Another week, another needless bashing of the Star Wars prequel trilogy. This time, it's long time fan Simon Pegg declaring that "I don't really have any respect for anyone who thinks those films are good."
Now, I'll admit that in comparison to the original trilogy, the prequels are nothing special, but as standalone movies they aren't that bad, surely? I mean, in some instances they're just as good, if not better, than the original trilogy. Of course, don't expect to find anything in the way of acting, writing or story listed among those, though.
5. The Lore
Now admittedly, this first one does rely on the fact Star Wars had already been around a while, but there's no denying the supplementary material for the prequel movies was at times better than the movies themselves. Knights of the Old Republic, The Clone Wars and anything to do with the Sith Order stemmed heavily from the prequels. The Old Republic franchise is considered by many to be one of the strongest aspects of the Star Wars continuity, and without the prequels, it never would have existed.
Additionally, the prequels built heavily on preexisting lore, such as the Jedi Order and the numerous crime syndicates around the galaxy. While the plots of the movies themselves may not have been perfect, the surrounding action sure was excellent.
4. The Landscapes
Despite only ever appearing onscreen in the prequel trilogy (except for that brief glimpse in the Return of the Jedi Special Edition), Coruscant has become one of, if not the most iconic setting in the Star Wars franchise. From its hazy skies to its illuminated skyline, everyone and anyone that's even vaguely familiar with Star Wars will recognize Coruscant.
Other planets, particularly Naboo and Mustafar, utilized CGI in a way that hadn't been seen before in cinema, using it to create fantastical structures and landscapes that really brought the franchise to life. While the organic, concrete feel of the original trilogy is still many people's preference, there's no denying that the fancy panning shots of the prequels were some of the best landscapes ever seen on screen.
3. Faster Action and Choreography
Now admittedly, this was very much a double edged sword. While the tighter action, fast paced sequences and impressive choreography made for quite a spectacle, I personally felt that the duels in the earlier prequels felt too artificial. However, by the time the final duel rolled around between our two heroes on Mustafar, we finally got the best of both worlds.
The Battle of the Heroes, played out during the final scenes of Revenge of the Sith, combined the flashy, fast paced action with the visceral power seen in the original trilogy. Even those who condemn the prequels entirely are willing to admit the duel is quite a spectacle and many regard it as the high point of the entire trilogy.
2. The Costumes
Say what you will about the acting ability of the stars (except Ewan McGregor of course), but the costumes they danced around in were fantastic. The Jedi robes managed to find the perfect balance between humble and powerful and didn't look out of place in any setting. The numerous aliens and creatures that required practical effects looked brilliant and the sheer variety of gowns and robes worn by the galactic senators was truly astounding.
While the original trilogy had a much grittier look and for its time was revolutionary, it just didn't have the variety in costumes that the prequels possessed.
1. The Emperor's Plan
Personally, I felt The Emperor was painfully underused in the original trilogy. Much like Obi-Wan Kenobi, Palpatine got his big break in the prequels, allowing Ian McDiarmid to really let his inner villain flow.
Almost everything about Palpatine was flawless, from his overarching plan across the trilogy to his maniacal (although slightly ridiculous) transformation at the hands of Mace Windu. His rise to power and execution of Order 66 were personal highlights of the entire trilogy. Alongside Ewan McGregor, McDiarmid stood out as a diamond in the rough, showing off the full range of his acting abilities.
I'm going to be honest; that wasn't easy. While I personally don't believe the prequels don't deserve as much hate as they get, there's no denying they've got nothing on the original trilogy. They aren't terrible movies though, and sometimes, they even manage to end up being almost good.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters December 18, 2015