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What do you think of The Prequel Trilogy? A general discussion. — Page 2

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ken-obi said:

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”.

Firstly, I’m not calling you or anyone who dislikes the films these things. I’m calling out the critics who labeled George and the creatives as such as an excuse to not view the films for what they are or trying to understand them. It’s okay to dislike a film but going to the extreme most critics did is completely unacceptable and frankly contributed to the inability of people to take the films for what they are. It’s the difference between an intelligent critic like Roger Ebert and someone who doesn’t understand Star Wars like Red Light Media. They understand certain pop culture but not Star Wars.

He has a right to show and tell. He gives cookie cutter explanations of things. It’s not like he’s going minute by minute to tell you his intentions with everything. He leaves a lot of room for people to take in what they want to. This isn’t contradictory. He’s been doing it since the beginning when he explained how the original film was meant to convey the Saturday matinee serial. It’s much more than that though and he’s only now been trying to get that out there. I could see it being motivated by the fact Disney doesn’t understand Star Wars. He’s trying to put out there what it actually means so that it’s at least known to serve as help towards making more meaningful stories going forward. However it’s equally refreshing to hear what inspires a creative but they’re not obligated to show you everything. George seems to be doing both.

Not to sound condescending but that’s the difference between a creative mindset and one of taking what is given to you. As a creative like George I find you want people to understand your intentions and what the story means to you but you also understand that isn’t always the case. Star Wars is the perfect example of this. So few actually understand it the way he intended. There’s nothing inherently good or bad about that as people take in information how they choose but that’s why things like visual literacy and the like are super important as you end up getting stories that dumb themselves down for the audience and create unlikable characters who can’t have flaws. It’s the domino effect in a way. Coincidentally George dealt with this issue in a matter of speaking in THX 1138. You can’t please everyone. So why do studios continue to cater? Because that’s what the consumer wants and as long as they do and don’t fight back against it or Twitter mobs with checklists for that matter it will continue to make films worse. I guess that’s subjective though. Some just want the stories to remain like they were when growing up and to capture that feeling. That’s okay I suppose sometimes but it’s not healthy to want the same thing all the time. It’s not okay though to listen to the mobs.

It’s true many don’t understand Star Wars. I don’t mean it as a slight against anyone personally but it’s true. Many people don’t take the time to actually truly delve into and spend time with a film before they move onto the next one. They see what they want to within a film and when there’s someone that reinforces what they already know it’s like a bond is automatically formed. It’s a cycle of consume and move onto next product. Some are very easily amused by seeing X-Wings and TIE Fighters again or hearing Duel of the Fates in the latest Obi-Wan trailer. I’m not. I was happy to see X-Wings at first again. I even got the Lego set of Poe’s X-Wing. However in time I realised why they’re there. Nostalgia is like a powerful drug. It’s not a bad thing if kept in check per say but when it’s the only thing you have to show versus an actual story you’re in a real danger. It’s like what Alec Guiness spoke of to that kid he told to never watch Star Wars again. It can be unhealthy. It’s very important to continue to grow a story and not let it grow stagnant. George, Marcia Lucas, Howard Kazanjian, and many creatives agree.

It’s not meant to lecture but merely to say there’s always another side to the story. You can like and dislike what you want. Our prospectives change as we grow older and evolve but sometimes there’s a greater danger in not trying to grow with something or understand it for what it is. It’s like a relationship in that way. You can either grow together and evolve or stay the same and have momentary pleasure.

Life is one contradiction after another in a way but it’s a beautiful thing if we remain open to all that it has to offer instead of only seeing it from the lenses of what we wish it to be and those that reinforce beliefs we already have.

“Heroes come in all sizes, and you don’t have to be a giant hero. You can be a very small hero. It’s just as important to understand that accepting self-responsibility for the things you do, having good manners, caring about other people - these are heroic acts. Everybody has the choice of being a hero or not being a hero every day of their lives.” - George Lucas

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I felt The Phantom Menace felt like Star Wars but set in the Old Republic. I love Qui-gon. I do not hate Jar Jar. Jake Lloyd was not bad as Anakin. After spending time with 9 and 10 year olds recently, some of them sound like that. And I also saw something he did right before he played Anakin. I have nothing to hate about this movie. I love it. The theatrical version anyway. I do not like the DVD cut. I do prefer CG Yoda over the puppet. That was one horrible puppet. And the CG makes it fit better with the following two films.

Attack of the Clones is mostly good, but it has some terrible stuff in it. The droid factory sequence is probably the worst in all of Star Wars. Comic relief is one thing, but that was over the top and totally ridiculous. And the way Anakin acts does not fit with his character. Not Hayden’s acting, but the way the part is written. That argument in front of Padme is out of place and the way he acts when Padme falls out doesn’t fit. He’s attached to her and madly in love with her, but he isn’t a total idiot.

Return of the Sith is mostly great. It is dark, but the story doesn’t play out quite as expected (based on the other 5 films that came out before it). There isn’t anything I can put my finger on, just a feeling that something is off.

Overall the Prequels setup the story nicely for the OT. They aren’t as good, but prequels rarely are. I really feel that Lucas spent time on TPM and did it right, but rushed the other two and didn’t have a good partner to make sure the script was top notch before filming them. He had too many people who weren’t critical enough of his work and the films suffer for it. AOTS in obvious ways and ROTS in more subtle ways.

