I watched the Prequel trilogy for the first time in ages and had some thoughts.

Avatar image for justin258
Justin258

16110

Forum Posts

26

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 11

User Lists: 8

Edited By Justin258

So I finished watching the Prequel trilogy today. Yay! Good times. Somewhat.

...OK, so, The Phantom Menace. Let’s dive right in, ok? OK. The acting is really bad. It's been a long time and I don't remember ever noticing how bad the acting is here. This is a cast that should be able to perform far better than they do. Liam Neeson is in this fucking movie! That makes me think the problem wasn’t the actors but the directing. It’s bad. Real bad. Every line of dialog in this movie exists to point out the obvious or to explain away some contrivance that exists because George Lucas thought it would be cool. There are ways to weave a good story with “things you think are cool” and this ain’t it. This movie is the very definition of “plot points for the sake of something you thought was cool”. Roughly a third of the movie exists just for the purpose of getting young Darth Vader in the film. If you wanted to write a movie about young Darth Vader, then fucking write a movie about young Darth Vader. You could have stolen Hero With A Thousand Faces again and turned the entire thing on its head, thematically. Instead you wrote a political movie where the politics are bland and/or stupid.

...but still

George Lucas writes terrible dialog and awfully obvious contrivances, but he has a good sense of how to pace out a movie and a great sense of how to make a good action scene. And, most importantly, George Lucas is perfect at pacing out those action scenes. He knows when to start them, how to start them, how long they should go, how to escalate them, how to make them look really fucking good, and how to pull the camera back so that you can actually understand how the fight is moving along instead of zooming way in on their faces (lookin’ at you, Lord of the Rings). Where people are, who is doing what, that sort of thing. If any part of these movies hold up, it’s the cinematography and framing and such. I mean, I’m not a film expert, there’s a million things I could be missing here, but I thought it all looked great. It ain’t Ridley Scott, sure, but it’s still upper echelon action scenes as far as I’m concerned.

While we’re at it, John Williams’s score in all three movies is great, possibly a better score than the original trilogy, possibly the best score he’s ever done. Despite the stupid story beats, awful dialog, and unlikeable characters, every time John Williams wants me to feel something, I feel it. It’s good. It’s great. The score and the action are the two parts of this trilogy that are consistently, genuinely great and they float the whole trilogy.

...but anyway, why the hell does Qui-Gon bring Anakin along for the battle? Why on Earth wouldn’t he have asked the Jedi Council to hold him or something? Surely there’s someone around who can watch and feed the kid for like a week or two? Surely the Jedi Council would be interested enough in a kid with the highest (sigh) midichlorian count ever seen to keep the kid around?

And where did this prophecy come from anyway? Who made it? How are Star Wars prophecies made? Why does it hold such sway over the Council? George Lucas doesn’t seem to have cared, he just wanted it to be there. It doesn’t even need to be there for the plot to work, you could throw it out and lose nothing. NOTHING!

And how is Jedi Mind Tricking not a Sith skill? Listen, making Stormtroopers believe these aren’t the droids they’re looking for is fairly harmless, but tricking a leader to allow you to essentially steal their submarine thingy isn’t exactly appropriate for the goody two-shoes paragon-of-virtues monk order.

OK, look, if I keep questioning leaps of logic like this we’ll be here all day. I enjoyed The Phantom Menace. It’s a bad movie and you shouldn’t pretend that it isn’t. But I had fun. I enjoyed the bad parts for their badness and their good parts for their goodness, leaps of logic and third-rate JRPG level dialog be damned.

...actually, hold that latter bit. I need to save it for the next bit.

Attack of the Clones. Take a deep breath, let it out slowly. I know I have to every time it’s time to talk about this movie.

I didn’t like this movie when I was ten, I didn’t like it at all as a teenager, and I like it even less now. Anakin Skywalker is a shitty person. He’s a shitty dude! He’s that guy that thinks he’s the best thing in the world and when someone tells him that maybe he oughta look in the mirror he gets all pissy! He’s written like an angry twelve year old! He’s awful! And he’s a creepy bastard. There are a few scenes where Hayden Christensen has such a leering stare at Natalie Portman.

Most of this movie involves Anakin taking Senator Amidala to Naboo to protect her after an assassination attempt. Yes, Senator Amidala, no longer Queen because she reached her term limit... wait a second. She was fourteen in the first movie. And a queen. An elected queen. Queens aren’t elected, but more importantly, who the fuck elects a 14 year old!?

Anyway, look, you can sum up this subplot entirely at that fireplace scene. I don’t even need to expand on it. I’m not exactly a master of words, here, but how does someone write that, look at it, and go “yeah, this is good stuff!” Ugh.

