Star Wars: Attack Of The Clones (a 15-Minute Force production): Chapter Nine: 1,2,3,4…I Declare a Clone War!

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2:00:00 – THE END

This final 15-Minute Force chapter of Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones weighs in at just slightly over the quarter-hour mark. My DVD version officially ends at 2:22:20. But, the credits begin rolling at just under the 16-minute mark. 16-Minute Sith, maybe? I’m working on it…

We begin where we left off. Master Yoda is still bossing around the clone soldiers. He may not have had anything to do with their creation (I have an alternate theory for this: wait for it), but he doesn’t mind taking advantage of their existence.

It’s Clone Troopers versus Droid Army in this sequence. As this is essentially just a CGI cartoon sequence, it’s no coincidence that this looks a lot like the Clone Wars animated series here. While it’s true that I abandoned the cartoon during it’s first season, it was because of a lack of serialized storytelling, not because it looked bad. The battle scenes here look fantastic. Anyone who says otherwise is just. . .well, they’re just disagreeing with me, aren’t they?

We make a patented Star Wars wipe into the Geonosian war room, where Dooku is jawing with the Trade Federation knobs and the insectoid Geonosian leader. Here we find out that the Geonosians have made plans for the Death Star, and no one wants these to fall into Republican hands. Goodness sakes, no. Count Dooku plans to take the plans to his boss, the Sith Lord Darth Sidious, who just happens to be the leader of the Republic.

I like this bit of foreshadowing of the original movies. I suppose now, since Rogue One is officially part of the Star Wars canon, this also foreshadows that movie. We’ll talk more about that just as soon as we get finished with Revenge of the Sith.

While the battle continues to rage, the villains are making their escape. Count Dooku hops on his Sith Lord mobility scooter and zooms across the inhospitable landscape. Viceroy Gunray exits stage left, the way Trade Federation viceroys tend to do.

We cut back to what is now clearly General Yoda, instructing the clone troopers to concentrate their fire on the nearest Trade Federation beach ball starship. It crashes spectacularly, throwing up a great billowing wall of dust and debris. Then we’re with Obi-Wan, Anakin and Senator Amidala in their troopship, zipping through the duststorm. They suddenly spy Dooku and his two attendants fleeing the scene, and they initiate pursuit. Well, they begin to follow them after Anakin orders the clone pilot to shoot them down and the pilot tells them that they are out of rockets.

Padme suggests that they’re going to need some help. Demonstrating that wiser heads seldom prevail in the Star Wars universe, Obi-Wan tells her that there isn’t time, and that he and Anakin can handle this. I have a bad feeling about this.

Count Dooku, apparently unconcerned with the pursuit, with a simple gesture orders his two outriders to fall back and shoot at the troop carrier. They do so, and Padme and one of the clone soldiers fall out of the ship. We see the senator rolling down a large sand dune, apparently knocked unconscious by the fall.

Anakin orders the pilot to set the ship down, but Obi-Wan overrides this command. He tells Anakin not to let his personal feelings get in the way and orders the pilot to continue following the speeder. Anakin is on the verge of a fullblown tantrum. You know how he can get. Obi-Wan shames Anakin into doing what he wants him to by asking what does he think Padme would do were she in his position? She’d do her duty, Anakin concedes, sulkily. And that’s that.

Cut back to General Yoda. He seems to be sensing that all of this drama with Dooku and the other Jedi is going on. The clone soldier at his side tells Yoda that the droid army is in full retreat. Yoda gives the clone an attaboy and tells him to bring him a ship. He’s got places to be.

Dooku lands his Sith HoverRound in his own private hangar. Obi-Wan and Anakin are right behind him. As soon as their troopship drops the two Jedi off, it is destroyed by Dooku’s guards. Jedi have no time to mourn allies killed because of their actions. This reminds me of the captain and crew of the ship who ferried two Jedi to the Trade Federation battleship in orbit above Naboo in that last movie. They were unceremoniously killed in the same way, apparently unmourned. Let this be a lesson to you: Never give Jedi a ride.

