I'll never forget the indescribable thrill of sitting in the theater in 1999 as a 21 year old man, watching a brand new Star Wars film for the first time since I was 5 years old. Hearing the familiar fanfare, seeing the familiar logo recede into the starfield, and then seeing the crawl open with the wonderfully unfamiliar "EPISODE I" was an ecstatic, visceral experience unlike anything I've ever felt before or since.
But then the remaining 2 hours and 15.5 minutes happened, and it was all downhill from there.
I know it's beyond cliche to disparage Jar-Jar and to blame all the faults of the PT on him when he was, in fact, merely one relatively minor brick in the edifice of mediocrity and half-assery that was the Prequel Trilogy, but, having said that, I must admit that the first moment that my heart truly sank in reaction to the PT was when I found myself having to accept the utterly unacceptable fact that a major new character in the first new Star Wars film in 16 years had, in the span of just a few minutes, quoted Wayne from Wayne's World and Stephanie Tanner from Full House.
I felt like a man who'd been stabbed in the heart... and, just minutes later, when Jar-Jar says the line "Any hep (sic) here would be hot," I knew the bearded, flannel-shirted assailant was now gleefully twisting the knife.
But the true insight to just what a monumental failure the PT was came when I realized - and I think this dawned on me very slowly and painfully, with me kicking and screaming and refusing to accept it all the way - that Lucas had fundamentally failed to deliver - or to even understand, it seemed - the Prequel Trilogy that needed to be made in order to be a comprehensible prelude to the OT - namely, a PT with Obi-Wan as its clear protagonist, with the Clone Wars as the backdrop and central confilct for all three films, and with a sensible flow of theme, character and plot into the OT, respecting what the OT had already established.