But let’s talk about Obi-Wan for a moment. Obi-Wan is great. Ewan McGregor’s interpretation of the character is the hero I’d want to follow for an entire franchise. Charismatic, smart, likeable without being a roguish type. Great guy. The slight bit of detective Obi-Wan we get here is the best part of this whole movie, followed by chasing and fighting Jango Fett. That spaceship chase scene in the asteroid field is awesome and the best example of what I meant by George Lucas pacing an action scene. It’s slow at first, no music, Jango lays down these mines and right before they blow, all sound from the movie is drowned out and then they go BWAAAAAHHHH like a decade before Battlefield trailers were doing it. It looks great, it sounds great, I enjoyed it immensely, or perhaps I was merely enjoying the reprieve I got from the torturous “romance” scenes. Either way, it was good, best scene of the movie and one of my favorite action scenes from the prequels. It doesn’t get enough love, probably on account of being sandwiched between the worst writing and acting Star Wars has ever seen.

And finally, Revenge of the Sith, a movie I genuinely liked.

Listen, the dialog here is also bad. There’s some “romance” scenes between Anakin and Padme, but they’re short and there aren’t all that many of them. Those plot holes and leaps of logic and contrivances are all here and they’re all present throughout the movie...

...but also, it’s got the quippiest Obi-Wan of the whole trilogy. It’s got the most fun action scenes and the best meme content. It’s got the Darth Plagueis tale, which would be cringe-y if I didn’t believe that Ian McDiarmid wasn’t treating this whole thing as a try-not-to-laugh contest. It’s got the most consistent tone of the whole trilogy as well.

When it finally ends, when it shows Padme’s funeral procession, when Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Senator Organa are discussing what the hell they’re supposed to do now... it actually all felt tragic. Despite all the garbage dialog, stupid plot holes, and shitty Anakin being obviously awful, I cared about what was happening. Unlike The Phantom Menace, I didn’t walk away from it surprised at how much worse the acting felt. Unlike Attack of the Clones, I wasn’t diving into Discord and Reddit for the sake of my sanity. Revenge of the Sith kept my attention the whole time and in a good way.

None of these movies are good. I mean, Revenge has a lot of stuff I enjoyed in it, but I still hesitate to call it a good movie. They deserve a lot of the hate and ire they’ve received and if I had seen The Phantom Menace when I was in my twenties instead of when I was 9, I think I’d have hated it, too. But I have the power of nostalgia with me, and re-watching these movies didn’t totally break it. Perhaps someone twenty years from now will post a blog or something proclaiming that they still enjoy the Sequel trilogy despite all its flaws and I will read it, flabbergasted that anyone could enjoy that garbage. (I think I might actually hate The Last Jedi).

...anyway, I watched A New Hope last week so now that I’ve finished the prequels, I’m going to go watch the good Star Wars movies. I don’t think I need to write anything up on those, I watched them sometime last year and came out feeling like they do, indeed, hold up. Except for that god-awful musical number in Return of the Jedi. Gonna skip that. That can burn in hell.

Avatar image for nateandrews
nateandrews

300

Forum Posts

15225

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 17

User Lists: 9

I'm working my way through the Clone Wars animated series and there's an episode where the Jedi mind trick is used in a rather torturous way to extract information from a prisoner. They definitely frame it like that and I thought that was interesting.

And Revenge of the Sith is awesome.

Avatar image for oursin_360
OurSin_360

6598

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#2  Edited By OurSin_360

I always find it weird that everyone hates the first one but loves the last one, I thought the first was the only palatable one of the bunch tbh. I had no idea Padme was 14 in the first movie, I thought she was 20 something lol. I guess it makes her romance with Anakin a LITTLEless creepy now.

Basically the whole trilogy existed so I could see the Darth Maul fight and Yoda doing his thing for the first time. I remember the entire theatre jumping out of there seats when he fought lol.

Avatar image for bisonhero
BisonHero

12153

Forum Posts

625

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 2

Yeah, the prequels really lost me when Anakin went from a weirdly well-adjusted slave boy child actor to a perpetually pissy, unlikeable adult that in no way seems justified in his attitude. It just doesn’t make for a watchable film when the main character is so insufferable.

The Phantom Menace is fine by me mostly because the action scenes (pod racing, Darth Maul lightsaber fights, etc.) are great. The action scenes in the other movies are also solid, but the Anakin writing really saps all possible enjoyment from those movies for me.

It’s funny that the movies are fine with Jedi mind tricks to mislead people and make them do stuff they wouldn’t normally do, but yeah, in most video games/book/comic book EU stuff they consider that more of a dark side coercion thing.