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ken-obi said:

Stardust1138 said:

Sorry. I didn’t understand any of that.

These might help if you’re open to understanding a creative mindset:

https://youtu.be/O39niAzuapc

https://youtu.be/aDBmH9ntEOA

“Heroes come in all sizes, and you don’t have to be a giant hero. You can be a very small hero. It’s just as important to understand that accepting self-responsibility for the things you do, having good manners, caring about other people - these are heroic acts. Everybody has the choice of being a hero or not being a hero every day of their lives.” - George Lucas

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Stardust, maybe it’s best to back away. Recognize when somebody isn’t worth engaging with and don’t antagonize them with a wall of text.

Take it from somebody who cut his teeth on hobby boards - nobody truly reads a forum post that’s over 150 words. They’ll read if they’re exceptionally interested, which is rarely the case. Most people just hunt for the pictures and their captions because they don’t want their time wasted by a bunch of word filler and jargon. Brevity is the key to posting and being understood/respected by fellow posters. It is also wise to avoid even the slightest bit of condescending and assuming ill intent from fellow posters when the matter is as low-stakes as this.

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BedeHistory731 said:

Stardust, maybe it’s best to back away. Recognize when somebody isn’t worth engaging with and don’t antagonize them with a wall of text.

Yes indeed. That’s exactly what I’ll be doing. I just felt I needed to provide the resources if anyone decided they wanted to take the leap. I understand we all have a different view of things but sometimes I wish people were willing to open themselves up to hearing both sides of a discussion instead of only what they believe it to be. We’re all guilty of it. Things would be immensely better if we listened and tried to understand things for what they are. I definitely understand why people don’t like the Prequels or even love the Sequels. The Prequels are different from the Originals. They have a different look and feel to them in certain ways. They’re telling a more complex narrative and asking deeper questions than those given in the Original Trilogy. They aren’t as simplistic and have aspects that can be hard to understand the first time watching them. I just wish the same level of understanding was given to George and knowing him as a person. He’s not some cynical man who was trying to make a film you dislike. He just had a vision and he stuck with it no matter what when it came to all of his films, including even the Special Editions. You have to admire someone who is unflinching to what critics want you to make but instead right or wrong you follow your own bliss. It’s a lesson we can all learn from and just because we may not always agree with it or someone we can always try learning from it and respecting it for what it gives to us. It’s also not meant to be condescending but merely show what has been provided to us and a way of seeing things. It can certainly come off that way but that’s not my intentions. I don’t make the rules or pretend to be an expect but I do try to understand things as I find it’s an important ingredient to understanding art and even life itself.

“Heroes come in all sizes, and you don’t have to be a giant hero. You can be a very small hero. It’s just as important to understand that accepting self-responsibility for the things you do, having good manners, caring about other people - these are heroic acts. Everybody has the choice of being a hero or not being a hero every day of their lives.” - George Lucas

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Also, adding “I think” helps your statement stand out as less of a statement of fact and more as you provided an informed opinion. This goes for everybody.

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Stardust1138 said:

ken-obi said:

Stardust1138 said:

Sorry. I didn’t understand any of that.

These might help if you’re open to understanding a creative mindset:

https://youtu.be/O39niAzuapc

https://youtu.be/aDBmH9ntEOA

No, apart from the slighted insult I didn’t understand any of what you wrote there either.

Those videos won’t help me somehow now enjoy the Prequels either.

Why would anyone want to watch YouTube videos, linked from someone who continually insults those don’t like the Prequel films, to somehow now be able to now enjoy the Prequels years after they were released?
 

“It’s not my intention to make you suddenly love them like I do but merely to give you the tools to understand them through the intentions of the collective whole as George intended and what it means to be visually literate.”

Again, you assume that people who don’t like these films don’t understand them? That they require additional information or tools to do that? (And not that we already have this knowledge, do understand them, and decided we didn’t like them regardless. Huh!). That we for some reason also need to “understand the intentions of the collective whole as George intended”?

George said all “these films were made for 10 years olds”, they don’t actually require that much understanding. In storytelling and film making: Show - don’t tell. If the films can’t stand alone on their own two feet they’ve got problems. All the additional series & videos, blogs, articles, PR pieces and links for years on end won’t change whether you enjoyed the films or not. It does certainly highlight the attitude and superiority complex of the Prequel fans who believe those who didn’t enjoy the films somehow don’t understand them, need such additional materials or “tools” or to “understand the intentions of the collective whole as George intended”.

George can’t even remember his own intentions - or keep his own story straight. It is probably why he has been caught out in his lies, retcons and time-travelling so often. Or placing blame at the feet of others for his own lies or shortcomings (including the exclusion or playing down the roles and contributions of others to the SWU). I’m 63 years old and was lucky to see Star Wars in the cinema, the other Originals, and the many other releases, but I also remember the lies, retcons and bullshit from George over the years. Despite this, many years have passed and I’m still a fan of both Star Wars and George, but I also don’t like or enjoy everything Star Wars related. If that includes the Prequels that is perfectly okay.
 

