Star Wars is by far the most popular movie franchise that we have ever seen and it will probably stay that way for many generations to come. The original trilogy had a huge impact on millions of people and they are some of the best movies that have ever been released. Then in 1999, the first movie of the prequel trilogy — The Phantom Menace — was released into movie theaters worldwide. For many fans, it all spiraled downhill from that point on.
The prequel trilogy — Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith — became despised and it was then commonplace to hate them or ignore them completely. We have all seen this on the internet to some extent. However, Star Wars fans alike should take a step back and ask ourselves: is all of this hate necessary?
Why Is The Prequel Trilogy Hated?
Obviously, the three prequel films are not perfect — we all know that. However, if you watch the three movies without comparing them to the high standards set by the original trilogy, they are pretty good sci-fi films. When these movies came out, they were automatically placed at an unfair disadvantage because they were being compared to arguably the best movie trilogy ever. No matter how "good" or "bad" the prequel trilogy turned out, they would still be harshly criticized for every single minuscule detail.
Also, most audience members would frequently complain that they do not live up to the original three films — especially the ones who had grown up with the original trilogy. We have already seen this happen with The Force Awakens, which is a very good movie. Many fans, including myself, can argue The Empire Strikes Back a perfect film and the best movie of all time. Therefore, how is it fair to compare a movie like The Phantom Menace to a movie of such magnitude?
Since these films had many flaws and did not live up to the original trilogy, they were not only disliked but hated among the majority of the Star Wars community. The internet housed the harsh opinions of millions of Star Wars fanatics and the hate spread like wildfire. When there are millions of people around you who hate these movies, it's hard to be the odd man out and say that you actually sort of enjoyed them. The prequels aren't hated by everyone, but very rarely will person say they are not that bad and rather act like the prequel trilogy sucks to fit in with the trend. Most of you reading this right now probably act like you hate these movies but in reality, you maybe actually sort of like them, whether you like to admit it or not.
The Bad Things People Say About The Prequels
Perhaps the biggest fan complaint from all three films is the character Jar Jar Binks — who Lucas embedded in the story for comic relief. In reality, it ended up doing the opposite by making people furious that Lucas would even consider putting a character like that in a Star Wars movie. However, as stupid as the character Jar Jar really is, he is only a supporting character just there to make some laughs. While no fans over the age of 11 are going to laugh at Jar Jar's farts and odd noises, he was made annoying on purpose and it was intended for him to make kids laugh — which it did. He also only featured heavily in the first movie, which is arguably the worst of the three prequels.
Some of the dialogue — primarily between Anakin and Padmé in Attack of the Clones — was pretty awful at some points. This falls on George Lucas, who may have thought it sounded good in his head but on screen, it was just plain dreadful. However, most fans like to over-exaggerate how bad some dialogue is in the prequels. There are a few lines here and there throughout the three movies that are pretty terrible but some fans make it seem like every other line is bad dialogue, which is simply not true. For every bad piece of dialogue, there are at least two great ones that are regularly quoted.
The CGI also throws a lot of fans off. The prequels were loaded with digital effects which at the time looked pretty awesome. However, in 2016 when technology has completely evolved with films such as The Jungle Book and Captain America: Civil War, the digital effects in the prequels don't really hold up. Nevertheless, this does not mean these are bad movies. Fans have to realize that the prequels did a lot of things for the special effects industry.
These films dove deep into computer animation when at the time, other movies did not have the budget to use it like Star Wars did. As a result, the prequel movies actually cleared a path for the special effects industry. For example, the prequels were among the first films to use CGI to create entire supporting characters — even if they wound up being Jar Jar Binks.
These three problems are the main issues that people associate with the prequel trilogy and in reality, they are all exaggerated. In my opinion, the prequel trilogy did as much good as it did bad.
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The Greatness Of The Prequel Trilogy
Every movie has its pros and cons — whether it's The Empire Strikes Back or The Phantom Menace. If we look past the bad parts of the prequels, there is so much greatness inside them that most Star Wars fans choose to ignore. The way I perceive this is that the prequels successfully completed its main goal which was to show the story of Anakin Skywalker and how he became a Jedi and then turned to the dark side and transformed into the Sith lord Darth Vader. When Ben Kenobi originally described the Clone Wars in A New Hope, fans were fascinated by his descriptions and now we got to see the full fleshed-out Clone Wars because of the prequel films and the animated cartoon Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
In the prequel trilogy, we got to see some visually stunning things that the original trilogy could never show us because of the technology of the time. The Star Wars universe as we knew it expanded with new planets like Naboo, Mustafar, and Corusant and familiar ones such as Tatooine.
We saw epic lightsaber battles that ranked up there with the awesome lightsaber battles in the original trilogy like Darth Maul vs. Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn, Anakin vs. Obi-Wan Kenobi, and a battle that you have never imagined to see — The Emperor himself vs. Master Yoda. Also, we got some great battle scenes like the Battle of Geonosis, where we saw dozens of Jedi slay thousands of droids in a battle arena. How is that not awesome?
While The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones have their issues, Revenge of the Sith is a much better movie than both of them. It fixed a lot of the problems and ended the trilogy on a really strong note. Believe it or not, a lot of people rank this movie higher than some of the original trilogy movies and The Force Awakens. This movie has much more action, a better plot and general Star Wars tone than its predecessors.
All in all, the prequel trilogy may not have been as good as the original trilogy — but that was a very high standard to meet. While these three movies had an abundance of flaws, the prequels are still "good" movies to this day that tell a compelling story, have some great action, and most importantly, succeed in achieving its main goal: Completing the story of Anakin Skywalker.
Do you guys like the prequels?
How do you guys feel about the prequel trilogy? Tell me below (nicely)!