11 Dec

Episode II: Attack of the Clones


The Setup

We are riding in an X-wing with a destination course converging on Star Wars: The Force Awakes. Nothing can stop this movie from being released. Everyone at Munch HQ is excited for it, and have sworn ourselves off from watching any more trailers until we can see it in theaters. But before we can allow ourselves to partake in, what we all hope, is a glorious film, we need to slog through the prequels; a task that could be a lot more dubious than we imagined. So dubious that we just decided to entirely skip Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.

The Food

If you haven’t noticed, it is pretty easy to lump all of the prequels together and just call it one giant mess that shouldn’t have necessarily befallen the Star Wars cinematic universe. Where IV, V, and VI all seem to be distinct and powerful movies, the prequels kind of blur together in a mess of shiny visuals and sparse set design. At the heart of the prequels is a greater focus on the duality of the force: the light and dark sides. Luckily enough, we only decided to watch two of the prequels, which provided us with the opportunity to do something incredibly interesting and something that all of us at Munch have taken pride in. Presenting our menu for Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, an entire meal focusing on light-colored foods to represent the light side of the force.

Up first is a delicious yellowtail crudo. Between the citrus, maldon sea salt, and the pepper, each bit was delicious and fresh. Light in flavor and texture, a perfect compliment to how Jedi like to rid themselves of fear and attachment.

Next up, continuing in the theme of light and white foods, we have a delicious fettuccini alfredo. The right amount of cheese and cream flavor paired wonderfully with the homemade pasta. One small Qui-Gonn-Jinn-like hair bun of pasta is all you need to be satisfied.

Dessert! What could be more representative of the light side of the force, the status quo, the expected heroes, than vanilla ice cream? And what a delicious ice cream it was. Creamy, with the right punch of sweetness. Heroes of the Star Wars galaxy would come far and wide to get their hands on this stuff.

The Drinks

Now the pantheon of white drinks is very exclusive, only letting a few members in, and most of those drinks contain milk in it. We already had a milk based cocktail for Episode IV, so we figured we should expand out a little bit and find something new to all of us. Rewind back to Ben’s birthday earlier this year where he received a subscription to the magazine Gather Journal, and received the most recent issue at that time. That issue had the interesting title of “Spectrum.” “Spectrum” takes a look at foods created around all of the colors visible to the human eye, and ultimately provided us with one delicious drink in the form of the White Lady. This was not your normal White Lady though: we infused the usual Cointreau with thyme, and added a little bit of orange peel and rich simple syrup. The result was a complex and herbaceous cocktail that was equal parts surprising and tasty. The thyme-infused Cointreau itself took on a beautiful jade like color and on its own provided a nice balance between citrus and herb.

The Rules

You probably know the drill by now, but just as a reminder we have included the rules below. These rules are VERY dangerous mind you, especially in this film.

  • Drink whenever someone says “The Force.”
  • Drink whenever someone fires up a lightsaber.
  • Drink whenever a Stormtrooper/clone dies.

The Movie

Attack of the Clones was undoubtedly the worst Star Wars movie we watched (as we mentioned we saved ourselves from having to watch Star Wars: The Phantom Menace). The acting was terrible, the script was awful, the movie seemed to drag on forever and the special effects were completely over the top and also made for very sparse and un-human interiors to supposed lived-spaces.

First of all, what were they thinking when they hired Hayden Christensen to play Anakin Skywalker? That kid is incapable of showing any emotion other than angst and comically over-the-top anger (we prefer to think that the director didn’t specifically ask for these emotions). We had a hard time seeing past his acting to appreciate what George Lucas was attempting to do with his character, if he even was trying to do anything with the Anakin character. It was hard to tell because Hayden Christensen’s acting and line-delivering was hard to look past.

Even more unforgivable was the fact that Attack of the Clones was boring – uncertainly the most boring Star Wars movie of the bunch (again, we will withhold judgement on The Phantom Menace). Lucas attempted to address the political milieu that subtly surrounds all other Star Wars movies head on, but failed miserably. Politics was never meant to be tackled directly in the Star Wars movies because once you focus on it too much, you realize how ridiculous it all is. While there is a certain amount political maneuvering in the original trilogy, it is in no way as heavy-handed and boring as it is here. This fact is one of the key differences between Star Trek and Star Wars: one excels at the more political and philosophical focus, the other works with large battles. Perhaps Lucas’s worst misstep was having Jar Jar Binks propose handing over emergency power to the Chancellor, and having it pass. Who could possibly take Jar Jar Binks seriously enough to support anything he said, much less his absolutely insane proposal, which pretty clearly spelled out the destruction of the Republic? (If you want to read a crazy fan theory on why Jar Jar was successful in this you can do so here.)

The final disappointment, which you can’t get around in any of the prequels, was how much Lucas leaned on visual effects to make an interesting movie. The older movies held a focus on characters and their relationships to tell an interesting story while providing the bombast and excitement of large action set-pieces, and the newer movies rely only on cool action sequences and big CGI scenes. While the excellent character-building of the original movies have stood the test of time, the CGI in the prequels has not.

The Reviews

Andre: The Jar Jar Binks of the bunch. Like Jar Jar, Attack of the Clones tried to have way too much fun with CGI but was ultimately unbelievable, even compared to all the other crazy stuff that happens in Star Wars Movies. I can’t really see myself watching this movie again.

Leanna: Disillusioned and disappointed. I remember thinking Hayden Christensen was the Hottest Boy on Earth when I first saw this movie. In fact, I am embarrassed to say it was his billing that probably got myself and my best friend into theaters for the final prequel too. He is not good in this movie! I can only imagine how difficult it was for Ewan McGregor to act opposite him on sets that were mostly CGI.

Ben: 50%. As a kid I remember loving the prequels, and maybe I stayed away from re-watching them because I was afraid I would grow to dislike them. I no longer harbor that fear, because Attack of the Clones is truly bad and boring and it should be seen as such. What I once thought was exciting and interesting showed its true colors as the boring mess it is. While it may be a bit grandiose to say, the experience of realizing that Attack of the Clones isn’t a good movie and understanding why that is shares a similar process to a child becoming an adult. Realizing that what they have been taught up until that point may not necessarily be true, and may even be bad or damaging, and then using that realization to find the person you want to be. Learning that Attack of the Clones is not a good movie is closer to the person I want to be. Attack of the Clones is an attack on my own childhood. Boom.