They were as good as they could possibly have been
The weight of expectation was huge, especially after nearly twenty years’ wait since Return of the Jedi. Given that we also know what is to happen throughout, George Lucas was faced with an impossible task. Remember what happened to The Stone Roses’ Second Coming, and that was only five years in the making – they returned with a fine album now universally slated (bandwagon jumpers spread quicker than the clap), but one that was a natural progression from their eponymous debut, a record that very few people bought at the time and only came to when Oasis praised it.
You were probably a kid the first time around
Star Wars came out the year I was born, and so when I saw Return of the Jedi at the pictures I still didn’t know where babies came from. By the time of the prequels I was in my twenties, working full-time and in a serious relationship. Watching those original films for the first time was a life-changing experience for everyone my age group – for most of us it was our first glance at the struggle between good and evil, not to mention our first experience of death (I never bothered with Bambi). By the time of the prequels we’d seen it all before. It’s interesting to note that all the people I now know who were adults at the time of Star Wars can’t find anything to dislike about the prequels. All six are kids’ films, remember.
It’s interesting to note that all the people I now know who were adults at the time of Star Wars can’t find anything to dislike about the prequels.
Jar Jar Binks is no more annoying than C–3P0
A comment I’ve heard more times than I care to remember is that the prequels would be fine if it wasn’t for Jar Jar Binks. The fall-guy of these films is no more a fall-guy than C-3PO came to be, and tellingly, all the kids I’ve watched the six films with don’t have a problem with either character.
We get to see Jedis in action in their pomp
This is a very big deal for Star Wars’ fans, and the fight scenes involving Jedis are fantastic throughout the prequels, and matched by another brilliant score from John Williams. By the time of the original films, Obi-Wan and Yoda are past it, whereas Luke Skywalker remains unqualified until the end of Return of the Jedi. The aura, athleticism and martial arts skills on display rank amongst the great scenes from any Star Wars films.
Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor and Natalie Portman; the return of Ian McDiarmid, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker and Frank Oz...need one say more? Okay then. Any trilogy that features Brian Blessed, Terence Stamp and Peter Cushing is worth watching even if you can’t find a single other reason to bring yourself to do so.
Revenge of the Sith is darker than Empire Strikes Back
It’s cool to pick Empire as your favourite, the biggest Star Wars freaks I know all pick the ‘difficult one’ out of the original three as being the best. And, let’s be honest, it’s majestic, but if darkness is your thing, Revenge of the Sith beats Empire hands down. Unlike Empire, there’s a sense of foreboding from the start in Revenge, and the escalation of violence and despair is speedily-yet-perfectly paced throughout. Anakin’s confessing n to killing Jedi children and his final howl through Darth Vader’s mask remain the most harrowing scenes of all six films.
Like the arrival of a new Rolling Stones’ record, we know it’s not going to be as good as Exile on Main Street, but the fact that they’re still alive and making music makes the whole experience worthwhile.
The fact that they exist at all is worth celebrating
The finest moment of any Star Wars film is the first few seconds, when John Williams score pipes up, and the intro text pans up the screen, a life-affirming moment of utter excitement and anticipation. The Phantom Menace may not be as good as Star Wars, but what is? Like the arrival of a new Rolling Stones’ record, we know it’s not going to be as good as Exile on Main Street, but the fact that they’re still alive and making music makes the whole experience worthwhile.
Too often I’ve heard it say that the prequels have nothing going for them. What about Anakin’s pod race in Phantom, a CGI Ben Hur? Or Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan’s extended fight scene with Darth Maul? Or the race for the changeling bounty hunter in Attack of the Clones, or let’s face it, the whole of Revenge of the Sith?
No more loose ends
There’s a satisfying feeling of completion that comes from the prequels, and it was a joy to finally see scenes we had only heard legend of in the original trilogy, such as the Clone Wars, the real reasons behind Anakin’s shift to the dark side, and most of all the true meaning of ‘the force’.
If you don’t like the prequels, what do you like about the originals?
Let’s have some honesty here. We’re talking about kids’ films when it comes down to it. The prequels really aren’t much different to the originals are they? It’s Cowboys & Indians in space. There are goodies, baddies, characters put in purely for humour, a similar amount of robots and humans, and aside from the extensive use of CGI, Lucas’ treatment of the story is clearly that of a fan as well as a creator. What on earth did you expect?
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