“Attack of the Clones” is Subpar “Star Wars”

George Lucas’s Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (C) upgrades the effects and the action from its prequel predecessor but leaves at its centerpiece a burgeoning and head-scratching love affair between Hayden Christensen’s pouty Anakin Skywalker and Natalie Portman’s listless Padmé Amadala that is so poorly written and acted that it threatens to bury the whole franchise in the sands of Tatooine or the waters of Naboo. Some bounty hunter espionage helps put a spring in the film’s step, and Anakin gets to show a darker side when he kills some Tuskin Raiders (hey, aren’t those guys bastards anyway?); and the action of the passive voice title seems to partially occur. It’s largely an attack on good sense. John Williams’ love theme is pretty but underscores a Harlequin romance. Ewan McGregor is again wasted as Obi-Wan Kenobi solving a parallel mystery.