It was only a month ago when I took in my first Star Wars movie, ever (The Force Awakens). The original trilogy was a big deal to Sean, as a kid, but he failed incite the same passion in me. Lucky for him, I underwent a hefty back surgery a couple of weeks ago and ever since then have been a) trapped in bed b) under the heavy influence of drugs. So it was under these influences that Sean took advantage of his poor, sickly wife, and we tackled the first three movies in the series, Episodes I, II, and III.
The Phantom Menace: Watching these movies turns out to be like playing peekaboo with celebrities. I may be in and out of consciousness, but I’m pretty sure I’ve spied Dominic West (of The Wire) as a guard, and handmaids greatly resembling Keira Knightley and Sofia Coppola. I like Ewan McGregor and Liam Neeson together, but almost everything outside of those two feels a bit silly. I’m definitely not a fan of Jar Jar Binks and while I’m not sure he was intentionally meant to be a racist caricature, he does make me cringe every time he talks. Interesting to see Darth Maul in action – I’ve long heard this villain praised, and am disappointed that he turns out to be over and done with so quickly. Definitely digging his double-bladed light saber, though his fight with the two Jedis was uneven for me, sometimes thrilling, other times downright implausible. What I find most unforgivable in this movie are the cheesy screen wipes. Shouldn’t we, as a society, be above those by now?
Attack of the Clones: This one feels familiar when it opens – maybe a little The Fifth Element-ish? I also spent way too much time wondering – is that Rose Byrne? (yes, it is) and – that’s not Joel Edgerton, is it? (again, it is). Again I’m finding Ewan McGregor to be the best thing about this movie, and am missing Liam Neeson. Hayden Christensen isn’t great but mostly I’m stuck on why a Queen and Senator would be attracted to such a whiny kid (last movie there was an 8 year age difference between the actors; this movie there’s none). I’m having a hard time keeping track of good guys and bad guys. I’m very WTF about Jimmy Smits appearing – um, really? Jimmy Smits? And same with The Phantom Menace, the very evident over-usage of green screens is tiring and flat. Also I’m wondering how it is that every time someone fights, they’re either on a very narrow bridge, or on the rim of a very big hole. Seems unlikely.
Revenge of the Sith: Whoa, this one’s got quite the body count. There’s a lot of beheadings\behandings\beleggings going on. And Anakin catching on fire? Brutal. And it goes on a for a LONG time. I was really feeling that Anakin’s back story was insufficient to explain why he’d gone over to the dark side but he might just be crispy enough to warrant it after all. As a fan of the original trilogy, Sean had a lot of problems with the prequels, not least of all because everything is so damned shiny and new in these movies. CGI makes everything look sleek and sparkly. All the ships and robots are rendered flawlessly, a huge contrast to the more practical effects used in the original movies, but chronologically, it makes no sense that 30 years later, the technology looks so much clunkier. I noticed that things like R2D2 and Vader’s mask are also so sleek that they end up looking like cheap plastic. But I’m having an even harder time justifying Padme’s death scene. Lost the will to live? Oh, is that an official medical diagnosis now? Look, lady, I’m sorry your first marriage didn’t work out and your husband turned out to be a bit of a dick (although let’s face it: Darth Vader is much sexier than whiny, emo Anakin, an entitled millennial from another millennium) but you can’t just check out. She was a fighter this whole time, politically savvy and a better shot than any of her male counterparts, but she can’t face raising her babies alone? Come on! So the babies get split up, to be raised by Jimmy Smits and Joel Edgerton. Is that weird? Yes it’s weird! Almost as weird as creepy little Hayden Christensen somehow morphing into James Earl Jones. That’s the kind of math that only George Lucas can account for.
So what did I think? I was as underwhelmed as I always suspected I’d be. These movies aren’t shitting all over my childhood since I still haven’t seen the original trilogy, but at no point was I glad that there were 3 whole movies to sit through. I never cared to see more. I never felt really attached to the characters, although Yoda grew on me. What did the prequels do for you?
Where does that leave me on the original trilogy? I suppose I’ll have to see them. And seeing how I’m still bed-bound, I’m sure Sean will have plenty of opportunity to foist them upon me. I am defenseless against The Force.
This trilogy is impossible to watch without trying to explain away major character or plot points that don’t make sense. I get so little pleasure from these. EP III is a mess but it also proves some things are better left to imagination. The Vader turn was so much better in my dreams in 1983.
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I was a fan of the original Star Wars movie when it first came out in 1977. It created one of moviedom’s greatest fan rivalries of all time – Star Wars vs. Trekkies. It was also one of the few movies whose sequel, The Empire Strikes Back, equaled or surpassed the original in quality.
I would say you owe it to yourself to view those two movies, and I will be interested in your review given that it has been two generations since the Star Wars series began. – Mike
Watching these three films under the influence of heavy pain killers is probably the way to go. RotS is the better of the three, but the first too I essentially cringe all the way through now. Especially the terrible dialogue in AotC.
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Hey, you leave Jar Jar alone!
