Sunday, July 17, 2011

Shepherd492 reviews: Star Wars: Attack Of The Clones

Star Wars: Attack Of The Clones (R.A. Salvatore)

Attack Of The Clones closely follows the plot of the movie, however added scenes add depth and explain some of the numerous questions that the movie left unanswered. Added scenes between Jango Fett and his clone, Boba, delve into their relationship in a way that the movie really didn't. Jango in particular grows into a somewhat sympathetic character instead of a faceless villain through these scenes. Bonus scenes prior to what we see in the movies help frame Anakin and Shmi's longing for each other, and a tender scene with Shmi's new family helps shed light on some of the more important, but less recognizable characters in the Star Wars universe. There are also some new scenes with Padme and her family that give you some more insight into her character, and also put some context on her interaction with Anakin (more on this in the character section).

The author makes somewhat of a dire error in shortening action sequences and rushing through the last 1/3rd of the movie. On page 300, Anakin and Padme are just arriving on Geonosis, by page 353, the story has ended. A few extra scenes, more extensive descriptions of the action (and even the setting, there are only the sparsest of descriptions from page 300 onward) would've made for a vastly superior resolution to an otherwise great novelization.

Several of the plot holes, inconsistencies, and etc. from the movie are still present in the book, however. Among the most glaring are why Anakin didn't help out his mom in the ten years between Phantom Menace and AOTC (He couldn't pull some strings to get her out of slavery, if nothing else?) Obi-Wan's informant, Dexter, still feels silly and contrived, something that could easily have been fixed by just a paragraph or so of background information on the character. I also didn't understand why Jar Jar was able to speak FOR Padme at the Senate meeting towards the end of the novel, especially since he didn't even confer with her as to what she wanted (the book made it appear that the some senators supported the Military Creation Act because Jar Jar's support made it clear that Padme had switched her stance, and they trusted her, so they did the same.)

This novelization does wonders for paper thin characterization seen in the movie. The greatest accomplishment was making the incredibly unrealistic romance between Padme and Anakin, as portrayed in the movie, seem mostly plausible. Padme is shown to have conflicting thoughts concerning her lack of a life outside of civil service, and a desire to remedy this could push her to her relationship with Anakin. Anakin's motives are still somewhat sketchy, but his longing for her over the last ten years is conveyed a bit more forcibly. Overall, the romance still isn't perfect, but just getting an insight into Padme's motives, and a more detailed development of their feelings for one another, adds more credibility to both characters, and the plot as a whole. Other positives include the fantastic insights into Shmi's character, and some background information on the other members of the Lars family.
Obi-Wan's character can be seen as somewhat inconsistent, however, preaching patience and other such Jed principles and doing decidedly impatient things like jumping out of windows to grab a droid flying hundreds of feet above the city, and landing on a Trade Federation occupied world, without calling for back up. The other Jedi aren't given much characterization, and you can't help but feel that the Jedi as a whole are somewhat dense, being led on so easily in a way that even those without force powers should be able to pick up on.

While Jango Fett is seen in a totally different light due to the additions in the novel, other villains don't fare so well. The author doesn't go through the trouble of illuminating villains like Count Dooku, Zam Wesell, or Palpatine any more than was seen in the movie. Dooku in particular would've benefited from more a more detailed, preferably through a scene or two through his point of view; besides hating the Republic, you never get a sense of what he is about.

The author does an excellent job writing the romantic sequences between Anakin and Padme, using flowery and poetic prose to describe the characters thoughts and blossoming romance (interactions and thoughts are expertly handled in most other scenes too). However, due to the inclusion of Lucas' dialogue, the scenes lose some of their potency, as much of it is juvenile and poorly conceived (a problem that plagues much of the book, not just these particular scenes). Fight scenes, though abbreviated, are well written for the most part, with the exception of Obi-Wan's fight with Jango, which was somewhat disorienting, and overall confusing. Descriptions of scenery are generally sparse, and even more so towards the book's conclusion, relying on the reader having watched the movie to understand the setting.

A great adaptation of a below average movie, Attack Of The Clones mostly suffers due to the faults of the screenplay, and not the faults of the author, with several plot holes left open, and extremely poor dialogue in some scenes. Star Wars fans should pick this book up due to the better understanding that it grants to Anakin and Padme's relationship, and the bonus scenes featuring the Lars family.

Final Score


  1. Anonymous22/8/11 08:01

    Lots of good points. I really liked the 'Lars family dialog' that was left out of the movie. I understand why Lucas had to jump to the arena scene, as the rest of the movie is semi-boring.


    Do you have any reviews of the Yuuzhan Vong Wars books?

  2. Anonymous22/8/11 12:50

    Nope, look for NJO reviews in december or january. Untill then, look for about one dune novel a month, two stephen kings, and 5-6 star wars novels, mostly clone wars and stand alones.