The Star Wars prequels weren’t that bad: An exercise in optimism

I’ve always been fascinated with the hatred that Star Wars fans have for the prequel trilogy. Admittedly, I wasn’t alive to see the original trilogy, so perhaps cannot sympathise with the nostalgic feeling that I assume fuels the fires of rage. But I’ve watched the original trilogy enough times to see where the haters are coming from.  A New Hope gave me hope. The Empire Strikes Back is everything anyone could ever want in a film. The Return of the Jedi made me cry. They are an incredible high point in Sci-fi cinema.

Between Return of the Jedi, and the first of the prequel films The Phantom Menace, there was a 16 year gap that allowed fans to stew in their Han Solo juices. New fans and old obviously had unattainably high expectations for The Phantom Menace, and upon the release of the film vehemently despised it and slammed it for everything it was worth, to the point where people refuse to watch it in a Star Wars movie marathon (I have a lot of fights with people about this, and by fights I mean imaginary arguments with them in my head because I don’t like confrontation). This reaction then snowballed to include the following two films – Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith – and the entire prequel trilogy now makes fan boys sad.

But I’m here to tell you: y’all need to chill.

I’m not denying that there were some issues with the prequels – Hayden Christensen’s abysmal acting, for one, not to mention Jar Jar Binks (no, seriously, don’t mention him). But it’s not all bad. Here are some reasons to love Episodes I, II, and III: –

Worldbuilding –

Off the charts. Seriously, with everything from podracing to politics, the prequel trilogy does a wonderful job of expanding the Star Wars universe. A lot of fans expressed their frustration with the density of the political story arc that is particularly present in Episodes II and III, but personally, I feel it was necessary to explore this part of the Star Wars universe in depth in order to properly give dramatic weight to the betrayal and corruption of Anakin in his journey to the dark side. The prequels also introduced us to some amazing planets, species and civilisations, which I am always down for.

Skywalker Backstory –

Who doesn’t want to see the tragedies that befell Anakin, turning him into one of the most well known villains in Sci-fi history? Unfortunately it means sitting through some cringe worthy acting in parts, but gosh darn I do love a good downfall. From humble beginnings as a slave on Tatooine, all the way through to burning alive on the edge of a volcano, Anakin’s journey to the dark side is heartbreaking, giving you nauseating sense of helplessness as a viewer. You know where he’s headed, you know what the consequences of his decisions will be, and somehow that makes for better cinema than if you were oblivious to the fact he was to become Darth Vader. Its like a train wreck. A beautiful, cheesy train wreck.

Action – 

Even if the incredible battle sequences don’t tickle your fancy, the lightsaber duels alone should warrant at least a stirring in your loins. The lightsaber fight choreography is to die for, and it is obvious that there is a huge amount of skill on display. Among my personal favourites is the emotional final battle in Revenge of the Sith between Obi Wan and Anakin on the volcanic planet of Mustafa, but that may be because it also involved handsome crying men. The Clone Wars in Attack of the Clones are suitably epic and entertaining, so much so that they got their own TV show, and even the Trade Federation vs the Gungans in The Phantom Menace was fun to watch, if only for some cool weaponry tech.

Mace Windu –

Love that guy.

In conclusion, please stop denying yourself the joy of watching an incredible trilogy of films just because some butthurt purists who still jerk off to Princess Leia in a metal bikini don’t know how to have fun.

Agree/Disagree? Want to tell me how much you love handsome crying men too? Make sure you leave a comment below!

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2 comments

  1. Alana Young · August 19, 2015

    Thank you! The prequels definitely aren’t ESB-good (what is? No seriously, do you know what is? I’m worried nothing will ever give me the same rush as Ep. V), but they’re amazing in a lot of ways. The political thriller aspect was a really good indicator of the changes the galaxy goes through between III-IV and gives a new light to the Empire’s reign. And the lightsaber duels cannot be beat! I cry as much as the handsome men on Mustafar every time – and people say the prequels aren’t emotionally resonant, pfft! Really awesome article, more please!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lauren · August 19, 2015

      Thank you! There will definitely be more Star Wars coming soon, so watch this space.

      Like

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