Let’s say you don’t like Doritos. And there are plenty of others chips out there to enjoy. Do you think watching YouTube videos about Doritos will somehow make yourself now enjoy them? Will reading and listening to what the creator of Doritos says about Doritos what his “intentions and how successfully they achieved what they set out to do” make me now like the Doritos chips?

Let’s say you don’t like a film you saw 20 years ago. You didn’t like it and have no intention of watching it again, life is short and there are far more films to watch. Do you think watching YouTube videos about the film you didn’t like 20 years ago will somehow make yourself now enjoy it? (or watching YouTube videos on “Video Literacy” will change your opinion of not liking the film?) Will reading and listening to what the creator of of the film says about it and what his “intentions and how successfully they achieved what they set out to do” make me now enjoy the films?

Of course not.
 

Instead you could have asked what aspects of the films people here did enjoy, or thought were positive. Talk about that, but it now is a little late after you’ve insulted, lectured and patronized them.

As posted previously, there seems little point in continuing this discussion with you, if nothing else but to not further derail this thread. I apologize to everyone if I have derailed the thread or if anyone does not agree with my posts, and I’ll refrain from further posting in here.

If you’d like some recommended reading for a fuller understanding of the actual history of Star Wars (beyond the Prequels; George’s supposed “intentions”, and the cherry-picked & ret-conned “official history”), and haven’t already read these yet, then The Secret History Of Star Wars, Dale Pollock’s Skywalking, and some of the pinned threads on here, are all most informative and may help you see things from a different point of view.

The Secret History of Star Wars | Star Wars Visual Comparisons | George Lucas: Star Wars Creator, Unreliable Narrator & Time-Travelling Revisionist

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ken-obi said:

No, apart from the slighted insult I didn’t understand any of what you wrote there either.

Those videos won’t help me somehow now enjoy the Prequels either.

Why would anyone want to watch YouTube videos, linked from someone who continually insults those don’t like the Prequel films, to somehow now be able to now enjoy the Prequels years after they were released?
 

Let’s say you don’t like Doritos. And there are plenty of others chips out there to enjoy. Do you think watching YouTube videos about Doritos will somehow make yourself now enjoy them? Will reading and listening to what the creator of Doritos says about Doritos what his “intentions and how successfully they achieved what they set out to do” make me now like the Doritos chips?

Let’s say you don’t like a film you saw 20 years ago. You didn’t like it and have no intention of watching it again, life is short and there are far more films to watch. Do you think watching YouTube videos about the film you didn’t like 20 years ago will somehow make yourself now enjoy it? (or watching YouTube videos on “Video Literacy” will change your opinion of not liking the film?) Will reading and listening to what the creator of of the film says about it and what his “intentions and how successfully they achieved what they set out to do” make me now enjoy the films?

Of course not.
 

Instead you could have asked what aspects of the films people here did enjoy, or thought were positive. Talk about that, but it now is a little late after you’ve insulted, lectured and patronized them.

As posted previously, there seems little point in continuing this discussion with you, if nothing else but to not further derail this thread. I apologize to everyone if I have derailed the thread or if anyone does not agree with my posts, and I’ll refrain from further posting in here.

My intentions weren’t to offend you but I do sincerely apologise to you for making you feel that way. I truly didn’t mean it as a personal insult to you personally or anyone else for that matter but merely an observation experience I’ve encountered through personal experiences with art and the way of seeing it that most tend to have in particular against the Prequels and George Lucas. It’s not a slight against you personally as a person as I know art is subjective and we all have our own personal view of seeing things.

Absolutely. Not everyone likes Doritos and that’s okay. We can’t all like the same food.

It’s not my intention to make you suddenly love them like I do but merely to give you the tools to understand them through the intentions of the collective whole as George intended and what it means to be visually literate. This is a different thing to that of personal preferences. It’s an important tool I find in understanding the world around us. It isn’t taught in our culture unfortunately. I may have gone too far in how I expressed this desire to teach it but it wasn’t to belittle you.

Life would be a pretty dull thing if we all liked the same things but making it personal or generalising people is never healthy. No matter who you are as we all have a reason for liking or disliking the things we do. I certainly respect and understand that but I conveyed it in a way that didn’t come across as well as I had in my head. For that and how it came across I do apologise.

“Heroes come in all sizes, and you don’t have to be a giant hero. You can be a very small hero. It’s just as important to understand that accepting self-responsibility for the things you do, having good manners, caring about other people - these are heroic acts. Everybody has the choice of being a hero or not being a hero every day of their lives.” - George Lucas

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BedeHistory731 said:

Also, adding “I think” helps your statement stand out as less of a statement of fact and more as you provided an informed opinion. This goes for everybody.

Of course it goes for everybody , although, the title of this topic thread implies a solicitation of opinion . Though I disagree with most of what Stardust is putting forth here , he is giving his opinion and he has a right to it . With that said , his arguments have been discussed elsewhere on this site before . Personally , I THINK , Hellogreedo hit the nail on the head in addressing it a few years back https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FGBGcvWkdM but that’s just like , my opinion man ( as well as HelloGreedo’s and , I suspect , many others ) .

https://screamsinthevoid.deviantart.com/

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I will again reiterate the fact that we did not get a story that made much sense in terms of Anakin’s fall.

