[Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](tag:711158) is less than two months away and I am freaking out! But although we are all beyond excited for this new trilogy, perhaps it's time to talk about the last trilogy... The Star Wars Prequel Trilogy is possibly the most hated, most successful film franchise of all time. These films are almost universally hated by the Star Wars fandom at large and for good reason. The pacing, dialogue, tone, and all around feel of the films was severely lacking. They didn't have the energy and romance of the originals; let alone the familiarity. Fans unanimously abhor the long, drawn-out subplots, poorly-driven love stories, and lifeless, CGI environments. Simply put, these are three of the most disappointing movies of all time. With such a huge following, they utterly failed to deliver any of the magic of the originals.
This all being said, that does not mean there's nothing of value in these films. They grossed millions of dollars despite the first one being underwhelming so there must have been something bringing people back. Not everything in a bad movie is horrible and I'm here to break down the best parts of these films. Through all the poor and lackluster moments, there are some gems of real adventure and originality. Here, below, is my top 10 Greatest Parts of the Prequel Trilogy. If your list varies from mine, let me know in the comments. Otherwise, please enjoy!
Here we go!
10) Larger Battles
The entire scope of the prequel trilogy is larger in every way. The galaxy is more vast. The enemies and heros are more powerful. Their armies are more numerous. From space battle dog fights, to forested trench warfare, the prequel bring massive forces against one enough. The intro to Revenge of the Sith, though not without fault, is a very exciting, energetic space battle that blew audiences away. Technology had finally caught up with the imagination of George Lucas, so he could put all he wanted to into every battle. Although there wasn't any emotional attachment in a "nameless droid against faceless clone" battle, it was still a fun watch; especially for a young mind. The Siege of Kashyyyk, The Battle of Theed, The Attack over Coruscant, and The Assault on Geonosis are all great examples of massive armies brutally killing each other; all for the enjoyment of the audience.
Every little kid-- or even adult-- can remember the rush they felt when they first saw Anakin whiz across the Tatooine landscape. It was a high speed adventure like none other with dangerous obstacles, fiendish adversaries, and high stakes; everything a kid could ask for. The CGI was brand new, giving us a level of realism to the race that was unparalleled. It was just such a fun moment that gave us a glimpse of the originals and really gave insight on the skills of Anakin as a young pilot. Even though Jake Lloyd was, well, unbearable, it was still a great sequence. The explosions, tricks, manoeuvres, and adrenaline in this scene made it one to remember.
8) Coliseum on Geonosis
Just to be clear, I honestly can't stand Attack of the Clones. It is the worst (in my opinion) of all the films with a disjointed storyline, terrible dialogue, and just the most absurd amount of exposition and sub plots. But besides all this, there is one great scene that has to be mentioned. And no, I am not talking about Yoda flipping around like an absurd grasshopper. I'm talking about the Coliseum on Geonosis. The beginning of this sequence is fun and creative, with the gladiator-esque monster fights, but I am really talking about the appearance of the Jedi Order. This scene is the first time we get to see these warriors of peace at the height of their power. Dozens of Jedi infiltrate the amphitheatre and just demolish the droid resistance in a great demonstration of their lightsaber abilities. Although lots of Jedi are gunned down seemingly easily and they ultimately get outnumbered, it is fun to see numerous lightsabers at work. It is really the first time we see more than two Jedi fight at once.
7) The Clone Troopers
I absolutely love the Stormtrooper, horrible shooting and all. But the Clones were the only semblance of something old and something new combined together in the best way possible. They brought a familiar look with an entirely new twist. I just loved it. With the expansion of their characters in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, we finally got an insight into the lives of these soldiers; each one with their own idiosyncrasies and ticks. Still, within the prequel trilogy, we got to see the great design and cool action of these elite warriors. The art and design departments really went all out, giving us many varying types of clone armor and outfitting. The gradual evolution from the Phase I trooper to a design that closely resembled the original Stormtrooper was also a neat detail to follow. Their undying loyalty throughout the beginning of the movies made it only that much more painful when they turned on their Jedi friends, giving us one of the best montages in the series.
6) Villain Design
One of the biggest complaints about the prequels was the fact that there didn't seem to be a consistent villain. We went through 3 major villains in 3 films, not to mention the appearance of multiple side villains that we were supposed to care about. Through all the confusion and inconsistency, we at least got some really well designed antagonists. General Grievous may be the coolest alien-cyborg Separatist Commander I've ever seen. His voice was intimidating, design was deadly, and presence was powerful. I loved the character. He had a disappointing fight scene if you ask me but he was still very stylish. The casting of Christopher Lee as Dooku was spot on; he was just so imposing. But we all know what villain I'm really talking about: Darth Maul. My past, adolescent self is going nuts right now. He was so cool. From the horn crown, to the black and red skin, down to the stoic nature, he was everything you could wish for in a Sith Lord. And lets not forget about his double lightsaber! Jeez, that was inspired right there. He was the number one greatest part of The Phantom Menace.
5) The Music: Duel of the Fates
Speaking of Darth Maul, the music was beyond incredible. All hail to John Williams. He not only brought back old favorites and familiar tunes from the originals, but also reinvented the Star Wars Soundtrack all over again. When the actors or the writing was falling short for Star War fans, the music brought the hype and nostalgia right back up. "Duel of the Fates", the theme during Darth Maul's battle with the Jedi, is one of the all time, greatest, most thrilling tracks of music ever put to a fight scene. It took an already well choreographed scene into the stratosphere. No true fan can pretend-fight with a lightsaber without humming this under their breathe. It is just beyond great! It brought new and memorable themes, some of which rival the originals. The score combined everything we ever loved from the original trilogy with everything we ever hoped for in the prequels.
4) Anakin's Turn
The moment we were all waiting for through the prequel films finally came, and it didn't disappoint. Ok, well, it kind of disappointed. There are lots of complaints about Hayden Christensen's wooden, albeit phoned-in acting but despite this , there are some memorable moments. When Anakin is sitting alone in the Jedi Council chambers in Revenge of the Sith, the score just brings this inner turmoil and anger within him that no dialogue could deliver. Then when he finally goes bad and is rechristened Darth Vader, the following scenes are just beautiful. With little to no dialogue, Anakin and his troops raid the Jedi Temple, murdering all the people within. These scenes cut with Order 66 finally brought a level of emotion to the prequels that was absent before that. Anakin's then brutal massacre of the Separatist Leaders showed just how far he had fallen. Basically any part without speaking is a good part in Revenge of the Sith. The sequence when he is repaired and fitted with Vader suit we all know was just extremely well crafted. There's one small moment that really grips you. It is when the mask is lowering over Anakin's destroyed face and you see the true horror in his eyes. You can see all the regret, all the self-loathing in his eyes just as the expressionless mask blocks it all out; encasing forever the wrathful, pain-driven dark lord.
3) Ian McDiarmid
The Emperor. Senator Palpatine. Darth Sidious. The Chancellor. My Master. Ian McDiarmid has gone under many names during his run on Star Wars but they all mean the same thing: Lord of Evil. This is one of the few actors who had the privilege to go from the originals to the prequels and he really gives it his all. He can play the cruel, twisted Emperor just as well as the charming, helpful Senator Palpatine. Every scene he's in-- especially in Revenge of the Sith-- is just that much more enhanced by his level of professionalism and care. McDiarmid is also responsible for arguably the best scene of all the prequels: The Legend of Darth Plagueis. In this scene he is terrifying but enlightening, dangerous but helpful. The scenes as he twists Anakin towards the dark side are just so subtle, so manipulative that the audience kind of feels seduced as well. He tried his very best and really delivered as the mastermind behind the films. I mean, except his lightsaber skills but that's a different story. In the end, we truly believed his character and were connected to the villain of all villains.
2) Ewan McGregor
Another actor in the prequels who I thought really grounded the whole thing. His performance-- from young, naive padawan, to wise, experienced master-- remained consistent and dependable throughout the entire saga. The audience could really tell that this was Alec Guinness's Obi-Wan when he was in his prime. McGregor brought the same level of sophistication and charm to the part as his predecessor; even surpassing him in some aspects of the role. I know, how dare I say it. McGregor was a completely dedicated actor who really embraced the physical training-- which is obvious in the film-- as well the emotional depth. To be honest, I nearly cried the first time I heard his monologue after the Duel on Mustafar. Despite bad direction, poorly written dialogue, and acting against green scene walls, McGregor was a great part of the franchise and an actor that I would like to see return... possibly in an Obi-Wan solo film taking place between Episode III and IV?
1) The Lightsaber Fights
I know this is by far my favorite part of the prequel trilogy; and a part that I thought was really lacking in the originals. Sure, in the originals the fights had more emotional gravity to them but they were slow, drawn out, and even comical at points. In the prequels we get to see the galaxy in it's renaissance; with highly skilled Jedi Knights and deadly Sith Lords. We get to see the speed at which they used to fight, the ferocity they wielded, and the most iconic weapons put to good use. The lightsaber is truly the number one marvel of the Star Wars world, and fans got to see it used to it's fullest. The fights were quick. They were stylized. They were more thematic than any sword fight I can think of. Every battle had it's individual strengths as well. We got to see the multiple-lightsaber wielding Grievous take on the better trained Kenobi. We got to see Dooku battle coolly with an angsty Anakin. We got to see the choreographed wonder of Darth Maul battling two Jedis at once! But the pinnacle of it all was seeing the brutality between dark Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi. This fight scene, though lengthy, is one where the anger and emotion is palpable in every strike. You can even taste the hatred Anakin feel towards Obi-Wan. That sequence alone would have made me buy the ticket. It is just fun, good, well made action.
These are my top 10 things from the prequel trilogy but let me know what you think! Do you have different ones? Possibly better options? Or do you just love the prequels all together because I know there are many die hard fans of these films?
Comment below what you think!
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