Star Wars: Attack of the Clones

Inciting Event: Anakin Skywalker is assigned to protect Padmé Amidala after she is almost assassinated.

First Plot Point: A second assassination attempt leads to Anakin and Padmé hiding out on Naboo, where he begins a forbidden romance with her, thus breaking the Jedi code against forming attachments.

Meanwhile, Anakin’s mentor, Obi-Wan, tracks down clues about the assassins, which leads him to the planet Kamino, where he discovers an army of clones that was bred on request from a Jedi name Sifo-Dyas at the time Obi-Wan met Anakin as a child. The clones are all copies of the bounty hunter trying to kill Padmé.

First Pinch Point: Anakin discovers through disturbing dreams that his mother is suffering and may die soon. He goes to Tatooine with Padmé to try to save her, but he is too late. The abuse she suffered at the hands of the Sand People results in her death, moments after he finds her. In a rage, he kills the entire Sand People village. This starts him down the path to the Dark Side of the Force.

Midpoint: Obi-Wan follows the bounty hunter to the planet Geonosis and discovers a new Separatist droid army being created by Count Dooku, a former Jedi Master, who reveals that Darth Sidious is secretly controlling the Republic Senate. Obi-Wan notifies the Republic before being captured, and Chancellor Palpatine is given emergency executive powers to protect the Republic against the new threat. He uses these powers to deploy the clone army against the Separatists.

Not much of a pivot point for Anakin’s plot, here. He leaves Tatooine behind and goes to rescue Obi-Wan with Padmé.

Second Pinch Point: Anakin and Padmé are captured in an attempt to rescue Obi-Wan. All three face death in the Geonosian arena. They manage to survive the gladiatorial battle long enough for Mace Windu and an army of Jedi to come to their aid in response to Obi-Wan’s previous message.

Third Plot Point: A huge battle erupts when the Jedi arrive, and Dooku and the Geonosians refuse to surrender. The bounty hunter is killed and Dooku escapes.

Climax: Anakin and Obi-Wan chase down Dooku, but Anakin has to make the difficult decision to leave Padmé behind when she falls out of the dropship. He and Obi-Wan fight Dooku to prevent him from fleeing the planet.

Climactic Moment: Dooku defeats Anakin, cutting off his arm, and beats Obi-Wan as well, then flees from Yoda before Padmé arrives to help. Dooku escapes with the Death Star plans that will cause the destruction of the planet Alderaan in Episode IV.

Resolution: The Jedi Council learns about Darth Sidious controlling the Senate, even they don’t yet know his true identity. Chancellor Palpatine starts the Clone Wars. Anakin and Padmé are secretly wed on Naboo.

Comments: This movie is not as bad as a lot of people say. It’s fairly decent. But I think it could have been much better if the Midpoint and Climax had resonated on the prime conflict and theme more clearly. They serve their purpose structurally, but don’t really drive home the main things the story is about and has been setting us up to care about. They only touch on them, in that we are worried whether Anakin will survive and be able to be with Padmé. The real conflict I kept tuning in for was Anakin’s struggle to maintain his humanity, but instead that’s the focus of Episode III. So the main conflict here is actually more about the Clone Wars themselves. Anakin’s story becomes a subplot, which really threw off my expectations.

(Submitted by Aaron McCausland.)

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