The Jedi Council had grave concerns about training Anakin, yes? So why make him the student of a just-promoted new “Master”? Stupid! Of course it never matters; we get no hint whatsoever that Obi-wan fails to “train him as well as Yoda”. In fact Obi-wan is supportive of Anakin in ROTS all the time - even when the rest of The Order has its doubts.

As many others in this thread have pointed out, Lucas was unconcerned about making the PT and OT makes sense as a whole. He wanted to tell a specific story about how Anakin went to the darkside even if it was not believable and contradicted his original films!

“It is only through interaction, through decision and choice, through confrontation, physical or mental, that the Force can grow within you.”
-Kreia, Jedi Master and Sith Lord

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theprequelsrule said:

I will again reiterate the fact that we did not get a story that made much sense in terms of Anakin’s fall.

The Jedi Council had grave concerns about training Anakin, yes? So why make him the student of a just-promoted new “Master”? Stupid! Of course it never matters; we get no hint whatsoever that Obi-wan fails to “train him as well as Yoda”. In fact Obi-wan is supportive of Anakin in ROTS all the time - even when the rest of The Order has its doubts.

As many others in this thread have pointed out, Lucas was unconcerned about making the PT and OT makes sense as a whole. He wanted to tell a specific story about how Anakin went to the darkside even if it was not believable and contradicted his original films!

I think of it like this, Obi-Wan was promoted to a Jedi Knight, who can train Padawan learners, but given permission by Yoda and the Jedi Council because Qui-Gon made Obi-Wan promise to train Anakin. Yoda and the council reluctantly agreed only because Obi-Wan was showing signs of Qui-Gon’s percieved defiance by saying he’d train Anakin without their permission and they didn’t want him to go down the same road. Later when Obi-Wan relies what happened to Luke he tells him “I thought I could train him just as well as Yoda. I was wrong”. The “I was wrong” is key. Obi-Wan believes he could train Anakin as well as Yoda but from the guilt he feels for what happened he feels he failed him as he equally alludes to in his duel with Anakin himself on Mustafar. “I have failed you Anakin. I have failed you.” Yoda was very wise in his wisdom he showed when training the younglings, which Obi-Wan was at one time and when he was instructed partially, and equally when he offered advice to Anakin but he didn’t listen as he was beginning to feel twisted from fear of losing another loved one. I’d say Obi-Wan is supportive of Anakin but in the sense of doing what he thinks is right by him and trying to understand him the best he could. He does the best he can with his limitations and inexperiences of not being ready. This in a way carries over to why they didn’t tell Luke about Anakin right away. They didn’t want to burden him with the responsibility of what happened until they knew he could handle it or at least until it was inevitable as his father told him first. Anakin would’ve been better served with Qui-Gon as his master but unfortunately that wasn’t where fate lead them. Obi-Wan cares and loves Anakin like a brother as he protects him from the prejudices of the Jedi Council as any older sibling would with say a parent or authority figure but wasn’t the master he needed. They’re different responsibilities but connected in their shared circumstance. He did try his best though and ended up being a better mentor to Luke arguably as he taught him to feel but think as he failed to with Anakin. Trial and error.

“Heroes come in all sizes, and you don’t have to be a giant hero. You can be a very small hero. It’s just as important to understand that accepting self-responsibility for the things you do, having good manners, caring about other people - these are heroic acts. Everybody has the choice of being a hero or not being a hero every day of their lives.” - George Lucas

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I’ve gone back and forth on the prequels a lot over the years. I have very mixed feelings on them, but they’re fascinating movies to pick apart.

The OT works because it got general audiences invested in its characters. That’s why it caused reactions in the theater like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzRveOGMflo

Star Wars movies only really work when they’re character-driven, and when you have compelling heroes and villains that stick out in the audience’s minds. There isn’t really an exact formula for how to achieve this, and I think George tried his best to recapture that magic when he made TPM, but failed.

At the start of ANH, R2 and 3PO are our audience proxy characters that we follow, up until we meet Luke, who then becomes the primary POV character. R2 and 3PO have great chemistry as they play off each other, and adults and children both enjoy their back-and-forth, even after the main POV shifts to Luke. Meanwhile, the film’s plot centers around Leia, and the film does a good job of getting us to sympathize with her plight while also seeing how bold and resilient she is.

In TPM, our initial POV is Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan, who are very stoic and flat, outside of an occasional snarky comment from Obi-Wan. The central character, the Queen, is also very stoic and flat. Then, the role of audience proxy is filled by Jar Jar, which, in theory, isn’t a bad idea, except for the fact that it’s…well, Jar Jar. Unlike the droids, his appeal as a character is to a much narrower demographic.

I think George realized the cast was too stuffy and stoic, so he tried to counterbalance that with Jar Jar and kid Anakin, but the result is that we get two extremes with little balance or chemistry between them. With the OT, the main hero characters had more of a balance between serious and lighthearted, which endeared the audience to them and allowed for people to latch onto those characters and their relationships.

But we can’t turn back. Fear is their greatest defense. I doubt if the actual security there is any greater than it was on Aquilae or Sullust. And what there is is most likely directed towards a large-scale assault.

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Servii said:

I’ve gone back and forth on the prequels a lot over the years. I have very mixed feelings on them, but they’re fascinating movies to pick apart.

