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What is wrong with Attack of the Clones?

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Many critics whom I have read on the internet cannot understand why the Jedi Order forbids romantic love in Attack of the Clones. The same critics scorn the film’s romantic dialogue.

The Jedi Order was a monastic order of warrior monks, similar to the Christian monks of the Teutonic Order during the crusades or the Buddhist monks of the Sohei Order during feudal Japan. All monastic orders require celibacy for their adherents.

George Lucas clearly indicated in A New Hope that the Jedi Knights were a religious sect, and many religious sects encourage or even require celibacy for their most devout practitioners.

Why would the Jedi Order allow romantic love? Love could be a source of temptation for a Jedi; it could be an emotional weakness which any potential enemy of the Jedi Order could exploit.

I was eight when I first watched Attack of the Clones, and even I could understand why the Jedi Order forbade romantic love when I first watched the film. It seemed self-explanatory to me.

Is the romance between Anakin and Padmé really that unrealistic? I believe it is a psychologically accurate portrayal of a woman falling in love with a man suffering from Bipolar Disorder, an occurrence which happens much more frequently than you would imagine.

The fireplace scene in which Anakin confesses his love for Padmé is a perfect portrayal of how an extremely intelligent and emotionally repressed young man would express unrequited love, especially an unrequited love bottled up inside for almost ten years. In other words, the romantic dialogue is exceedingly realistic given Anakin’s unique situation.

Critics often scoff at the moment when Anakin says, “I don’t like sand. It’s course and rough and irritating, and it gets everywhere.” But if you grew up on a desert planet and associated sand with slavery and with abandoning your mother at a young age, you would hate sand as well.

Critics often say that George Lucas gave little thought to the prequels, but George Lucas gave far more thought to the prequels than his critics have given.

Most action movies only portray a normal, stereotypical love story in which a male protagonist saves a damsel in distress, falls in love with her, seduces her, and sleeps with her. Attack of the Clones portrays a much more emotionally complex and nuanced love story than any other film I have ever seen. And that love story is not even the main plot; it is only a subplot.

Attack of the Clones contains so many action sequences: the assassination attempts, the aerial chase through the skylanes of Coruscant, the confrontation between Obi-Wan and Jango, the chase through an asteroid field, the droid factory battle, the Colosseum battle against the monsters, the battle of Geonosis, ect.

Attack of the Clones contains so many plot twists: the discovery that an entire star system was mysteriously erased from the Jedi Archives, the discovery that a clone army for the Galactic Republic was made in secret, the discovery that a deceased Jedi Master ordered the creation of the clone army, ect.

I cannot understand why anyone would hate Attack of the Clones, as so many fans of the original trilogy do.

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Ah, where should I start… First off, I agree that the “forbidden love” plotpoint makes sense and functions just fine, but most people just disagree with it. The main reason that I dislike that subplot is because it makes the Jedi seem less likeable and I think it seems out of character for personalities such as Yoda to enforce that rule, but that’s just me.

The romance on the other hand is very strange. Padme spends the entire movie rejecting Anakin because he’s creepy (he “makes her feel uncomfortable”) and it would distract from being a Senator for the Queen. Finally at the end she confesses her love but the two characters aren’t even written to have truly romantic moments to show it. Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman have no on-screen chemistry either.

The fact that Anakin doesn’t like sand doesn’t bother anyone, it’s the fact that he says it and the fact that he uses it in a romantic way… It’s so strange.

I don’t see how the love story is complex, it’s the boring version of Romeo and Juliet except Romeo in this case is an awkward jerk whose lines make no sense.

The romance obviously isn’t the only problem behind AOTC, it’s pretty much everything from the horrible looking CGI to the bad dialogue to the boring politics to the boring EVERYTHING. The movie blows, but that’s just my opinion and I can’t change yours. I thought I’d just answer your question.

Prequel Fan-Edit thread: http://originaltrilogy.com/topic/Yet-another-series-of-prequel-edits/id/17329

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Scott109 said:

Is the romance between Anakin and Padmé really that unrealistic? I think it is a psychologically accurate portrayal of a woman falling in love with a man suffering from Bipolar Disorder, an occurrence which happens much more frequently than you would imagine.

