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What we like about the Prequels

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Okay, so there was that article on sw.com and a panel at Celebration titled "What we like about the Prequels" and it was widely decried as being ridiculous here.

Okay, so the Prequels are routinely called names and beat up around here.

But seriously, is there anything you like about the Prequels?

And don't bother replying with things like "No, there is not." or "The Prequels are terrible." That sentiment is widely known in these parts, and I'm just trying to see what, if anything, people here at ot.com actually enjoyed in the PT.

JEDIT: Finally fixed the stupid title

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"13 views and 0 replies"

Ha.

Okay I can think of a few things:

-Some of the designs and visual effects are very spectacular and awe-inspirint. Some of them are dumb and unconvincing, but the prequels have a visual scope that very few films have, and their particular combination of elements is very unique. As a visualist, it's hard not to appreciate watching certain parts just for the sheer visual splendor.

-John Williams has some pretty good scores. Not his best work, but it's generally very good stuff. Not sure if TPM or ROTS is better, but ROTS seems to be more nuanced as well as more bombastic, and I think it also has more actual musical themes in it.

Also, I enjoyed some of the performances. Liam Neeson alternates between having a sense of quiet dignity and looking like he is bored to death, but overall I liked his character. Ewan McGregor in the second two films is the anchor of the films, he's great to watch in every scene he is in, and Ian McDiarmid gives a very nuanced performance that is the only one that comes across as 100% appropriate for the subject matter, probably because he's a Shakespearian actor and knows how to deliver dialogue that other people might characterise as stiff. I especially loved him Episode III, although his character of Sidious in that film was so over the top it was awful. Pernilla August in Episode I was also an underrated part. The older actors all seem to have been able to handle the material, because they had the experience and training (and possibly the talent) to work with it, and they were also very experienced in theatre; the young stars don't know how to self-direct or work with stiff dialogue, so they are dead in the water in a George Lucas film. I also thought Andrew Sacombe as Watto was amazing and really brought credible life to that character--the only example I can think of in the prequels where an exotic all-CG character seemed real and acted well. His one scene in Episode II has a moment where he isn't sure if he recognizes Anakin and its a real moment of CG artistry like you would find with Gollum in LOTR.

Also, I enjoy the way there are a lot of clues in Episodes I and II to future events, and because they aren't spelt out or portrayed very clearly you do have to think about the plots and the subtext quite a bit, which can be a bit frustrating at times but also kind of fun. Its unclear how much is intentional and how much is just poor directorial skill--gushers will say its all the former, bashers will say its all the latter, but I think the truth is in the middle. The films have no emotional core, but at least there is some kernal of intellectualism in them. Unfortuantely, most of the Episode I and II set-ups don't pay off in Episode III (Sifo who?).

However, I do enjoy Episode III. I enjoy its sense of paranoia in its first half and its sense of operatic grandeur in its second half. And pretty good action scenes throughout. I also thought the characters were usually pretty well done--for instance, the opening sequence I find very fun, and it's entirely because of the chemistry between McGregor and Christensen, which was non-existant in the previous film. There a number of scenes in the film that I think are really classic as well, such as the sequence around "the turn" where Anakin and Padme are looking at each other from across the city; the cross-cutting that follows really works to drive the tension, and the whole scene I thought was great until the whole knighting business occurs, which is a bit ridiculous in retrospect. However, while some people bash the whole "Darth Vader goes to the dark side out of love" I thought this was the most believable or at least poetic part of the film in an overall sense, and the most pleasantly surprising.

So there, that's more gushing than I've done all year. :p

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"When George went back and put new creatures into the original Star Wars, I find that disturbing. It’s a revision of history. That bothers me."

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I'm with zombie84 in that I really liked Watto. He was probably one of the best parts of the trilogy for me.

A lot of scenes in the prequels are bittersweet for me, because I liked the ideas but was disappointed by the way they were done. For instance, I was really excited by the fact that Boba Fett was going to be an integral part of AotC, and that the Slave I would be in it and all that, but I was disappointed by the way it was actually done.

The colosseum scene in AotC was pretty awesome though, before the Jedi showed up anyway.

