As listeners of The Life Debt Podcast will know from last week, I recently finished reading the ‘Attack of the Clones’ Novelisation by R. A. Salvatore which was the culmination of my week long ‘Attack of the Clones’ binge where I watched the film, listened to the soundtrack a bunch and read the book, which was the second time I ever read it and I honestly wonder why I waited so long (the first time was back in 2002) because it’s a damn good book.
Luckily for all of us, we already know the story, so I don’t need to re-tell the story of a nearly 20 year old film, but rather I’m going to give some of my impressions that I was left with whilst, and after reading the book.
First off the bat is the relationship between Jango and Boba. The film barely scratches the surface of the dynamic between this father/son relationship. For all intents and purposes they are the same person but Jango is teaching Boba to be the greatest Bounty Hunter, giving by him all of the lessons that it took Jango his whole life to learn. Whilst it’s an unorthodox relationship, there are quite a few moments where Jango muses to himself about his feelings towards Boba. The amount he cares about the boy is a huge juxtaposition to his moral code when it comes to his profession where his feelings towards others is cold and uncaring. Just look at Zam Wessell, toxic dart anyone?
The added content between Jango and Boba, even if it’s an added handful of lines within a scene from the film, really expand the relationship and goes on to really illuminate why Boba is so hell bent for revenge during ‘The Clone Wars’ when most likely Jango would have frowned on the notion because a revenge mission is likely to get you killed.
One thing about ‘Attack of the Clones’ I usually have a problem with is the love story between Anakin and Padmé, at first she looks at him just like she did when he was a child, then realises he’s grown up and more mature, then suddenly the two of them bicker in front of her boss (the Queen), then they’re full on flirting and kissing, then flirting and rolling around a field, then she pours a bucket of ice on the whole thing… it’s a roller coaster, and it always felt, to me, that something was missing… and there was, a handful of deleted scenes with Padmé’s family wher she fully realised her feelings for Anakin… and they are in the book, right where they should be and allows the whole romance plot to advance in a much more natural way. Even the scene where he confesses the slaughtering of the Tusken Raiders, the way Salvatore writes the way she reacts and processes the information feels right, in the film it just makes her look like someone who writes to and marries serial killers who are in prison with life sentences.
For me, these aspects were the two major stand-out examples of how effective the novelisation is at enhancing the cinematic experience.
It also fleshes out the Shmi storyline, giving us time to understand her family life on the Lars Homestead and her relationships with her family. Her love for Owen as her step-so, whilst incomparable to her love for Anakin, is a great addition and we are lucky to experience a touching moment between the two, as well as Cliegg and Owens reaction to finding Shmi missing and the raiding party to try and get her back, including how Cliegg lost his leg.
Following on from that, we get brief glimpses into Shmi’s time as a prisoner of the Tusken Raiders as well as Anakin’s massacre of the tribe after her death.
Much like the novelisation of ‘The Phantom Menace’ by Terry Brooks, ‘Attack of the Clones’ really enhances and elevates the film, the insight we get into the minds of the characters as well as the added character development from the deleted scenes which are reinserted by Salvatore gives ‘Attack of the Clones’ greater depth and I look forward to rewatching it with all of the added knowledge this book has given me for the story.
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