After watching and re-evaluating The Phantom Menace with my kids, I decided to to the same with Attack of the Clones. It was also another period of time with disgusting weather and not much else to do. I tried to prepare the kids by stating telling them that this one is a little darker than the last(Anakin does lose a hand), but they seemed unperturbed, so off we went!
I enjoyed reading the opening crawl to them, as it’s one of the few times during a show that I know they’ll be listening to me, other than when a plot point confuses them. We then sat back and watched as the movie I consider to be the worst of the saga unfolded.
My kids loved it. They were confused by the construction of the clone armies, the need for Padme to hide on Naboo, and the entirety of the political plot used by Palpatine to rise to power. They were really interested in one thing: lightsabers. This is the one area that this movie outclasses all the rest. Sheer volume of lightsaber action. My son was in heaven, my daughter’s eyes shone with glee. They giggled and jumped as the Jedi cut down battle droid after battle droid. Watching them watch the arena scene made it all worth while.
Then came the scene I was worried about. The duel between Obi-wan, Anakin and Dooku. The good guys get overmatched quickly, and when Anakin gets his arm amputated and thrown across the room I was anticipating worried stares and questions. There was a small amount of shock, but before that could register they saw a small, familiar shadow enter the room. Yoda had arrived and all was well.
This duel had always bothered me. I didn’t, and still don’t understand the need for Yoda to have pulled out his lightsaber. I was always under the impression he could bat away anyone save Sidious with the effort you or I would use to swat a fly. I believe this would have been a far more effective way to show Yoda’s power: to have him defeat Dooku without using anything but the force. My kids disagree. Their favourite moment in the whole film was watching Yoda bouncing around like he was made of flubber and completely own the Sith Apprentice. Yoda has become my son’s second favourite character behind Darth Vader, and right up there for my daughter(she loves Ashoka above all others).
I’m really glad I watched this episode with them. Their youthful exuberence tempered my jaded view of the film and allowed me to actually enjoy it for a change. I’m still not quite sure if they’re ready for Revenge of the Sith, due to the Youngling massacre and Anakin becoming a piece of BBQ, but we’ll see. I know they’ll make watching it better too.