Obi-Wan begins to give his Padawan instructions on how they can take Dooku together, but the brash young Anakin decides to act, as always, impetuously and attacks Dooku by himself. Dooku whips out the Force lightning and immediately takes Anakin out of commission. Sith Lords are badasses.

Dooku begins to taunt Obi-Wan, boasting that his Jedi powers are far beyond Obi-Wan’s own, and orders him to back down. He punctuates this with another bolt of Force lightning that Obi easily blocks with his blue-white lightsaber. “I don’t think so,” he says, in that gurgly Obi-Wan way.

Dooku ignites his own lightsaber, which is, of course, red, and the two begin to duel. Dooku continues to taunt Kenobi. He’s pretty spry for an old guy. I know this isn’t really Christopher Lee in all of these shots, but the effects are impressive: it looks like he’s there.

Anakin is just coming to as we cut back to the sand dune where the fallen senator is also coming to. The clone trooper who fell with Padme runs to her side, asking if she’s all right. She was just unconscious. I’m no space doctor, but I assume that the fact that she was unconscious means she suffered some sort of head trauma. A mild concussion at the very least. She is not all right.

I’m not going to get sidetracked into a whole NFL soapbox moment or anything. But, it is time that we stop treating head injuries so lightly in our fiction, don’t you think? Think about it. How many times was Rupert Giles knocked unconscious during the run of Buffy the Vampire Slayer? This is a trope that has run its course. Stop knocking our characters unconscious just because that’s the easiest way to move the plot forward. Sure, I care about real-life football players as well. It’s just that I don’t want the NFL to turn into flag football, all right?

But, Senator Amidala is, of course, all right. She orders her fellow fallen sidekick to gather what troops he can because they have to get to that hangar. Forget for a minute that she is aware that the hangar exists. I guess it’s a natural assumption that Dooku was heading for a hangar of some sort, but she couldn’t have seen it yet, right? Besides, how would she know where it was? I have questions.

Back to Kenobi and Dooku duking it out (dooku-ing it out?) while the still-smoking Anakin is reviving. (Anakin was also unconscious; I’m just sayin’) Dooku suddenly takes Obi-Wan down with a couple of deft cuts, and is about to take him out all together when Anakin leaps back into the fray, stopping Dooku’s lightsaber downstroke on his master with his own green lightsaber. Dooku quips that he thought Anakin would have learned his lesson.

I am a slow learner,” Anakin responds. Which is, obviously, a true statement. Anakin is obviously somewhere on that spectrum everyone is always blathering about incessantly.

Obi-Wan tosses his own lightsaber to Anakin, since the Jedi Master is now useless in the fight. For a moment, Anakin is using both lightsabers in his fight with Dooku, the same way that Darth Maul did in the last movie. This doesn’t last long, however. Dooku knocks the green lightsaber from Anakin’s left hand. Another lost lightsaber (trope!) and Anakin is left with his master’s blue-white laser blade against Dooku’s red. That seems somehow right in this suddenly darker hangar space. Blue-white against red. Very familiar.

The two execute some fancy bladework as they dance around for a moment. Then, Dooku slices off Anakin’s right hand quite a few inches above the wrist. Dooku gives an exasperated sigh, as if he knows this trope started out tired in the prequels.

Count Dooku has defeated Obi-Wan Kenobi and his Padawan. This is a dark moment.

But, then Master Yoda shows up to the rescue. Again. He is hobbling along on his cane as he approaches Dooku, apparently a decrepit old Jedi. The two trade lines of dialogue that aren’t really important, and then Dooku uses the Force to begin throwing objects at Yoda that the little green Jedi easily defects. He also throws down his cane when the showdown starts. As if he didn’t need the cane at all.

Yoda actually growls and goes into a Bruce Lee stance. I almost expected him to give Dooku that come-here gesture Bruce used to taunt his overmatched opponents.

Dooku attempts to bring the roof of the hangar down on Yoda. Uh-uh. No dice. Yoda tells Dooku that he senses the dark side in him. Dooku says he’s become more powerful than any Jedi. Even Yoda. And then he attempts to blast him with Force lightning. Yoda seems to absorb the lightning and then easily deflects it back in Dooku’s direction. This ultimate demonstration of Sith Lord magic has such little effect on Yoda that Dooku seems concerned for the first time. Yoda’s expression has taken on a certain malevolence that makes me begin to wonder, for the first time, just how familiar Yoda is with the dark side of the Force. Why does he have so much knowledge of it?

That’s my theory that I mentioned earlier. I think that, while Yoda probably isn’t a full-fledged Sith Lord, it is apparent that he has dabbled a bit on the dark side himself. Call him Sith-Curious.

Realizing that it is useless to match Force skills with Yoda, Dooku lights up his lightsaber and chooses to battle it out the old-fashioned way. Yoda blazes up his own green lightsaber. It is smaller in scale than Dooku’s giant red one, but Yoda goes on to prove that it’s not the size of your lightsaber but how you use it that matters. Yeah, just keep telling yourselves that, Star Wars nerds.

In the subsequent sequence we learn that Yoda doesn’t need the cane at all. He begins hopping around like the psycho toad he is. I’ve heard others complain about this version of Yoda, but I think it’s one of the coolest things ever. Yoda is a complete badass. Perhaps a Sith-leaning badass, but that’s just my theory, definitely not canon.

We also find out that Dooku was once Yoda’s Padawan. Small world. Dooku was Yoda’s Padawan. Qui-Gon Jinn was Dooku’s Padawan. Obi-Wan was Qui-Gon’s Padawan. Anakin is Obi-Wan’s Padawan. If my theory about Yoda is possibly correct, could it have been his long-term plan to make Anakin into Darth Vader? Hmm…

Whatever the case, at least two of the Jedi who sprang from Yoda’s teachings were seduced by the dark side of the Force. I’m trying to figure out where Master Sifo-Dyas and Darth Sidious fit into the picture. I’m sure that there are canonical answers out there, but I’m not interested enough to seek them out. In my mind, it makes more sense that Yoda was the mastermind behind the entire plot. It also explains how he was able to so easily jump into the role of general of the Army of the Republic.

Count Dooku manages to distract Yoda by bringing down some piece of machinery that will surely kill the downed Kenobi and Skywalker duo. Yoda chooses to save them, allowing Dooku to escape. Or was this, too, a part of his masterplan? Jedi don’t allow personal feelings to distract them from what’s important, do they?

Padme shows up at the hangar too late with her clone troopers. Forget for a moment that she shouldn’t have known where the hangar was located. Dooku flies off into space in a neat ship that uses some sort of solar sail. The science fiction nerd in me squealed like a little girl at this neat effect. It was a minor touch, but I loved it. I apologize in hindsight to all little girls who may have been offended by my remark.

Yoda retrieves his cane and begins using it as if he really needs it. The old faker.

Padme rushes to the newly one-armed Anakin’s side, embracing him without caring who witnesses it. She loves him. This was also part of Yoda’s masterplan.

Hey, if Captain America can be a secret member of Hydra, why can’t Yoda be a secret Sith Lord?

Count Dooku returns to Coruscant to meet with Darth Sidious. Again, no indication how long the voyage takes, although it seems to me that, however cool I think it is, the solar sail travel option looks like it would be a slow one.