The OT works because it got general audiences invested in its characters. That’s why it caused reactions in the theater like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzRveOGMflo

Star Wars movies only really work when they’re character-driven, and when you have compelling heroes and villains that stick out in the audience’s minds. There isn’t really an exact formula for how to achieve this, and I think George tried his best to recapture that magic when he made TPM, but failed.

At the start of ANH, R2 and 3PO are our audience proxy characters that we follow, up until we meet Luke, who then becomes the primary POV character. R2 and 3PO have great chemistry as they play off each other, and adults and children alike enjoy their back-and-forth, even after the main POV shifts to Luke. Meanwhile, the film’s plot centers around Leia, and the film does a good job of getting us to sympathize with her plight while also seeing how bold and resilient she is.

In TPM, our initial POV is Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan, who are very stoic and flat, outside of an occasional snarky comment from Obi-Wan. The central character, the Queen, is also very stoic and flat. Then, the role of audience proxy is filled by Jar Jar, which, in theory, isn’t a bad idea, except for the fact that it’s…well, Jar Jar. Unlike the droids, his appeal as a character is to a much narrower demographic.

I think George realized the cast was too stuffy and stoic, so he tried to counterbalance that with Jar Jar and kid Anakin, but the result is that we get two extremes with little balance or chemistry between them. With the OT, the main hero characters had more of a balance between serious and lighthearted, which endeared the audience to them and allowed for people to latch onto those characters and their relationships.

Michael Arndt talked about how satisfying SW77 was because of the brilliant ending. I’m quoting from another website which describes Arndt’s admiration for it:

"…in order for an ending to work, the story has to have from the beginning an effective set of stakes, which Arndt divides into three types—external stakes, i.e. the main conflict that drives the narrative; internal stakes, i.e. the protagonist’s emotional and psychological conflicts; and finally, and most importantly, the philosophical stakes, i.e. the story’s larger moral conflict, expressed as a conflict between the “dominant values” of the world and its “underdog values.” As an example, Arndt uses Star Wars, in which the external stakes are the rebellion’s conflict with the Empire, the internal stakes are Luke’s personal desire to be more than just a moisture farmer and escape Tatooine, and the philosophical stakes are whether the force is real (the underdog values) or whether, as Han says, it’s just “hokey religions and ancient weapons” (the dominant values).

A great ending, then, according to Arndt is one in which (among other things) the underdog philosophical values triumph over the dominant ones. In Star Wars, for example, Luke’s decision to switch off his targeting computer and allow the force to guide him while firing at the Death Star, along with Han’s decision to return and help Luke, confirm the power of the force and represent a victory of the film’s underdog values. In this same moment, the external and internal stakes are also resolved (the rebels win and Luke achieves a personal self-actualization by proving himself a great pilot), which Arndt also emphasizes is important for a powerful ending—the three sets of stakes converge onto one moment and are resolved all together."

It is a tragedy for Star Wars that Mr. Arndt struggled so much with the script that he had to leave the ST.

Contrast the end of SW77 with TPM where dumb luck allows both Jar Jar and Anakin to bring victory to our underdogs. Horrible, horrible writing.

“It is only through interaction, through decision and choice, through confrontation, physical or mental, that the Force can grow within you.”
-Kreia, Jedi Master and Sith Lord

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 (Edited)

In retrospect, the biggest problem with the Prequels is they’re told in a way that often ignores their own premise. In theory, the most interesting thing about the Prequel story template should be Anakin and the circumstances behind Alec Guinness’ wistful recollections to Luke in ANH. This is a classic “good guy turns bad” story. The problem is that this type of story is very difficult to write convincingly. This type of story was done in the Godfather Part I and also Breaking Bad - but the latter had 6 seasons of television to pull it off, and the Godfather involved a much less extreme transition from good to bad than is required for Anakin, who has to go from Obi-Wan’s good friend to a mass murdering tyrant in only 3 movies.

This is just a REALLY hard story to write convincingly in only 3 movies. It requires a lot of upfront planning of story structure. Yet bizarrely, it seems that Lucas wasn’t even primarily interested in Anakin’s story and the obvious drama that could be mined from it. Instead he wrote Episode 1, which was a meandering side-story that introduced us to the world of the Prequels, but barely connected with the other movies. It seems clear that Lucas didn’t see the “Tragedy of Anakin Skywalker” as the primary reason for writing the Prequels. Rather, Lucas saw the Prequels as more like a general backstory to the OT that showed how the Republic turned into a dictatorship and the Jedi order was destroyed. That could certainly be interesting as a political/military drama if done correctly, but Star Wars movies are generally simple character driven stories. It seems by the time Revenge of the Sith came around, Lucas suddenly realized this saga was supposed to be more about Anakin and less about Palpatine’s crazy schemes to get elected or mysterious clone conspiracies. But by that time, it was virtually impossible to make up for lost time and write a compelling arc for Anakin in only one movie.

Most of all, it’s eternally baffling to me that so much of the Prequels are framed around MYSTERY plots. Episode 1 is about a mysterious hooded figure who operates in the shadows. Episode 2 is a detective story about a conspiracy involving a mysterious clone army created decades ago for unknown reasons. But none of these mysteries are ever really explicitly resolved because ultimately they’re superfluous to the story. More importantly, why would anyone frame a PREQUEL around mystery plots, when we all know how everything turns out? We know the mysterious hooded guy is the Emperor and that all the Jedi die, so why pretend the story is some kind of deep, compelling mystery or political conspiracy thriller? The only reason the Prequels really should exist is because the story of Anakin and his mentor/friend Obi-Wan had the potential to be an amazing character-driven drama and fantasy/sci-fi adventure story.

