The Star Wars prequels are undoubtedly the most contentious topic among fans of George Lucas’ sci-fi saga. Pretty much everybody who calls themselves a Star Wars fan will sing the praises of “A New Hope,” “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi.” Bringing up the prequels, however, is a different story.
I was 11 years old when “The Phantom Menace” was released, so I encountered all the Star Wars movies at relatively the same time. I grew up thinking of “Star Wars” as all six movies; it wasn’t until I got older that I realized that while the original trilogy was almost universally loved, the prequel trilogy certainly wasn’t.
I’ve actually blogged about my thoughts on the prequel trilogy before, back in 2012. It was about a year after I first started blogging and putting together reviews, and at the time I enjoyed the prequels even though I didn’t think they were as strong as the original trilogy. Although Episodes I, II, and III had weaknesses, they still had some redeeming values, such as the music, the lightsaber fights, and some cool characters (young Obi-Wan, Darth Maul, etc.).
My overall film tastes probably haven’t changed a lot in the past several years, but they have changed a little. It’s actually been some time since I’ve watched the prequels, and after the release of “The Force Awakens,” I found myself reflecting on whether my thoughts on the prequel trilogy would change if I were to re-watch them now.
I’ve now seen “The Force Awakens” three times, and repeat viewings have confirmed my initial impression: I think “The Force Awakens” is a great blend of new and nostalgia. It brings back the characters we loved and introduces some equally compelling new players in the saga. It echoes the original trilogy but also takes the story in a new direction. It’s definitely at least No. 4 on my list of favorite Star Wars movies, and might even be No. 3 (behind “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi,” which has moved up higher on my list over the years). My question is, after seeing it, will I still like the prequels?
I’ve hesitated to do a prequels blog-a-thon for a while, because it is a contentious topic. If I watch them and find I do still enjoy them, I don’t want to make people who don’t like them feel bad. Or if I watch them and don’t like them anymore, I don’t want people who still like them to feel bad. 😉 My hope is simply to watch them with fresh eyes, and blog about the experience along the way. I’m also curious to know all of your thoughts on the prequels, whether you like/dislike them, and if your thoughts have changed over time. Also let me know if you’re interested in joining the blog-a-thon and discussing the prequels, and I’ll include a link to your blog!