Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones ★★★★

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"I'm haunted by the kiss that you should never have given me…"

I can just about understand peoples' problems with the first of the Star Wars prequels, just on the grounds that on a basic technical level it is shaky (though I still find more than enough good in there to overlook that). By the time it gets to Episode III I get positively angry at those who perpetuate the "cool" of hating them when there is so much heart, soul and spirit there if you want to find it (and as a fan, you probably should). But even here, there's always so much that catches me off guard each time… starting with Obi Wan jumping out of that window… People act like Lucas phoned these movies in but he's clearly having a ball (though not as much as in Episode III where he went fully crazy).

Even tiny things, like Watto kind of heartbreakingly saying "L'il Annie?" when Anakin returns to Tatooine to find his mother… the same with Zam the assassin in a way, there's a real sadness to that character for me somehow. But then there are the larger things like the darkening, doomed romance between Anakin and Amidala (with Wuthering Heights-like lines as above), his saying goodbye to his mother - these scenes are so archetypically powerful in the classical Star Wars/Joseph Campbell way not to mention in the context of the larger story that they needn't even rely on the stilted performance of Hayden Christensen (he was, like everything else, a lot better in Episode III)…

THEN you have the first scene I always think of when I think about this movie - the hilarious R2D2/C3PO assembly line scene… the scene those two characters were crying out for - Mace Windu's purple lightsaber, Count Dooku's crooked one - YODA IN A LIGHTSABER FIGHT - PROTO-STORMTROOPERS AND THE IMPERIAL MARCH THEME - DEATH STAR PLANS! STAR DESTROYERS! It's like George Lucas is screaming louder every time I watch this, "what more do you guys want?", throwing pearls at the audience, and I really don't care what anyone else says… it's a great, great movie.

(sorry, got a little over-defensive there but I unfortunately saw Simon Pegg in the news again today doing the prequel hate thing… I mean just really, why? in no way are they that bad…)