Another aside here. I’ve alluded to the fact that I believe Coruscant to be the Star Wars version of Asimov’s Trantor. I think this scene of Dooku’s arrival helps confirm this. The entire planet seems to be covered with metal, just like Trantor in the Foundation stories. It is the central planet of the soon-to-be-declared Empire, just as Trantor was. There are plenty of other parallels with the Asimov stories I could point out, but I’m aware that many of the same arguments can and have been made comparing portions of the Star Wars saga to other science fiction works, including Dune and the work of Philip K. Dick. A perfectly reasonble argument has linked comic book legend Jack Kirby’s Fourth World project to Star Wars. Maybe Star Wars is just an homage to all things science-fiction. That’s an argument I can get behind 100%.

Dooku disembarks and is greeted by Darth Sidious, who greets Dooku as Lord Tyranus. Does this mean that Dooku, following the confusing Sith Rule of Two, is now Darth Sidous’s apprentice? We know that Anakin Skywalker is destined to become the Emperor’s number-one and that position was previously filled by Darth Maul. Sorry: SPOILERS. If Lord Tyranus currently fills that spot, what exactly was he before Darth Maul was sliced in half? Not to mention this Sifo-Dyas character. I find all of this confusing.

Anyway, Dooku says good news, the war’s begun. Darth Sidious says great job, everything’s going as planned.

Cut to the Jedi Council chambers. Obi-Wan is there with Mace Windu and Master Yoda. Kenobi wonders if there’s any truth to what Dooku said about the senate being under the control of the Dark Lord of the Sith. He’s talking to Windu, it seems, but Yoda interrupts and says that Dooku is under the control of the dark side now. Lies. Deceit. That’s what he’s all about.

But, the senate is under Sidious’s control, isn’t it? Lies. Deceit. It seems that Yoda knows a thing or two about those things. Hmm…

Windu thinks they should still keep a close eye on the senate, and Yoda agrees. Abrupt change of subject—Windu asks where Obi-Wan’s apprentice is. He’s escorting Senator Amidala home, of course. Obi-Wan adds that he has to admit that, without the clones, it would not have been a victory.

Victory? Yoda says. It was not a victory. The shroud of the Dark Side has fallen. Begun the Clone War has.

He should know.

Then we cut to Chancellor Palpatine along with other senate dignataries that include Bail Organa (Leia’s foster daddy!) watching the assembled clone army in martial rank and file, along with the appearance of what will one day be referred to as Imperial Star Destroyers. Senator Organa seems to realize that this is an ill omen. Palpatine has been granted his created army that will raise him to the position of Emperor. Good for the story. Bad for the Republic.

This is an impressive scene. And the clone troopers look impressive in a way that the Imperial Stormtroopers never managed to do in the original trilogy. Plus, we get the Imperial March soundtrack here. It’s one of my favorites, I’ll admit. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m a Sith Lord. But, you are allowed your personal theories, as I am.

The final scene of the movie is the wedding of Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala. C-3PO is the Maid of Honor and R2-D2 is the Best Man. The ceremony is conducted on the terrace of the romantic Naboo lake house, with a glorious view of the lake and a setting sun in the background. Or, maybe it’s a rising sun. It doesn’t matter.

What matters is that Anakin has a robot hand. That’s what I call continuity. Who knew that robot hands could be passed from father to son?

Husband and wife kiss. C-3PO pats R2 on the dome. And then the credits roll and the full orchestra begins to play.

Thus ends the second of the prequel trilogy. And, so far, my favorite. I might watch this one again someday, although I doubt it. I will never watch the first one again. But, all criticism aside, I think this one was a better story, much in the same way that Empire was better than the first Star Wars. It was a tighter script, darker in all the right places, with kind of a downer ending. It also ended with our protagonist left with a robot hand, I could add. A fierce symmetry here.

So, now we here at the 15-Minute Force production offices (that’s just me, in case you’re wondering) are moving on to the third installment of the Star Wars timeline, Revenge of the Sith. I, for one (and only), am looking forward to it.

Until next time…May Master Yoda Always Come to Your Rescue in the Nick of Time—Even if He is Secretly a Sith Lord—and May the 15-Minute Force Be with You.

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