Ah, Episode II. Lucas almost ran out of shoehorns trying to jam this complicated tale together, but he pulled it off and found some mild success. “At least it’s not Episode I,” the people in the streets shouted with joy.
Anakin took growth hormones so his space queen would stop thinking he was a child, R2 got pimped out with rocket boosters, and instead of lightsaber duels we get close-ups of “intense” faces and some flashes of light. Boba Fett turns out to be one of a hundred million clones, Padme can’t resist Anakin’s painful youthful idiocy, and Anakin just don’t get no respect from nobody. C-3PO is around to get in the way, the Jedi are uncool and sit around in conferences all the time, and the Sith almost have a compelling storyline. The battle droids from Episode I worked out so well that they came back with innumerable friends. Obi-Wan is busy protecting Amidala, I mean chiding Anakin for being retarded, I mean chasing bounty hunters, I mean doing “Let me ask my friend” detective work, I mean chasing down bounty hunters, I mean stumbling onto a planet stuffed full with clones and signing the receipt, I mean chasing that bounty hunter, I mean stumbling onto a planet stuffed full of battle droids, I mean encountering the new Sith kid on the block, I mean fighting a gladiator match in an arena, I mean fighting a war inside an arena, I mean chiding Anakin for being retarded, I mean getting fucked up because Anakin was retarded.
It doesn’t work well. Chock-full of action it may be, but there are still too many genuinely awful attempts at slow, romantic scenes. The only thing that makes Hayden Christensen palatable is thinking about how shitty Jake Lloyd was at playing the Anakin role. The plot is fractured and highly coincidental, and never once do we see why Anakin is an awesome war hero that will later be tragically seduced. He’s just a punk. Who cares? And the whole “Jedi shall not know love” angle is ridiculous, but at least they stopped talking about midichlorians right?
So, this movie was a step in the right direction. It was a step away from Episode I. Unfortunately, Episode I made me care more about one Jedi’s death (And had an amazing duel) than all of Episode II’s duels and mass Jedi deaths combined. Maybe they’d have had a little more weight if C-3PO hadn’t been stumbling around comically with a battle droid head while a hundred Jedi bite the dust around him. See, evil Sith plots are fun for the whole family! Good job, Lucas!
Oh, and here’s the “solved” activity mat: