The Movie: Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones
Why It Strains Credulity:
Christopher Lee was 78 years old. Most men that age can’t wield a steak knife, much less a lightsaber. Lucas probably just had Lee stand in front of a greenscreen and flail around, then choreographed the other two so it looked like he was destroying them.
Obi-Wan says, “We’ll take him together. You go in slowly on the left…” at which point Anakin rushes in alone and gets a lightning bolt shoved down his throat. But does anyone else find it funny that Obi-Wan was discussing the strategy outloud, right in front of Dooku? Couldn’t they plan their attack in code or something? “Anakin: red delta seven, variation B.” If it works in the NFL, I don’t see why Jedis can’t have a playbook.
Anyway, Dooku tries to zap Obi-Wan, but it turns out a lightsaber doubles as a dandy lightning rod. So the battle begins. They twirl around a bit and it’s unclear who’s got the upper hand. But Obi-Wan’s breathing hard, whereas Dooku’s tossing out trash like, “You disappoint, Master Kenobi.” And disappoint he does. Dooku slices him twice, and Obi-Wan’s down on the floor, moaning.
Then Anakin flies in from across the room to save his master. Obi-Wan tosses him a second lightsaber, and we get a little spicy-handed saber action. This two-lightsabers-at-once thing lasts exactly seven seconds. (Honestly Lucas, if you’re only going to have them fight like that for two shots, why bother? And don’t tell me it’s too hard to choreograph, because there’s a badass two-swords-at-once fight in Shanghai Knights.)
Dooku chops one saber in half. They fight a little more, then Dooku cuts Anakin’s arm off, and adding insult to injury, uses the Force to push him across the room. He lands next to Obi-Wan, who looks at him with an expression of disgust so real, I have to assume MacGregor didn’t even know the cameras were rolling and that’s just how he looked most of the time during that shoot.
Then, of course, Yoda enters, and a new fight begins which deserves its own series of posts.
But Maybe We Can Buy It Because:
- Lee can toss lightning. That’s a feather in his cap, right there.
- Casual Star Wars fans might assume Jedi spend all their time practicing lightsaber duels. But when you think about it, this doesn’t make sense. Before the events of Episode I, the Sith had been underground for hundreds of years. So logically, Jedi training probably consisted of 80% taking on guys with blasters, 18% unarmed Rancor combat, and 2% lightsaber duels, mainly so they could have intramural Jedi sparring leagues. On the other hand, Dooku’s not planning to take on any droids with blasters. Hell, he owns the factory that MAKES those droids! He’s spent years training solely to take out Jedi. So naturally, in a duel, he’s going to have the advantage.
- Yes, Christopher Lee was 78 years old. But on the other hand, he is one of the greatest villains in the history of cinema. Here are just a handful of the hundreds of roles he’s tackled: Dracula. The Mummy. Frankenstein. Rasputin. The bad guy in a Bond film. Fu Manchu. Saruman. And Rochefort in The Three Musketeers, which gives him all sorts of swashbuckling street cred. (Christopher Lee has claimed, in fact, that he’s done more swordfights than any other actor.) Ewan MacGregor, on the other hand, was in Moulin Rouge. And don’t even get me started on Hayden Christensen. Honestly, the longer I stare at Christopher Lee’s IMDB page, the more I feel silly for implying he couldn’t kill anyone he wants to.
- Lee is 6’4″.
- Obi-wan is, of course, a master of Soresu. Anakin is skilled in both Shien and Djem So. Dooku, on the other hand, is a practitioner of Makashi. From a tactical standpoint, it’s obvious who has the advantage. (Do not look at these webpages for too long. They will just make you sad.)
- You know what? I’ve pretty much reversed my opinion in the course of writing this post. There is nothing implausible about Christopher Lee schooling MacGregor and Christensen. Hell, there’s nothing implausible about Christopher Lee schooling Chuck Norris. I’m sorry for wasting your time.
- Yoda was damn lucky that Dooku was already exhausted from taking out Obi-Wan and Anakin. Or else that second fight might have gone the other way.
Christopher Lee was offered the part of Grand Moff Tarkin in the original Star Wars.