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IMO

The prequels are a fantastic story with sub-par execution.

The sequels are a fantastic execution of a sub-par story.

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Channel72 said:

Most of all, it’s eternally baffling to me that so much of the Prequels are framed around MYSTERY plots.

This is a fatal flaw for almost all prequel writing. It can’t be a normal what-happens-next story because the audience already knows the outcome. Yet by default it can’t be self-contained, either, since it has a pre-existing mythology it has to work with, even if it’s chronologically earlier.

It takes an extremely good writer to be able to craft a story that still generates interest even though the ending is known. Lucas isn’t that good a writer–but most people in the world wouldn’t be, either.

I can’t think of a single prequel that changed the original work in a positively-received way. There’s tons of prequels, but they regularly get derided for changing something people believed about the story. For example, Captain Marvel made a few changes to how people believed Nick Fury made the Avengers. These were not popular additions to the story, despite being fairly low-key to the overall mythology.

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I can’t think of a single prequel that changed the original work in a positively-received way.

That’s something to keep in mind. Prequels are very difficult to pull off in a way that enhances original story rather than undermining it. They’re usually more likely to work if they’re not a “direct” prequel but are instead just a different story set further back in the timeline.

The prequels built themselves around the anticipation of Anakin becoming Vader (you can even hear Vader breathing at the end of TPM’s credits), but didn’t do enough of the character work to make that transformation feel gradual or earned. And the fact that Lucas chose to hinge the trilogy on Anakin’s arc means it really needed to work.

TPM is an especially fascinating movie to me because it’s a rare case of a movie that may have benefitted from less time in the oven. In earlier drafts, Qui-Gon didn’t exist yet, and Anakin was a teenager with an apparently more troubled personality. Lucas spent several years polishing the script into exactly what he wanted it to be. But some of his revisions may have actually made the movie worse.

But we can’t turn back. Fear is their greatest defense. I doubt if the actual security there is any greater than it was on Aquilae or Sullust. And what there is is most likely directed towards a large-scale assault.

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Servii said:

I can’t think of a single prequel that changed the original work in a positively-received way.

That’s something to keep in mind. Prequels are very difficult to pull off in a way that enhances original story rather than undermining it. They’re usually more likely to work if they’re not a “direct” prequel but are instead just a different story set further back in the timeline.

See Better Call Saul for an example of that. It’s not so much a prequel to Breaking Bad, but instead it’s a show set in the same universe both before and after the show.

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With the OT you had a likable character in Luke to latch onto and follow. The prequel didn’t have that. Its a grave mistake. Whether it be the writing or the casting, it doesn’t work. Maybe it should have been OBI Wan’s point of view we saw the prequels from. I don’t know. But Anakin is the same and Vader is the same. There is no slow descent into evil and madness and seduction of power. He is the same as Vader as Anakin was in II and III. Same conflicted character. He doesn’t have that journey implied in the OT. He isn’t this man of virtue and heroism, that when he finally turns it rips your heart out. You laugh in episode III when Obi Wan says he has the high ground and it ends like a videogame cutscene, and Anakin says you underestimate my power. And Obi Wan is sad why, they never showed they were good friends except in books and cartoons.

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Channel72 said:

In retrospect, the biggest problem with the Prequels is they’re told in a way that often ignores their own premise. In theory, the most interesting thing about the Prequel story template should be Anakin and the circumstances behind Alec Guinness’ wistful recollections to Luke in ANH. This is a classic “good guy turns bad” story. The problem is that this type of story is very difficult to write convincingly. This type of story was done in the Godfather Part I and also Breaking Bad - but the latter had 6 seasons of television to pull it off, and the Godfather involved a much less extreme transition from good to bad than is required for Anakin, who has to go from Obi-Wan’s good friend to a mass murdering tyrant in only 3 movies.

This is just a REALLY hard story to write convincingly in only 3 movies. It requires a lot of upfront planning of story structure. Yet bizarrely, it seems that Lucas wasn’t even primarily interested in Anakin’s story and the obvious drama that could be mined from it. Instead he wrote Episode 1, which was a meandering side-story that introduced us to the world of the Prequels, but barely connected with the other movies. It seems clear that Lucas didn’t see the “Tragedy of Anakin Skywalker” as the primary reason for writing the Prequels. Rather, Lucas saw the Prequels as more like a general backstory to the OT that showed how the Republic turned into a dictatorship and the Jedi order was destroyed. That could certainly be interesting as a political/military drama if done correctly, but Star Wars movies are generally simple character driven stories. It seems by the time Revenge of the Sith came around, Lucas suddenly realized this saga was supposed to be more about Anakin and less about Palpatine’s crazy schemes to get elected or mysterious clone conspiracies. But by that time, it was virtually impossible to make up for lost time and write a compelling arc for Anakin in only one movie.

