Just how bad are the Star Wars prequels?

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ptdebate
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Just how bad are the Star Wars prequels?

Postby ptdebate » June 5th, 2017, 10:08 pm

I have found myself in a situation which is no doubt familiar to many of you out there: my girlfriend knew nothing about Star Wars, and I had to figure out the best way to educate her in the ways of the Force.

We watched Episode VII first. My girlfriend is a casual fan of the MCU so the latest entry seemed like the best jumping-off point for someone who tolerates sci-fi and action-adventure but doesn't sweat the details. She enjoyed it! That was great news. Next we watched Rogue One when it released in theaters, and she actually liked it better than I did (the planet hopping and dialogue in the first half of the film almost literally put me to sleep). Then came IV and V, during which she was full of questions and interest. This was a good sign. The visuals of these films look very nice on Blu Ray and blew away her expectations for a movie from the late 70s/early 80s.

Then we backtracked to III to explore the downfall that led to Anakin becoming Vader. Now, I've only seen III a handful of times myself, because by the time I saw Episode II for the first (and only) time, I'd already given up on the prequels as a disappointment. As it turns out, Episode III does not disappoint, and is a great (if not perfect) cinematic experience. I think Episode III is more-or-less what everyone was wanting out of a Star Wars prequel as it mostly eschews annoying creatures and unnecessary subplots and brings Anakin's descent to the dark side into razor-sharp focus. There are actually some moments of great acting by the otherwise reviled Hayden Christiansen. It turns out that Lucas's script in part II was probably more to blame than lack of acting merit on his part.

So my question for this discussion is: do the prequels really deserve all the hate they get? Are they perhaps just average to pretty good overall rather than complete garbage?

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Atarifever
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Re: Just how bad are the Star Wars prequels?

Postby Atarifever » June 6th, 2017, 6:01 am

I think they're pretty terrible. I liked them all a little when first seeing them, but the problem is that these are Star Wars movies. That means geeks like us will watch them many, many times. Episodes 4,5,6 and 7 stand up incredibly well to repeat viewings (dozens and dozens of repeat viewings over the years for 4,5, and 6). Episodes 1, 2, and 3 can barely take one viewing. Rewatch them a couple times and see how you feel about them. They're slow and the dialogue is more cringe-worthy every time. A lot of apologists online say "everyone loved them at first, then it got cool to hate them." That's half true. People didn't mind them at first. Unfortunately, these are not average movies. These are Star Wars movies, and as such would be subject to repeat viewings, online discussion, and being gone over with a fine tooth comb. The prequels do not handle that as well as the originals or episode 7.

If you want to find a place for them, watch them in the machete order. Episode 4 then 5 then 2 then 3 then 6. Throw 1 in the garbage. There are good write ups online about why that order works. I used it a couple years ago and it's pretty solid.

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Rev
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Re: Just how bad are the Star Wars prequels?

Postby Rev » June 6th, 2017, 11:17 am

Funny, I just rewatched all 8 movies right before rogue one was released on DVD and I came to the conclusion that the only decent one is part 3. Man the first two are bad. Too much politics. However all the other star wars moves are great but there is a sharp difference in quality between the first two numbered moves and the rest of them, imo.

pacman000
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Re: Just how bad are the Star Wars prequels?

Postby pacman000 » June 6th, 2017, 11:47 am

Atarifever wrote:I think they're pretty terrible. I liked them all a little when first seeing them, but the problem is that these are Star Wars movies. That means geeks like us will watch them many, many times. Episodes 4,5,6 and 7 stand up incredibly well to repeat viewings (dozens and dozens of repeat viewings over the years for 4,5, and 6). Episodes 1, 2, and 3 can barely take one viewing. Rewatch them a couple times and see how you feel about them. They're slow and the dialogue is more cringe-worthy every time. A lot of apologists online say "everyone loved them at first, then it got cool to hate them." That's half true. People didn't mind them at first. Unfortunately, these are not average movies. These are Star Wars movies, and as such would be subject to repeat viewings, online discussion, and being gone over with a fine tooth comb. The prequels do not handle that as well as the originals or episode 7.

I think that was Scotland's point. Even if Episode I and II don't compare well with the other Star Wars movies they are not bad movies. They have exciting points, comical points, dramatic points, even some mystery in Episode II. They're set in a well-developed universe. They were made with a great degree of technical skill; Episode I has some great miniature FX; it's probably one of the last films to use them to a great extent. There are things to like about them.

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scotland
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Re: Just how bad are the Star Wars prequels?

