Why the Star Wars Prequels Aren’t THAT Bad

Published on January 12th, 2016 in: Movies, Over the Gadfly's Nest |

By Tyler Hodg

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Star Wars: two short words that mean a great deal to a lot of people.

Yet, until December of 2015, half of the series was generally panned by fans and critics alike. How can something be so beloved and despised at the same time?

This, of course, is because some fans choose to separate the original trilogy from the prequel trilogy–and rightfully so. The first three films were made from 1977-1983, while the next three were not made until 1999-2005. If this calculator is in working (First) order, that is a gap of 16 years between trilogies. Yes, 16 years.

But the same people who claim the prequels “don’t matter” like to reintroduce them into the series when it’s time to rip them to shreds like a rathtar. Star Wars isn’t the Bible; you can’t pick and choose what is or isn’t canon (Disney God does that for us!).

The issues with Episodes I-III are well-documented. One simple search on YouTube will send you down a rabbit hole of prequel hate-videos. But some of the arguments against them don’t necessarily hold up in an actual debate.

Note: I, Tyler Hodg, am in no way claiming the prequels are better than the original trilogy.

Let’s proceed.

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Inconsistencies

Sure, the prequel trilogy has a number of mistakes–both on the narrative and filmmaking side–but so does the original trilogy.

When thinking of Obi-wan’s wet hair that magically dries, then is wet again in The Phantom Menace, it’s important to remember Leia changes between a “North American” and “English” accent for no apparent reason in A New Hope.

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Terrible Writing and Acting

As a whole, the original trilogy is a bigger, stinkier block of cheese than the prequels. From Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher’s acting in A New Hope specifically, to dancing Ewoks in Return of the Jedi, there are some pretty lame moments in the older movies.

That is in no way discrediting the awkward–and sometimes disastrous–scenes in the prequel films (“Anakin, you’re breaking my heart!”). The difference between the two trilogies is that one is chalked up to being “nostalgic” and a “product of its time,” while the other is demoted to absolute garbage because it wasn’t identical to its predecessor.

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Everyone’s favorite: Jar Jar Binks

To paraphrase the creator himself, George Lucas, “People don’t want to believe that Star Wars is for children.” While everything that he says should be taken with a grain of salt–that quote included–he has a point. Star Wars is NOT a dark, adult-oriented movie. Yes, it has elements associated with those types of films, but only as much as it also includes aspects of children’s movies.

The character of Jar Jar Binks was used too much, but he really isn’t the problem. Silly, annoying characters have always had integral roles in Star Wars, and Binks had some bad timing. He is essentially a scapegoat for marks who are frustrated that something they loved was altered in some way.

An overlooked aspect of the prequel trilogy is the expansive universe it presents. In The Phantom Menace alone, a variety of memorable creatures, planets, and villains (Darth Maul, come on people) were introduced, and the galaxy itself feels massive. This is one of the only elements where The Force Awakens failed.

Debating if Episodes I-III are bad movies is a subjective argument. Some will hate them, some will love them–that really isn’t the point. The prequel trilogy has a bad rap because of a perpetuation of ignorance, rather than actual personal opinion; many continue to judge because they are told to judge. Take a step back from the hate, re-watch the movies, and try see the prequels with a new-found perspective.

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