As a film and anime critic, my role is to help people make informed decisions, and think more critically about, the media they consume.
The Infamous Star Wars Prequel Trilogy
I know that this statement is going to infuriate some, but here goes:
I think the Star Wars prequel trilogy is as good, if not better than, the original trilogy.
Okay, I know what you're thinking. I too have had my problems with the prequel trilogy, such as some logical inconsistencies where things don't quite mesh with the original trilogy's story (oh yeah, blank the droids' memories in the end, that solves everything!). The main problem I have with Phantom Menace, for example, is the glaringly obvious refusal of the Jedi to do anything about the problems of slavery, and their numerous failures throughout the prequel trilogy can be kind of a downer. However, I don't agree with the fans of the original trilogy who assert that the prequels represented George Lucas stomping on their beloved childhood movies.
Anyway, here's why I think the prequel trilogy should be given a chance.
8. The Special Effects Are Better and the Lightsaber Fights are Cooler
Look, let's face it, you don't go to a Star Wars movie for deep intellectual stimulation. The audiences of action movies want fast-paced action, good special effects, well choreographed fights, and some badass dialog that illustrates how badass the main characters are. The prequel series offers a lot of great things in the way of that that the originals don't; force lightening, double-sided light sabers, pod-racing, piloting a ship directly through the liquid core of a planet, and some breathtaking looking epic battles.
A lot of times, the movies in the original trilogy seemed lagging and dull, the pacing wasn't very good because an action movie shouldn't have long stretches where not a whole lot is happening. Sometimes, it doesn't feel like the creators of the original movies knew what direction they were going in in the movies, creating movies that are indecisive and slow-paced. I felt like the story of the prequels was thought out in advance more, and that they half-assed the plot of the originals, making it up as they went along. For example, they started out having some romantic subtext between Luke and Leia, only to later reveal that they were brother and sister, having Leia end up with bad-boy Han. I think they got stuck with this love triangle and chose that as a way to resolve it without a large portion of the audience insisting that they chose wrong.
When it comes to technology, the prequels have a huge advantage over the originals. Star Wars: A New Hope was made when the best video game around was Pong, and it came out 3 years before Pac-Man. Can you imagine that? In sci-fi, technology is a key element of the world creation.
And the superior technology they used to create Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith really comes into play when it comes to scenery, which gives me my next point:
7. The Prequels Have Superior Sets and Scenery
Most science fiction movies are defined by the worlds they create: Avatar without Pandora would be another unoriginal movie about Indians, Logan's Run had us envision people living in a gigantic dome, The Matrix imagines a world where humanity makes one desperate last stand against mechanical dictators who control us, body and mind. Without the sets these great movies would be well, kind of shitty, and not really sci-fi as we understand it.
The sets in the original Star Wars movies, in my humble opinion, suck. Why did all the planets they encountered only have one kind of environment? Planets tend to have variations in climate, Mr. Lucas. And even the awesome sets they had inside the space-ships occupied by Vader (everything in Vader's surroundings seems specifically designed to look ominous and scary) just aren't enough compared to the blandness of most of the planets. The original Star Wars movies had sets that were just background, and not usually very interesting ones (desert, forest, ice, and space, basically). When the prequels added Coruscant, Naboo (the surface and the amazing Gungan city underwater), and revamped some of the old locations like Tattooine, I was blown away. With the creation of these visually stunning settings, the story really finishes the original vision started by the original trilogy; the creation of The Galaxy. The scenery in the prequels is absolutely beautiful and truly completes the science fiction look because they are wondrous places that you definitely couldn't find here on Earth.
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6. Yoda Is Way Cooler in the Prequels
In the originals we don't really see Yoda do a lot of fighting. He's more of a wise old hermit, sharing his knowledge of the Force to a trusted pupil before gracefully fading out of existence. To see him in his prime, doing a lot of actual fighting, especially the way he fiercely stands up to Anakin, is a treat for the audience. (Also on a personal side note, since I'm short I like to see short guys/gals that kick ass.) Yoda became one of the best characters in Soul Caliber 4 after his revival in the prequels, before that he was an old wise magical mentor dude, in the prequels he's gone from supporting character to a vital part of the main cast.
Also, talking about Yoda brings me to the mitochlorians controversy. I think explaining the Force using microscopic organisms is actually a good thing because in science fiction, unusual powers should have a scientific explanation.
One thing I didn't like about The Force was how simplistic it was; it was either good or evil and it boiled down to magic, which I don't believe has a place in sci-fi land. It seemed like a religion only where praying actually did something. I think it was weird in the originals how so many people didn't believe The Force even existed until they were being strangled by it. I mean, it's possible that Vader suppressed the knowledge of it and the Jedi because dictators have a tendency to delete things from history and general knowledge when they prove inconvenient. However, this doesn't make a lot of sense because Vader then uses the Force gratuitously to punish insubordination. He seems to be telling people that the Force is a myth so they don't try to use it to defeat him on one hand, and hurting anyone in the same room as him with it the next?
Anyway, The Force isn't the only thing in the prequels that gets more interesting:
5. The Democracy Break Down Is More Interesting Than the Dystopian Aftermath
One of my favorite lines is when Padme Amidala says "I was not elected to watch my people suffer and die while you discuss this invasion in a committee!"
The Phantom Menace and the trilogy in general show an example of how democracy breaks down in times of emergency, crisis, war, and international strife. It shows characters frustrated with a slow political process when decisive, strong leaders would bring a swifter end to the troubles.
I said that no one watches Star Wars for intellectual stimulation and that's probably true; for me the movies should put entertainment first. However, the prequels have an advantage of being more stimulating because they evoke a discussion about politics that more reflects the political issues most of us face today. Instead of politics boiling down to fighting Space Hitler, in the prequels it is nuanced, with many separate points of view all competing. It shows that the rise to power of a dictator isn't as simple as a strong man overpowering his enemies, that a democratic institution might inevitably give way to dictatorship in times of struggle and panic.
The Galactic Senate was one of those killer sets of the prequels that blew me away visually, but it also interested me that the plot of these movies involved more complicated political intrigue than the orignal trilogy.
4. The Moral Ambiguity in the Prequels Makes Them More Interesting
In the original trilogy, it's pretty much given that there are only two sides: good and evil. Although Han Solo is mostly a neutral character who only looks out for himself, his good side shines through in the end. Everyone else is quite obviously either good or evil; no one questions Darth Vader's evilness... until the very end when he dies. It's obvious even then to me that the only reason they did that that way was to prove Luke's goodness, he doubts whether it was right to kill even Vader because well, that's just what you expect a good character to do.
In the 70's TV and movies were much less nuanced or complicated when it came to morality. Good was good and evil was evil, and evil had to be eliminated, end of story. Nowadays we have things like Wicked that deliberately attempt to understand "evil" people, to see what possible life circumstances led them down a path of ruin and destruction. A lot of times today, we often see "evil" people as mere victims of chance and circumstance. It may have weirded out some people to think of Anakin Skywalker aka Darth Vader this way. It's weird to see an iconic villain turn into a frightened child who misses his mommy. But that's the thing that I think is great about the prequels. They show that even the most despicable people are still human inside. Deep inside, Vader is still this uncertain kid venturing out to unknown worlds, longing for the comfort of home, and fearing for his mother's well-being under a system that's cruelly indifferent to her condition of slavery. To understand Vader like that makes him a lot more interesting than merely making him some big, bad, tough brute who bullies people into submission for no apparent reason. Anakin is seen in these movies troubled by many deep emotions, including forbidden love.
3. The Characters Are Better (Padme Amidala Is Better Than Princess Leia)
Even though Leia is allegedly a Princess, we never hear her talk about her political position or her concerns for her people. She is basically in the beginning just another distressed damsel for the hero to save. She's not very smart, not very compassionate, not very tough, and not very sexy (if you have to put her in a revealing bikini just to show it off, there probably wasn't much there to begin with), especially in A New Hope. By Return of the Jedi, she has developed into a stronger character, but to begin with she just seems like a spoiled, snarky rich girl without any sense of love or justice. Case in point: her most famous lines are "aren't you a little short for a Storm Trooper" and "you scruffy nerf herder", meaning, most of what she says and is famous for saying are catty, snide, petty comments. Also, she has no breasts. She's basically the Paris Hilton of sci-fi.
Compare that to Queen Amidala, (Smurfette still, but a better female role model character than Leia) a young elected official, who starts off pleading passionately and eloquently for the needs of her people. She feels more of a range of emotions than Leia (who in comparison seems like a robot with 2 facial expressions, bored and pissed off). Padme falls deeply in love, whereas the romance that unfolds between Leia and Han is more the stuff of sitcoms than epic fantasy adventures. Like I mentioned before, she's also more passionate about politics, cares about someone other than herself, and is stronger-willed than her bratty daughter. I think this has something to do with the way women's roles have changed and evolved in American culture since the 70's.
Which leads to my next point...
2. The New Generation Was Introduced to Star Wars
For everyone who says "prequels ruined my childhood," I wonder how many of them stopped to think about my and the Millennial generation's childhood. Phantom Menace came out when I was a kid, specifically, I was 9, the same age as the protagonist (whom yes, I did end up developing a slight crush on).
Star Wars at the time was getting old and stale. It had attained "classic sci-fi" status, to be sure. But you know what we do with classic movies? We make fun of them. We tear them a new one, with comedy. We pick apart their every little flaw with the gleeful sadism of children pulling the legs off a grasshopper. Almost every cartoon in existence has spoofed Star Wars, including Hello Kitty. Being "classic" means it's old, and old things tend to get ridiculed as they turn into the definition of cliché.
Every successful long-running franchise has changed over time to keep up with changing times. The prequel Star Wars movies do that successfully, rescuing the Star Wars franchise out of tired-out-land (you know, Paula Abdul is the queen there I believe), and let the great stories and memorable characters of the series captivate new, younger audiences.
1. The Introduction of Samuel L. Jackson.
Seriously, what more needs to be said?
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
Εμπαθεων on October 14, 2018:
George Lucas should have been given "You Tried" star for prequels. Nothing more.
In fact Prequel Trilogy fails for a mere one reason; unfortunately major, so its failure is complete. These movies all together are very, very poorly executed tragedy.
I applaud Mr Lucas for trying to bring Star Wars space opera to another classic genre, but that ambitious trial collapsed, mainly due to Anakin's character.
The recipe for tragedy is quite straightforward [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVRU5MVYNiw]: you need a likeable protagonist who will be able to invoke audience's sympathy and compassion; then you have to find hamartia for him - a tragic flaw, which will bring downfall upon him. It's key, necessary requirement - without it, you have nothing.
Well, Anakin fails to satisfy this requirement. He's not likeable, not likeable at all; riddled with so many vices, acts like jerk, is being disrespectful to his "friend" Obi-Wan all the time. He doesn't initially invoke our respect or any good feelings towards him, so during his downfall we just don't care.
The point of tragedy is to tell cautionary story dedicated to certain vice. As a genre it enables you to show, how decent people full of various virtues can fail miserably, just because they are not entirely perfect and have their major weaknesses, exploited by others or by fate. But as protagonists they should be valuable characters for us, characters whom we as audience could cheer during play and be hopeful they could somehow avoid their doom or turn over bad situation, and ultimately after all, when thay fail completely; to feel genuine pity for them.
When worthless douchebag falls, no one is gonna shed a tear for him, and that's exactly problem with Anakin's story - the prequels. He isn't exactly introduced as a person, whom you would like to befriend, he has no internal redeeming qualities really, so there is no emotional investment, therefore proper catharsis is impossible to achieve.
I would gladly welcome some Greek or Shakespearean tragedy elements embedded into Star Wars adventure. I think these would suit it quite well and complement and counterbalance upbeat, optimistic, heroic Trilogy.
Formula for Star Wars should be exactly like yin and yang - dual. You do Tragic Trilogy in which you show, how protagonist and his vice destroys the order of SW universe, in which he lived - you basically do a Sith win movie (or Sith biography movie). And after that you show how later the order was restored, by some other protagonist and his virtue [Jedi resurgence/revival movies]. You can roam through 20,000 years of Old Republic with this formula, finding heroes and villains in all periods, even the most archaic. It's like moral equivalent of changing seasons.
Star Wars is space opera, but it should be as classic, as you can get: tragedies and heroic epopees are the oldest storytelling forms you can find, so that's proper way to go with this myth. Of course, you also need the knowledge of certain quirks specific to Saga, but basically you should aim for space fantasy escapist tragedy/epopee.
Lucas has tried to make tragic trilogy without proper knowledge of tragedy, so that idea obviously backfired. It could be great stuff though, to show how some good guy turns into Darth Vader, but to do it, you need to be more people person or simply know how human psyche works. Maybe not on Dostoyevsky's level, but still...
Or maybe Americans as such are too optimistic folks, to get tragedy right?
Εμπαθεων on September 21, 2018:
Oh noes, what's happened to my poor comment on prequels and tragedy in general?
Mark on September 27, 2017:
8. Lightsaber fights with no emotional stakes at all.
7. Scenery looks like a video game.
6. Yoda bounced around like a rubber ball with no weight or sense of real-world physics at all. He looked ridiculous. And the Force is supposed to be magic, not an infection.
5. Watching boring meetings is not interesting.
4. It's not nuanced to watch someone say, "Welp, I'm evil now" with almost no explanation at all. And movies were MUCH more nuanced in the '70s, for cripes' sake.
3. Princess Leia was tough. Padme just laid there and died because she was sad. Whatever.
2. Do kids a favor and introduce them to the original trilogy.
1. Samuel Jackson was given almost nothing to do. He wasn't even allowed to yell, which is what he's known for. And, it's NOT HIS STORY. He's a minor character. If that's your best reason for liking the prequels, this list is as lame as the prequels are.
StormSkye on January 02, 2017:
I grew up with the prequels, not actually watching them, but them just being there. I grew up with my dad quoting "LIAR!!" All the time, that weird Boss Nass made, and... I like Jar Jar Binks. And when I finally watched the OT for the first time a few years ago, I was really sad that jar jar and Naboo weren't in there. Like, seriously, Naboo is my favourite planet of all time. I'd live there if I could. I get déjà vu when AOTC starts, when the ship explodes.
My favourite SW movie is AOTC, which people normally called the worst. Anakin is a bit cringe, acting like a stalker, but I once saw a comment saying that he's never really interacted with many people, mostly just Jedi in ten years, and he doesn't know how to act normal. Revenge of the Sith is amazing, I can recite it word for word and it makes me cry at the end. The cartoon is AWESOME, I also grew watching that. My memories of them moments are faded, but I grew up with Star Wars, especially the PT and that is why I like them.
Sorry for the rant.
Ced Yong from Asia on May 26, 2016:
Actually I thot the Prequels were quite entertaining. Part II and III were interesting enough for me to watch them twice at the cinemas. And yeah, the sword-fighting was way better than the original hack hack slash slash. How could anybody complain.
Naomi Starlight (author) from Illinois on February 25, 2016:
Yeah I really liked the music in Phantom Menace, sometimes it made up for bad acting.
Benjamin Plazek on February 25, 2016:
The music is also absolutely phenomenonal and in many way rivals the music of the originals. Duel of the fates is one of the most well known scores, besides the main theme. Across the stars expressed the tragic love between Padme and Anakin better than the film itself ever could
thegecko on September 21, 2015:
JJ's Star Treks : SHALLOW
Naomi Starlight (author) from Illinois on September 21, 2015:
Yeah, the exploration and discovery aspects aren't there either.
thegecko on September 21, 2015:
Something like that! The character relationships and larger social commentary isn't there and those are core elements from the Star Trek series.
Naomi Starlight (author) from Illinois on September 21, 2015:
I mean, I liked "Into Darkness" better than the first one, but he's basically just Michael Bay-ing the Star Trek franchise.
Naomi Starlight (author) from Illinois on September 21, 2015:
" If he simply crafted a new sci-fi trilogy that was not part of the Star Wars universe, I don't think he would have been given so much criticism." Yes, see, when I saw those prequel movies I was a kid and then a teenager, so I hadn't been through what people who were kids when they saw the originals come out went through with anticipating something different from what they got. A lot of younger people seem to like these movies and it's mostly older fans of original Star Wars that don't, it's like a generation gap, like you said. I can't wait to see what happens with the 7th, but I'm not really a fan of Abrams either.
thegecko on September 21, 2015:
I think George Lucas' big mistake was simply waiting so long to create the prequels. The original trilogy contained a cinematic universe and characters unique to those three films. Establishing a certain atmosphere and set of rules for that generation of viewers. Like you pointed out above, Lucas wanted to do something different and in many ways, something more sophisticated. He also wanted to cater to a younger audience and a new generation. Unfortunately, he also left a 17 year gap for fans to fill in the blanks using their own imaginations.
For example, I had my own idea of what the Clone Wars actually were and how Anakin developed into Darth Vader. The new trilogy tore down that mythology I established for myself, a mythology much like someone would create when imagining a world and characters while reading a book. When they finally see the film version, if the filmmakers' interpretation does not closely match that of the reader base, there's a big fuss. Peter Jackson ran into this problem with diehard fans of LoTR and REALLY went against the grain of both book and LoTR movie fans with the Hobbit films.
When Lucas finally returned to the helm, he created a set of films that did not feel in sync with the originals. If he simply crafted a new sci-fi trilogy that was not part of the Star Wars universe, I don't think he would have been given so much criticism. Although I don't really like Episodes 1-3, but I don't think they're any worse than most of the Marvel titles being released over the past 10 years (especially Captain America 1-2, Thor 1-2, Iron Man 2-3, and Guardians of the Galaxy). As much as I complained at the end of each prequel release, I still went and paid to watch the next installment. That's more than I can say for the Marvel sequels.
There are plenty of problems with Episodes 1-3 that have been debated for years all over the Internet. I won't bring them up again here. But I think at the core, it's the disconnect between Trilogy I and Trilogy II. It's the disconnect between young George Lucas and an older seasoned George Lucas and what he wanted as a filmmaker. It's a disconnect between fans when they first saw the original Trilogy, their personal interpretations of that mythology as they aged, and their expectations of what more chapters of the universe should have been. If anything, Lucas was doomed from the start. He was never going to create something that would satisfy both his original core fans and new audiences alike. Star Wars became a cinematic mysticism that surpassed it's creator.
That said, they could have been better. That's the feeling I always had after leaving the theater. But maybe that's because I already had a film in the back of my mind that would never match with Lucas' vision? Or maybe I just thought E.T. and Jar Jar Binks do not belong in a Senate :)
If left to the fans, they probably would have nuked the the fridge themselves? We'll see what fanboy J.J. came up with soon enough.
Lynn Diavol from Albany, New York on November 24, 2014:
I've been trying to convince people to give the prequels a chance for years! Glad there are some others that see the potential. Honestly, when I was young and first introduced to Star Wars, Jar Jar Binks appealed to me and other youth. I know he ruined it for some older fans but at least their children now watch Star Wars! Awesome article, voted up!
Joseph Ray on July 10, 2014:
You see, my problem with that assessment is that I never felt like Luke and Leia were going to end up together because Luke doesn't make a great romantic lead. And as early as A New Hope, you get a little bit of the flirting between Han and Leia. I personally think what happened there was that in A New Hope the plan was Luke and Leia, but they realized had better chemistry, which they did. So instead of trying to force a romance where there was no chemistry they went with Han and Leia. Now, them being twins, I don't think was decided by Return of the Jedi, but to me it is pretty clear that she is going to end up with Han in Empire Strikes Back.
Naomi Starlight (author) from Illinois on July 10, 2014:
Thanks for commenting! I get what you're saying about the romance between Anakin and Padme being forced and fake-feeling. But then again, that's still better than the fact that the romantic subplot in the other movies started out as being about Luke and Leia before Lucas changed his mind halfway through and made them brother and sister and made Han Leia's love interest. I agree that I don't think he's a good script writer. He comes up with innovative ideas, but they're not executed as well as they could be.
Joseph Ray on July 09, 2014:
The problem with the prequel trilogy was not the basic plot, which was interesting. It was the execution of the basic plot through scripts with terrible dialogue and the acting probably a result of the terrible scripts because quite a few of the actors are quite good actors. The main issue here was the actor playing Anakin. Neither Natalie Portman or Hayden Christensen could make me believe for an instant that they were in love with each other, which kind of messed up the entire premise of the thing. Now, yet again their acting could be blamed on the script. The issue is that George Lucas, despite what he might think, is not a good script writer. He comes up with good base ideas, but he needs someone else to write the script off of them. As for the Force, I do think that was a mess because the brilliant thing about Star Wars was that it was not purely scifi. It was one of the few things like Dune that could actually be accurately describe as Scifi/Fantasy, which are not actually the same genre.
Hmm. on February 22, 2014:
8: No, the prequels does not have better lightsaber battles than the originals. They have zero emotional depth, and i don't care about the characters. Plus, it does not look like they are fighting, it looks like they are dancing with swords. It looks like they are trying to hit each others swords, instead of just cutting.