Avatar image for justin258
Justin258

16110

Forum Posts

26

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 11

User Lists: 8

I always find it weird that everyone hates the first one but loves the last one, I thought the first was the only palatable one of the bunch tbh. I had no idea Padme was 14 in the first movie, I thought she was 20 something lol. I guess it makes her romance with Anakin a LITTLEless creepy now.

Basically the whole trilogy existed so I could see the Darth Maul fight and Yoda doing his thing for the first time. I remember the entire theatre jumping out of there seats when he fought lol.

According to Wikipedia, Natalie Portman was still in high school during the filming of Phantom Menace - she definitely looks older than that. I knew the character was 14 because, as a kid, my parents bought me a novelization of the movie that I remember reading several times. I think most of the hate towards Phantom Menace comes from the "jokey-ness" of much of it - there's a lot of bad humor in that movie that shows up at inappropriate times. All of the Gungan stuff feels like it's ripped straight out of rejected late 90's Nickelodeon cartoons.

Yeah, the prequels really lost me when Anakin went from a weirdly well-adjusted slave boy child actor to a perpetually pissy, unlikeable adult that in no way seems justified in his attitude. It just doesn’t make for a watchable film when the main character is so insufferable.

The Phantom Menace is fine by me mostly because the action scenes (pod racing, Darth Maul lightsaber fights, etc.) are great. The action scenes in the other movies are also solid, but the Anakin writing really saps all possible enjoyment from those movies for me.

It’s funny that the movies are fine with Jedi mind tricks to mislead people and make them do stuff they wouldn’t normally do, but yeah, in most video games/book/comic book EU stuff they consider that more of a dark side coercion thing.

I didn't mention this in my OP but I don't remember ever thinking about the spousal abuse in Revenge. Anakin force-chokes Padme until she passes out at the end of that movie. As a kid it was just a thing that happens, I guess, but these days I was like "yo, that's fucking dark". Personally, the action, John Williams's score, and the parts that don't involve Anakin really carried me through this re-watch, but I can totally understand someone turning these movies off and never touching them again after some of the stuff Anakin says and does.

Avatar image for pezen
Pezen

2520

Forum Posts

14

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Me and my fiancée had the intention of watching through the Star Wars films after we had finished the second season of The Mandalorian. We have so far, since like 3 weeks ago, only managed to get through The Phantom Menace. I had completely forgotten how wooden the acting is, it was surprisingly hard to watch. I was even surprised at how much I almost had to force myself through that dialogue and story, considering I saw it in the theatres and didn't hate it that much. But oh boy. It didn't help that the visual effects and general visual presentation has aged really poorly and at times looks downright horribly bad even at 4k on Disney+. Hell, the original ones look leagues better by comparison on the same service.

The biggest problem for me is that, like many others, I can't stand the whiny manchild Anakin parts in the other ones so even if they have some redeeming other scenes it's still a slog.

Also, to add to the discussion on jedi mind trick, that stood out to me as well. Like, you don't like a price of something so you try to bargin using jedi mind tricks? In a world that tries to be all heroes and nazis, that shit really makes the jedi seem like a bunch of entitled pricks. Granted, scratching at just the surface level of Star Wars politics makes a whole lot of things fall apart.

Avatar image for facelessvixen
FacelessVixen

3179

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

I'm pretty sure that most of us are at the point where the Red Letter Media reviews of the prequel trilogy are more entertaining than the prequel trilogy.

I have a lot of sympathy for Jake Lloyd. Just... damn.

Avatar image for rabidlamb
Rabidlamb

90

Forum Posts

5

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#7  Edited By Rabidlamb

I haven't listened to it yet because wanted to rewatch myself but Austin Walker and friends are doing a clone wars rewatch podcast and started with prequel movies. I almost always like hearing this thoughts on any form of media. https://amorecivilizedage.net/website

Avatar image for justin258
Justin258

16110

Forum Posts

26

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 11

User Lists: 8

@pezen said:

Me and my fiancée had the intention of watching through the Star Wars films after we had finished the second season of The Mandalorian. We have so far, since like 3 weeks ago, only managed to get through The Phantom Menace. I had completely forgotten how wooden the acting is, it was surprisingly hard to watch. I was even surprised at how much I almost had to force myself through that dialogue and story, considering I saw it in the theatres and didn't hate it that much. But oh boy. It didn't help that the visual effects and general visual presentation has aged really poorly and at times looks downright horribly bad even at 4k on Disney+. Hell, the original ones look leagues better by comparison on the same service.

The biggest problem for me is that, like many others, I can't stand the whiny manchild Anakin parts in the other ones so even if they have some redeeming other scenes it's still a slog.