Most of all, it’s eternally baffling to me that so much of the Prequels are framed around MYSTERY plots. Episode 1 is about a mysterious hooded figure who operates in the shadows. Episode 2 is a detective story about a conspiracy involving a mysterious clone army created decades ago for unknown reasons. But none of these mysteries are ever really explicitly resolved because ultimately they’re superfluous to the story. More importantly, why would anyone frame a PREQUEL around mystery plots, when we all know how everything turns out? We know the mysterious hooded guy is the Emperor and that all the Jedi die, so why pretend the story is some kind of deep, compelling mystery or political conspiracy thriller? The only reason the Prequels really should exist is because the story of Anakin and his mentor/friend Obi-Wan had the potential to be an amazing character-driven drama and fantasy/sci-fi adventure story.

Very good points, ones I never thought of specifically before. A much better script for all 3 prequels is needed to tell both the fall on The Republic and the fall of Anakin Skywalker simultaneously.

I really thought the whole plot where Palpatine is basically running both the Separatists and The Republic really strained credibility. At least have the reveal that Dooku was a Sith take place in ROTS - make the audience think he is truly a rogue Jedi fighting against a hopelessly corrupt Republic and that The Separatists were actually the good guys.

Also; remember how evil Tarkin and company were in SW77 when they are all sitting around the conference table on the Death Star? Now remember the similar scene on Geonosis, with all those weird comical looking aliens? Creates a completely different feel. The Separatists seemed like a joke.

“It is only through interaction, through decision and choice, through confrontation, physical or mental, that the Force can grow within you.”
-Kreia, Jedi Master and Sith Lord

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theprequelsrule said:

Channel72 said:

In retrospect, the biggest problem with the Prequels is they’re told in a way that often ignores their own premise. In theory, the most interesting thing about the Prequel story template should be Anakin and the circumstances behind Alec Guinness’ wistful recollections to Luke in ANH. This is a classic “good guy turns bad” story. The problem is that this type of story is very difficult to write convincingly. This type of story was done in the Godfather Part I and also Breaking Bad - but the latter had 6 seasons of television to pull it off, and the Godfather involved a much less extreme transition from good to bad than is required for Anakin, who has to go from Obi-Wan’s good friend to a mass murdering tyrant in only 3 movies.

This is just a REALLY hard story to write convincingly in only 3 movies. It requires a lot of upfront planning of story structure. Yet bizarrely, it seems that Lucas wasn’t even primarily interested in Anakin’s story and the obvious drama that could be mined from it. Instead he wrote Episode 1, which was a meandering side-story that introduced us to the world of the Prequels, but barely connected with the other movies. It seems clear that Lucas didn’t see the “Tragedy of Anakin Skywalker” as the primary reason for writing the Prequels. Rather, Lucas saw the Prequels as more like a general backstory to the OT that showed how the Republic turned into a dictatorship and the Jedi order was destroyed. That could certainly be interesting as a political/military drama if done correctly, but Star Wars movies are generally simple character driven stories. It seems by the time Revenge of the Sith came around, Lucas suddenly realized this saga was supposed to be more about Anakin and less about Palpatine’s crazy schemes to get elected or mysterious clone conspiracies. But by that time, it was virtually impossible to make up for lost time and write a compelling arc for Anakin in only one movie.

Most of all, it’s eternally baffling to me that so much of the Prequels are framed around MYSTERY plots. Episode 1 is about a mysterious hooded figure who operates in the shadows. Episode 2 is a detective story about a conspiracy involving a mysterious clone army created decades ago for unknown reasons. But none of these mysteries are ever really explicitly resolved because ultimately they’re superfluous to the story. More importantly, why would anyone frame a PREQUEL around mystery plots, when we all know how everything turns out? We know the mysterious hooded guy is the Emperor and that all the Jedi die, so why pretend the story is some kind of deep, compelling mystery or political conspiracy thriller? The only reason the Prequels really should exist is because the story of Anakin and his mentor/friend Obi-Wan had the potential to be an amazing character-driven drama and fantasy/sci-fi adventure story.

Very good points, ones I never thought of specifically before. A much better script for all 3 prequels is needed to tell both the fall on The Republic and the fall of Anakin Skywalker simultaneously.

I really thought the whole plot where Palpatine is basically running both the Separatists and The Republic really strained credibility. At least have the reveal that Dooku was a Sith take place in ROTS - make the audience think he is truly a rogue Jedi fighting against a hopelessly corrupt Republic and that The Separatists were actually the good guys.

Also; remember how evil Tarkin and company were in SW77 when they are all sitting around the conference table on the Death Star? Now remember the similar scene on Geonosis, with all those weird comical looking aliens? Creates a completely different feel. The Separatists seemed like a joke.

I find myself sympathizing with Stardust1138 because I often lack tact in my strong opinions.

