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Post #1565528

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What do you think of The Prequel Trilogy? A general discussion.
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Date created
19-Nov-2023, 6:50 PM

I have multiple layers of opinions and it’s hard to put them into a coherent whole.

Layer 1 - I am disappointed at what they did to the Expanded Universe, and at how they squandered their own potential. The main characters, the Jedi, the Force, the Clone Wars, etc. could have all been more interesting and closer to their pre-1999 counterparts in the original trilogy and the EU. This gets even worse the longer time goes on because the errors it made in depicting the Jedi and the Force have only gotten more extreme in the EU and in Disney canon until now very few people remember how they’re supposed to be.

Layer 2 - I really enjoyed them as a kid. I had a blast going to the theaters and watching them over and over on VHS and DVD. I was fully involved in all the video games and other extra material coming out around all the Clone Wars stuff, so I understand why people of my generation want them so badly to be “misunderstood masterpieces” or something, even though they’re not. My conclusion I’ve come to is that I really like The Phantom Menace and Revenge of the Sith, and I really hate Attack of the Clones. I think the complaints most people have about the movies (myself included), other than the Jar Jar and bad humor in TPM, can be traced back to Attack of the Clones. The characterizations, massive gaps in logic, and CGI failings are truly awful and generated a lot of bad will.

Layer 3 - I have very specific ideas about what people think about the movies as movies. I don’t think that they’re meaningless or shallow cash grabs with no artistry, but I don’t think they’re Secretly Genius or Hidden Masterpieces or Flawed Gems or whatever gobbledygook. You can look at them as pieces of pop entertainment or as serious films or both, but you don’t have to go to extremes either way. They have good parts and bad parts. I think that ROTS is objectively better than the other two but I understand if people disagree.

Layer 4 - I have very specific ideas about what people think about the movies’ history. I was there. They were disliked and considered disappointing. People hated Jar Jar. People hated young Anakin. People hated Anakin/Padme. People thought everything with Jango Fett was pandering. Younger millennials and some zoomers who weren’t even alive at the time try to pull revisionism over this and say that it was a small minority of hater fans and everyone else loved it, but this is absolutely not the case. It’s strange but this is the only site where you can still get honest opinions about this. The movies are not popular now because they’re good, even if you believe they are good. They’re popular due to a mix of nostalgia, memes, and expanded media projects like video games. A lot of this was successful astroturfing. The biggest thing is The Clone Wars show, which isn’t even that good, that “fixes the prequels.” The same people who tell you that they’re great movies that hold up will also tell you to watch eight seasons of animated shows and read extra books and comics to get the whole story.

Layer 5 - I have very specific ideas about what people think about the ideas in the movies. In real life, as a very religious person, I don’t agree with the concept of total celibacy (as in abstaining from marriage.) However, I understand what monks are and why they do what they do, and I have lots of respect for monks and nuns and for other religious traditions in general. I believe that in Star Wars, the Jedi are objectively correct about the Force and how it works. I think that in universe, their rules were a good idea.
This is extra complicated because of Layer 1. The Jedi should never have been like this. It’s too confusing for people to grasp and it wasn’t done well, and it’s inferior from a storytelling point of view to everything that came before. If I put that aside though, I feel compelled to tell people that the Jedi were actually right about almost everything, within the context of the movies.
The hatred people have for the Jedi, the “cult” accusations, and the apologia the fans do for genocide really bothers me. It comes from a place of hatred and stereotypes for religion in real life. It also comes from pseudoscientific pop psychology ideas inherited from Freud, that emotions are inherently sexual, that they “build up” and “explode” if not given “release” and that self-control is unhealthy. It’s like people who say that the problem with school shooters is that they just weren’t exposed to enough porn. It’s disgusting.
So I credit Lucas for having some inkling of these ideas but I blame him for not actually grasping them or depicting them correctly. I think if the movies did any real-life harm (other than the harassment of some of the actors) then this is it. Anakin killing the younglings is meant to be ugly and sad, but it’s also in very poor taste. Not for the unintentional humor, for the unintentional messaging that they deserved it in some way.

Layer 6 - The dialogue and the memes are funny.