Tuesday, May 21, 2002
STARWARS: REJUVENATING THE SAGA
By Reymundo Salao
May 21, 2002
The first STARWARS trilogy were monumental movies, which stands in film history alongside films like The Ten Commandments, The Godfather, and Gone with the Wind. If you had these films made and revolutionized the filmmaking industry and the film franchise industry as well, how do you make a new set of prequels for Star Wars now? George Lucas, the genius behind the Star Wars universe, had one heck of a responsibility on his hands. And he did fail miserably with "Star Wars episode 1, The Phantom Menace", disappointing long-time fans of the saga, as well as subtly tainting Star Wars with a bad name. By the time Episode 2's trailers were heralding the release of the new Star Wars movie, the fever had been not that hot at all compared to the hype it used to have. (Warning: my review may contain spoilers that you may not want to know before you watch the film).
It was smart move for Lucasfilms to release the film almost worldwide simultaneously in order to beat the piracy, which let's us watch the film far earlier than the film could be released locally. But nevertheless, there I was taking my half-day off from office just to watch Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones". And fevers run boiling with the new film. It was far more impressive, about a thousand times better than Episode 1. The film was about the second chapter of an entire saga which is about a galactic war, how it began and how it ended. Episode 2 is set on a period when the Republic was losing its balance and its control over the planets under its rule (The republic is kind of like our UN, and the planets are the nations). The Republic and the leaders of the planets represented in the Republic have become more corrupt, and separatist groups have announced their defiance against the Republic. Little do they realize that the leaders of both the Republic and the Separatists have suspicious plans of their own. Since it used to be a time of peace, the Republic had no standing army, except for Jedi Knights, which were more of keepers of the peace rather than an army, which was designed for all-out war. In the center point of the story is Anakin Skywalker, a Jedi pupil who has fallen in love with a galactic senator, Padme Amidala. One who belongs to the order of the Jedi is forbidden from having romantic attachments, not only is he bending this creed, he has also fallen into hatred and arrogance, most especially when at one point, he has massacred an entire village just to satisfy his crave for vengeance. This Anakin Skywalker is to be the main character of the story because he is destined to be the warlord who will soon bring the Republic to its knees.
Indeed, the film has a dark tone, and its theme is even that of the adult tone rather than what many perceive it to be a child's cartoon. One friend of mine who is a mother even confessed that she surprisingly enjoyed the movie than expected. But the film is also more than a war movie, it is also had a light atmosphere and very romantic aspect to it. The love story between Anakin and Padme has been beautifully done, to match with the scenes and the settings they shot in where everything looked like a classic painting. One romantic scene in particular that was indeed quite romantic was their conversation about politics while they were sitting on grassland with a wonderful waterfall scene in the background. The humor of the film was also smart and witty, with punchlines that catch us giggling all of the sudden. Like that when one villain (Nute Gunray) was disappointed that Padme was able to elude the attack of a monster, going "She can't do that! Shoot her, or something!" or the scene where one character C3PO, who was a droid (a robot), had his head attached to that of a battle droid and he goes shooting around and shouts "I'm programmed for etiquette, not fighting!". And, of course, the action was magnificent, with the mech battles and the lightsaber duels, and the scene where Yoda, one of the main characters present in almost all Star Wars movies, had a chance to show us how he fights.
Although it may be confusing to some first-time watchers, it must be taken note that it is part of an entire saga. And to appreciate it, one must understand what has happened in Episode 1 and what will happen, and what is to come in Episodes 4, 5, 6. The plot of the film may be a bit difficult to understand, but it never drags. All in all, Star Wars Episode II, Attack of the Clones could be considered one of the classics that could stand among the classics, which were Star Wars (episode 4, which was shown 1977 and began the fever), Empire Strikes Back (episode 5, 1980), and Return of the Jedi (episode 6, 1983). Episode II is a mature sci-fi war picture which contains underlying spiritual meaning and romantic value, it never fails to thrill and keeps our eyes plugged on the screen.