I don’t remember movie going experiences from when I was 7. Except one. My mom, older brother, and I arrived late at a giant theater (movie theaters used to be bigger) for Star Wars. We arrived about 9 minutes in because I remember the images of C-3PO and R2-D2 walking on the desert sands of Tatooine. I was instantly in love.
Fast forward 22 years. I was very early for a midnight showing of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. I had arrived a few hours earlier to a group that had been in line all day. We were excited. When the movie began we screamed for the LucasFilm Logo. We screamed for the words “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….” We screamed for the amazing John Williams music starting, screamed for even for the film’s stupid title as the opening crawl appeared.
Then it happened. I can point to it exactly. In the second sentence of the crawl I read, “The taxation of trade routes to outlying star systems is in dispute.” And I knew we were doomed.
I haven’t seen the Prequels since their first showing in the movie theater. So I decided over Thanksgiving weekend to check them out again and how they connected to the Original Trilogy. As I have seen the movies before, I didn’t need to use the Machete Order, which is the best way to show the movies to someone seeing them for the first time (i.e. your kid). I was looking for chronological flow.
Along the way I noted some of the best and worst moments of each film and I share them here.
Prequel to the Prequels – There are things that are great throughout in all 6 movies:
- Music – John Williams is amazing
- Special Effects – I may not like the digital stuff all the time, but the effects are fantastic
- Sound – Ben Burtt (also the voice of R2-D2) is stupendous.
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)
Worst Thing: The movie is so juvenile. George Lucas wanted to capture kids so desperately that he turned the film into a bad Saturday morning live action farce (and the butt of every Star Wars joke). Yes, I primarily mean Jar-Jar Binks (Or course, the Jar-Jar as Sith Lord theory is pretty convincing).
Other Bad Things:
- Jake Lloyd is annoying. And no one wants to see Darth Vader as a child. “Stalin: The Boyhood Years Movie” hasn’t been made for a reason.
- Was there a single person over the age of 10 who didn’t know that Senator Palpatine and Darth Sidious were the same person?
- The aliens all seem to be racist stereotypes.
- The midichlorians and the virgin birth.
- Taxation and politics – way to get the kids’ attention, George
Best Thing: The final lightsaber fight between Darth Maul, Qui-Gon Jinn, and Obi-Wan Kenobi was lots of fun (and sad).
Other Good Things:
- The switches between the Queen and Padmé fooled me (and that actress was Keira Knightley).
- Darth Maul – Looked good, great lightsaber. Not a talker – Only 3 lines.
- Pod Race had some good moments. But I kind of wanted Sebulba to win.
- Padmé was the best shot of any of characters. That’s also mostly true with Princess Leia.
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)
Worst Thing: Petulant lovesick teenae Anakin. “Hitler: Teenage Angst” is not a best-seller for a reason. Anakin will grow up to be Darth Vader, one of the greatest villains of all time. His pathetic dialogue, such as his “sand”pick-up line, emasculates Vader.
Other Bad Things
- All the Dialogue
- R2-D2 Flying.
- C-3PO’s shenanigans (but a better choice than more Jar-Jar)
Best Thing: The moment of Yoda ready to fight Count Dooku (bad name) with his lightsaber
- Speeder Chase
- Turns out the Dark Side is more powerful than the Force. Palatine is right across from Yoda and Yoda has no idea the Sith Lord is in the room. (“Blind we are.”)
- Force Lighting
- Obi-Wan’s fight with Jango Fett
- The Arena Battle
- Anakin’s murderous rampage
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
Other Bad Things:
- Obi-Wan is a fussy old aunt. We already have C-3PO.
- More whiny lovesick dialogue from Anakin
- Anakin’s hair (although Luke seems to have adopted a messy mane)
- “I have the high ground.”
- Obi-Wan leaving Anakin on Mustafar rather than either arresting him (the Jedi way) or killing him (the Dark Side).
Best Thing: The lightsaber fights (except as above).
- Palpatine’s evil planning and manipulation
- General Grievous vs. Obi-Wan (where we discover why Kylo Ren would want a hilt on his lightsaber)
- “So this is how liberty dies – with thunderous applause.”
- Shot of Anakin about to kill the younglings.
- Ending contrast between Anakin and Padmé
- Vader’s 1st breath
Overall, Episode I is a bad film, II and III are okay with good stuff in them, but a lot ponderous junk.
Worst and Best of the Original Trilogy coming soon.
What are you least favorite and most favorite moments from the Prequels? Comment below.