When it comes to the Star Wars prequels–The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith–I don’t think there’s ever been a set of films hated so much.
Still, all that disgust doesn’t negate the trilogy’s box office success. The Phantom Menace was the highest grossing Star Wars film until The Force Awakens was released in 2015, which is almost funny because, truly, Episode I is the most difficult Star Wars movie to defend.
I mean, if we’re talking why people hate these films, it’s the first one that acts as the prime example: stilted pacing, cheesy dialogue, Jake Llyod’s Anakin is awful, and Jar-Jar Binks was brought into existence. Which, we ask again, WHY? Then Hayden Christensen is introduced in the next film, and that’s not really any better (we get it, you gots the angst and you hate sand).
3 Reasons Why I Love the Star Wars Prequels
So, how can I like these films? Well, ignoring the fact that it’s apparently the cool thing to like these films now, and as much as I will never get over the whole, “She died of a broken heart,” thing (although the fan theories about that are very interesting), I still can’t help but to sit down and watch these movies. Guys, I enjoy watching these movies, beyond all their flaws (and, boy, there are many). And here’s three reasons why.
Reason #1 – The Action Scenes
The one thing that I feel the prequel better provides than the original trilogy is a variety of intricate and admittedly beautiful action scenes. No matter how how much you prefer one over the other, no matter what you hate from these films, they have undeniably enjoyable scenes that are well directed, and exciting to watch.
I mean, who can forget the amazing opener to Revenge of the Sith? The Battle of Coruscant shows that, yes, George Lucas sucks butt at dialogue and actually moving a story along, but sometimes he’s just a really, really good director. Sometimes.
Then there’s the insane amount of emotion behind the execution of Order 66, as you watch Jedi being murdered, one by one, by people they trusted–including Anakin killing a room full of children.
The epic fight scene with Obi-Wan, Qui Gon Ginn, and Darth Maul. For as cool as Darth Maul is, you’d think he would’ve received more scene time. Although it kind of felt like his whole purpose was just this super freaking cool fight, I’ll take what I can get! This scene is epic, from the lightsaber choreography to the epic track playing (“Duel of the Fates”).
But my favorite–my absolute favorite lightsaber duel of all time, in fact–is the fight between Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi on Mustafar. Guys, the sword play here is so beautiful. You can see the rawness of it all, as master and apprentice fight one another. It’s all the feels, and I love it.
Reason #2 – Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan
Alec Guinness’s original portrayal of Obi-Wan Kenobi, a now elderly Jedi master who is charged with watching over Luke Skywalker, left quite the challenge for whoever was to play the young Obi-Wan. Ewan McGregor’s performance plays a perfect homage to Guinness’s character, while at the same time bringing his own spin.
McGregor’s Obi-Wan is so fantastic because you can see that he clearly appreciated the role. Not only does he pull off the morally uncontaminated innocence of a young apprentice, including perfect comedic timing, but in each movie you see a progression in his character. You watch as a good man is tested repeatedly, including dueling and ultimately destroying his brother. You see a pure and virtuous mind broken down by the realities presented within the dualities of the Force.
McGregor’s portrayal of Obi-Wan is of a distraught man who has been forced to do something that he could have never imagined. This character growth feels legitimate to Obi-Wan Kenobi’s character, who, in A New Hope, was said to have died when Luke’s father passed. McGregor’s portrayal during the fight on Mustafar makes you feel like that really happened, that a part of him actually did die the day that he had to watch his apprentice burn alive.
Reason #3 – “Across the Stars”
The love story between Anakin and Padmé has always been very intriguing to me. First off, there’s a five year age gap. When they actually end up marrying, she’s 24 and he’s 19, almost 20. (This is actually less of an age gap than Han and Leia.) But, from the get-go, most people found their relationship to be off-putting. Which, I get. In the upstart, Padmé was the mother figure that Anakin lost. To go from a mother figure to a love interest can feel creepy. I get that.
But, if you really look at their relationship, it works. As a concept, they are a more court feeling, Lancelot and Guinevere forbidden love. In a way, Anakin was the knight who fell in love with the princess he was protecting. Now, George Lucas seems to have taken his cues for their dialogue from a Lifetime movie, but if you look past that, you see that they really do work out as a couple. On paper, that is. When George Lucas isn’t writing their love scenes.
In the end both Anakin and Padmé were children. Padmé, who was 14 when she was made queen, spent eight years ruling, and then put her entire life aside to serve in the Senate. Then there’s Anakin, a slave until he was 9-years-old, before being swiftly put into the Order, where it is basically against the rules to have any sort of feelings, further stunting any sort of emotional maturity he may have been able to grow into. These two, who were never really allowed to be children in the first place, were not fit to govern a healthy relationship. There was just no way. When they found each other, it was all just prime for a destruction course.
But still, I can’t help it. I love their heartbreaking and dysfunctional story that ends in horrible tragedy. I think it’s “Across the Stars” that did it in for me. John Williams is probably one of the most recognizable parts of the Star Wars franchise, but man, this song? It has power. Again, with everything that sucked about the prequels, you can’t argue that the music most definitely did not suck. And this song is my favorite. It is the epitome of this relationship, and their relationship is the heart of why the whole load of shiz goes down, if you think about it.
So, there you have it. Even with all its flaws, these movies have an impact on me, and I can’t help watching them. (It feels like I’m at Prequels Anonymous or something.)
What’s the most memorable part of prequels for you?