There is unrest in
the Galactic Senate.Several
have declared theirintentions
to leave the Republic.This
Separatist movement, under the leadership of the mysterious Count
Dooku, has made it difficult for the limited number of Jedi Knights
to maintain peace and order in the galaxy.Senator
Amidala, the former Queen of Naboo, is returning to the Galactic
Senate to vote on the critical issue of creating an ARMY OF THE
REPUBLIC to assist the overwhelmed Jedi....
Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones is a 2002 science fantasy film
directed and co-written by George Lucas. It was the fifth film to be
released in the Star Wars saga, and the second in terms of internal
chronology and takes place ten years after the events depicted in
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.
Now 20, young Anakin
Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) is an apprentice to respected Jedi
Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor). Unusually powerful in the
Force, Anakin is also impatient, arrogant, and headstrong, causing
his mentor a great deal of concern. The pair are ordered to protect
Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman), the former queen of the planet
Naboo, now representing her world in the Galactic Senate. Someone is
trying to assassinate her on the eve of a vote enabling Supreme
Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) to build a military force that
will safeguard against a growing separatist movement led by
mysterious former Jedi Count Dooku (Christopher Lee). After another
attempt on Padme's life, Obi-Wan and Anakin separate. The young Jedi
and Padme fall in love as he escorts her first to the security of
Naboo and then to his home world of Tatooine, where the fate of his
mother leads him to commit an ominous atrocity.
Obi-Wan travels to the secretive planet Kamino and the
asteroid-ringed world of Geonosis, following bounty hunter Jango Fett
(Temuera Morrison) and his son, Boba (Daniel Logan), who are involved
in an operation to create a massive army of clones. A vicious battle
ensues between the clones and Jedi on one side and Dooku's droids on
the other, but who is really pulling the strings in this galactic conflict?
Filming primarily occurred
at 20th Century Fox studios in Australia, with additional location
shooting in the Tunisian desert, at the Plaza de España in
Seville, Spain, and in Italy at the Villa del Balbianello on the Lake
of Como, and in the Royal Palace in Caserta. The film's subtitle was
met with a negative attitude when it was first revealed; some
compared it to the title of the film Attack of the 50 Foot Woman. It
was long thought that the title The Rise of the Empire would be the
true title of the film. As a disguise during filming, the film's
"working title", intended sarcastically in light of the
negative fan response to the Episode I character, was Jar Jar's Big
Adventure. At his own personal request, Samuel L. Jackson's character
Mace Windu received a lightsaber that emitted a purple glow, as
opposed to traditional blue and green for "good guys" and
red for "bad guys". In addition to his request of a purple
glow, he was rumored to have "B.M.F." inscribed on the
bottom of the lightsaber hilt, a reference to his role in Pulp Fiction.
Like the saga's previous
film, The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones furthered
technological development, effectively moving Hollywood into the
"digital age" and spawned controversy over the benefits and
disadvantages of digital cinematography that continue to this day as
more filmmakers "convert" to digital filmmaking in addition
to many filmmakers stating their opposition of it. In contrast to
previous installments, for which scenes were shot in the Tunisian
desert in temperatures up to 125°F(51°C),
the camera would still run without complications. Lucas had stated
that he wished to film The Phantom Menace on this format but Sony was
unable to build the cameras quickly enough. In 2002, Attack of the
Clones became the first film to be shot entirely on a digital camera. Despite
Lucas' efforts to persuade movie theaters to switch to digital
projectors for better viewing of Episode II, few theaters did.
Because of George Lucas' method of creating shots through various
departments and sources that are sometimes miles and years apart from
each other, Attack of the Clones became the first film ever to be
produced through "virtual filmmaking". The film was
produced under a budget of US$120 million, making it the most
expensive set budget of any Star Wars film.
Episode II also introducing
a new completely CGI-created version of the character Yoda. Lucas
repeatedly stated to the animation department that "the
trick" to the animation of the CGI Yoda was to make him like the
puppet from which he was based on in order to maintain a flow of
continuity. Frank Oz (puppeteer for Yoda in the original trilogy and
The Phantom Menace) was consulted; his main piece of advice was that
Yoda should look extremely old, sore, and frigid. Because of
Christopher Lee's age, he was unable to perform much of the fight
sequences, especially the duel with Yoda. As such, a stunt double
performed the scenes instead and Lee's face was superimposed onto the
double's body. Lucas often called the duel crucial to the animation
department, as it had such potential to be humorous rather than dramatic.
