AOTC - From a Writer's POV

Discussion in 'Attack of the Clones' started by DarthLascivious, May 23, 2002.

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  1. Senator Dzrekpo Amegnran Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 6, 1999
    star 3
    I agree with everyone here in congratulating you for your extremely well-written, thoughtful, and thought-provoking thread. If discourses like this one were common here at the JC, then perhaps I'd frequent it more.

    My biggest criticism of Attack of the Clones? Too much going on. The storyline and plot give it potential to be a stark, emotion-charged film along the lines of The Empire Strikes Back. However, the overabundance of whiz-bang special effects strips away any semblance of dark, brooding feeling. One of the things in The Empire Strikes Back that makes it so masterfully hopeless is the interiors. Almost every scene we see seems claustrophobic: the maze of the Rebel base on Hoth, the Wampa cave, the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon, the belly of the asteroid worm, the cave on Dagobah, the cells in Cloud City, and the carbonite freezing chamber. The vast, icy terrain of Hoth is even stark. There's a sense of intimacy there.

    We don't get that sense of intimacy, really, except for maybe on Coruscant in Padme's apartment, and then on Tatooine at the Lars homestead. There's never a chance to establish intimacy, because we're either getting whisked away to a new locale or getting caught up in a spectacular special-effects sequence.

    With the story he had to work with, Lucas could definitely have created more isolated, claustrophobic instances in which the audience is "thrown together" with the characters. Instead, just as such intimacy seems imminent, he pulls away to another scene, teasing us. That's what made us love the OT characters so much - that sense of intimacy that's missing from Attack of the Clones.

    SDA
  2. Vertical Former Head Admin

    Member Since:
    Apr 6, 1999
    star 6
    a. block, what do you mean by "artist things"?

    Vertical
  3. random_trooper Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 1, 2000
    star 2
    excellent points, Darth Lascivious, but I must disagree about the film needing character development on the part of Obi-Wan. I take it from the angle that his development took place offscreen, in the 10 years between I and II, and his role is constructed in such a way as to sort of...reinforce the fact that his character HAS been through changes. So, in one episode, no...his role was quite linear, but when we zoom out and view all 6, it's quite the arc indeed
  4. Darth Zykalus Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 1998
    star 2
    DarthLascivious
    I like your post. Pretty interesting. I think, like you said, that Naboo should have been skipped. To put Anakin and Padme in immediate danger, I would have done like in the movie, going to Naboo using a transport, but have the transport being attack(either by Jango or another hunter), have them escape to Tattooine. Nice simple and easy. The danger is there and more entertaining. The hour after their departure from Coruscant to Obiwan arriving on Geonosis is pretty much boring.

    The love is hard to buy, it is forced upon them and the wedding is kinda useless. Sure to be politically correct they need to be married before having children, but that stuff isn't modern in my eyes anymore. It would have created a bigger impact by finishing the movie with the departure of the clone, symbol of the doom to come. Just having Annie with is shiny hand looking the Clones departing would have been nice.

  5. Vertical Former Head Admin

    Member Since:
    Apr 6, 1999
    star 6
    I feel that the final scenes could have been swapped as well... have the wedding, then show the clones amassing, and troops gathering and departing... Yet, instead of Palpatine and the others watching their army in silence, I feel that what could have worked rather well would have been to have Yoda, Obi-Wan, Mace, Anakin, and Padme watching as well, with someone expressing the sentiment that the few remaining Jedi will now need to devote their focus and training on the clone wars, with Obi-Wan sharing a glance with Anakin, who in turn glances at Padme, with the idea that their brand new marriage is about to be tested and strained by their individual obligations.

    Vertical
  6. a. block Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 1, 1999
    star 1
    Sorry, I meant "artistic things".
    I guess like in "Empire", I asked why was the whole thing written to have the Falcon fly into an asteroid only to find out it's a giant space slug. Then after a while the thought comes up that it's a foreshadowing scene telling us that this is/was a place that the heroes thought was safe, but turned out that it wasn't-and this turns out to be the case when they go to Cloud City. Before the special editions, even the interior of Cloud City sorta looked like the inside of the space slug.
    Or what's the point in having Anakin stull his pod, even though we know that he's going to win because he needs to get to some Jedi training. Well, then I thought that it must be showing how Anakin might be the last (in terms of age started training)to start becoming a Jedi, but he would end up being the best, or baddest, or whatever.
    I guess it depends on what people think is artistic. I try to analyze a scene and ask myself questions like, "why is that written that way?" or "why is this happening?" I'm sure that some of my logic is faulty.
  7. Red-Seven Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 21, 1999
    star 5
    I would not change any of the sequencing or events at the end of the movie.

