late naught-years (the late 2000s) the guys being responsible for Stargate created a new show – Stargate Universe. It took the lore we knew and loved from Stargate and Atlantis and twisted and turned it into a darker, more NBSG-Like show.

          Guess what: Sure, you had your defenders of the show, but most people hated it or didn’t even bother to watch the show again, so that it got canned after 2 seasons.

          And again: It was told in the same time period, used some of the same actors, that were used in the other two Stargate shows and – it clashed. It clashed completely, it zigged where the other two shows zagged.

          If they had called it a reboot – that wouldn’t have been such a jarring experience. And talk to people like Thomas Stockel – they tell you, that they LOVED Stargate Universe.
          And they probably (and perhaps even rightfully so) might tell us, that we can’t OBJECTIVELY see, how good this show is, because we were used to the more light-hearted, mory campy version, established in the Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis show.

          So – no… the argument is not entirely bullshit.

  • RockyDmoney

    I really respect Lucas as an artist. He is a master in the art of ruining things

  • Jashue

    I think I love you!

  • Zee Panda

    Your hair looks great.

    I hate the prequels and not just because they pale in comparison to the originals. I think all three of them are bad movies that would be bad movies even if the original trilogy didn’t exist. The existence of the original trilogy is pretty much the main reason that I care about the prequels even though I don’t like them and why I’m so frustrated that buried within all three of them is so much wasted potential. Of the three, “Attack of the Clones” is the worst for me because it’s the one that makes it most obvious that the story is badly written and mostly just plain sucks.
    There are some cool things in “Clones”. I love Ewan McGregor as Obi-wan Kenobi throughout this series because the man gives up the body trying to do his best to make his character engaging. For the most part he succeeds. If only Hayden Christensen could’ve done the same with his, but, alas. While negative criticisms of his performances are totally valid, I don’t think he deserves the totality of the blame. McGregor has the distinct advantage of playing a supporting character. An IMPORTANT supporting character, to be sure, and one who is indispensable to the plot, but still, a supporting character. Christensen is stuck in the role on which the entire series hinges, the character for whom the entire series is designed and if he’s not quite up to the task, well…I don’t think anyone could be. It’s a bad part. There are moments when he’s interesting and watchable but they are few and far between.
    To be up front about my own biases, I’ll confess that I never did see the point in having a prequel series that focused on Darth Vader anyway. I don’t think he needed an origin story: the original trilogy makes it evident that he’s yet another good guy turned bad by the lust for power, held down by an even more powerful, even more evil character. It’s a common trope because it works. Still, having decided to give Anakin a more complex story could’ve worked. The layers of motivation he has here could be totally credible in a better written, better performed movie. He’s got all this unresolved childhood trauma, the Jedi Council treat him like he’s some kind of bad joke, the Emperor is really, really good at exploiting and manipulating his insecurities and fears, and no one in his life ever cared enough to explain to him the difference between true love and a sick, scary, unhealthy obsession.
    The love story is hands down the worst part of this entire trilogy and the amount of time devoted to it in this film is what makes it the worst of all of them. Lucas has spoken about his intention to invoke a parallelism between the two trilogies: Anakin loses a hand because Luke lost a hand, for example; Luke is a naturally gifted pilot because Anakin was; Luke grew up on Tatooine so Anakin…no. No, no, no, just no. There is no justification for Anakin growing up on Tatooine and interacting with the droids – all we can do as viewers is to find a rationalization we can live with. (As a long time amateur folklorist, I’ve chosen to view the story as a whole as an old legend mutated over time and distance from its original source, like the legend of King Arthur or vampires, etc. The “it’s just a show” idea is another good POV if it works for you.) It seems pretty obvious to me that the love story between Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala is meant to parallel the love story between Han Solo and Leia Organa but it just doesn’t work. For one thing, the attraction between Han and Leia feels natural and follows a credible pattern of growth. It’s totally believable that those two bad asses with their tough shells protecting a mostly hidden, largely unacknowledged softer interior would be attracted to each other and that being thrown into a series of experiences where they have no choice but to rely on each other would give them a chance to explore and expand on that attraction. For funsies some time go through the original trilogy and add up the total running time of all the specifically romantic scenes between them. It’s a surprisingly low number in comparison to the major impact their romance has on the story as a whole, but their love story is a fully integrated part of the larger story and both affects and is affected by everything else happening around them.
    With Anakin and Padme, however, we’re never really given a chance to buy into their love. We’re told much more than we’re shown, even though we are shown a lot and by “a lot” I mean way more than ever need to see. Anakin is a creep with a crush who spends way too much time whining about being ignored by a woman who really doesn’t have much reason to think about him in the first place. If this were a different type of story no one would be shocked to discover that he set up the assassination attempt himself just to have an excuse to be around her. Away from Padme, out buckling the swashes with Obi-wan, Anakin actually manages to have some humor and a cocky sort of charm but around her he’s so stiff and clunky and she’s so stiff and clunky and whether it’s casting or writing or directing or some combination thereof, there’s just no “there” there, which is probably why the movie feels obliged to keep telling us about their great love, being incapable of actually showing it.
    And then comes the genocide. If this were Padme Amidala’s daughter in a similar position, well…she’d stroke Han Solo’s hair and give him a soft kiss on the forehead while murmuring her sympathy for his pain and then she’d pull out a blaster and blow him away. Because, please. Whether the Tusken Raiders count as “people” or not (you’ve done a great job in the video of pointing out what a nauseating issue this is regardless), Padme’s “meh” reaction to it…well…I really wish I could reach through the screen while watching “A New Hope” and kick Luke Skywalker in the shin for all his complaining about his uncle because, really, that great compassion and righteousness Luke has throughout his story sure didn’t come from his birth parents.

