In Defense of the Prequels

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Let me just start off by saying, if you say that George Lucas “raped” your childhood with the prequels, then you’re just a huge crybaby. Equating movies you didn’t like with an actual event that actually ruins people’s lives is such gross hyperbole.

Now that that is out of the way, let me say that I do not love the prequels. I think that they range from tolerable to okay to good. But as I was describing the Star Wars saga to one of my coworkers, I realized that there was plenty of good within the movies. Sure there is a lot of filtering out the bad. But there is a lot to enjoy. 

We see just what the Jedi Order was like before they were effectively exterminated. The Jedi despite being the force for good were not above character flaws. Though not deserving of what happened, you can see how they led to their own downfall.

There are arguably two acting MVP’s in th trilogy. Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi is one of them. We meet him as a young Jedi apprentice who is on the cusp of becoming a full fledged Jedi knight but thrust with a responsibility he wasn’t expecting. By the end he is one of the last remaining Jedi in the galaxy and going into hiding along with the son of his fallen apprentice/surrogate son. McGregor has an odd role to play as he has to pay homage to Alec Guinness’ role in the original but make his own. There is a reason many people are claimoring to see him reprise the role in some form.

The other has to be Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine. The prequels do not hide the fact that Palpatine is the Sith Lord Darth Sidious aka the future Emperor. It’s only in universe that the secret is kept. So for the first two prequels, Palpatine and Sidious are always treated like two separate entities despite the audience knowing they are one in the same. McDiarmid plays Palpatine as a master manipulator who is playing every side to achieve his goals but as Palpatine he is a benevolent politician but as Sidious he hams it up but in the right way. By Revenge of the Sith he is full on Emperor mode and a delight to watch. 

The rise and fall of Anakin Skywalker is one of the best/worst aspects of the trilogy. It fails due to bad dialogue and stilted acting. But take a step back and it is easy to see how and why it happened. The former slave boy who was taken away from his mother as he was believed to be the “Chosen One”. The Jedi reluctantly accepted him into their ranks. Falling in love and eventually marrying the first woman he met outside of his home despite Jedi not supposed to have relations. Immediately thrust into war which takes a toll on him mentally and physically. Finally succumbing to the temptations of Palpatine who has been gaslighting him since he was a child. Eventually losing his wife due to his own actions and becoming so injured that hhe is forced to live in effectively a coffin and serve someone who thinks nothing of him besides pawn. It is tragic and sad to see but once again you have to remove the bad from the good.

The Order 66 sequence is heartbreaking to watch. When Palpatine takes over, he flips on the switch for the Clone troopers to elimiinate the Jedi they have been fighting with for years. Taken as a short film, thia is a brilliant sequence. Yoda, the most powerful Jedi, who trains most of the Jedi when they are toddlers feels all of their deaths through the Force. We also see the first actions of Darth Vader as he is personally sent to the Jedi Temple to kill all who are inside…including the children. It is a brilliant sequence accompanied by a beautiful score from John Williams.

The prequels also gave us the great Clone Wars animated series. Taking place during the three year gap between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. It helps explain Anakin’s action in the latter movie as we see the toll the war took on him. Also giving us Ahsoka Tano the former apprentice of Anakin Skywalker who is probably the most popular non movie originating characters. This led to the now running Rebels which is just as good as Clone Wars. 

Like most things, films are subjective. Some people love these movies. Some people loathe these movies. Both are equally valid. I personally fall somewhere in the middle. I won’t be singing their praises other than a few areas but I won’t damn them either. I’ve seen some really bad movies. I’ve seen Soul Plane. 

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