Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones is a 2002 American epic space opera film directed by George Lucas and written by Lucas and Jonathan Hales. It is the fifth film to be released in the Star Wars saga and the second in terms of the series’ internal chronology. At 142 minutes, it is the longest film in the series.
The film is set 10 years after the events in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, when the galaxy is on the brink of civil war. Under the leadership of a renegade Jedi named Count Dooku, thousands of planetary systems threaten to secede from the Galactic Republic. When an assassination attempt is made on Senator Padmé Amidala, the former Queen of Naboo, Jedi apprentice Anakin Skywalker is assigned to protect her, while his mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi is assigned to investigate the assassination attempt. Soon, Anakin, Padmé, and Obi-Wan are drawn into the heart of the Separatist territories and the beginning of a new threat to the galaxy, the Clone Wars.
Released on May 16, 2002, Attack of the Clones was the first motion picture to be shot completely on a high definition digital 24-frame system. Like its predecessor, it garnered mixed reviews from critics, but was a financial success; however, it also became the first Star Wars film to be internationally out-grossed in its year of release. It received nominations at the 75th Academy Awards and at the 23rd Golden Raspberry Awards, of which it received the awards for Worst Screenplay and Worst Supporting Actor for Hayden Christensen, as well as nominations for Worst Picture and Worst Director for Lucas. A sequel, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith was released in 2005.
The Galactic Republic is in turmoil, following the invasion of Naboo ten years previously, and Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) has now organized a Separatist movement against the Republic. The Republic, in hopes of creating an army to assist the Jedi, has Senator Padmé Amidala return to Coruscant to cast a vote. Upon her arrival, she escapes an assassination attempt. Supreme Chancellor Palpatine assigns Obi-Wan Kenobi and his apprentice Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) to protect her. Obi-Wan and Anakin subdue the assassin during another assassination attempt. However, the assassin is killed by her employer, using a poisonous dart manufactured on the remote ocean planet Kamino. Returning to the Jedi Temple, Obi-Wan is assigned to investigate the identity of the employer, while Anakin is assigned to escort and accompany Padmé to her home planet of Naboo. Anakin relishes the opportunity to spend time with her, and they fall in love. In investigating Kamino, Obi-Wan discovers that it has been removed from the navigation maps of the Jedi archives. Yoda reveals that such a thing could only have been done by a Jedi, suggesting that a conspiracy is afoot.
Obi-Wan heads to Kamino, where he discovers that an army of clone troopers is being secretly produced for the Republic, using a bounty hunter named Jango Fett (Temuera Morrison) as their genetic template. Realizing that Jango is the employer, Obi-Wan tracks Jango and his son Boba (Daniel Logan) to Geonosis, a desert planet used for creating droids. Meanwhile, Anakin becomes troubled by premonitions of his mother Shmi in pain. Despite Obi-Wan’s orders to remain on Naboo, Anakin persuades Padmé to accompany him to Tatooine. After finding Shmi—tortured to death by a tribe of Tusken Raiders—Anakin snaps and kills the entire tribe before burying his mother.
Having learned that Count Dooku authorized the assassination attempt on Padmé and that the Separatists are developing a new battle droid army, Obi-Wan relays this information via hologram to Anakin, who transmits it to the Jedi Council. However, Obi-Wan is captured by Dooku mid-transmission; he also reveals to Obi-Wan that the Republic is controlled by Darth Sidious. While Anakin and Padmé head to Geonosis to rescue Obi-Wan, Chancellor Palpatine is granted emergency powers to organize the clone army and send them into battle. Shortly after arriving on Geonosis, Anakin and Padmé are captured and sentenced to be executed along with Obi-Wan. Anakin and Padmé profess their love, and Anakin, Padmé and Obi-Wan are pitted against gigantic beasts. However, Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson) and a team of Jedi appear and lead a strong defense against the beasts and the Separatists. Windu singlehandedly kills Jango in a brief battle. Yoda eventually arrives with the clone army and rescues the survivors of the battle.
As a large battle erupts between the Republic’s clone army and the Separatist’s droid forces, Obi-Wan, Anakin and Dooku engage in a lightsaber duel. Dooku defeats Obi-Wan and severs Anakin’s right arm, disarming him, and Yoda engages Dooku. Unfortunately, Dooku flees in his ship to Coruscant, taking the plans to create an ultimate weapon (the Death Star) with him and is received in a rundown hangar by Darth Sidious, who claims that everything is going as planned. The Jedi are uncertain of what will become of the Republic, now that the Clone Wars have begun. As Palpatine oversees the launching of several clone troopers, Anakin —who is fitted with an artificial arm— and Padmé marry privately on Naboo, with C-3PO and R2-D2 as witnesses.
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First Published: Jan 17, 2012 – Last Updated: Mar 17, 2013