The Star Wars series is one of the largest and most successful franchises in film history with video games, books, cartoons, toys, amusement park attractions based on the series, and up until this spring, I had never watched the movies! I took this assignment as a prompt to continue my endeavor into the series with Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Attack of the Clones, along with the 5 other films and the upcoming episode, were written and directed by George Lucas. The movie, released on May 16, 2002, was an instant hit and has grossed $649,398,328 worldwide as of December 10, 2011 and was the #3 top domestic grossing film in 2002.
The screenplay of Star Wars Episode II is naturally much cheesier than the previous films because a large portion of the plot is a forbidden love story. Many of the scenes between Anakin Skywalker and Padme are unbearably melodramatic. However, Lucas still manages to include humor and moralistic tones throughout the script. Additionally, there was an incredible amount of foreshadowing in the dialogue. Watching this film was frustrating because of my knowledge of Annekin’s destiny. Knowing that he would eventually become Darth Vader affected my opinion of many of the characters actions. For example, Obi-Wan Kenobi’s faith in Anakin and Padme’s decision to marry the future super-villian was upsetting.
Being that the Star Wars movies take place on many different planets, costumes, makeup, and special effects are extremely important. The artists and designers who create these effects do so to transform an environment convincingly and create an entirely new realm for the setting. The characters in Attack of the Clones are either CGI or in costumes, based on their complexity. R2-D2 is a hollow costume with actor Kenny Baker situated inside whereas the Kaminoans are computer animations because of their unhumanlike proportions. Padme is a great example of hair designing used in the film because she has very complicated, iconic hair styles that demonstrate her unearthly regality, and there are many characters with impressive alien makeup used throughout the movie.
The use of special effects in the Star Wars movies is part of their popularity. Since many of the locations would be difficult to construct, CGI is used for many of the settings. Also special effects allowed for all of the light saber scenes and Yoda’s impressive fighting capabilities that would likely not be possible from an actor.
In Attack of the Clones, Senator Amidala’s hometown, Naboo, is shown. The planet is vastly different from the other desert-like planets, featuring mountains, grass, open water, and Tuscan style architecture. Initially, I thought Naboo was too much of a fairytale land, but I suppose that is the point. It is supposed to symbolize peace, tranquility and beauty, reminiscent of Padme Amidala.
Because the scenes often occur on multiple different planets, a lot of the scene transitions are cuts to a ship flying in space. Often the cuts lead to an overhead, tilting, extreme long camera shot of the setting to give context to the scene. The lighting in Star Wars II is mostly apparent when the scene includes or alludes to the dark side, or a Light saber scene occurs. The low-key lighting creates both intensity and contrast between the colors of the sabers against a black background, and is sometimes used to symbolize the evil of the dark side.
Sound is an extremely important component of the Star Wars films. All of the music was created originally by composer John Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra for the series and is very iconic. The “Main Theme” and “Imperial March” pieces are the most easily recognizable. Although sound is used dramatically in the films, foley artists also create the mundane sounds of walking and crawling animals, and even the voices of aliens speaking different languages!
There are many characters in Star Wars Episode II that are do not have main roles but are important in the film. Andy Secombe lends the voice of Watto, the Tattoine junk dealer who informs Anakin of his mother’s whereabouts. Although Secombe does not act in Attack of the Clones, the use of his voice to create a character is impressive.
All of these film effects combine to create an unforgettably influential and popular film.
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“Episode II: Foley.” StarWars.com. Web. 23 Apr. 2015. <http://www.starwars.com/video/episode-ii-foley>.
“HIGH KEY, LOW KEY, LIGHTING, CONTRAST Free Cinematography Tutorial VIDEO PRODUCTION Film School Online, FilmSchoolOnline.com, Online Film School, Lou LaVolpe, Louis La Volpe.” HIGH KEY, LOW KEY, LIGHTING, CONTRAST Free Cinematography Tutorial VIDEO PRODUCTION Film School Online, FilmSchoolOnline.com, Online Film School, Lou LaVolpe, Louis La Volpe. Film School Online. Web. 23 Apr. 2015. <http://filmschoolonline.com/sample_lessons/sample_lesson_cinematography.htm>.
“Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones.” IMDb. IMDb.com. Web. 23 Apr. 2015. <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0121765/>.