    Does anyone else see potential benefit from an earlier meeting of Dooku and Obi-wan, to at least give some foreshadowing / confict / development / background information?
  8. augusto Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 6, 2001
    star 4
    I think the last scene with the "Wedding" is perfect as it is, an not the "Clones leaving for battle scene".

    The ultimate fall of the Republic & the Jedi is at the hands of Anakin Skywalker, and showing his "forbidden" and secret wedding says it all. At the simple level, it's an offset to the doom and gloom of the last part of the movie, yet if you think about it, it's one of the pivotal moments. It's shows you Anaking betraying the order, his mechanization, and the sadness that this relationship is destined for doom.

    It's a great ending scene, and I love that it's short, sweet and no dialog.
  9. bcollins Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    Vertical,

    Having Anakin lie to Padme about killing the Tuskens is perfect, because lies fester inside you and lead to more lies. This would have shown that Anakin was headed toward the dark side, while also making the love story a hundred times more believable. I could believe Anakin and Padme would fall in love even with Anakin's creepy looks and expressions, but not when Padme finds out he is a mass murderer of children and woman. I mean come on! If you believe that then Lucas can pretty much get away with anything he wants and you will love it.
  10. Vertical Former Head Admin

    Member Since:
    Apr 6, 1999
    star 6
    I certainly can see the benefits of bringing Dooku in earlier. In fact, by the time he was onscreen, the two people I saw it with the other day forgot all about the "Count Dooku" and his separatist movement mentioned in the opening crawl.

    I think an earlier introduction to Dooku could certainly go a long way.

    Vertical
  11. MadMardigan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2001
    star 4
    My critiscms are very close to the original post. The main one being the love story and dooku.

    I loved Obi wan's storyline and was completely intrigued.

    However the love story would seem to interupt all the good stuff. This is not to say I didn't want this movie to be a love story. When Lucas first announced Ep2 would be a romance I thought that was fantastic. It just wasnt written really well. My feeling is if they were put in some type of danger...maybe like being pursued by a bounty hunter or some other shady force across the galaxy, it would have added levity to their feelings. Their passion would have blossomed by sort of a "trial by fire."

    Dooku was definitely introduced way too late. This can only be effective if the first appearance is something mind blowing. It was anticlimatic. it seems as if GL's modus operandi in the PT is to underuse potentially awesome villians (or kill them off too suddenly).

    I can look past these and still enjoy the movie a great deal (which I do).

    However George makes some storytelling errors that really boggle the mind. The Tusken Slaughter, in nearly 4.5 Hrs of PT screen time, is the most important scene yet. But minus its importance it could have been a true magic cinematic moment topping every other scene in the saga. The set up was great. Anakin leaving the homestead. Tracking them down. Finding his mother. The music swelling. The anger building. And then...CUT.

    This would be the equivalent of ending Rocky a moment before Sly bellows, "YO ADRIAN!."

    My feeling is that story comes first...worry about the rating later.

    Finally. George has also taken on the bad habit of writing scenes and some dialogue that pull me out of a GFFA and back to this one right here. This wasn't an issue in the original OT and only seems to be prevalent since the SE's and EP1.

    At least in AOTC he dialed it back more than before. But still, 3PO's scenes in the end are nearly as bad as Jar Jar taking down the whole federation army. One of 3P0's jokes would have been enough and really funny. But after having his head replaced and some of those lines he said, enough was enough. This nearly ruined the entire movie for me. Luckily I was able to look past it.

    AOTC truly revived my faith in GL. My hopes were not too high. But he did blow me away this time. I just feel that the script for AOTC was one minor rewrite/polish away from being the greatest of the saga. The story was almost there. Almost. And that's where my greatest disappointment comes.

    Lucas is a great broad storyteller but he needs a good kick in the butt some time on the details. Unfortunately, he's become so powerful in his little Empire that no one on the Ranch will question him. When he was just starting he was surrounded by great filmmakers like Scorese, Coppola, Spielberg, DePalma. etc. These were people who in their own way helped temper Lucas vision into what got us into SW in the first place. More importantly they were Lucas's equals. Not employees. And I think Lucas respected their opinions and followed some of them.

