To boldly go: Re-watching the Star Wars prequels

Star-Wars-Episode-I-The-Phantom-Menace-WallpapersThe 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!

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16 thoughts on “To boldly go: Re-watching the Star Wars prequels

  1. DON’T DO IT, ASHLEY, IT’S A TRAP!!
    Ha ha, no seriously, I’ll join your blogathon – let me warn u tho: reading me rip the preq trilogy to shreds is going to b HILARIOUS!
    If I had my way, I’d reboot them – at least, with me u know u’re gonna get superior scripts 😉 Heck, if JJ Abrams can b let loose on th SW franchise, why can’t I?
    Cheers!

  2. I like Attack of The Clones. I think it’s a good movie. And I like the ending of Revenge of the Sith when it sort of sets up the original trilogy. The Phantom Menace was bad when I saw it the first time and I have never watched it again the way I saw it. I downloaded the fan edits with little to no Jar Jar and those are at least watchable. But the acting in all three is atrocious. The guy who plays Anakin (both as a kid and as a whiny teen) is awful. But so are all of the big stars. (except for Ewan McGregor) The movies look so clean and slick but they are directed so poorly. However, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of Sith are better stories with The Clone Wars between them and Star Wars Rebels after that. Those cartoons made me appreciate the prequels a lot more. I know I say it a lot but they saved them. They redeemed them for me. Now I see those movies as live-action cartoons and they are better.

    • The Clone Wars animated series is excellent; it does a lot for Anakin’s character, and I think whoever does the voicework is definitely a better actor than the live action one. I haven’t seen Rebels yet but am glad to know it’s good too. I also thought some of the Expanded Universe novels helped flesh out the movies.

  3. I think going back to the prequels with fresh eyes can be nice. I haven’t rewatched any them. Even though overall they weren’t that great there are probably parts that are enjoyable like the light saber duels.

    • I remember really liking the lightsaber duels; I think the Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon, Darth Maul one may be my favorite. I’m curious to re-watch these and if my thoughts on them will change, especially after “The Force Awakens.”

      • I liked it when opinions change over the years and movies that the first time around didn’t like suddenly have a lot of things you can appreciate in them.

      • Agreed! I’ve experienced both; sometimes I’ve watched a movie the first time and been really excited, but over time as the “newness” and excitement wore off, I didn’t like the movie as much. And other movies have grown on me over time. I really didn’t like Quentin Tarantino’s “Reservoir Dogs” while I was watching it, but I’ve really come to appreciate it now and it’s actually my favorite Tarantino film.

  4. I’m looking forward to your upcoming prequels posts, particularly to read about any new insights you gain on them.

    While they are full of missed opportunities, I like the prequels overall. I would say my opinion of them have declined over the years, though. I thought each movie was terrific at first, but that opinion has not held up for me after multiple viewings – unlike the originals.

    The prequels are definitely visual spectacles, but I only wish George Lucas had the strength back then to hire people to write better scripts based on his stories as well as tell him when something was a poor idea. Even the most talented artists ever need proper sounding boards.

    • Thanks! I agree that the prequels would have been better if George Lucas had gotten more outside input. He definitely has some good ideas and has done a good job coming up with this universe. But you’re absolutely right, sometimes he just needed someone to tell him “no.”

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