The Journey Continues: Attack of the Clones

It was a year chock-full of Harry Potter hysteria, marching band performances, swoon-worthy new crushes, and general over-the-top middle-school histrionics when Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, finally soared into theaters in May of 2002. Three months shy of my thirteenth birthday and with the end of seventh grade looming on the horizon, I was in that dreamy/dopey stage of life where everything was epic and larger than life and I didn’t understand half of what my peers were talking about, but it was fun just being in the conversations. It’s easy to look back on this time of my life and cringe at the ridiculous nature of how everything was so dramatic and completely larger than life all the time, but in reality that’s what made it so great. And the same goes for the movie itself. Yes it’s cheesy and over-the-top and I spent half the movie cringing from second-hand humiliation but my God that’s what makes it so amazing.

My biggest (and most awkward and therefore embarrassing) memory of AOTC releasing happened a few days after seeing the movie in the theater. A fellow classmate mentioned how many times Anakin and Padme “made out” and as I had the completely wrong idea of what that phrase meant, I was horrified and vehemently denied it, like what movie did you watch?! I know, I’m still getting red-faced thinking back on it now, but I was a Harry Potter obsessed band-geek walking cliché, I wasn’t up on all the dating terminology. Suffice it to say, I was completely confused and then epically embarrassed to discover that it just meant kissing…

Sigh, don’t you just miss middle-school?!


Anyway – despite my lack of dating knowledge, I was and always have been a sucker for romance (the more extravagant and angsty the better) and this movie with its idyllic picnic sequence and forbidden love tension just fed my melodramatic pre-teen soul. Han and Leia had a love that burned bright and true in the original trilogy, but Anakin and Padme’s suppressed desire rattled the damn stars. This is the type of drama I LIVED for, and between AOTC and Moulin Rouge, it was a damn fine time to be alive. If at any point Anakin had sung a ballad to Padme declaring his undying love and devotion like Moulin Rouge’s Come What May, I may have actually perished.

In a lot of ways this second movie – and especially the characterization of Ani – encapsulated who I was when I watched it for the first time – endearingly awkward and sweet, full of hope for the future and the promise of adventure. But beneath the surface, there’s the churning of fate and the inescapability of time as the first tugs of destiny pull you toward the path of adulthood. There’s fear and resentment and anger but it’s tempered with the brightest of joys and the thrill of experiencing so many life-altering firsts. First love, first solo trip, first time making decisions for yourself, and of course, the first true dose of epic humiliation.

Overall, Attack of the Clones was a whirlwind, wild ride of all out emotions and danger and drama, and frankly some of the most gorgeous fashion statements I’ve ever seen in my entire life. (I’m looking at YOU lake dress!!!) I laughed, I cried, I cringed, and almost twenty years later, I’m still enraptured by the beauty of it all, of the forbidden love between a Jedi and a Senator that couldn’t be denied, and the tragic-and-yet unbreakable bond between Anakin and Obi-Wan that runs just as deeply. It marks the end of Anakin’s youth, the end of his innocence, and sets the stage for the inevitable enactment of his destiny. And as someone transitioning into adulthood at the time myself, I could totally relate. This is the phase of life where everything is possible, where you’re invincible and at your most vulnerable, and every emotion is a torrent that threatens to consume you. This is middle school my friends, and damn wasn’t it a magical time to be alive.

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21 thoughts on “The Journey Continues: Attack of the Clones

  1. I honestly think that Anakin Skywalker acted too impulsively when he and Obi-Wan Kenobi went to confront Count Dooku. Were I to do this any differently, I would have Yoda and Mace Windu confront Count Dooku.

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  2. Tara, here are 2 questions I would like to get your thoughts on: 1: If not Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, what 2 Jedi would have been better suited to the task of confronting Count Dooku? 2: If Shmi Skywalker had survived, do you think that this would have reduced or eliminated the chance that Anakin Skywalker would have turned to the dark side of the Force?

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    1. Well if we’re talking ANY Jedi, then I would have loved to see Qui-Gon and Yoda confront Dooku because that’s one continuous legacy line of masters and apprentices that know each other extremely well. And Qui-Gon would have questioned and considered everything Dooku said instead of ignoring it like Obi-Wan did. Because in actuality alot of what Dooku revealed to Obi-Wan was the truth, Obi-Wan just refused to see that the Jedi could do any wrong or could be so blinded by the Sith. But Qui-Gon would have gotten to the truth of it and he would have questioned Yoda and the Jedi along the way. As for Shmi — if we put the notion of fate aside (because I believe that Anakin was fated to bring balance and destroy the Sith AND the Jedi) then no, I don’t think he would have gone to the darkside on his own. A large part of what made him so unstable in AOTC and ROTS is the loss of his mother and the tangible memory of her morality and sensibility. Even if he was scared to lose Padme, had his mother been there I think he would have turned to her for advice instead Yoda and Palpatine and she would have reached him the way the Jedi couldn’t and would have done so without playing on his fears the way Palpatine did.
      Thanks for such awesome questions!!! 😀👏😀

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    1. I don’t think Dooku would have turned back to the light but I do think Qui-Gon would have listened to him and if nothing else, would have figured out about Palpatine alot sooner than the Jedi did.

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      1. Oh, good question, good question. Um, well Maul I think is the more athletic fighter, he has the agility to beat even Qui-Gon, but I don’t think he’s as experienced with the Force as Dooku is so I doubt he could use or withstand Force Lightening. So I guess it would come down to how they’re fighting…with sabers then hands down Maul, but other than that I think Dooku would win that one. What about you? I’m not as familiar with the fighting types you mentioned before, who do you think would win?

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  3. Count Dooku utilized the Makashi lightsaber form. Darth Maul used the Juyo form. Since Count Dooku’s style seemed relatively conservative with the use of energy, I think he would have emerged as the victor in this scenario.

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    1. I think you’re probably right, Dooku just seemed too experienced for Maul, although Maul was definitely the more energetic fighter. I’m sorry it took me so long to reply, I don’t think I realized you wrote two comments back for my one lol! My bad 😄😀

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  4. That is true. Assuming that Maul was trained early on in the Jedi arts, not found by the Sith, a lot of things may have been different. Had he stayed on the good side and with the Jedi, I would have to say that Qui-Gon Jinn and Dooku would have bested Darth Maul if the fight had been out in a more open space.

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    1. Oh definitely, between Qui-Gon and Dooku together Maul would have stood very little chance! I’m still hoping we find out more about Maul in another Solo movie because it would be interesting to see where he and Qi’ra fit into the rest of the story as we know it! And I don’t know if you read the Dark Disciple novel but if you’re a Dooku fan he’s featured in that one a lot! I learned quite a bit more about him from that one 😀

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      1. I agree with you. Quite honestly, I wish that Anakin Skywalker and Yoda had confronted Count Dooku during the first duel. What 2 characters would you like to have seen do that if you had an opinion?

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      2. It would have been really intetesting to see Anakin and Qui-Gin face him if Qui-Gon was still alive, just to see how differently Ani may have approached the fight. Like would he have been calmer, more levelheaded? Or would he still jump right in and get his arm sliced off?! And if you had to choose 2 people (Jedi or not) outside of the prequel trilogy, who would you want to see go up against Dooku, because man oh man, there are some epic team-ups here!

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      3. Oh for sure, Dooku was definitely a bit of a runner. Personally I’d like to have seen Han go up against him because I feel like the moment Dooku started monologing, Han would have just shot his blaster like in the cantina scene in A New Hope.

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