Just how bad are the Star Wars prequels?

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Alucard1191
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Re: Just how bad are the Star Wars prequels?

Postby Alucard1191 » June 7th, 2017, 11:43 pm

Stalvern wrote:They are as labored as they are incoherent, and their central figure is completely insufferable.

I was a kid when The Phantom Menace came out. I somehow missed it at the theater, but my parents bought the VHS to go with our copy of A New Hope. I can say damn near every line in A New Hope from the many times I watched it back then, but with The Phantom Menace, I eventually just fast-forwarded from the big fish to the podrace to the lightsaber fight because there's nothing else in that movie that I could possibly care about, then or now. It doesn't even work as a setup for the other two prequels, being set so senselessly far before them.

Attack of the Clones is basically two movies until the end. Anakin's is flat-out irredeemable, and while Obi-Wan's is fun to watch the first time around, it's impossible to not see how incredibly stupid every single detail of the "mystery" and his "investigation" is when you revisit it. That leaves the final act, where even that insipid factory sequence can't ruin the awesome land battle, which is the single time that the prequels live up to their epic aspirations.

The Revenge of the Sith is the least bad, mainly because Anakin seems almost human here instead of the Family Circus character that he was in the first movie or the unbelievable creep that he was in the second. It's still too cluttered and stilted to be actively good (Obi-Wan's detour with General Grievous is the biggest waste of time in the series), but I'll take its clunky melodrama over its predecessors' complete failure to articulate emotion at all.

What made the original trilogy good was its combination of urgency and levity - urgency being a consequence of emotional investment in the films' tension, levity being a simple awareness of the lightweight blockbuster fun that it was. With the prequels, there's practically none of the first (even if a single actor besides Liam Neeson and Ewan MacGregor managed to sell the awful dialogue enough to be sympathetic, the films practically go out of their way to downplay the tension that should drive their scenes), and the second is sucked out and segregated into jarring spurts of "comic relief" against the deadly serious grandiosity that is left as the films' true character.

People can harp on the prequels all they want for the midichlorians or the unexplained new technology or any number of discontinuities with the originals, but that's just beating around the bush without addressing how bad they actually are on their own terms as movies. George Lucas shouldn't be faulted for aiming high in trying to make a different, more ambitious kind of movie with the prequels, especially after so many years. He should be faulted for making it terribly.


Just wanted to say I agree with you entirely. They're bad movies just as movies. So much bureaucracy, really, really, really boring dialogue, and craptastic pacing. Nothing will happen for 45 minutes and then suddenly there is a massive way, way over the top light saber while doing something insane style sequence. Lucas only actually directed the first of the original trilogy, which is great but is clearly the weakest of the original 3. Lucas direct all 3 of the prequels, and he just doesn't know what he's doing anymore. (Not really since 'Willow' but I digress.)

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

Postby Stalvern » June 8th, 2017, 12:36 pm

Alucard1191 wrote:Lucas only actually directed the first of the original trilogy, which is great but is clearly the weakest of the original 3.

It's not as good as The Empire Strikes Back, but it's a sight better than Return of the Jedi. A New Hope is the most focused and tight of the three; Return of the Jedi is hampered by ridiculous plotting, corny slapstick, and hokey Care Bears shenanigans. It still has some of the best individual moments and scenes, but it doesn't come together as a whole nearly as well. In fact, its weaknesses are an uncomfortable foreshadowing of what The Phantom Menace turned out to be.

Part of why Lucas did such a good job with the original movie is that he really did have a specific, individual vision. He wanted a sharp, fast, fun, romanticized adventure movie, and it's entirely because of him that it turned out that way - the original cut was a rambling mess that he had to throw out and have re-edited so it would move. (Imagine how riveting it would have been to see Luke actually go to the Tosche station and pick up those power converters!) The subsequent financial success allowed him to make bigger and bigger follow-ups, and while that made The Empire Strikes Back the classic that it is, Return of the Jedi is the point where he started to lose his grip on the original idea. By the time that he made the prequels, it was completely gone.

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

Postby Sut » June 8th, 2017, 2:31 pm

Stalvern wrote:
Alucard1191 wrote:Lucas only actually directed the first of the original trilogy, which is great but is clearly the weakest of the original 3.

It's not as good as The Empire Strikes Back, but it's a sight better than Return of the Jedi. A New Hope is the most focused and tight of the three; Return of the Jedi is hampered by ridiculous plotting, corny slapstick, and hokey Care Bears shenanigans. It still has some of the best individual moments and scenes, but it doesn't come together as a whole nearly as well. In fact, its weaknesses are an uncomfortable foreshadowing of what The Phantom Menace turned out to be.

Part of why Lucas did such a good job with the original movie is that he really did have a specific, individual vision. He wanted a sharp, fast, fun, romanticized adventure movie, and it's entirely because of him that it turned out that way - the original cut was a rambling mess that he had to throw out and have re-edited so it would move. (Imagine how riveting it would have been to see Luke actually go to the Tosche station and pick up those power converters!) The subsequent financial success allowed him to make bigger and bigger follow-ups, and while that made The Empire Strikes Back the classic that it is, Return of the Jedi is the point where he started to lose his grip on the original idea. By the time that he made the prequels, it was completely gone.


Really enjoyed your posts in this thread Stalvern. Of course its opinionated but at the same time insightful. You can see it's something your interested in.

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

Postby pacman000 » June 8th, 2017, 3:50 pm

Stalvern wrote:the original cut (of A New Hope) was a rambling mess that he had to throw out and have re-edited so it would move.


I'd forgotten about that. Lucas did re-edit the film to make it move faster, so my "Lucas finally got to make the film he always wanted to" idea isn't 100% correct. Still, it's obvious the restrictions imposed by budget/technology/time helped forced him to refine his ideas before filming began.

If you want to see some of the deleted scenes from ANH they're here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f00IkrWvur4

Not bad scenes in-and-of themselves, except for that back-projected one, but they would've slowed the film down.

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

Postby CaptainCruch » June 8th, 2017, 3:55 pm

I like all of them (even Attack of the Clones), with the exception of A Phantom Menace...


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