Firstly, if people enjoy the Prequel films then all power to them. It is pleasing that some people enjoyed these films. A younger generation of fans have now come through online: and the young kids who enjoyed them at the time are now grown up and want to talk about them and why they enjoyed them. Good for them.
But for those of us that didn’t enjoy them:
George seemed to forget the golden rule of making movies with the Prequels:
Show. Don’t tell.
Show: George should have done was delivered on what he promised - the story of a great man and his fall into darkness. Although The Phantom Menace is probably the best of the three films, but it served little purpose in the greater narrative. He could have centered the first two films on an intelligent, thoughtful but conflicted Jedi who was lured to the Dark Side. The third film would have then chronicled the crusade of a tortured, Vader who traveled the galaxy hunting down the remaining Jedi.
But instead George gave us something very different - the adventures of an annoying hot-shot child who got lucky in a repeat of a space battle seen twice before in previous Star Wars movies, who then started a toxic controlling relationship with the mother of Luke and Leia, and somehow inexplicably morphed into Vader. George also gave the audience countless contradictions to what had already been explained and established in the previous Original films.
When you consider what could have been, and probably should have been, it is difficult not to feel letdown. Disappointed. Frustrated. In need of a good Fan Edit or 50! 😃
Don’t Tell: Since the backlash on the Prequel films George, Lucasfilm and many Prequel fans has spent considerable time and effort to explain why the Prequel films were what they were, and that people who didn’t like them just didn’t understand them, or that in not liking the films they were being mean to him. Mental gymnastics is required to take George at his word, And that is a problem in itself - George had the opportunity to show us the films he later espoused about, but he didn’t. The quality, the heart, the thrill, the story, the talent, all in abundance in the Originals, just wasn’t there for the Prequels. The later explanations and attempts at reasoning why the Prequels weren’t widely liked mean little to the people who paid their ticket money on these much hyped and publicized films at the time, sat down to watch them, and left disappointed. Or people who just plain didn’t like them or thought they were “merely okay”. Or just don’t want to watch them again.
Licensed books, animated and live actions series trying to explain the contradictions and plot holes between the two trilogies really only serve to remind people how poor, lazy and incoherent the Prequel films were. Selective interviews from George with friendly journalists and pre-approved questions, more retcons, extensive PR campaigns, videos, blogs, articles - all trying to justify, explain, or give some reason why the Prequels were better than we think or remember, or that we just didn’t understand them - all fail in their purpose: to get more people to watch, like and appreciate these films.
Why would George and others who champion the Prequels think people who didn’t enjoy these films want to read articles and watch videos and so on, or have it explained to them they were somehow wrong not to like these films? Or that they didn’t understand them? It seems a waste of time and effort to me, and yes, we understood them perfectly fine, thank you. George would probably have more respect from fans if he was more honest, about his own shortcomings in approaching the Prequels and the films themselves. Answer the tough and hard questions, not avoid them. Sometimes films don’t work out - not every film is going to be a smash and that is okay. It is also okay to say you “got it wrong” or could have done it differently. Many of us would rather find other Star Wars content to enjoy, whether new games, books, comics series and films.
Enjoy what you like. Leave what you don’t enjoy behind.
There’s a great documentary about this from History Channel. It’s just the Prequels tend to get more unfairly treated because the media tended to propel the backlash to continue as they attacked Ahmed Best, Jake Lloyd, Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman, and Rick McCallum. They attacked George too. Why would they want to listen to people who are going to accuse them of being racists, poor actors, yes men, or out of touch mainly deprived from not giving fans what they want? You get nothing from attacking people personally. Instead that’s exactly what happened and still does with a different group. George did listen to critics but he also recognised most were circlejerking around the ideas of things that just weren’t true about him or his colleagues. Most critics tend to view the films from the view of what they wish had happened in the films versus the actual stories and understanding them for what they are. An artist is equally not obligated to tell you their intentions. Andrei Tarkovsky or even Stanley Kubrick never explained themselves. George doesn’t need to either.
“Many don’t understand the Prequels and even Original Trilogy for that matter.”
“racists, poor actors, yes men, or out of touch mainly deprived from not giving fans what they want? You get nothing from attacking people personally”, and “most critics were circlejerking”
WTF? I just don’t like the films. Like I said before many people just don’t like them too, and has nothing to do with what you listed above.
“Most critics tend to view the films from the view of what they wish had happened in the films versus the actual stories and understanding them for what they are.”
No, they don’t. Critics may offer possibilities and alternative scenarios sometime after - but they can also understand the actual films for what they are.
“Andrei Tarkovsky or even Stanley Kubrick never explained themselves. George doesn’t need to either.”
I completely agree, and said before George “doesn’t need to”, yet George continues to attempt to explain them, retcon them, and bridge them so many years afterwards? Again, show - don’t tell.
"What matters I think though is you try understanding the author’s intentions and how successfully they achieved what they set out to do." and “at least give things a chance from the filmmaker’s prospective instead of brushing them off off and thinking only about what you thought could’ve been better”
No. What matters is people making their own mind up if they enjoyed watching a series of films or not. Again, show - don’t tell.
If people decided they did not enjoy them, they do not need to be labelled or associated with, as you did above, as being inferior minded people, accusers of others being racist, people who personally attack others, or are people who don’t understand the Prequels, or other films. Yes, a minority of those toxic fans exist, but they do not speak for the vast majority of those who simply did not enjoy the Prequel Films. A running theme with your posts is that if people critique the Prequel films (or George) then they somehow do not understand them. So there is no point in continuing this discussion with you.
I am happy you and others do enjoy these films, but the many that didn’t enjoy the Prequels certainly don’t need lectures on how we just “don’t understand them”.
Really, I just can’t understand why Revenge of the Sith is considered by anyone to be some operatic masterpiece. The only good qualities it has comes from depicting the interesting events ANH describes, but even then it butchers them. It’s really just an uncompelling story, shot and directed as blandly as possible, with a healthy helping of bloat and a completely tangential VFX reel every 15 or so minutes to make sure you don’t fall asleep.
Fanedits of Revenge of the Sith that cut out the cheese and the bloat completely fail for me because once you cut that out, the movie has very little left.
I agree for the most part of that, especially when depicting the events that are described in the original film (that don’t contradict it). It does feel at times that the filmmakers wanted it to be over and done with, and as long as “the boxes were ticked” it was somehow “good enough”. It seemed very flat and uninspiring, and not at all what you expect for the climax of the final Prequel film.
Star Wars was from the Adventures of Luke Skywalker. It was about him and he was the main character. Darth Vader wasn’t his father, and there was no long planned out saga of Darth Vader. Vader was Tarkin’s henchmen. With the first film obviously, then Lucas started rewriting from Empire on.
Lucas made it all up as he went. Its very clear he only started writing the prequels in 1994. He never bothered to watch the original movies again to keep continuity.
It certainly appeared that way given the many contradictions, and the mental gymnastics required to even to attempt to make some them more coherent, in the Prequels.