Sounds Off: “Attack of the Clones”

Okay, I don’t usually write about the movies. I’m the TV guy. I have business cards that prove it.

But now and then something happens–something so profoundly tragic–in the film world that requires some immediate attention. Case in point: George Lucas recently decided to name the new Star Wars film Attack of the Clones.

I mean, when we first heard the title of 1999’s The Phantom Menace we cringed a little bit, but decided to ignore the campiness and check out the film. The lights dimmed, the screen lit up, we saw Jar Jar Binks for the first time and we knew.

George Lucas had lost it.

Expectations of a somewhat better title for the sequel to Menace remained high until earlier this week, when the Star Wars Web site revealed the new title. Attack of the Clones it is. I’m so, so sorry.

What was Lucas thinking?

When George recalled that The Empire Strikes Back was already taken, he realized that he needed a new title. The Villains at Conflict with the Jedi was just a bit too long for a decent one-sheet poster, but conveyed the idea of the film nicely. Strike one. Ditto with This is the One Where Bad Stuff Happens. Strike two.

It’s understood that Lucas wanted to cram the movie’s story line into the title, but a little mystery never hurts. Attack of the Clones brings to mind a 1950s B-movie horror flick where you can see the strings attached to the starships.

Maybe that’s the direction Lucas should take his Star Wars franchise, bargain basement cheesiness. If he stopped taking himself so seriously, maybe we’d stop criticizing him to such a piercing degree. Think about it: 1977’s first Star Wars movie, which was wildly successful, featured intergalactic soldiers in polyester jump suits. A roving trashcan named R2-D2 was a major character. Billy Dee Williams would express an interest in its sequel.


Who benefits?

Actually, things aren’t so bad for one inhabitant of Great Britain: Dolly the cloned sheep. Already the envy of sheep worldwide, Dolly will garner a far more bad-ass reputation as Attack of the Clones approaches. But who would Dolly battle? Does she have any true enemies?

When all is said and done, it’s really Lucas who benefits most. Regardless of the bonehead title, the film will create the same commotion as Menace. The same profits. The same Taco Bell promos. If he named the movie Jar Jar Got Fingered it would still skyrocket at the box office.

It’s all good for Lucas. Both fans and critics can criticize all they want, knowing the material is manure. But at the end of the day, Lucas can still kick back, light up a stogie with a $100 bill, and take solace in the fact that he just made the TV guy stay up late writing about his new movie.