    I whole heartedly agree that Lucas should bring on a Kasdan (or even M Night Shylaman?) to co write the script. Especially from an early stage. (I think Hales was brought in a few drafts in). Earlier the better. To help GL flesh out the story before its already cemented.

    There are no excuses for Ep3 in my book. It has to blow everything else away. It has the potential to be Best Picture material (I'm not kidding) if it's done right.

    Well here's for hoping.


  12. tanhauser Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 21, 2001
    Hi...

    I'll answer and comment on some of the points you make...

    LOVE STORY

    In part I agree with you that the love story between Anakin and Padme has its flaws. These flaws however do not deter the effect it is meant to have. In your exposition you made several comparisions between Anakin and Padme, and Han and Leia. In my opinion the flaw of your argument lies in the fact that unlike Han and Leia, Padme and Anakin are young lovers, whereas Han and Leia have been around, they know how love works in the 'real world.'

    There is a scene in Naboo where Padme tells Anakin of her first love, the guy who went on to become an artist. It is logical to assume that from his part, Anakin most likely has never had a relationship before. These two are new at love, which doesn't make them incompetent but simply inexperienced. Think back to first time you actually fell in love, remember how silly you acted and how much you wanted to externalize every single feeling you had. And that's precisely the reason why, in my opinion, the love story works. Their acts are justified by their experience, or lack thereof.

    Another point you have to remember is that we know beforehand that Anakin and Padme's love story has a tragic ending. Whether Lucas and Hale were counting on this when they wrote the love story is unknown. But is clear that, at least to us, know that they're heading for disaster makes us be sympathetic for both of them.

    To sum up, even though some of the acting felt a bit forced, the love story serves its purpose.

    TUSKEN RAIDERS

    The Tusken camp massacre, and in particular the confession scene afterwards is one of the most important scenes in the movie. In my opinion it works, but I agree with you that I would've like to have seen more from Anakin when he breaks down and starts to cry. You can clearly see how horrified Padme is when Anakin makes his confession, but it may be difficult for some to believe in Padme's choice. Anakin IS evil and reckless, he is clearly the worst choice for Padme. Perhaps if the confession scene had been longer, and we got more exposition from Anakin, it would've been simpler to agree with Padme's choice.

    Nevertheless I'll tell you that for me, again, it worked. You don't fall in love by chance, you choose, and Padme made a choice to love Anakin well before he became a mass murderer.

    FORESHADOWING

    Foreshadowing within the plot is lacking, yes, but honestly, there is so much going on as it is that you hardly have time to stop and think. I disagree with you that we need more foreshadowing within the plot. It would only, in my opinion, deter from the flow of the movie and we can run the risk of having a god awful mess like the end in TPM (ok, maybe I'm stressing things a bit but you get my point).

    Besides, there is SO MUCH foreshadowing within the over story that it completely makes up for it! Granted, enjoying and understanding such foreshadowing does require previous knowledge of the movie (both TPM and the OT), but I think we can all agree that in practical terms, most people who go and see AotC have previous knowledge of the saga.

    Lucas and Hale were very smart in their placement of such foreshadowing within the story, and their effect are two-fold. On the one hand, the compilation of moments which foreshadow the OT allows AotC to serve as a link between the prequels and the OT. But secondly (and this is very surprising when you think about it), such moments of foreshadowing don't slow the plot one bit. This is very crucial because otherwise if can seriously backfire and cause more damage than a simple lack of plot foreshadowing.

    For example, the scene where Boba picks up his father's helmet and holds it close to him is both moving and crucial to the overall story. It doesn't slow down the plot and it forshadows the OT because now we know why Boba hates Jedi so much.

    F
  13. Vertical Former Head Admin

    Member Since:
    Apr 6, 1999
    star 6
    bcollins - I disagree. I think Lucas went out of his way to make sure that the audience didn't associate the Tuskan's with anything human... he gave Cliegg the "They may walk like men..." (forgive the paraphrase), establishing that although they do indeed look human, they're not. And based on what we know of the Tuskans, killing them is not exactly the worst thing anyone could do. They're no saints.