7: You totally missed it. Star Wars does not take place in a city, a senate, a library or a Council meeting. It takes place more exiting, desolated places, where it's tough, not perfect-looking CGI.
6: You must be kidding me. Yoda in the originals was a fresh, different character, who was about the force, and a wise master, not some angry warrior. You probably missed what his character is about.
5: Star Wars is not about politics, politics sucks in Star Wars.
4: No, it does not.
3: Great Joke.
1: He is too cool for School, but in Star Wars, he plays another boring monk, without personality.
Naomi Starlight (author) from Illinois on May 28, 2013:
That is a good point. One of the major flaws of the prequel trilogy is the lack of a clear "bad guy" that's as awesome as Darth Vader. But the conflict is instead focused on Annakin's internal struggle between good and evil. There is also a lot of political tension.
Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on May 27, 2013:
Sorry, I cannot agree. The best part about the prequel was Darth Maul, and they killed him off in the first installment. The best part of all three movies was the epic lightsaber battle against Darth Maul at the end of the Phantom Menance. After that, Darth Tyrannus did not measure up to the usual depths of Sith evilness and coolness. I respect your hub, but I cannot agree.
Carlo Giovannetti from Puerto Rico on May 25, 2013:
I'm on the fence about them. There were some really cool things about them. For example, I agree with your #8. I think the Duel of the Fates is probably the best lightsaber fight in the whole series. Also, as an adult, I appreciated the political aspect of the prequels (your #5), but in some ways, it wasn't as well executed as it could've. Another thing is that some of the performances are great. Most notable Ian McDarmid and Ewan McGregor. Unfortunately, none of the performances manage to evoke the chemistry that Ford/Hamill/Fisher had... even with Hamill's mediocre performance.
However, my main beefs with the prequels are Lucas' excessive use of CGI, pretty much disregarding whole sets, makeups, and costumes. You can feel the awkwardness in the interactions of the characters, and it's distracting most of the times. Plus, lots of things feel anachronistic with the original trilogy, which is supposed to happen several decades after. I also think that bringing up the midi-chlorians pretty much smashed all the mystique about the Force, even if Lucas backpedaled in the middle of the prequels after the audiences backlash.
Still, it's a pretty good hub and I agree with lots of your points.
Will English on April 07, 2013:
Some good points, but honestly, I'm personally getting sick of the debate over the Star Wars prequels. Although I don't think that they are better than the originals, I don't think they, like you implied, really deserve their reputation. Good hub though.
Stevennix2001 on March 27, 2013:
Plus, if you even look at another science fiction film like "Terminator", there as a sub plot love story involving sarah connor and kyle reese. their love wasn't emphasized throughout the whole film, but it was played on very subtly, and it was a helluva a lot more convincing that sarah would inevitably fall for this soldier from the future. Plus, "terminator" had just as many action sequences as "attack of the clones" did too, yet that still managed to deliver a solid love story.
Stevennix2001 on March 27, 2013:
To add to fiasco joe's argument, you have to also keep in mind that the original star wars trilogy had a love story sub plot with leia and solo as well, yet in those movies they managed to make it more believable that han and leia would fall in love with each other.
Sure, you can argue saying that Lucas arts back then had 3 movies to develop that subplot, but every true star wars fan knows that the original trilogy was all about Luke Skywalker and his journey. the story only continued whenever he did, so solo and leia's romance wasn't emphasized as much as "Attack of the Clones" does with Anakin and Padme.
Plus, lets not forget about how in one scene when Padme tells Anakin that it's creepy that he stares at her lovingly, yet he still does anyway. I don't know about you, but most girls that would say that to a guy aren't interested in him whatsoever. In fact, most girls that call a guy creepy, or even say it's creepy on when that supposed guy stares, that guy is lucky if he's even in the friend's zone with a girl at that point; let alone in a romantic relationship.
Plus, what about the scene after Anakin kills all the sand people for what they did to his mom? Did you not see the horrified look on Padme's face when Anakin told her about it? He told her how he ended up killing all of them; even the women and children. If you look at Padme's face, it's not one of endearing love, or sympathy. It's a look of horrified shock, which is the right reaction.
However, unless Padme has a thing for psychopaths, then chances are that she would never fall for anakin skywalker realistically. because lets look at the facts. in an earlier scene, she says it's creepy to see anakin stare at her lovingly; which suggests that she's not attracted to him. secondly, he admits that he killed children and other people. seriously, if some guy that claimed to be in love with you said, "I killed women and children out of revenge", then would you fall for this guy?
I don't think so. Only a woman that has an affection for hardluck cases, or psychopaths would fall for anakin skywalker, as i agree with joe that their romance is just forced for plot convenience.
fiasco joe from Huntsville, Alabama on March 27, 2013:
I think you're right about it being about time constraints. Having the two characters actually work through the conflict would have taken way too long. That is, assuming they would have worked through it at all. Which they probably wouldn't, realistically. You say Padme is frustrated with democracy, but the woman is a fricking senator herself. There's obviously still some faith in the democratic process there. And Anikin didn't just say it was inefficient, he said people "should be made to agree." That's fascist. What I'm trying to say is that these two people would never have fallen in love, because their core beliefs are essentially diametrically opposed. But George Lucas needs them to fall in love for the sake of the plot, so he totally avoids the conflict with some very weak writing, then has Padme fall for Anikin spontaneously for no apparent reason. I know it's an action movie, but come on. Bad writing is bad writing. If you're going to have a romantic subplot in your movie, do it right.