So here's a list of what comes to mind at the moment:

TPM: Watto, Darth Maul vs Obi Wan (the three-way fight was way too fancily-choreographed, but I remember everyone cheering in the theatre when that force field went down and Obi Wan just released the fury on Darth Maul)

AotC: the colosseum scene, the fact that Christopher Lee was in it

RotS: I honestly can't think of anything. I've only made it all the way through once

http://i.imgur.com/7N84TM8.jpg

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OK. I'll bite. Here's what I liked.

Episode I:

  • Destroyer Droids
  • Seeing all the droids scramble to repair Amidala's ship. It was a great way to show what astromech droids are actually designed to do.
  • The look of Coruscant
  • Liam Neeson's performance in general
  • The lightsaber battle at the end of the movie
  • Wondering how these story threads would play out over the next two movies


Episode II:

  • The opening sequence as Padme's new ship flies through the foggy skies of Coruscant
  • The look of the new digital Yoda
  • The scenes of Clones marching in formation
  • Ewan McGregor's & Christopher Lee's performances
  • The scene between Obi Wan and Dooku, where Dooku reveals the senate is controlled by a Sith Lord
  • Fantasizing that Episode III would be about the Clone Wars


Episode III:

  • The epic scale of the opening space battle
  • The ROTS clone armor as a nice transition between Episode II and Episode IV
  • The EMOTIONAL IMPACT of Anakin's turn to the Dark Side (this part of the movie has a lot of emotion, even if the plot and logic behind the turn are lacking)
  • The tension I felt before and during the final saber battle on Mustafar: How would Obi-Wan defeat Anakin?

 

You know of the rebellion against the Empire?

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I'm of the very small minority that considers Episode I the best of the prequels, so I have a soft spot for it.

Some of the designs are very nice and cool. Darth Maul's design was awesome, it's a shame he wasn't developed as a character, but he looks cool enough to have been the main villain in all three prequels. The Naboo starfighter is another design I really like even if it's impossible for R2 to fit in.

The Duel in Episode I is nicely choreographed, even if it's completely emotionless, it was with II and III that the lightsaber fights became too fast and non-sensical.

Williams's score for Episode I is terrific and the closest he got to the OT sound.

As for AOTC and ROTS, well, there's not a lot I can say that I like. Natalie Portman certainly is easy on the eyes.

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I will add one more thing to my list. The scene during the final battle when the giant droid carriers park in front of the Gungans, and when the battle droids all activate at once and start marching on them. I know everything after that was pretty terrible, but come on, that was awesome.

This version's been cut up by whoever uploaded it, but you get the idea: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6R9UkpyvSM#t=2m10s

http://i.imgur.com/7N84TM8.jpg

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Diego said:

I'm of the very small minority that considers Episode I the best of the prequels, so I have a soft spot for it.

There are more people who agree with this than you would think.

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What do I like about the prequels?

About 35-45% of Episode I.

That's pretty much it.

a trolling bantha

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The sad thing about the prequels is that they pretty much had everything to be great movies (great actors -minus Hayden-, great art design, great music, a more complex and interesting plot than the OT)

So much coolness and potential waisted by no sens of wonder, no likeable characters and bad dialogue. Too bad, because I like the world of the prequels. A world without Empire, plenty of colors and strange creatures. A fantasy world that the audience could fall in love with, before the dark times. Sadly what we got was not as good as the amazing artwork done in post production.

Look at those pictures made by Doug Chiang (who gave up for EP3, maybe tired of seeing his great work waisted on screen?), those are some characters that you probably don't like much, but I think they are very good and look like they are from a fucking great movie that I'd like to see.

 

I'd say the prequels are great... on paper. It just do not work on screen the way all the cool elements were put together.

 

Sorry I really wanted to be more positive, but you know...

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Generally was lots of phun being completely spoiled following the production leaks.  Attempting to piece together the story from fragments and speculation.

In AotC, when Obi-wan is questioning Jango on Kamino, very reminiscent of a wild west stare down or a cop interviewing the perp he 'knows' did it but doesn't have the proof which could hold up in court.

In RotS, the shots when Padme is looking at the Jedi Temple, while Anakin, in the Jedi Temple looks back at Padme's apartment's building.  A nice slow contemplative moment before he makes some screwed up decisions.

 

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The most frustrating aspect of the PT is there are some really good moments in there, but are offset by awful moments that take you out of the movie and make it so uneven.

The good:

TPM: 
-Darth Maul igniting the duel lightsaber.  I always liked the QuiGon/Kenobi/Darth Maul duel.

