05 July 2016 5282 Views

Looking Back at Star Wars Episode 2 Attack of the Clones with Frank Mengarelli

by James Murphy





Rogue One has been having some re-shoots (so? most big movies do that?). Celebration festival is almost upon us. Episode 8 is pretty much wrapped. Young Han Solo has been cast (Alden Ehrenreich). And the franchise has just celebrated 39 years of shaping our cinematic and cultural landscapes. Connection? Yep. Star Wars!


And so, Frank Mengarelli continues his look back at the whole saga, continuing with the prequels. Episode 2: Attack of the Clones (2002). I recognise the movie’s faults. The romance is forced and related dialogue stilted in its own pretension. The landscapes frequently look too similar. And, despite the first glimpses of more adult violence in a child like story (sand people going all ‘rough justice’ on Shmi Skywalker?!) there is no real tension or big revelation and that is a massively missed opportunity.


Indeed, RED LETTER MEDIA and MR PLINKETT did an amazingly fun hatchet job on the movie. And other You-Tubers have attempted to ‘fix’ the film’s faults with their alternative visions. See Belated Media for one such example.


And yet.. Attack of the Clones has its own merits. The film is visually stunning and rich in scope and ambition. One can stick it in the old DVD / Blu-Ray player and just look rather than ‘watch’ and frankly there is a place for such products, given that movies are a visual art and sometimes you are just knackered, anyway?

Episode 2 is also the closest in style and structure to Lucas’ true vision of a fantasy /sci-fi landscape as basis for serial adventure and in turn, a tribute to cinema in all genres.  So it is only fair and correct that Movie-Viral, c/o Frank give a second chance to this much maligned moving picture.




Fire when ready, Mr Mengarelli..




The galaxy has begun to divide amongst the Republic and the newly formed Separatist Movement, led by former Jedi Master who was trained by Yoda and mentored Qui Gon Jinn, Count Dooku (perfectly played by Christopher Lee). ATTACK OF THE CLONES follows in line with THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK as the transgressive center of the trilogy.


Like the rest of the prequels, the film has its recurring base of people who champion to dismiss the film at all costs. Yes, some of their points are valid, but some of them are ridiculous just to be ridiculous. We know people hate the prequels, but that will never stop the ones who love the films from continuing to do so.



The darkness of Episode II is very subtle, and upon first glance, it’s hard to pick up on due to the films cinematic glossiness. The first being the forbidden love between Padme and Anakin Skywalker. We know how this is going to end, and watching the beginnings of their courtship is the equivalent to looking for a gas leak with a match.


For me, the most fascinating aspect in which Lucas included in the film is Anakin’s motivation for accepting the dark tendencies he feels. Anakin’s mother gets kidnapped by Tusken Raiders, and he returns back to Tatooine to save her. He approaches the camp, and finds his Mother, who has been gone for months, beaten, bloodied, and chained up face first on a rack.

Star Wars Episode II Attack of the Clones (2002)

Anakin’s mother dies in his arms, and then he proceeds to kills every single Tusken Raider in the village. Including the women and children in a fury of anger. Yoda and Qui Gon call out to him, but that can’t stop him form seeking vengeance.

Anakin’s mother was being raped. Repeadly. There is not another sound explanation as to why she was still alive, or why she would be chained up face first against a rack. This was the spark that lit the dark fire inside of Anakin.

While, at times, the second act featuring the overly romantic love story between Padme and Anakin can drag it’s feet, it is all worth it for the final act that a lot of us have waited our entire lives to see: an all out Jedi battle.


At least thirty Jedi, led by Yoda and Mace Windu, backed by the Republic’s new Clone Army descend upon the Separatist hub planet of Geonosis and wage war against the Geonosians and the Separatist’s droid army.

The film includes my favorite (yet widely unpopular) light saber duel featuring Yoda facing off against his former Padawan turned Sith Lord, Count Dooku. This is the moment when we are shown exactly why he is the head of the Jedi Council, General of the Republic’s Army, and how powerful he is with the Force.

ATTACK OF THE CLONES remains an imperfect film, aside from some clunky dialogue and misguided casting, I’ve come to wholeheartedly accept the film, and still marvel at George Lucas‘ unbelievable command and vision behind the camera.




Everybody relax, Frank’s here! After going to film school at Columbia College Chicago, FRANK MENGARELLI decided to underachieve with his vast knowledge of film into a career in civil service. Frank had a brief stint as a film blogger, and then he met the heterosexual love of his life, Nick Clement. The two instantly bonded over their love from everything to Terence Malick to THE EXPENDABLES films. Some of Frank’s favorite filmmakers are Terence Malick, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Sylvester Stallone, Oliver Stone, Abel Ferrara, Lars von Trier, Steve McQueen and Spike Lee.

Some of his favorite films are THE TREE OF LIFE, STAR WARS (all of them), BAD LIEUTENANT (1992), THE THING and ALL THAT JAZZ. Frank spends his free time with his dog Roger, collecting any Star Wars collectible he can find and trying to finish his pretentious, first person narrative novel(la), LARGE MEN IN SMALL CARS.



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