Also, to add to the discussion on jedi mind trick, that stood out to me as well. Like, you don't like a price of something so you try to bargin using jedi mind tricks? In a world that tries to be all heroes and nazis, that shit really makes the jedi seem like a bunch of entitled pricks. Granted, scratching at just the surface level of Star Wars politics makes a whole lot of things fall apart.

If you haven't already done so... skip the prequels if you didn't like The Phantom Menace all that much. A New Hope was great when I watched it for the billionth time last week and I'm pretty sure the rest of the trilogy is going to hold up as well.

Also I should watch The Mandalorian. I mean, it's on my watch list, but I suppose as long as I'm on this Star Wars kick I might as well.

I'm pretty sure that most of us are at the point where the Red Letter Media reviews of the prequel trilogy are more entertaining than the prequel trilogy.

I have a lot of sympathy for Jake Lloyd. Just... damn.

Are you talking about the Mr. Plinkett reviews? I love Red Letter Media's stuff but, for whatever, their Mr. Plinkett character only works for me for so long, so I haven't actually seen the whole review.

I haven't listened to it yet because wanted to rewatch myself but Austin Walker and friends are doing a clone wars rewatch podcast and started with prequel movies. I almost always like hearing this thoughts on any form of media. https://amorecivilizedage.net/website

Now this sounds much more interesting.

Avatar image for rabidlamb
Rabidlamb

90

Forum Posts

5

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@justin258: You should really check out Mandalorian if you haven't. I resisted it for a bit but just caved and watched first season. It's very unique for Star Wars. It has a solitary, quiet vibe for many of the episodes. Sometimes feel like he speaks 3 lines an entire episode.

Also even with all the hype and memes nothing can prepare you for how fucking adorable baby yoda is in action. Steals every scene he is in.

Avatar image for otherjzee
OtherJZee

22

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@pezen said:

I almost had to force myself through that dialogue

Heyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

Avatar image for mamba219
Mamba219

283

Forum Posts

7536

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 3

#11  Edited By Mamba219

I dunno. I thoroughly, unironically enjoy Revenge of the Sith. I think it's a great movie. The prequels are also far more interesting if you watch them from the perspective of The Emperor, their true protagonist. Ian McDiarmid is a master of camp, and his performance, plus the action scenes as you mentioned, lets me get through the admittedly weak dialogue for the rest of the films.

Are they perfect? No. But I'd argue that in many ways they're more entertaining than parts of even the original trilogy. The middle hour of Empire comes to mind. At least, I certainly feel that way about Revenge of the Sith.

Avatar image for efesell
Efesell

5970

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

The prequel trilogy gets a lot of flack and a lot of its deserved but I do feel like Phantom and Revenge are thoroughly Okay but Attack of the Clones is so terrible that it drowns everything else out.

Avatar image for takayamasama
takayamasama

1638

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I'd like to take this thread to thank Weird Al for teaching me many, many years ago that Padme was 14 in The Phantom Menace.

"Ahhhh do you see him hitting on the Queen, though he's just 9 and she's 14"

The Saga Begins is such a great song. Better than the prequels, anyway. (Revenge of the Sith is legit good though)

Avatar image for apewins
apewins

57

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#14  Edited By apewins

The problem with the prequel trilogy is that it's a trilogy, because a long time ago Lucas decided that the first Star Wars was actually Episode 4. The story of Anakin is not that interesting that it deserves 3 movies, so they had to come up with a lot of material that was inconsequential to the grand story. The biggest offender being Episode 1, but even that I don't think is as bad as people say it is. Originally folks saw it at a theatre and went "that's it?" and then had to wait 3 years for the second one, but nowadays you can watch the entire series back-to-back so it's not that big of a deal.

Episode 2 I genuinely like and I think it improves on every aspect of Ep 1, and it's proof that Lucas can listen to criticism and is not an incompetent hack who got lucky, as some people seem to suggest he always was. Certainly, Anakin is a bore, but Obi-Wan and Padme save it for me. And I think the ending battle that goes on for maybe 40 minutes is the best in the series, instead of jumping around 2-3 different battlefields at the same time, it's just one thrilling scene after another. And I always like movies where the bad guys win.

Episode 3 improves on the past two movies even further, but it seems most people agree that it's a genuinely good movie so I don't have to spend too much time defending it.

Avatar image for sethmode
SethMode

2855

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#15  Edited By SethMode

I enjoyed this for a number of reasons, but particularly because my wife and I just watched them. It was her first time. While we see the faults of E2, we actually both found it more enjoyable overall than ROTJ. Realize that that isn't a popular opinion but other than Anakin I found I enjoyed the movie a lot.