    If Anakin lies to Padme, her emotions are based on lies. Their relationship isn't genuine. It may work in terms of showing Anakin as a more evil figure, but I don't think the story needs that at that point. This was just Anakin's first step, it won't be his last.

    Red-Seven - regarding the end of the film, don't get me wrong, I think it works fine the way it is... Just a matter of personal preference... I think it's a good ending sequence as is, though.

    Vertical
  14. bcollins Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    Red-seven,

    I agree that showing Dooku earlier would have been better. It would have been nice for Lucas to convince us that Dooku was really on the good side earlier rather then later when he tries to turn Obi-Wan. That would have added suspense that was sorely missing from the film. Of course there was some suspense created by the mystery that was being unraveled, but having Dooku tell us the stakes (a Sith lord controls the Senate and you must join me to stop him) earlier would give Obi-Wan a choice to make.

    As far as Obi-Wan's character arc in this film there was none. Sure we got some insights into his character, but we didn't see him grow or change. When people argue that you have to look at the arc over the entire 6 movies that is stupid, because Obi-Wan was a star of the movie. If there is no character arc to be developed then the plot holds less weight.

    I would argue that there was no character arc for Anakin either. He started off as a jerk, and he finished the movie as a jerk. Besides falling a little farther to the dark-side by killing the Tusken Raiders he remained pretty much the same.

    The more I think about this movie the more upset I get, because it could have been so much more. How sad. Well, one more to go.
  15. Vertical Former Head Admin

    Member Since:
    Apr 6, 1999
    star 6

    Think back to first time you actually fell in love, remember how silly you acted and how much you wanted to externalize every single feeling you had.
    Excellent point, tanhauser... although I still think the dialogue could be brushed up a little more. But good point on why Anakin may be totally blunt with his feelings.

    Vertical
  16. juwannajedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 23, 2000
    star 4
    wow. what a great thread...

    And vert
    with a strange affinity for bars and seedy characters.
    Sounds like someone I know...

    ;)
  17. Vertical Former Head Admin

    Member Since:
    Apr 6, 1999
    star 6
    Heheh, I have no idea what you're talking about, jj! :D ;)

    Vertical
  18. Telemachos Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 2
    One of the key things wrong with the love story, IMHO, is that there's nothing for them to do while they fall in love. In other words, the love story should essentially be a subtext that plays out in another storyline.

    The best way to do this would have been to have Anakin and Amidala bypass Naboo and head to Tatooine (for whatever reason)... then you not only can build the emotional impact of the Shmi storyline but also have the intense between both of them grow through their adventure together.

    It'd make Anakin's confession all the more powerful and would tighten up the second act of the film a great deal.

    Re: Dooku... one of the things I feel makes the prequels feel so different than the originals is that Evil(tm) isn't given much to do. We scarsely see evil at work at all in AOTC -- compare to the originals where there was constant intercutting between Vader, the Emperor, the Imperial forces, etc and our heroes.

    In terms of film editing, Lucas has pushed himself into a difficult corner by not giving more scenes to explore the Dark characters -- he ends up having to constantly go to another good scene... and often several scenes involving the exactly same character unfold one right after the other. This leads to a "here's Obi at the diner, here's Obi at the library, here's Obi meeting with Yoda, here's Obi telling Anakin what to do", etc. Expanding Dooku's role (even in the slightest) would do a great many positive things:

    - He played by Chris friggin' Lee, for God's sakes!
    - you can SHOW him convincing a planet or two to join his movement
    - it offers a change of pace from the other storylines, without which they start to drag a bit
  19. bcollins Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    Vertical,

    I didn't say that one lie would turn Anakin to the dark-side. This is his first step toward the dark-side, and a lie is a perfect way to take that first step. It's a deep dark secret that festers and weighs on him. I don't know what GL is going to do in Episode III, but a lie would be a good way to put a crack in Padme and Anakin's relationship.

  20. a. block Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 1, 1999
    star 1
    Another thing I'm not too sure about is having a padawan given a very, very important mission of protecting a senator. I understand Palpatine's motivation to ask for Obi-Wan and the council thinking that's cool, because it is cool. But I can't really believe that the council would let Anakin be Padme`'s bodyguard. I guess the excuse could be that this is because he's the chosen one and all of that, but I didn't see that has the reason why. I guess that it might've been more interesting tohave something happen that gets Anakin & Padme` separated from the others during an assassination attempt and Anakin deciding to take Padme` away to protect her. And then after this action the council decides to tell Anakin to lay low until Obi-Wan does investigation.
    Just my opinion.
  21. bleh19 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 24, 2001
    star 4
    This is all just opinions people.