Naomi Starlight (author) from Illinois on March 26, 2013:
Yeah some of that is probably about the demands of the action film genre. If you notice, very few action movies get into deep stuff very much and I think it's because of time. But more successful ones, like Inception and the Matrix, did do more of that, and I think that Star Wars could use more depth in all the movies. But I think that Padme develops a frustration with democracy that grows steadily from the first movie on, so she's not as steadfast in her belief in it. She just believes in the goodness of people, but thinks the Senate is too slow of a process when she needs swift and decisive action.
fiasco joe from Huntsville, Alabama on March 20, 2013:
Oh yeah, it's totes obvious he has a crush on her from early on. But why does she fall for him? Why does she say, "I truly, deeply love you,"? She met him when he was a little kid. They meet again when he's an angsty teenager (and, in fact, she's probably in her twenties by that point). And it's not just that the dialogue is stupid or awkward, it's that it totally glosses over a huge, glaring discrepancy between the core beliefs of both characters. Padme clearly still believes in democracy. They slide right past this conflict with two corny lines and then never come back to it. I don't find that to be believable, whether they're very young people or not.
Naomi Starlight (author) from Illinois on March 19, 2013:
I think that with the Padme/Anakin thing: 1) they're both teenagers, so the dialogue being kind of stupid is actually very fitting because it's a realistic representation of the way teenagers often try to talk about deep concepts without enough understanding, 2) at this point both characters have been shown to have reasons for being skeptical of the efficiency with which the democratic process meets the needs of the people, 3) I think if you pay attention it's clear that he had a crush on her ever since Phantom Menace and had been hesitant to say what was obvious to the audience until that point.
fiasco joe from Huntsville, Alabama on March 19, 2013:
Although I wrote a hub that is essentially the antithesis of this one, I must say you bring up some interesting points. I, like the previous commenter, found Anikin to be annoyingly whiney in Episode II, but then again I think Amidala was a much stronger character than Leia.
On the other hand, I think the romance between Han/Leia was much stronger than the romance between Anikin/Padme, for a few reasons. One is that Empire Strikes Back was simply better-written than any of the prequels (in terms of plot and dialogue). Another is that Anikin and Padme's love is completely unbelievalbe. They're lying in a field, talking about politics. Padme is explaining how the democratic process works, saying that sometimes people simply don't agree. "Then they should be made to agree," says Anikin. What??? That's totally fascist--it's the opposite of what Padme deeply believes. Then, Padme laughs and says "You're teasing me!" What??? THAT'S the writer's solution? She thinks it's a joke??? Anikin says "I'd be much too frightened to tease a senator," and THAT'S THE LAST TIME THEY EVER TALK ABOUT IT. (Excuse my all-caps.)
In a later scene, when they're about to be carted into an arena and presumably brutally killed by fearsome beasts, Padme turns to Anikin and says, "I truly, deeply love you." Why??? It hasn't been established. They have no chemistry at all, and he hasn't done or said anything that would realistically endear himself to her to such an extent. It comes completely out of left field. I'm sorry, but that's terrible writing.
Okay, rant over. Like I said, you bring up some strong points. I don't get mad at the prequel trilogies because they stomped all over my childhood, I simply don't like them because I think they're poorly written. With the possible exception of Revenge of the Sith. I thought that qualified as decent flick. Oh, and I liked the pod-race from Episode I. And Darth Maul. So yeah, when I stop to think about it, there's actually quite a few things I did appreciate about the prequels. They're very pretty movies too, as you pointed out.
Naomi Starlight (author) from Illinois on December 13, 2012:
@ Stevennix2001, I agree that the prequels have their flaws. In fact I agree with you that the main problem is that they don't seem to know if they're trying to cater to adults or children. However, I think all Star Wars movies have "fun for the whole family" as the target demographic, but they can seem to yo-yo between to serious and dark and too comedic at times.
I disagree however about Annakin being an annoying character. I know that finding someone annoying or not annoying is subjective, a matter of personal taste. But I think considering all the crap Annakin went through as a slave and then as a trainee Jedi, getting wrapped up in weighty inter-planetary politics at an early age, and, with the powerful Force potential he carried, I felt that he increasingly felt like Annakin felt the weight of the world (or the Galaxy) on his shoulders. He felt increasingly burdened by the need to protect and save everyone, and that battle was far from easy. And being very powerful and not being able to free his mother from slavery or save her life was a huge emotional hurdle for him, part of what turned him evil (feeling powerless to defend the weak like a Jedi should, reaching out to the Dark Side as a source of power). His character was a lot more complex than most other Star Wars characters.
Naomi Starlight (author) from Illinois on December 13, 2012:
I agree with Kat that the thing shouldn't be a competitive thing, because both of them should be appreciated as a whole. I'm not sure what might happen with episode 7, but of course I'm still interested in the franchise.
And I'm sorry if you found my joke offensive.
Kat on December 12, 2012:
I enjoy the prequels too, but I think it's silly that no matter if they're on one side or the other, people always turn it into a competition of which trilogy is better. Why not just enjoy both of them? I love the original trilogy because that was the Star Wars I grew up with in the 90s, but I can still appreciate the prequels. I think it seems odd to have an article called "8 reasons the Star Wars prequels don't suck", but then talk more about reasons why the original trilogy does suck. You could just as well have made your points without putting down the original trilogy.