E1 on the other hand was an unbearable dumpster fire for both of us. The dialogue and acting are bad, the story is WAY too long, and the special effects hold up real badly, IMO. It was such a slog when we watched it we were both worried we'd never make it through the other two. Thankfully we were pleasantly surprised by both.

Avatar image for pezen
Pezen

2520

Forum Posts

14

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@justin258: I would, but I feel like either we do this the right way or we don't. I don't mean I can't watch the original trilogy seperately, but I feel like I now almost need to know how much I'll hate the other two. Or who knows, maybe I'll dig them. Also, I didn't mention this but Darth Maul was the right sith lord at the right time for me as I was deep in my goth edgelord phase at that time and thought he was the best. And yeah, definitely give Mandalorian a try. I would argue for me personally, it's the best Star Wars outside of the original trilogy and in some aspects I would even say it's better than that.

Avatar image for boynukem
BoyNukem

18

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

They're all terrible, yet also terribly entertaining. The perfect storm of Lucas writing and directing with no one to rein him in, actors not having any experience working with blue/green screen, or experience in general, and trying to somehow live up to one of the most successful and beloved franchises of all time.

Avatar image for therealturk
TheRealTurk

1012

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@justin258 Have you ever seen the documentary on the making of the original trilogy? It really drives home the idea that the first Star Wars was pretty much saved by the editors and John Williams. The documentary shows this bit where Lucas is screening a rough cut for some other director friends and it's terrible. It's basically a preview of all the shitty, stilted, overly-complicated dialogue from the prequel trilogy. The cringy part is all these other directors (big names like Spielberg and Franics Ford Coppola) have this horrified "what the hell are we watching" look on their face while at the same time it's clear that Lucas thinks it's great. But in the crunch to finish the movie (Fox was basically going to lock him out), all that got chopped out, and the movie was so much better for it.

Avatar image for efesell
Efesell

5970

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Attack of the Clones can be grateful for Rise of Skywalker because now there could be spirited debate over what is the worst film in the series.

Avatar image for wardcleaver
wardcleaver

442

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I agree with your assessment: good action sequences and bad dialogue. Although, after watching the prequels, I had a new-found respect for Ewan McGregor as an actor. I think he did the most with the terrible script, making it sound better than it actually was.

Avatar image for wardcleaver
wardcleaver

442

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@justin258 Have you ever seen the documentary on the making of the original trilogy? It really drives home the idea that the first Star Wars was pretty much saved by the editors and John Williams. The documentary shows this bit where Lucas is screening a rough cut for some other director friends and it's terrible. It's basically a preview of all the shitty, stilted, overly-complicated dialogue from the prequel trilogy. The cringy part is all these other directors (big names like Spielberg and Franics Ford Coppola) have this horrified "what the hell are we watching" look on their face while at the same time it's clear that Lucas thinks it's great. But in the crunch to finish the movie (Fox was basically going to lock him out), all that got chopped out, and the movie was so much better for it.

I have seen that documentary. The thing that stuck out to me most was George Lucas's somewhat creepy infatuation with Natalie Portman.

Avatar image for inevpatoria
inevpatoria

7740

Forum Posts

2136

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 6

#23  Edited By inevpatoria

My favorite scene in The Phantom Menace is when the fake queen orders the real queen to go scrub down a battle-charred R2-D2.

Avatar image for wollywoo
wollywoo

606

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#24  Edited By wollywoo

The prequels were bad, but at least they were ambitious in their storytelling. If someone had taken the general outline of the story, cleaned it up a lot and completely overhauled the script, the prequels may have been great. It's a more complicated story, and though everyone complains about the boring politics I think that was the most interesting part - how a dictator can take over a republic, as has happened many times in history. As opposed to VII-IX where the moral is, bad guys are bad and you should blow them up.

Avatar image for justin258
Justin258

16110

Forum Posts

26

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 11

User Lists: 8

@therealturk said:

@justin258 Have you ever seen the documentary on the making of the original trilogy? It really drives home the idea that the first Star Wars was pretty much saved by the editors and John Williams. The documentary shows this bit where Lucas is screening a rough cut for some other director friends and it's terrible. It's basically a preview of all the shitty, stilted, overly-complicated dialogue from the prequel trilogy. The cringy part is all these other directors (big names like Spielberg and Franics Ford Coppola) have this horrified "what the hell are we watching" look on their face while at the same time it's clear that Lucas thinks it's great. But in the crunch to finish the movie (Fox was basically going to lock him out), all that got chopped out, and the movie was so much better for it.

