Let’s just say the kid was not impressed with Attack of the Clones.
To be honest, I think it’s the weakest of the prequels and of the six that George Lucas was actually involved in.
The Phantom Menace is better than I remember.
It’s well constructed, and there are incredible subtleties and thematic elements hidden among the flashy (and cheesy) A-plot. It’s about dualities, symbiosis, and most of all, misdirection. An elaborately costumed decoy queen, an invasion waged to maneuver the Senate into giving Palpatine more power, and so on. And the movie is that too: a big flashy effects and battle and comedy extravaganza in front of a master manipulator quietly going about his scheming.
I mean, yeah, the dialogue isn’t very good, and there are all the horrible stereotypes, but the core of the story is thematically solid.
Attack of the Clones…is not.
I could see what they were trying to do, but it doesn’t hold together as well, and the story hinges on a romance that is, frankly, unconvincing. It’s like an early draft of a script went into full-blown production, but no one could tell Lucas, hey, maybe you should try something different here, or keep working on the dialog there, etc.
The effects are amazing. The music — John Williams is still at the top of his game here, and “Across the Stars” is one of the best Star Wars pieces written (up there with “Duel of the Fates” IMHO). There are cool concepts and interesting characters, and good actors doing the best they can with what they have. (When they can.)
And there are great moments too! Dooku telling Obi-Wan the absolute truth about the Republic having fallen under the sway of a Sith Lord, just in a way that Obi-Wan can’t believe it. Or Padme quietly picking the lock on her handcuffs in the background while Anakin and Obi-Wan argue in the foreground.
Mainly I think it needed more script revisions. And to let someone else direct it.