Postby scotland » June 6th, 2017, 1:40 pm

In 1977, there wasn't much fun in science fiction. The closest thing was Star Trek, which was made about 10 years before. The recent big Sci-Fi movies were the increasingly lower budget Planet of the Apes movies, the big spectacle of Close Encounters and the sexy but mediocre Logan's Run. Suddenly, we had a this big budget Flash Gordon movie with lots of great little bits. It was big, and it was mysterious - the Force, the Empire, this Darth Vader villain, lightsabers, the 'droids', the John Williams music, the evil stormtroopers - the WWII homages were everywhere, but in a wartime 'fight the good fight' 1940s kinda war movie instead of Rogue One's 1960s-70s kind of gritty sadder war movie. Wow. Star Wars felt a little bit like fantasy and little bit real. We were having fun with Luke and the Gang fighting Vader and his faceless goons to bring freedom to the Galaxy, just like a Flash Gordon movie.

The prequels are less about WWII and more about the Decline and Fall of the Roman Republic. Its about politics and trade and things in decline, about mistakes being made, people missing clues, things failing and floundering, and even kids being senselessly murdered. Just like the first three films echo WWII, the prequels are about ancient Rome with chariot races, gladiatorial arenas, we watch the republic become an empire and a mad Caesar on the throne.

Parts of the prequels are great - every scene with Palpatine, for instance. Unfortunately, it tried to demystify everything the first movie introduced. Compare Qui Jonn and his midichlorian reader to Obi Wan first describing the force in mystical religious language. It also retreads the same ground storywise. The comic relief fell flat, etc. If all Lucas ever did was the original trilogy, he would be amazing. That we don't appreciate the prequels 20 years later like we do the original trilogy really isn't that unusual.

I don't think they are bad movies, but they just don't have the originality and spark of the original.

eneuman96
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Re: Just how bad are the Star Wars prequels?

Postby eneuman96 » June 6th, 2017, 2:46 pm

Ever since around the time The Force Awakens came out, a lot of people have come out in defense of the prequels.

I can't say I agree with them.

One aspect of the prequels many people disliked and has gotten even worse with age is the excessive CGI. The original trilogy (and TFA to a degree) made heavy use of practical effects, and every object in them purposely looks as though it's been used and worn down. Subtly, this aesthetic made the world of the original trilogy a sense of familiarity even to first-time viewers. The special effects and action of the prequels instead resemble a contemporary video game, and not the kind of game anyone would consider a classic.

The other biggest problem with the prequels is the lack of well-written characters. I never found myself emotionally invested in any of the characters in the prequels nearly as much as I was in the ones in the original trilogy. Even TFA, as much as it cribs from A New Hope, still featured new characters that I was interested in. Anakin and Padme in particular have one of the least believable romances ever. Not to mention we didn't need to see Anakin or Boba Fett as a kid.

Basically, I dislike the prequels because they're very much a case of style over substance. Even when George Lucas tries to make some sort of commentary using Space Politics™ or tries to have an actual emotional moment, it falls flat due to being clumsily written. The prequels are far from the worst movies of all time, but I find them quite disappointing when stacked against the original trilogy.

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Gentlegamer
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Re: Just how bad are the Star Wars prequels?

Postby Gentlegamer » June 6th, 2017, 4:11 pm

They are terrible.

Look up the Red Letter Media video reviews on youtube by "Mr. Plinkett"

Sut
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Re: Just how bad are the Star Wars prequels?

Postby Sut » June 6th, 2017, 4:53 pm

What really got my goat about the prequels was that Anakin's transformation was handled poorly.

We should have seen some darkness in him during Phantom Menace, perhaps he uses the force to his advantage in the pod race or he force kills his master - something, anything to show he has that side to him.

I thought they were ok on release but the first two are aging like milk. The CGI is now jarring and actually looks less detailed than your standard PS4 game, snapping you out of the film. I do enjoy Revenge of the Sith though.

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DaHeckIzDat
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Re: Just how bad are the Star Wars prequels?

Postby DaHeckIzDat » June 6th, 2017, 5:05 pm

I don't hate them as much as other people, but I don't think they're GOOD either. Just... mediocre, mostly. I enjoyed them as a kid, but to be fair back then all I cared about was flashy special effects and cool lightsaber fights.

eneuman96
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Re: Just how bad are the Star Wars prequels?

Postby eneuman96 » June 6th, 2017, 6:58 pm

Gentlegamer wrote:Look up the Red Letter Media video reviews on youtube by "Mr. Plinkett"


Although I love those and consider them ​to be the gold standard for comedic video reviews, I find that they generally don't change the minds of prequel fans because they tend to like the prequels for some of the same reasons Mr. Plinkett criticizes them for (the special effects, the overuse of lightsaber duels, Revenge of the Sith attempting to become darker than the previous two).


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