AOTC:
-Obiwan looking over the clone factory as the Empire music gets louder and louder and he is actually witnessing the birth of the Empire.

-Count Dooku, always been a fan of Christopher Lee.  I thought a good scene when  he tells Obiwan about the Sith.  But freaking Lucas never followed up on this plot point!!!!

-The ending montage of AOTC is pretty good with Anakin taking Padme with his bionic hand, Palpatine looking over his new grand army with the great John Williams score in the backround.

ROTS:
-The opening shot of Anakin/Obiwan flying into this huge space battle is a cool start, and then Lucas ruins it with those lame buzz droids voices.

-John Williams eerie music when Anakin and Padme are looking across Coruscant at each other as Mace & Co. go to arrest Palpatine.

-The Emperor throwing Senate Pods at Yoda, as that fight was much better then the duel on Mustafar.

 

 

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none said:.

In AotC, when Obi-wan is questioning Jango on Kamino, very reminiscent of a wild west stare down or a cop interviewing the perp he 'knows' did it but doesn't have the proof which could hold up in court.

I forgot about that one. Great scene. I remember when I was first watching it I was thrilled that there was finally a scene between two decent actors where the scene wasn't about what was being said but what wasn't. It's the only scene where Temura Morrison gets to act, which is a shame because he was really good there. He's got a great face for close ups too, like someone out of a Sergio Leone film. But he's tossed on the screen and then off, as though Lucas didn't know what to do with him, a defining characteristic of that movie unfortunately.

The Secret History of Star Wars -- now available on Amazon.com!

"When George went back and put new creatures into the original Star Wars, I find that disturbing. It’s a revision of history. That bothers me."

--James Cameron, Entertainment Weekly, April 2010

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CO said:

-The Emperor throwing Senate Pods at Yoda, as that fight was much better then the duel on Mustafar.

Ugh.  One of the worst scenes in all of the PT.

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TV's Frink said:

CO said:

-The Emperor throwing Senate Pods at Yoda, as that fight was much better then the duel on Mustafar.

Ugh.  One of the worst scenes in all of the PT.

I call that the chuck jones looney tunes scene, it was just plain awful.

There was nothing good or memorable about the prequels, recently i tried to sit through the first 20 minutes of that phantom plot movie, and just could not bear it was too frickin painful. LOL

As for Attack of the Wooden Romance or Revenge of the Shit, i never even got that far to watching them on DVD horrible movies.

“Always loved Vader’s wordless self sacrifice. Another shitty, clueless, revision like Greedo and young Anakin’s ghost. What a fucking shame.” -Simon Pegg.

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skyjedi2005 said:

Revenge of the Shit

The all-anal final chapter?

a trolling bantha

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I like Kenobi, P.I. in episode 2. If it wasn't chopped into those little one minute scenes and getting constantly interrupted by that other stuff it could have lots of atmosphere, mystery and 70s paranoia, like the star wars version of Chinatown.

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Yeah, I remember chapter skipping the romance scenes so it was pure Kenobi P.I stuff and thinking "hey this is pretty good!"

The Secret History of Star Wars -- now available on Amazon.com!

"When George went back and put new creatures into the original Star Wars, I find that disturbing. It’s a revision of history. That bothers me."

--James Cameron, Entertainment Weekly, April 2010

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Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, Watto, some of John Williams's scores, TPM duel was pretty good, some elements of the Jedi and their routines, Christopher Lee, Yoda on crack in Episode I, Samuel L. Jackson being pissed at other Jedi as Mace, and TPM's Dolby EX soundmix.

TPM is the best prequel. The others are only bad 1080p videos.

No one really got to act in these films, save for Neeson in some scenes of TPM.

VADER!? WHERE THE HELL IS MY MOCHA LATTE? -Palpy on a very bad day.

“George didn’t think there was any future in dead Han toys.”-Harrison Ford

My review blog: thehificelluloidmonster.wordpress.com

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Episode I

  • Darth Maul was a cool character, too bad he was there just to be killed.
  • Liam Neeson
  • Duel of the Fates (as in the score and the duel)

 

Episode II

  • Obi-Wan's adventures
  • Coruscant underworld (which was too short and it could've been more darker like in Jedi Knight or KotOR games)
  • Seismic charges

 

Episode III

  • The scene with Padmé and Anakin on Coruscant with just music
  • Beginning of the final duel before they went lava surfing
  • Ewan McGregor

And in the time of greatest despair, there shall come a savior, and he shall be known as the Son of the Suns.