I have seen that documentary. The thing that stuck out to me most was George Lucas's somewhat creepy infatuation with Natalie Portman.

I've never seen that documentary, but I have heard plenty of rumors that A New Hope - and the original trilogy in general - was basically saved from George Lucas. Speaking as "just some asshole on the internet", George Lucas seems to be at his best when he gives someone else all his ideas.

Speaking of people creeping on Natalie Portman, when I looked up her Wikipedia entry to double-check how old she (and Padme) were during The Phantom Menace, I read this quote from her:

"[T]here's a surprising preponderance of that kind of role for young girls. Sort of being fantasy objects for men, and especially this idealised purity combined with the fertility of youth, and all this in one. [...] It was definitely interesting to think about - why men write the female characters they do. Just like the way they write the male character. How much is wish-fulfilment fantasy, and why."

—Portman recalling about playing sexualized youngsters as a child, in a 2007 interview[32]

and there's some other stuff in there about her early career that really doesn't shine a positive light on some of the powerful men she came across. It seems like young Portman had the maturity and courage to know where the line is and what roles to avoid, but also that's just me glancing at a Wikipedia article.

@wollywoo said:

The prequels were bad, but at least they were ambitious in their storytelling. If someone had taken the general outline of the story, cleaned it up a lot and completely overhauled the script, the prequels may have been great. It's a more complicated story, and though everyone complains about the boring politics I think that was the most interesting part - how a dictator can take over a republic, as has happened many times in history. As opposed to VII-IX where the moral is, bad guys are bad and you should blow them up.

I agree, and probably should have brought this up in the OP - regardless of the quality of the Prequels, they come across as a planned-out, thought-out thing, a singular creative vision. Even at its best, the Sequel trilogy feels like there's a committee of boring people behind it all. I never watched Rise of Skywalker and really don't feel the need to (Palpatine died in Episode VI and no one nowhere can tell me any different), but that's how I felt at the end of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.

My favorite scene in The Phantom Menace is when the fake queen orders the real queen to go scrub down a battle-charred R2-D2.

Gotta keep up the illusion somehow.

Avatar image for theht
TheHT

15971

Forum Posts

1562

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 9

They're pretty bad movies, but I actually enjoyed all of the politicking. Even as a kid the scheming was interesting to keep track of and to see how these institutions were failing (something I definitely wouldn't have been able to articulate). Deception! Collusion! Betrayal! Corruption!

Helps that visually they were very imaginative.

I mean, most everything in the prequels is better when you're unpacking it and thinking about it thematically, but when you go and watch it can be pretty brutal.

Avatar image for kapinkong
kapinkong

20

Forum Posts

24

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 1

My spouse had never really seen ANY of the SW movies until recently and I wanted to skip the prequels entirely but it was insisted that we watch them all in order (skipping things like cartoons). EP1 I saw in theaters as a teen, didn't hate it then but didn't enjoy it like the originals that I grew up watching. EP2 & 3 are weird and my spouse brought up a few of the issues already mentioned by others but overall didn't mind them. Had a few more issues with the original trilogy really and the fact that I included the holiday special into the timeline because I had never seen it before.

We also included Solo and Rogue One (my favourite SW movie TBH), still have the sequels to watch though.

Avatar image for rejizzle
Rejizzle

1412

Forum Posts

10

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 3

I think you'll really enjoy Austin's podcast that was linked above. It's very good.

One important thing to note is that the Jedi Order is kind of in shambles during the prequel trilogy. They're at the height of their power in some ways, but they can no longer see the future, The Republic's influence on the outer rim is weakening, and there's a growing separatist movement threatening the Jedi Order's control over the region.

It's a shame most of that stuff just kinda flies by in the movie and they leave it for the tv show to flesh out.

Avatar image for sethmode
SethMode

2855

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@kapinkong: Showing your SO the holiday special should be something you can be arrested for (I showed my wife it also).

To the discussion about the new "trilogy" I still feel like TLJ is the only remotely good one because it tries something new, but even then I don't love it because it doesn't stick to its guns. It's wild to me people on the internet are thrilled about the recent season of Mandolorian because I liked the direction TLJ took more than whatever kind of thing they're planning in that show. But this isn't a thread about that so I digress!

Avatar image for theonewhoplays
theonewhoplays

173

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I used to think Attack of the Clones was the worst in the series, but then I saw Rogue One and Rise of the Skywalker. Rogue One felt like a Youtube fan film with a budget (which is not a plus IMHO), and Rise is just a soulless mess. There are only 3 movies that I have regretted spending money on watching at the cinema and they are Rogue One, Rise and Transformers 2.
Attack of the Clones was close but at least seeing Yoda fighting gave me a good laugh. Now when I think about it, seeing Yoda and Palpatine throwing seats at each other was one of the 'highlights' of Revenge as well.