That said, even though it's probably just meant as a joke, I find your comment that Carrie Fisher not having any breasts contributes to making her a bad heroine very offensive. First of all, not all women have huge breasts (myself included), but that doesn't mean that they're not sexy or beautiful! Leia became a sex symbol, and still is today, regardless of her breasts. Second of all, she actually does have breasts, she's a c-cup, which is actually quite average, or even a bit above. However, in Star Wars her breasts were taped down because they were bouncing when she was running, and George Lucas didn't want her to wear a bra. They obviously weren't taped down when she was wearing the slave outfit, but I don't suppose that gold bra had a lot of support, and that is probably why her breasts appear small.
Stevennix2001 on December 11, 2012:
I already said my reasons why I firmly believe the original trilogy is vastly superior than the prequel trilogy in my two star wars hubs, "Star wars 3-d", and my review of episode 1, and since im too lazy to write the bare gist of it, ill just say this.
I thought you brought up a lot of valid points in your hub that present arguably the strongest argument i've seen in favor of the prequels.
However, I think the thing to keep in mind here is this. You say that fantasy has no place in science fiction, but I would argue otherwise. ...because in the end...the original trilogy was a mesh of fantasy meets science fiction in an epic space adventure. It was a classic good vs. evil story line that invoked a lot of complex and universal themes that we could all relate to. Yes, you may not like the simplistic rationality of the "force", but I thought it served as a great metaphor for "confidence" if you stop to think about it analytically.
Plus, the original trilogy not only paid great homage to other classic science fiction franchises like "flash gordon" and etc, but it was also a story that was largely inspired by Akira Kurasawa's "The Hidden Fortress." If you don't know who that is, then I'd recommend him if you're into foreign films, as he inspired many of today's filmmakers; including George Lucas himself.
Anyway, the original trilogy was not only unique for it's time, but it still stands as a very unique science fiction franchise. It not only featured a great colorful cast of characters, but many of them could've even had their own solo film if Lucas wanted to go that route.
Whereas the prequels, all the characters were bland and kind of boring; with the exception of Anakin Skywalker and Jar Jar Binks who were just straight up annoying. Seriously, every time Anakin whined about how Obi-wan was holding him back, I just wanted to go into the screen and tell him to shut up, and then punch him right in his face. No offense, but his constant whining got old really fast.
Yes, I can understand that Obi-Wan was kind of a douche to Anakin, by acting like the over strict father figure to him. Yes, I understand that lucas wanted Anakin to be like the rebellious teenager in their relationship. However, I only ask why? Yeah, I can understand Anakin might be upset that Obi-Wan holds him back, but what about Annie's mom? Why did it take halfway through the second prequel for us to see Anakin want to save his mom? Shouldn't that have been the main seed to plant in their relationship, as to why Anakin would have a love hate relationship towards the man that's been the only father figure that he's ever known?
Plus, if we're coming up with scientific explanations for the "force", then why the hell did Annie's mom get pregnant by those midi-chlorians like some sort of Jesus Christ figure. You have to remember they even said that Anakin had no father in the first prequel, so that sort of negates your one point about Star Wars taking out the religious factor. Sure, you can say it was probably an anomaly, and maybe episode 7 will show another case of a baby being born without a father by those damn midi-chlorians, but for now...it just seems sort of hypocritical to me.
Although I agree with you that Natalie Portman's character was a bit more developed, and she's definitely the superior actress. However, her character still suffers from that fact that she had to read off Lucas poorly written dialogue throughout most of the prequel trilogy; which held back her performance.
Whereas Carrie Fisher, she didn't have that problem because she had a better written dialogue to read off of for her movies. However, in spite of a mediocre dialogue, I think your right that Natalie's character was better developed than Carrie's character.
As for the prequels symbolism about democracy and politics, I agree with you on that to an extent. The only problem is that the direction of the prequels don't really seem to know which audience they're catering to. It doesn't know if it wants to appeal to adults, or to kids, or even both.
Although Natalie's character was developed well, in spite of lucas' poorly written dialogue, the fact remains she was still surrounded by other characters that weren't that interesting, or they were annoying. I honestly didn't care about Anakin Skywalker until we got to the third prequel.
However, I do respect your opinion, as you're definitely entitled to it. And, I agree with you that if it weren't for the prequels, then the star wars franchise probably would've died a long time ago, so your right on that point completely. I just don't think any of the prequels were developed well from a narrative standpoint, which is why they fail in my eyes. Yes, I can see all the good points you brought up, and you make a strong case, but to each their own. Anyway, this is really a good hub, as I'm glad to have read it.
Keep up the good work and all that. Btw, what do you think about episode 7 coming out soon in 2015? you think it'll be any good?
Naomi Starlight (author) from Illinois on November 18, 2012:
Best. Comment. Ever.
Darth Vader on November 18, 2012:
I find the the prequal haters lack of faith quite disturbing.
Naomi Starlight (author) from Illinois on November 16, 2012:
I found the prequels to be exciting, fast-paced, and intellectually engaging. I still had problems with them, the worst one was that Jar Jar Binks was an annoying character, and Watto seemed like a racist caricature of Jews or middle-eastern traders. However, I'm looking forward to future Star Wars movies and I think it's great to see the story expanding and continuing.
