The Star Wars Prequels Were Awesome (Yes, Really!)
Just read that statement again. What was your first reaction? Bugged out eyes? A feeling of revulsion, like you just smelled an open sewer? That look you get when a cockroach crawls out of the fridge? All of those combined?
The Star Wars prequels have garnered more hate than any movie series ever in existence. People don’t ignore or disregard Episodes I-III; they hate them. Former fans find new and creative ways to mock and tear these movies apart. Still, what was their crime? Having the same title as another series of amazing sci-fi movies? Please.
The key to enjoying the prequels is to disconnect it from your thought and childhood memories of the original trilogy. As Darth Vader said, your thoughts betray you. The original trilogy was one of the greatest science fiction series ever made. They have been matched only once or twice in the last thirty years. Hating a movie for not being the greatest movie ever made is a waste of time. You don’t criticize Taco Bell because Mario Batali didn’t make its menu, do you?
Taco Bell is junk food; a mix of fat, salt, and sugar—all the things your taste buds crave. The Star Wars prequels are the same. They don’t have the soul or heart of the original trilogy, but they make up for that in audacious action. Remember back on the greatest lightsaber battles in all of the Star Wars movies. Chances are, you’ll remember the Darth Maul fight from Episode I, the Yoda-Dooku scene from Episode II, and the Anakin-Obi-Wan duel from Episode III quicker than the rest. Add in bits like the pod race, the gladiator battle, and Yoda’s Force-aided showdown against Palpatine in the Senate and you can’t claim there is a shortage of amazing fights, battles, and action sequences in the prequels.
Moreover, the nuanced, bemused portrayal of Obi-Wan Kenobi by Ewan McGregor is one of the greatest performances of the entire Star Wars series. He took an iconic character and made it his own while still paying tribute to the legendary original. The awesome scenery chewing of Ian McDiarmid’s Palpatine, Samuel L. Jackson’s Mace Windu, and Christopher Lee’s Count Dooku only serve to enhance the movie.
Finally, the prequels truly are movies of their moment. The original Star Wars movies are timeless, and could have been made at any time. The prequels only could have been made between 1999 and 2005. Great sci-fi reflects its current era, and the prequels do that. While the first one reflects the light-heartedness of the late-90s, the final two are decidedly post-9/11. The tone is more solemn, and the politics more absolute. Anakin even bites a line from George W. Bush, saying, “If you are not with me, you are my enemy.”
Ideally, in a science fiction movie, and especially in a science fiction series, you want a few things: technology and moments you’ve never seen before; cool, identifiable characters; and incredible setpieces and action sequences. The prequels had all these things.
Finally, to those of you whose retort is “Jar Jar Binks:” you win on that point—he was the worst.
Do you agree? Can you find anything redeemable in the Star Wars prequels?