Avatar image for wardcleaver
wardcleaver

442

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@wardcleaver said:
@therealturk said:

@justin258 Have you ever seen the documentary on the making of the original trilogy? It really drives home the idea that the first Star Wars was pretty much saved by the editors and John Williams. The documentary shows this bit where Lucas is screening a rough cut for some other director friends and it's terrible. It's basically a preview of all the shitty, stilted, overly-complicated dialogue from the prequel trilogy. The cringy part is all these other directors (big names like Spielberg and Franics Ford Coppola) have this horrified "what the hell are we watching" look on their face while at the same time it's clear that Lucas thinks it's great. But in the crunch to finish the movie (Fox was basically going to lock him out), all that got chopped out, and the movie was so much better for it.

I have seen that documentary. The thing that stuck out to me most was George Lucas's somewhat creepy infatuation with Natalie Portman.

I've never seen that documentary, but I have heard plenty of rumors that A New Hope - and the original trilogy in general - was basically saved from George Lucas. Speaking as "just some asshole on the internet", George Lucas seems to be at his best when he gives someone else all his ideas.

Could not agree more. While I think the germ of his ideas are good, he definitely needs someone to flesh out those ideas and make them palpable.

Also, I just realized that I mis-read @therealturk's post. He mentioned the making of the original trilogy, and I referred to the prequel trilogy. The thing that I noticed in both those documentaries is George Lucas really selling himself as one of the great directors, up there with Scorsese or Coppala. While I can't say I like all of the films by those two directors, they are miles above what George Lucas as ever directed.

Avatar image for hermes
hermes

2849

Forum Posts

77

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 7

Listen, the prequels have problems. Nobody is arguing that. Anakin change to the dark side was rushed and poorly executed, making the force the equivalent of having leukocytosis or something was stupid, and Lucas can't write natural dialogue or a decent love story to save his life.

But they each have more imagination poured into them than the entire new era of Star Wars (except for TLJ, probably). Solo, Rise of Skywalker, half of Rogue One, it has all pushed me away from those movies, that are far more interested in minutially exploring Darth Vader's plastic buttons or Han Solo's belt than actually being entertaining adventure flicks and part of a larger narrative. The amount of navel gazing that whole franchise has devolved into is just tiresome.

Avatar image for nodima
Nodima

3108

Forum Posts

24

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 13

User Lists: 0

#34  Edited By Nodima

People would have latched onto Rise of Skywalker as a masterpiece of trash much in the same way some people have learned to enjoy Justice League or Wonder Woman '84 if none of the Star Wars movies had been good, but since Star Wars didn't have the DC Extended Universe's sense of ambition and lawlessness that movie gets unfairly tossed aside. It is a terrifying dumpster fire of a film and I walked out of the theater cackling, fully relieved of my impulses to take Star Wars the least bit seriously ever again.

Rise is probably the only of the sequel trilogy I'd consider watching in the comfort of my own home.

Avatar image for kemuri07
Kemuri07

164

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Oh man we are truly a decade away from people declaring the prequels as "unironically good."

Avatar image for rebel_scum
Rebel_Scum

1560

Forum Posts

1

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 3

Rise of skywalker was fantastic. You people are crazy!

Avatar image for ithas2besaidkvo
ItHas2BeSaidKVO

80

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#37  Edited By ItHas2BeSaidKVO

@wardcleaver: I think you meant to write, 'While I think the germ of his ideas are good, he definitely needs someone to flesh out those ideas and make them palpa-(TINE)-(a)ble'.

#sorrynotsorry

Also, I was going to probably pass on Austin Walker's new podcast as it sounded like they were just going to cover the prequel trilogy, but now seeing that they're going to deep dive into the shows as well, I'm 100% in as it will be a fun addition to my Clone Wars and Rebels rewatch when I get my Disney+ sub in the near future.

PS: Impressive you wrote ~1,500 words on how the prequels are meh without mentioning the POS that was Jar Jar fucking Binks.

Avatar image for hippie_genocide
hippie_genocide

2552

Forum Posts

1

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 2

I can only assume you subjected yourself to 9 hours of torture in preparation for Game of the Year discussions.

Avatar image for noobsauce
noobsauce

344

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

The prequels are still bad and always will be. No need to waste time on watching them. Love yourself, people. Your time is more precious than this.