Observers believe that
Palpatine's rise to power is very similar to that of Adolf Hitler in
Nazi Germany; as Chancellor of Germany, the latter was granted
"emergency powers", as was Chancellor Palpatine.
Comparisons have been made to Octavian - who became Augustus, the
first emperor of Rome - and to Napoleon Bonaparte, who rose to power
in France from 1796 to 1799. Octavian was responsible for the deaths
of several hundred political opponents well before he was granted
tribunician powers; Bonaparte was appointed First Consul for life
(and later Emperor) by the French Consulate after a failed attempt on
his life and the subsequent coup of 18 Brumaire in 1799. Some have
drawn parallels to the American Civil War, likening the Separatists
to the Confederate States of America; the official name of the
Separatist group is the "Confederacy of Independent
Systems". The name of the government Army, the "Grand Army
of the Republic", is the same in both Star Wars and the American
Civil War, and both Palpatine and Lincoln took extensive warmaking
powers and suspended many civil rights.
Palpatine's role in popular
culture extends beyond the Star Wars universe and its fans. Palpatine
has become synonymous in American mass media with evil, deception,
manipulation, and power. The character is utilized as a literary
device - either as a simile or metaphor - to emphasize these traits.
For example, one of the characters from Orland Outland's novel Every
Man for Himself (1999) is described as "rubbing his hands
together in imitation of the emperor in Return of the Jedi." He
says, "Everything is happening exactly as I have foreseen!"
In film and television, Palpatine's likeness is similarly used as a
parody. Comedy series such as The Simpsons, South Park, American
Dad!, and Family Guy have employed Palpatine's image to satirize
characters and public figures. For instance, in the South Park
episode "Best Friends Forever", Satan sends his boyfriend
Kevin, a parody of Emperor Palpatine, to secretly manipulate the
Republican-controlled Congress into opposing human euthanasia to
prevent a character from dying and going to Heaven. Similarly,
"Deacon Stan, Jesus Man," an episode of American Dad!
portrays George W. Bush's senior advisor Karl Rove as Palpatine.
Stan, uses Rove to help him become a deacon at his church through deceit.
Historical war journalism,
combat films and footage of World War II combat also influenced the
documentary style camera work of the Battle of Geonosis in Episode
II, even to the point that hand-held shakes were digitally added to
computer generated sequences. In addition, much World War II footage
features the German army's marches through the streets of Nazi
Germany. In a similar fashion, Clone troopers march onto starships
toward the end of the film on the planet Coruscant.
A large search for the new
Anakin Skywalker was performed across the United States. Lucas
auditioned various actors, mostly unknown, before settling on
Canadian Hayden Christensen. Among the many established actors who
auditioned were Ryan Phillipe, Colin Hanks, and Jonathan Brandis.
Leonardo DiCaprio also met with Lucas for the role, but was
"definitely unavailable" according to DiCaprio publicist
Ken Sunshine. Co-star Natalie Portman later told Time magazine that
Christensen "gave a great reading. He could simultaneously be
scary and really young."
The prequel trilogy films
often refer to the original trilogy in order to help to connect the
films together. Lucas has often referred to the films as a long poem
that rhymes. Such examples include the now-famous line of "I
have a bad feeling about this", a phrase used in each film, and
battles, namely lightsaber duels, that almost always occur over a pit.
As with Attack of the
Clones, The Empire Strikes Back was the middle film in a trilogy;
therefore, of the original trilogy films, Empire is the object of the
most references in Attack of the Clones. In both films, an asteroid
field is the backdrop of a major star battle in the middle of the
film. Obi-Wan Kenobi escapes Jango Fett by attaching his spacecraft
to an asteroid in order to disappear from the enemy sensors; Han Solo
uses the exact same tactic by attaching the Millennium Falcon to a
Star Destroyer in Empire. As a retcon, John Knoll confirms on the
film's DVD commentary that Boba Fett, who would later catch Solo in
the act in Empire, "learned his lesson" from the events of
Attack of the Clones.
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