  • Mike

    I’ve heard a couple explanation for accent Carrie Fisher slipped on for scene or two in the first movie. It’s been suggested she was trying to show up her captures by appearing high class and all Princess-like. Which would explain when it seems to drop when she realizes there going to blow up her planet anyway is like “what.” It may been to mock General Tarkoff’s accent.

    Carrie herself supposedly said it was her first scene and she been doing theater on the London stage or something and just how though it felt right at the time. So they just tried it, watched the playback and decided not to go that route the rest of the movie, but due to time and budget constraints choice not to rerecord the dialogue. She admitted never expression the intended level of hated for Tarkoff the scene called for for since a) Peter Cushing was soon a pleasant gentlemen and b) he found the boots for his costume a painfully poor fit and was allowed to wear ladies slippers in the long shots. Kind of hard to act like you want to kill the man who just blew up your world if he’s got fuzzy slippers on.

    Speaking of costumes, thanks for introducing me to Trisha Bigger. I looked up other credits to her name, but aside from the Star Wars prequels she seems to have done mostly work in television. You might want to lets us now if she worked on any other stuff you like.

    I also found this amusing observation from Carrie about the greater number of wardrobes for the prequels given to Padme. “Harrison Ford wears the same outfit for three flicks, and I was complaining that I wear, like, six outfits. And my mother – Natalie Portman – she wears three million. She walks through a doorway and there’s another outfit. It’s like the Liberace of sci-fi changing of clothes.”

    I don’t what funnier. The quote itself or the image of Carrie Fisher referring to Natalie Portman as her mother!

  • Capt. Harlock

    The Clones Wars cartoons really do make-up for the awfulness of the prequels. Too bad they truncated Season 6.

  • PhysUnknown

    Wait, that’s the reason Dooku is trying to kill Padme? Is that ever actually explained? Is it in the opening crawl? I’ve listened to the RiffTrax version in my car quite a few times (seen the movie enough to know what is going on), but I haven’t read that scroll in a long time.

    Also, on John Williams’ score, I’ve long thought that you could just listen to his score from the original trilogy and know almost exactly what is happening. Maybe the score and sound effects. Essentially, it is so good, you don’t actually need the actors.