But he does have some ideas that bear looking at. If you miss some of the things that George included in the prequels (especially if that led to not liking them and not wanting to watch them again) then your hate of one or more of the prequels might be based on not having really understood the story. There are things I didn’t catch right away (at least not consciously) that have added to my understanding of the story. I’m also not content with just the films, but in learning more about the backstory behind the story. For the prequels there is a lot in the OT, but there is more in other places. George’s original vision of the Emperor was that he was a puppet (ANH novelization). He took that and the powerful Sith lord he created for ROTJ and merged them into the same character by making him duplicitous. So you have the public face of Palpatine. He’s is a nice guy, friendly, amicable. He seems genuinely concerned. A bit of a pushover really. But then you have the real power - the Sith Lord. He is using the force to manipulate votes and get his way. He uses the Trade Federation blockade of Naboo to become Chancellor. He lays the plan for the Clone Wars by picking the source for the clones and having order 66 instilled in them. He plays the victim when he is disfigured. It is a brilliant political move. And it is the reason the separtists are a joke. He intends them to fail. He wants to destabilize the Republic and seize power for himself. He made an enemy of the Trade Federation and this seems in part revenge.

And then there is Anakin’s fall. Something I didn’t consciously catch until recently is that Palpatine uses the force on Anakin to bend him to his will. Anakin was susceptible after he stopped Mace Windu and you can hear the special effect in Palpatine’s voice when he gives Anakin instructions to take then Jedi Temple.

It is all about what you noticed and how that impacted your opinion of the films. I had a bad first viewing of TFA and I don’t think I will ever truly like that film because of it. So really get that once your opinion is formed it is hard to change. But hey, this is Star Wars. Isn’t it worth digging deeper and seeing if you missed something that might change your mind and giving each film at least a second chance? I think it is. I keep giving AOTC and TFA more chances. Basically without an edit both of them are doomed as far as I’m concerned. But the rest of them can stand in their theatrical forms and I can appreciate them.

The other big thing that I think colors our opinions of films is expectations. If you expect too much or something too different from what we got, that can ruin a film. I try to avoid having any story expectations. I still get them. I felt sure that Rey was a real Skywalker after TFA. Or a Kenobi at least. The whole nobody and then Palpatine could have thrown me but I didn’t go into the film expecting that. I went in and let the story flow. I was totally unsurprised that Han died in TFA or that Luke died in TLJ. From how Lucas and Hamill talked, I knew Luke was going to die to pass the torch. I expected that Harrison would want Han to die. He got one of the most awesome death scenes as far as I’m concerned. The look, touching Kylo’s cheeck, everything was so perfect.

But we can’t all of us have the same opinion. Just remember how divided the fans were over TESB and ROTJ. We have some members here who all these decades later still don’t like TESB or ROTJ. And I bet there are many who would like to change their minds - for them to give it another chance. If they only saw it this other way. Well, that obviously is not happening at this stage. I think every Star Wars film deserves a second chance, but if your issue isn’t going to go away, then that might not do it. Though there have been some that have given these films a second chance and have revised their opinion of them.

So some opinions are never going to change. They are set and some of us don’t understand it, but there is nothing to do about it. Everyone has a right to their own opinion and tastes. It doesn’t mean the rest of us are wrong, we just aren’t on the same page. But likely there are a few films we do agree on.

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I watched TPM for the first time in over a decade a couple of years ago. I was truly astonished at how bad the dialogue was and/or how badly delivered it was. As I have aged it gets worse and I cannot ever see myself watching TPM ever again.

Without hyperbole I feel that 95% of the dialogue is terrible or terribly delivered. Qui-gon and Obi-wan were obviously given direction to play the Jedi as calm…but they come off like robots, Jar Jar is Jar Jar, Jake Lloyd is Jake Lloyd, and Portman seems to think her character is a Jedi - the way she plays it so robotically. God!

“It is only through interaction, through decision and choice, through confrontation, physical or mental, that the Force can grow within you.”
-Kreia, Jedi Master and Sith Lord

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Also…didn’t Lucas decided to do the PT when he saw Jurassic Park and knew CGI had reached an acceptable level of realism (no it hadn’t, but I digress…)? That should tell us all we need to know about his headspace when working on these films.

“It is only through interaction, through decision and choice, through confrontation, physical or mental, that the Force can grow within you.”
-Kreia, Jedi Master and Sith Lord

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Time
 (Edited)

theprequelsrule said:

I really thought the whole plot where Palpatine is basically running both the Separatists and The Republic really strained credibility. At least have the reveal that Dooku was a Sith take place in ROTS - make the audience think he is truly a rogue Jedi fighting against a hopelessly corrupt Republic and that The Separatists were actually the good guys.

Yeah - and as a morality tale it’s a bit hollow because it’s so far removed from how these things play out in real life. Real life dictators aren’t far-seeing puppet masters that expertly pull off elaborate conspiracies to seize power. They just take advantage of existing weaknesses in the political system. Caesar marched his army into Rome because he gambled that after years of war, his legion would be more loyal to him than the Senate. Hitler took advantage of a politically divided and economically depressed Germany.

A more realistic scenario would have Palpatine taking advantage of never-ending war to slowly implement more and more “emergency powers” (similar to the Enabling Act that gave Hitler power), until he became de-facto dictator for life. This is sort of what happened, except in the actual movies Palpatine also artificially caused the war in the first place, and expertly directed it towards an intended outcome. (We’re also never told why General Grievous et al takes orders from a mysterious hologram, or why all the thousands of Separatist planets suddenly just stop fighting just because Anakin killed their first tier leadership.) Plus, the movie implies that it was more the botched assassination attempt led by Mace Windu that ultimately cemented Palpatine as dictator than the years of war or the recent attack on Coruscant.