    Someone could do one of these "critiques" for every single movie ever made.
  22. Vertical Former Head Admin

    Member Since:
    Apr 6, 1999
    star 6

    that there's nothing for them to do while they fall in love.
    Well said, Tellemachos. I think Lucas may be confusing the idea of spending time together, and doing things together.

    Having 'adventures' and sharing 'experiences' (not just passing time) with someone else is what brings you closer to someone. It started well with the whole 'travelling as Refugees' bit, as that was probably an adventure, and fun for both of them, but it was played down by the director. For all I know, they just took a bus to Naboo instead of the Royal Cruiser. So much more could have gone into the idea of their having to feign being Refugees. Role-playing together... it's a good way to bond, strange as that may sound.

    But, true, once on Naboo, they settle back into their old roles and just seem to "catch up" on each others' lives, without really sharing any new experiences together.

    Vertical
  23. DarthLascivious Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 18, 2002
    A few more thoughts:

    to a.block: doubt not your logic! "Why" is a very important question. The little nuances help make a film even better, and I agree that Empire had them and this film has a lot less of them. For instance, Cloud City was beautiful to look at but was the location for some of the most terrible events in the characters' lives. In a place that Han, at least, expected to be a safe refuge. A nice juxtaposition. Very good eye with the space slug/Falcon comparison!

    re: Obi-Wan. Great comments, especially Vertical. I agree that, in the context of all the films, there may be little need to show some big changes with Obi-Wan. And indeed, I think Episode III will show the biggest change in his character - it has to. But I'm still watching Episode II. I may just be wanting too much. Let me apply the same logic of using the former trilogy to explain what I was looking for: Obi-Wan admits to Luke that he thought he could train Anakin, but was wrong. We see in Phantom Menace how Obi-Wan comes to take Anakin as his Padawan. So now, in this episode, I'd like to see how Obi-Wan tries to steer Anakin in the right direction, but starts to fail. I truly believe Obi-Wan wants to be a good mentor, but I also have been led to believe that doing so with Anakin would be impossible. We see glimpses of this: the discussion outside of Padme's apartment, the speeder chase, and the showdown with Dooku. But Obi-Wan doesn't really DO anything in those scenes, other than follow along and hope to keep the kid out of trouble. I think I wanted something near the end, some decision that Obi-Wan makes, rather than having them made for him. Does he let go of Anakin? And why does he seem so serene about Padme and Anakin being away (at the end of the film).

    There's something I'm trying to hit on here, and I feel like I'm missing it. Maybe someone else can comment on this?

    re: Padme. Great response to the Tusken scene - my words "she just sort of stands there" were not entirely accurate. And the tug and pull between Padme's logical decision making and Anakin's emotional decision making is the one real aspect of their relationship, and clearly foreshadows what's ahead. However, I think I sense what they might have been going for: Padme, like Obi-Wan, thinks she can, down the road, help guide Anakin away from these emotional outbursts. Eh? Or does she just accept him? Again, I have more questions than answers. Part of the joy of thinking this way. But the point is made, and for what it's worth, that scene is one of the most affecting in the movie, even with all the questions it raises for me.

    Good posts all! I'm seeing the movie again in the next day or so, and plan on taking a notebook, so hopefully my thoughts will be more coherent.
  24. Vertical Former Head Admin

    Member Since:
    Apr 6, 1999
    star 6

    a lie would be a good way to put a crack in Padme and Anakin's relationship.
    True, bcollins, but are we sure there's supposed to be a crack in their relationship? I'm assuming that their relationship will be one based on true feelings and emotions, and honesty, but that some external force pushes them apart, not any sort of deceit on the part of one or the other...

    Vertical
  25. augusto Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 6, 2001
    star 4
    > As far as Obi-Wan's character arc in this film there was none. Sure we got some insights into his character, but we didn't see him grow or change.

    Why do we need to see Obi-Wan change in *this* movie ?

    I don't know about the rest of you, but I saw a big change and growth in his character, from the padawan to semi-rebelious master, to the master with rebelious padawan. It was a nice arc, and a big difference from the Episode I "Obi-One" is always behind Qui-Gonn days.
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