Star Wars: Attack of the Clones by George Lucas and Jonathan Hales

It’s six days until the United Kingdom foreign preview release of Star Wars: the Force Awakens – Episode VII in the saga. At least, officially. There are some midnight screenings, but the official release date is still the 17th. Which is the date I’m sticking with regardless – it makes the counting-down easier. So, rather than going in release order like everyone else, I’m doing it in Episode order. Nyer. Here’s George Lucas and Jonathan Hales‘ screenplay to Star Wars: Attack of the Clones.

Lucas had been sceptical to write the second episode of the saga after the negative response to the first episode, Star Wars: Episode 1:The Phantom Menace, but completed a rough draft in March 2000, three months before production commenced. By this time, Lucas had produced a second draft. The third draft received an uncredited co-write from Hales, whose only feature-writing experience at this point was The Mirror Crack’d, which he’d also co-written. Their working title was Jar Jar’s Big Adventure, referencing an unpopular character from Star Wars: Episode 1:The Phantom Menace.

Script supervisor: Jayne-Ann Tenggren and Victoria Chambers-Pike.

Screenplay by GEORGE LUCAS and JONATHAN HALES

Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones

Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
Written by George Lucas and Jonathan Hales

Should I blame Lucas, or should I just blame fate? Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones is both a prequel to an original film, a sequel to its own prequel, which is also a prequel to that original film, and a prequel to its sequel, which is still a prequel to that original film. Basically, Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones may as well be called The Jedi: the Desolation of Dooku – the middle act of a prequel trilogy, and that’s a very bad sign. As far as narrative goes, the second episode of a so-far six-episode saga is the most limiting: the characters have to have evolved enough from episode one in order to develop the story, but not too much so that episode three can’t be the prequel in the closest sense.

Which means that, unfortunately, Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones is just filler; a stepping-stone from one event to another. And Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones plays out as such the entire way through. There’s no sense of enthusiasm from anyone, the actors mumble their lines and seem to be half-asleep during every scene. It says a lot that Jar Jar Binks is the most interesting character, despite being CGI (maybe the constant blue sets provided the actors with nothing against-which to work?)

Actually think about the story for a second – what happened? What changed from beginning to end? Skywalker and Amidala are married now, and living on Naboo, their love a secret from both the Jedi Order and the Galactic Senate. We have the typical Romeo Montague/Juliet Capulet love story, only it’s not convincing in either dialogue or acting.

So since the Skywalker/Amidala relationship is so important, the entire film risks failing if that doesn’t convince. It doesn’t convince. Lucas’ dialogue sounds written by an accountant – how did this man even achieve a career? – and even when performed, it’s awful. The only actor who gives an entertaining performance throughout is Hayden Christensen, who seems to be the only one that realises how terribly superficial it all is and hopes to absolve it somewhat using irony.

But then I guess that’s all you can do when you’re surrounded by none-sets speaking a producer’s script in a film that’s only contribution to a saga is to extend it. If a story’s stretched-out for long enough, its beats are going to become further apart and the story will suffer for it. Contrary to popular belief, you can polish a turd. But it will still be a turd at heart.

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