Notes on the Star Wars Prequels

The recommended viewing in regards to the post is the film “The People Vs George Lucas”

Ah the Prequel movies. Few films have been surrounded by the level of controversy as Episodes I, II, and III of the Star Wars Saga (mostly just episode I though). Much of it is over-hype, much of it is deserved, and it has all been talked to death. So here’s my opinion on the Prequel Trilogy Controversy!

So incase you didn’t watch the recommended viewing, let me set the stage for you. 1977 George Lucas releases Star Wars: A New Hope, and it becomes an instant success. He follows it up with two sequels Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. People can not get enough Star Wars. 17 years goes by. George Lucas finally announces he’s making a new prequel trilogy (sorry you’ll have to watch the movie to learn about the Special Edition controversy). Every Star Wars fan from here to Hong Kong jizzes their pants. And then Episode 1 comes out, and it is almost universally reviled, sort of.  Most of the complaints stem from overuse of CGI, and the existence of Jar Jar Binks. Fans complained that it was to childish. They argue that the prequels diverged from the spirit of the original trilogy.

All the controversy and buzz that surrounds the prequel movies stems from two different generations of fans looking at two different trilogies with two different view points. I was a kid when the prequels came out, and personally I liked them, and I didn’t immediately hate Jar Jar Binks. The majority of complaints came from the old generation of fans the ones who were kids when the original trilogy came out, but were adults when the prequels came out. I think the entire situation can be explained with Mr. Banks.

The older fans hated Jar Jar Binks because they felt he had no place in the Star Wars Universe, he was childish and silly, and not fit to walk amongst the likes of Jedi Knights and Sith Lords. As a kid I thought he was silly and fun, a nice bit of humor in an otherwise good movie. The reason for this discrepancy? I give you THE EWOK LINE!

You see the older fans were too old to appreciate the childish humor of Jar Jar Binks, but what they forget is that the Jar Jar character is not new to Star Wars, the Ewoks reside in the very same place. You loved them because you were a kid. With an adult perspective, yeah, they’re kind of dumb, but they’re cute and they’re funny. You see Star Wars is aimed towards both children and adults. The original trilogy played the line between darkness, and childishness perfectly. It was a serious concept, but was never really that dark. The reason the George Lucas gets so much heat about the prequels is because they didn’t focus enough on the adult audience. There was more than enough for kids like me, but if you grew up with the original trilogy pod-racing probably wasn’t going to do it for you.

George Lucas gets a lot of heat for the prequel movies, some of it deserved, some of it not. The prequels may not have been on par with the original trilogy, but can you blame him. He was trying to fulfill the wishes of 80 million fanboys while simultaneously creating an entirely new generation of fans, while trying to keep the essence of the original trilogy. Add the fact that so much time had passed that he had lost any remaining momentum from the original trilogy. Movies like Star Wars are once in a lifetime, and trying to recreate that magic, is a near impossible task.

Star Wars has gotten a lot better since Episode 1 came out. Attack of the Clones was feces, but Episode 3 was great, and the Clone Wars TV Show was amazing. Ultimately I think George Lucas has lost a lot of the Star Wars magic, assuming he had any to begin with (it’s entirely possible he was just lucky), and as such I think it’s time to pass the lightsaber to some one new (see what I did there). Here’s hoping the JJ Abrams knows what he’s doing.

 

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