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Palpatine's gradual and subtle method of twisting Anakin to the Dark Side with disinformation, flattery, and dangling incentives.  All in ROTS.

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Diego said:

I'm of the very small minority that considers Episode I the best of the prequels, so I have a soft spot for it.

Me too. Despite all of its flaws, I like TPM the most. I was only eleven years old when it came out and remember it more fondly than the other prequels, plus it's bearable as a stand-alone story. What I like about it I like a lot, in fact:

 1. Overall feeling. It was very different in style to the OT, yet it's the only prequel that felt alien and fantastical like the original movies; I still can't quite point out whether if it's due to the camera work, scale models, or exactly because it's so different, but it feels more like Star Wars than the other CGI prequels.

 2. Visual and audio design. Love the locations (Naboo's core being the exception) of TPM, the vehicles, droids, costumes, props and spaceships. TPMs CGI looks quite outdated today, but its composite effects hold incredibly well. N-1 starfighter, AAT tank, even the "donut" battleship, excellent sci-fi designs. A nod to the audio effects, the vehicles just sounded great.

 3. Liam Neeson's Qui-Gon Jin. If there was a Jedi I could relate to as an actual character rather than nameless action hero with a glowing baseball bat in the prequels, that was him. Ewan McGregor's Obi-Wan is great, too, but his performance is better in AotC and RotS (one of the few things that are better about them). Anyway, any scene with both of them in it is quite fun and well acted.

 4. Random action shots. The initial assault on Theed, blaster firefights in the palace corridors, all of the few space battle scenes without kid Anakin*, the escape from Naboo, droids deploying for battle/droid invasion. And all scenes with Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan fighting, especially the Duel of the Fates.

 5. Duel of the Fates - deserves own mention.

 6. Darth Maul. Best prequel villain, although I would have loved to see Christopher Lee in an extended role. His count Dooku could have been an excellent Separatist equivalent to moff Tarkin throughout the entire prequel trilogy, instead of just two short (and pointless) lightsaber duels. They would have made an excellent combo as the physically strong and cunning villains in the long run.

 7. The soundtrack. Best among the prequels, I can still hum many of the themes by memory.

 8. Ian McDiarmid. Excellent performance in a poorly written role. I wish he had a bit more time in TPM. I preferred his sleazy manipulation then outright villainy. Oh, wasn't he just slimy...

 9. Watto. Proof CGI comic relief characters can work.

That's about it. I can point out random things from AotC and RotS like individual designs, locales, music cues etc., but nothing as coherent and important as in TPM.

*no offense to Jake Loyd, not his fault really.

 

EDIT:, Hm, I guess I should add Jango and Obi-Wan's confrontation too. Both the stand-off and the actual fight on the rain, on the platform. It was well executed, plus I've always wondered how a regular soldier would perform against a Jedi in the movie.

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Burdokva said:


Diego said:

I'm of the very small minority that considers Episode I the best of the prequels, so I have a soft spot for it.


Me too. Despite all of its flaws, I like TPM the most. I was only eleven years old when it came out and remember it more fondly than the other prequels, plus it's bearable as a stand-alone story. What I like about it I like a lot, in fact:

 1. Overall feeling. It was very different in style to the OT, yet it's the only prequel that felt alien and fantastical like the original movies; I still can't quite point out whether if it's due to the camera work, scale models, or exactly because it's so different, but it feels more like Star Wars than the other CGI prequels.


 4. Random action shots. The initial assault on Theed, blaster firefights in the palace corridors, all of the few space battle scenes without kid Anakin*, the escape from Naboo, droids deploying for battle/droid invasion. And all scenes with Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan fighting, especially the Duel of the Fates.

 5. Duel of the Fates - deserves own mention.

  7. The soundtrack. Best among the prequels, I can still hum many of the themes by memory.

 9. Watto. Proof CGI comic relief characters can work.

You said it better than I could. For The Phantom Menace, there was a sense of grandeur - like it was, although a flawed one, a fun kid's movie. It really was made for kids, but it has some moments that really shine.

On the subject of action shots, I must say I always loved Theed City's design. Absolutely beautiful.

Also, if you love the Phantom Menace score, I implore you to check out tlbauerle's work on Symphony for a Saga. Best representation of the quality the music has, I think.

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