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Prequel Guidebook

Still suffering from Star Wars fever this morning I slogged through Attack of the Clones (2002).

I went into this viewing remembering all of the complaints that it's sleepy, the love story takes up too much of the story and it craps all over the original trilogy. That was pretty much the case but there is a lot of good to be taken from this movie, it just doesn't all show up on the screen.

The Star Wars movies as well as Indiana Jones movies succeeded with the usage of common motifs from movies from the past. This movie has scenes that all appear to be plucked at random, not as much from movies of George Lucas' childhood but any odd movie he liked throughout his life. This means there is a Gladiator scene (or Sparticus) in a colosium that keeps snowballing from a fight of three people and 2 monsters to an all out battle melee. This scene reminds me of a scene involving a gladiator space monster in John Carter, and for all the flack that movie got, it does it much better.

Not long ago I watched a little of the Clone Wars show and in that context it is pretty fun to see bits of this movie. It feels as though Clone Wars gets to play around with some action and character aspects that are much more interesting that what is in this movie.

I've been watching Better Call Saul's new season and I keep noticing how well it pulls off being a prequel. I don't think George Lucas considered a lot of the story tricks used in Saul while touching on similar topics. Both stories involve characters we see later in the chronology who shift around on the spectrum of good and evil and deal with character we know will not die until later in the story if at all. In Saul, there was a recent story where one character hires another to kill a third character. In this moment the viewer knows that no matter what happens all three characters have to survive. But there is a problem the story has run into that needs to be resolved and it appears the only solution for the story to keep moving is for at least one character to die. The plot is not so much a killing, an attempted killing, or some other alternative, but the suspense of the audience knowing the clearest pathes to the end of the story are impossible and seeing how we get to the end of the story.

This movie fails by not attempting that suspense. There is a scene where Obiwan and Boba Fett (and his father) are chasing each other through an astroid field. We know Obiwan and Boba Fett will not die in this chase but there isn't narrow enough of a problem that the viewer is in suspense about how the scene will play out. The scene does end up playing out with impressive special effects for the time (which are baddly dated now) and the characters and audience getting tired with the scene as it peters out with one of the ships hiding and the other giving up. Truly, it's a snapshot of how the whole movie plays out.

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