This has probably been covered before... but here-a-goes again (unless Moth3r merges it.)
1. Phantom Menace. I worked at Barnes & Noble at the time so I got a chance to read the Terry Brooks novel a couple of weeks before the book was released and a solid month or two before the movie came out. I think the promo material had me quite concerned (the title being revealed in fall of '98, I think was the first real danger sign I picked up on...) but the book convinced me of it. I remember telling all of my friends at the time that the movie would suck. They would just stare at me as if I had said that I believed the world was flat or that we actually landed on the moon in 1969. I didn't end up seeing the movie for 2 years (long story!) and I didn't personally talk to anyone who had seen the movie for 5 months after it had come out. I told those people (that had seen the movie) that it sucked and some of them agreed with me. When I finally saw the movie, it amazed me that Jar Jar was not, as I had believed for 2+ years, the worst part of the movie. I couldn't believe my eyes- I couldn't believe that Anakin took that cake with Yoda a close second.
2. Attack of the Clones. I saw this movie opening weekend with my wife. I had read a one page summary six months prior which claimed to be real, but was too absurd, too stupid, and too *blech* to be the real thing. It, unfortunately, was spot on- Dexter's Diner and Peggle the Lesser et al. I can't remember one specific scene that told me that this movie was a stinker... I wanted it to be good and I had high hopes, if low expectations, going in. The whole theatre laughed when Yoda drew his lightsabre. I thought they were laughing for the same reason I was- the absurdity and wrongness of the scene. Apparently, some of them told me later, they were laughing because they thought it was awesome. My brother told me he thought AotC redeemed Phantom Menace. Six months later, he refused to call it Star Wars and just called it Phantom Menace II.
3. Revenge of the Sith. All of my hopes for a decent Star Wars prequel were then thrust onto the unwilling and uncapable shoulders of RotS. The first 2 minutes were great! Space battles! Dogfighting! And just when it looked like it was getting good- Out come the cute Mickey Mouse droids which start dancing on Anakin's wing. This went on for the next couple minutes. I couldn't believe what I was seeing! Surely I was asleep at home having midnight-pizza fed nightmares of Star Wars' last hope! Then they landed in the hanger and I thought the rest of the movie could be good from then on. Then R2 pulls a gun on the Super Battle Stooges (*Nyuck Nyuck*) and I rolled my eyes. Maybe the movie could be good from there on out. THEN the CG Chris Lee started morphing around the screen. I gave up hope. But then, near the middle of the film, I could feel the tension and strife in Anakin growing. I thought: This could be GOOD! Anakin was in Palpatines office trying to decide if he would side with him or with the Jedi. I thought: FINALLY! Here comes the fall of Anakin Skywalker! I sat on the edge of my seat:
Palp: Join the Dark Side!
Ani: Alright. (defeated) I will do what you say!
I was defeated. Maybe the final lightsabre duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan will be good, I consoled myself. And, of course, it was too over the top to connect emotionally.
So, that's when I knew each prequel sucked. Except for Ewan MacGregor who was excellent.
IT'S MY TRILOGY, AND I WANT IT NOW!
"[George Lucas] rebooted the franchise in 1997 without telling anyone." -skyjedi2005
"Yeah, well, George says a lot of things..." a young 1997 xhonzi on RASSM
"They're my movies." -George Lucas. 19 people won oscars for their work on Star Wars (1977) and George Lucas wasn't one of them.
Rewrite the Prequels!