Geekdom on November 15, 2012:
Although you did not convert my belief that the original trilogy are far superior films you did bring up some of the stronger points of the prequel. Especially better light Saber Duels and Samuel Jackson.
Diana on August 14, 2012:
Another thing witch I noticed about the prequels is that throughout the movies they speak a more international English than that spoken in the original trilogy, which is heavily American accented. Of course this is also the merit of the actors. I didn't notice this before, when as a kid I watched the originals over and over again in the 80'.
Naomi Starlight (author) from Illinois on June 17, 2012:
Thanks for your comment.
I agree with you, Episode 1 would have been better without Jar Jar Binks, but I think it was to show that the jedi show compassion to everyone, even creatures of lesser intelligence. But some of the "comic relief" stuff he did was kind of stupid and unnecessary. Phantom Menace seems like it's supposed to be heavy and serious. Jar Jar's antics don't seem to have a place there.
Bernie Ment from Syracuse, NY on June 17, 2012:
The main reason I don't really feel the way you do is the lack of my favorite character, Han Solo, who beyond question, was the backbone of the original trilogy. Without him, the humor would have been even more limited and Empire Strikes Back would probably not have been my favorite film in the whole series.
The main reason I enjoyed episode I as much as I did was Qui Gon Jinn, who in one fell swoop filled the void left by the missing Han and actually made the Jedi somewhat cooler than we'd seen in the past. Of course, I agree with you that Samuel L. Jackson was a necessary addition to make the prequel trilogy truly badass.
While I still rank the original trilogy (or at least four and five) as the best of the Star Wars movies, I have read your comments. While I agree with some of your comments, I just have this to say: The original trilogy doesn't have the one albatross that weighs down the entire prequel trilogy - Jar-Jar Binks.
Naomi Starlight (author) from Illinois on June 11, 2012:
Shining Irish Eyes from Upstate, New York on June 10, 2012:
Well written, informative opinion.
Joshua Zerbini from Pennsylvania on June 09, 2012:
Excellent hub on a controversial topic with great pictures and content. Voted up and useful!
smithed on June 09, 2012:
It is all a matter of opinion and those of us first generation Star Wars fans think the prequels are inferior. I wanted to like them but there also just wasn't any chemistry between the characters, especially Padme and Anakin. I just wish Phantom Menace and Clones War was as good as Revenge of the Sith.
Chris Dane from Maryland, USA on June 09, 2012:
You know what: agreed. And furthermore, even episode one is far superior to Return of the Jedi. You have to wade through nearly two hours of muppets and teddy bears (with only Leia in a bikini to assuage your pain) to get to the most awesome space battle of all time and Luke's showdown with the creepiest villain of all time.
Also note, all of the heroes suck in this movie. Leia gets shot, Artoo gets shot, Luke gets electrocuted (and most likely pees his pants) and Han and Chewie only have success due to a horde of Teddy Ruxpins. Lando Calrissian and Wedge Antilles are the true heroes of the film.
Episode I has the most awesome lightsaber duel ever and Liam Neeson as Qui Gon Jinn, and everyone is far more fascinating and nuanced character wise simply by comparison. Jar Jar is more tolerable than teddy bears, and his lines are no worse than threepio's in future films. I enjoy Phantom Menace way more than Return of the Jedi, any day.
Dolphan5 from Warwick R.I on June 09, 2012:
Well reserched and on target! I'm a fan of the whole trilogy. Your points are well defined and well articulated. Nicely done!
Thanks for reminding me of the reasons I like the whole story in the first place.
A long time ago in a galaxy far far away.......
Naomi Starlight (author) from Illinois on June 09, 2012:
I disagree about the writing, directing and acting but I'm not going to get into a big thing with this comment section, just going to say you have your opinion and I have mine, I guess.
smithed on June 09, 2012:
There are two big reasons why the original trilogy is superior. 1. The overall story starting at Episode IV to VI is vastly superior in terms of writing, character development and plot. 2. Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill were perfectly cast for those roles and audiences loved them, which cannot be said for the prequels. Ewan McGregor did the best he could with the bad writing and directing and Haden Christensen was a stiff. Hence the nickname bestowed on him "Mannequin Anakin"
One other thing, sure the prequels looked better due to the advancement of technology, but the basics to a good story is still the writing, directing and acting, which was sorely lacking in the prequels.
The most clever and smartest part of the prequels was during Revenge of the Sith when Palpatine made himself grand ruler and as everybody was cheering Padme said, " So this is how liberty dies... with thunderous applause. "
Like the light and the dark side of the force, sides are drawn on a generational line here on which three film series is best, but I will always fall to the light side of the force, the original trilogy.
Naomi Starlight (author) from Illinois on June 09, 2012:
Yes I agree totally, Natalie Portman and Ewan McGreggor gave awesome performances as well. I think Natalie to be honest is more talented of an actress than Carrie Fisher.
Grayson from Boone, North Carolina on June 09, 2012:
This is great! Padme is probably one of the best reasons, without a doubt. I personally liked Yoda better in the later movies, but Luke went and ruined it all... Samuel L. Jackson, though? I mean, Ewan McGregor and Natalie Portman definitely made those movies! Still, the best reason had to be introducing a new generation to Star Wars. That made the prequels amazing!
flagostomos on June 09, 2012:
Ha! I don't think you thought out number one well enough! Kidding aside, you raise some valid points.