I’ve seen all 6 out of order so ca’t make head nor tales of it all, but I did like the pod race Young Anakin was in, they had a machine that replicated it on Brighton Pier and I spent many happy hours with my lad charging around the Tattooine landscape in my pod 😀
First of all, I hope you’re on the mend!
I saw the originals as a kid and loved them as much as one does. Saw Phantom Menace when it came out and decided I didn’t need to see any more. However, I did enjoy The Force Awakens (which I saw with MY kids a few weeks ago). But mostly for the nostalgia factor and because Harrison Ford is still a great Han Solo.
Keira Knightley is one of the handmaidens, by the way, so your eyes weren’t betraying you. She’s the decoy.
But these movies are pretty awful. I watched them back to back to back with my kids a few months back to prepare them for the new movie and they LOVED them…but their taste in movies is very questionable, so I forgive them.
The original trilogy is leaps and bounds better.
I hope you’re feeling better – here’s some good mojo from down south:
FLICK FLICK FLICK!
I’ve mentioned before my disinterest in Star Wars, something that is sure to get me banished from the Internet. I’ve seen them all (I think), but I could take them or leave them. I did like the newest one though, so maybe there’s hope for me.
Hope you’re recovering well, Jay.
Hope you’re getting better. In the meanwhile, please have at the original trilogy. It’s much better. I didn’t hate Menace, but it’s not that good. Clones is flat out horrible. Sith, I really like. Even if it was all nonsense, at least something was happening throughout.
Having to re-watch the prequels this past summer was pretty bad. The effects look more dated than they were back then. I would prefer to see them as failures in George Lucas’ part to recapture the magic.
I saw these in the theater when they came out. Once. I’ve never seen them since. Kind of meh.
Please, do not judge the original trilogy on these. Star Wars (er, I’m sorry, A New Hope) looks like it was made in the ’70s, but I’m still smitten with Return of the Jedi. (I know, popular opinion has The Empire Strikes Back as the best, but for me it’ll always be Jedi.) There is plot. There is something happening. And the stakes are high. Really worth it.
I hope you feel better soon.
Loved this and TOTALLY agree. Those prequels were a farce of a force (or something like that). But I am REALLY curious to see what you have to say about the originals!
I liked these movies when I was little, but that was mostly because they were Star Wars movies. I felt something was off with them.
Then I watched them when I was older. And I realized that it wasn’t “something being off”. It was “everything being shitty.”
I try to forget the prequilogy exists. Terrible, terrible films. A good idea at the time perhaps. The original trilogy is marvellous, though. Particularly Empire Strikes Back. Jump on in and enjoy ’em!
Just watched Empire on Tuesday. Force Awakens IMAX 3D today 🙂
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You watched…. The prequels?!?! Lol 😉
I’m so glad he saved the original trilogy for last. These three were never really part of the series. In fact, I feel they should be a phantom menace!
The prequels are a really good–or really bad, depending on how you look at it–illustration of what happens when a headstrong kid gets everything he ever wanted without any kind of control. Lucas still expresses frustration at the limits of technology at the time he made the original trilogy, but I think those limits forced him to focus on things like plot and character–even if the characters were a bit shallow.
The cantina scene from Star Wars is one of the most iconic and beloved moments in cinema. Part of that is it was the perfect blend of humor and surprise–it was like a quick shot of “Cheers” with aliens. It was a fun “Hey! Look at this!” and just the right length.
Lucas was frustrated that he didn’t have the money to make the scene even more elaborate, but I think it would have lessened the impact of the overall film. If Lucas had the money and technology to do what he wanted with the original Star Wars it would have been two hours of “Hey, look at this! Hey look at this!”
Yeah, the prequels feel to me like one very long cantina scene.
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I tbink I’ve only seen the first one. Which probably tells you where I stand.
I hope you’re feeling better, Jay. x o x
I loved the evil guy in the first movie and he is an accomplished karate guy or whatever you call him and, obviously, highly adept with the sword. He taught Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor how to handle the sabres. I also LOVE the music when they are fighting. I consider it one of the best things from these films. Jar jar should have been burned, then sauteed in butter and lemon on a nice board. I hated the little kid and thought he was horrible. When he got older he was a whiner who needed his ass kicked. Queen Armadillo…I had to laugh in the 2nd movie when they are in the ring and that one animal nicely takes off her mid section of her outfit so she can look sexy(sigh). My biggest laugh is with Yoda who walks slowly , with a cane, to fight Christopher Lee. I was expecting him to move his porky arms and send things flying, not for him to become Bruce Lee and kick Christopher Lee’s ass only to go back to walking with a cane. I never laughed so hard in a long while. The first 3 are much better and you should give them a chance. I saw the first one in the theatre when it first came out and it was fun to see even with that ear-muff hairdo of Princess Leia
Yeah, I was surprised at how many belly shirts the Senator owned!
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Some of the green screen stuff did look really bad. Another amusing read Jay.
What I liked most about the prequels was how it showed the rise of Palpatine. The story of Anakin was pretty crap and good god that Hayden chap was awful!!
I’m with you on Padme’s death too.
You are very brave, Jay!! Drugged or not 😀
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