I’d like to double down on “what?”

The dramatic scene in which Anakin confesses his love for Padmé is a perfect portrayal of how an extremely intelligent and emotionally repressed young man would express unrequited love, especially an unrequited love which he had kept bottled up inside for almost ten years. In other words, the dialogue was exceedingly realistic given Anakin’s unique situation.

No, it’s how George Lucas imagined a young man would express unrequited love. Unfortunately Lucas can’t wish away his bad dialogue or crap directing.

Critics often scoff at the moment when Anakin responds, “I don’t like sand. It’s course and rough and irritating, and it gets everywhere.” But if you grew up on a desert planet and associated sand with slavery and with leaving your mother at a young age, you would have hated sand as well.

I might have hated sand, but I certainly would have never said that.

Critics often say that George Lucas gave little thought to the Prequels, but George Lucas gave far more thought to them than his critics.

Too bad he didn’t give any thought to directing or dialogue.

Most action movies only portray a normal, stereotypical love story in which a male protagonist saves a damsel in distress, falls in love with her, and sleeps with her. Attack of the Clones portrays a much more emotionally complex and nuanced love story than any other film I have ever seen.

You should see more films.

The short answer to the question posed in the thread title is “everything.”

Episode I: The Ridiculous Menace / Episode II: Attack Of The Ridiculousness / Episode III: Revenge of the Ridiculousness

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Padmé said she felt uncomfortable because there was so much sexual tension between them and because she was playing hard to get.

Anakin was not using “I don’t like sand” as a pick-up line. He was having a normal conversation with Padmé and then spontaneously decided to kiss her.

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Bingowings said:

Scott109 said:

Is the romance between Anakin and Padmé really that unrealistic? I think it is a psychologically accurate portrayal of a woman falling in love with a man suffering from Bipolar Disorder, an occurrence which happens much more frequently than you would imagine.

What?

It was pretty obvious that Anakin suffered from Manic Depressive Disorder or Bipolar Disorder.

These are common symptoms of Bipolar Disorder:

  • Delusions of grandeur (“I will be the greatest Jedi ever. I will even learn how to stop people from dying”)

  • Either sleeping excessively or experiencing insomnia (Anakin wakes up early because he cannot sleep)

  • Extreme restlessness and extreme depression (Anakin is constantly active, has intense bursts of energy, throws things, weeps bitterly, and massacres the Tusken Raiders when his mother dies)

  • Rapid and unprovoked mood swings (Anakin’s mood is always unpredictable)

  • Hallucinations or visions (Anakin sees hallucinatory visions of his mother)

  • An inability to concentrate (Obi-Wan always tells Anakin to concentrate)

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Smithers said:

Ah, where should I start… First off, I agree that the “forbidden love” plotpoint makes sense and functions just fine, but most people just disagree with it. The main reason that I dislike that subplot is because it makes the Jedi seem less likeable and I think it seems out of character for personalities such as Yoda to enforce that rule, but that’s just me.

How would it be out of character for Yoda to enforce monastic celibacy? In the Original Trilogy, Yoda is a harsh teacher who begs Luke to let his beloved friends die so that he can finish his training.

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For one, Yoda didn’t know exactly if Han and Leia would perish. Secondly, when in the OT did Yoda ever say that emotions like love lead to the Dark Side?

I believe in Rian Johnson

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If the Jedi of the OT forbade romance/marriage/etc., then wouldn’t this little taboo have been hinted at somewhere in the OT?

I want to be naked, running through the streets.
I want to invite this so-called chaos you think I dare not be.
I want to be weightless, flying through the air.
I want to drop all these limitations and return to what I was born to be.

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Scott109 said:

Critics often scoff at the moment when Anakin says, “I don’t like sand. It’s course and rough and irritating, and it gets everywhere.” But if you grew up on a desert planet and associated sand with slavery and with abandoning your mother at a young age, you would hate sand as well.