Avatar image for nicksmi56
nicksmi56

903

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I can't see myself sitting through these again unless either my girlfriend's curiosity gets the better of her or I'm part of a Bad Movie Night. Phantom Menace is boring, Attack of the Clones is actively terrible, and even Revenge of the Sith, while definitely better, is dragged down by being connected to the first two pieces of crap. The surprisingly great Clone Wars series is the only part of the prequel era that I will go to bat for.

Avatar image for deactivated-601c3ec725bda
deactivated-601c3ec725bda

16

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I don't enjoy watching the Phantom Menace, it kinda sucked and the acting was mediocre. When I was little, I didn't care much, but looking back I notice it was an odd film. Another thing is that a lot of Star Wars films get hate, but the early 2000's movies deserve it lol.

Avatar image for gundato
Gundato

986

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I'll agree with most of the OP and particularly about loving whatever led to having Ewan Mcgregor have fun for parts of ep2 and most of 3 (I suspect part of it may have been him openly mocking AOTC by accident). In hindsight it is very reminiscent of Harrison Ford having increasingly open disdain for Star Wars over the years but also seeming to have a blast with TFA.

I dunno. As a lifelong Star Wars fan (one of my earliest memories is watching a tape of ROTJ that we likely recorded from the TBS equivalent), I've long since understood that Star Wars is "not that great" from a film standpoint. They are popcorn films (think "Marvel Movies"). They also have an awesome expanded universe that will spend multiple books doing a deep dive on why The Jedi Mind Trick is a grey jedi technique, at best, and why you should never turn down an opportunity for an orgy with bugs. Also that Boba Fett learned his mistake after getting his ass beat like five times and got a beskar choker so that Han's daughter didn't accidentally kill him during training.

Or a series of books based on a video game that involved a, probably fucking insane, lady with no sense of scale gushing over mandalorians that culminated in a REALLY good depiction of Order 66 that made it a horror show all around and then an abandoned sequel series that examined what life would be like after that.

I dunno. Maybe it is being the right age to have felt "The Phantom Menace?!?!? COOL!!! NEW STAR WARS!!! Uhm... I guess pod racing is cool and Darth Maul is awesome but something felt off. Maybe it needed more Ewoks?" and then living through the rise of the (increasingly transphobic and sexist) RLM doing to movies what Yahtzee did to video games. But I notice a lot of parallels with the sequel trilogy. They were fun, but flawed, movies and they kind of fell apart during a really rushed third part. EVERYONE hated them at the time and then 10-20 years later we have everyone insisting they were actually amazing and blah blah blah.

Over the years I have never felt the need to rewatch the prequel trilogy. But if I am channel surfing in a hotel room (remember those?) while waiting to head down to the lobby? I'll leave it on. Even Phantom Menace. Which, ironically, is the same way I feel about Lord of the Rings (which I actually still like).

Avatar image for bladeofcreation
BladeOfCreation

1972

Forum Posts

27

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 3

Say what you will about...well, anything in the prequel trilogy, but Palpatine's rise to power and the way it's framed in the story holds up incredibly well and comes across as prescient in some ways. The movie came out less than four years after 9/11, in a time when the War on Terror was in full swing and people across the political spectrum were relatively united in prosecuting said war. Personally speaking, I wasn't able to attend the midnight showing of the movie that I'd bought a ticket to because I was in the field doing live-fire exercises to prepare for deploying to Iraq.

Speaking of the war, the movie never really addresses it, but the Separatists have valid complaints. One of the failures of the movies is framing the Separatists--which largely consist of nonhumans--as nothing but greedy, utterly corrupt assholes.

The politics of Naboo are fucking stupid. Electing a queen for a limited term or whatever is one thing. Being able to elect a 14-year-old is dumb. You know what's even worse? Padmé wasn't even the youngest queen ever elected! That honor goes to Apailana, who is shown at Padmé's funeral. She was elected at 12 years old. Padmé supported her election, despite Padmé stating in AoTC that, "I wasn't the youngest queen ever elected. But now that I think back on it, I'm not sure I was old enough. I'm not sure I was ready." There is a lot of dumb stuff with the prequels, and Naboo is some of the dumbest shit.

How and why the Jedi make prophecies is indeed one of the problems with these movies. I suspect that the intent was similar to the prophecies about Paul Muad'Dib in Frank Herbert's Dune series. The idea is to show how unreliable prophecies are, and how adherence to prophecies can have unintended consequences. The problem is that the writing of the Star Wars prequels simply isn't good enough to pull that off. As the audience, we can see how that was part of it, and we can see how the Jedi are a deeply flawed religious cult who should have no place in politics. That may very well be the message of the prequels, but if it is, it takes a backseat to showing Anakin's rise to power and fall to darkness.

After watching Mando season 2, I started watching The Clone Wars. I understand it gets pretty good for a kids' show.