No, I would hate the planet.

For example, lets say someone lives in a bad, crime filled neighborhood. He wouldn’t say “I hate asphalt, because it makes the street I live on” he would say “I hate this street I live on.”

you ever just squint so hard that the aspect ratio changes?

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suspiciouscoffee said:

Scott109 said:

Critics often scoff at the moment when Anakin says, “I don’t like sand. It’s course and rough and irritating, and it gets everywhere.” But if you grew up on a desert planet and associated sand with slavery and with abandoning your mother at a young age, you would hate sand as well.

No, I would hate the planet.

For example, lets say someone lives in a bad, crime filled neighborhood. He wouldn’t say “I hate asphalt, because it makes the street I live on” he would say “I hate this street I live on.”

And they still wouldn’t say that in that scenario

Prequel Fan-Edit thread: http://originaltrilogy.com/topic/Yet-another-series-of-prequel-edits/id/17329

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Scott109 said:

I was eight when I first watched Attack of the Clones.

You only watched Attack of the Clones this year?

Not enough people read the EU.

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DuracellEnergizer said:

If the Jedi of the OT forbade romance/marriage/etc., then wouldn’t this little taboo have been hinted at somewhere in the OT?

Why would it need to be hinted at in the Original Trilogy? Luke was on a need-to-know basis throughout the entire Original Trilogy. George Lucas only revealed the most vital elements of the backstory which were absolutely necessary for the audience to understand the plot and the characters.

However, I would still say that it is indirectly hinted at in the Original Trilogy. The Jedi Order was spoken of as an ancient religion. The only Jedi whom Luke encountered were Obi-Wan and Yoda, who were both single and celibate and who both wore monk robes. George Lucas gave every indication that the Jedi Order was a monastic order of warrior monks.

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Smithers said:

suspiciouscoffee said:

Scott109 said:

Critics often scoff at the moment when Anakin says, “I don’t like sand. It’s course and rough and irritating, and it gets everywhere.” But if you grew up on a desert planet and associated sand with slavery and with abandoning your mother at a young age, you would hate sand as well.

No, I would hate the planet.

For example, lets say someone lives in a bad, crime filled neighborhood. He wouldn’t say “I hate asphalt, because it makes the street I live on” he would say “I hate this street I live on.”

And they still wouldn’t say that in that scenario

We will have to agree to disagree. I think that Anakin was socially awkward and nervous around Padmé, so he said the first thing that came to mind when she spoke of lying in the sand. That line should have been cut because it adds nothing to the story, but I could still imagine him saying that.

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Scott109 said:

Bingowings said:

Scott109 said:

Is the romance between Anakin and Padmé really that unrealistic? I think it is a psychologically accurate portrayal of a woman falling in love with a man suffering from Bipolar Disorder, an occurrence which happens much more frequently than you would imagine.

What?

It was pretty obvious that Anakin suffered from Manic Depressive Disorder or Bipolar Disorder.

These are common symptoms of Bipolar Disorder:

  • Delusions of grandeur (“I will be the greatest Jedi ever. I will even learn how to stop people from dying”)

  • Either sleeping excessively or experiencing insomnia (Anakin wakes up early because he cannot sleep)

  • Extreme restlessness and extreme depression (Anakin is constantly active, has intense bursts of energy, throws things, weeps bitterly, and massacres the Tusken Raiders when his mother dies)

  • Rapid and unprovoked mood swings (Anakin’s mood is always unpredictable)

  • Hallucinations or visions (Anakin sees hallucinatory visions of his mother)

  • An inability to concentrate (Obi-Wan always tells Anakin to concentrate)

The problem is not that Anakin isn’t realistically portrayed as a jerk, it’s that he acts like a jerk at all. He’s supposed to be one of the main characters, in the OT he was described as a great man and a good friend, we should be relating to him and care for him, not cringe at his creepy attempts to seduce Padme, even if this creepiness was intended.
The same can be said of all in-universe explanations of the PT’s faults. Sure, Palpatine can use the dark side to make the Jedi order stupid, but does it make for a good movie if the protagonists are a bunch of idiots?
These inconsistencies between how Obi Wan describes the Jedi and Anakin in Star Wars vs. how they are portrayed in the PT transforms him from a wise wizard to a senile old man, when his character was already weakend by making him a liar (from a certain point of view) in Empire.

Ceci n’est pas une signature.

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Critics quote “I don’t like sand” so often because it is simply the tip of the iceberg of the entire wooden Anakin dialogue.

As you said, there are so many sequences in this movie but most of the stuff is dramaturgic non-effective because Lucas’ script (along with Jonathan Hales little input) is not well written.

The movies of the Original Trilogy are fun space adventures with likeable characters. The movies of the Prequel Trilogy are melodramatic costume dramas with flat underdeveloped characters.

It’s not the amount of the special effects that drags AOTC down - it’s Lucas’ script & directing.

Who needs to see Rogue One? Just play the first mission of DARK FORCES 😉

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Scott109 said:

DuracellEnergizer said:

If the Jedi of the OT forbade romance/marriage/etc., then wouldn’t this little taboo have been hinted at somewhere in the OT?

Why would it need to be hinted at in the Original Trilogy? Luke was on a need-to-know basis throughout the entire Original Trilogy. George Lucas only revealed the most vital elements of the backstory which were absolutely necessary for the audience to understand the plot and the characters.

I hope you’re not implying a “George had the backstory all planned out” scenario here.

The only Jedi whom Luke encountered were Obi-Wan and Yoda, who were both single and celibate and who both wore monk robes.

They were single, yes, but single =/= celibate. Ben and/or Yoda could have had lovers who died, either of natural causes or during the Jedi Purge.

George Lucas gave every indication that the Jedi Order was a monastic order of warrior monks.

He also had Jedi forming families in earlier film drafts, even with the warrior monk aspect in place.

I want to be naked, running through the streets.
I want to invite this so-called chaos you think I dare not be.
I want to be weightless, flying through the air.
I want to drop all these limitations and return to what I was born to be.

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The celibacy thing is awkward and unenforceable. That Anakin is able to keep his marriage secret is proof it doesn’t work.

The whole thing is dependent on finding kids who have the ability to use the Force, and families willing to sever all ties with them so they can go off and play with laser swords. (Can you say creepy cult?) Maybe if Jedi were allowed to sow their wild oats, there would be more of them around.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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-Anakin as a mostly unlikable character;
-Anakin and Padmè’s relationship developing so fast, was hardly believable;
-Anakin’s decision to quit his duty to save her mother. I understand what was GL up to with this, but does Anakin actually have to endanger Padmè too?
-Jango Fett as the genetic source for the Clone Army;
-The Arena. Though I admit the first part (before the jedi arrive) was well directed, I just found the whole concept a bit out of place, somehow forced;
-The DS’s plans already completed more than 20 years before its construction;

Objectively, it wasn’t the worst film ever: the plot was overall well designed, directing and compositions were fine too. The real problems were dialogues and acting, and this is really unfortunate (thankfully, foreign dubbings were able to fix this). Then there’s the editing which was… functional, sure, but could’ve used more craft, especially in using the score, so to make the scenes more involving.
As a SW movie, having even more characters somehow related to each other, was unnecessary and, personally, partially ruined my experience. The same can be said on the increasing use of bad CGIs, the addition of more goofy characters (especially for villains), most of which seem out of place in SW even after ROTJ.

The Original Trilogy’s Timeline Reconstruction: http://originaltrilogy.com/forum/topic.cfm/Implied-starting-date-of-the-Empire-from-OT-dialogue/post/786201/#TopicPost786201

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Shmi being left to rot on Tatooine was a terrible idea to begin with. (Guess nobody cared or thought about the slaves there ever again after TPM.) They couldn’t make yet another exception for the “chosen one”, put her up in a nice house on some other planet, so he wouldn’t be worrying about her constantly?

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?