Welcome to my analysis of the Star Wars prequels, where I break down all three movies bit by bit and analyze everything that went wrong and why George Lucas is the biggest moron to ever walk the Earth. Naaaaah, I’m not actually gonna do that. If there’s one movie series that has been criticized to death, it’s the Star Wars prequels, and while I certainly don’t think the movies are good, it would be such a waste of time to do what everyone else on the internet has already done. If you’re looking for an in depth look at why the prequels suck, Red Letter Media has a stellar video series that you should go watch. Looking at these three movies as a trilogy, which is what my main focus should be given the nature of this blog, I would actually say it works relatively well as a single story divided into three parts, at least on paper. In practice, of course, the movies fall flat on their collective face, but still, the rise and fall of Anakin Skywalker follows the right beats for a trilogy. We meet him in the first movie and see him first be recruited to become a Jedi, followed by his training and signs of his potential for darkness in the second movie, and finishing off with his total turn to darkness in the third movie, leading into him being the main villain of the original trilogy.
Like I said, it looks good in print, but when it was actually executed on the big screen over three movies and six hours? Not so much. I suppose the biggest crime of the trilogy is its portrayal of Anakin Skywalker. His “tragic” downfall isn’t all that tragic because he’s never shown to be likeable. He’s an annoying little kid in the first movie, a whiny teenager in the second, and just straight up evil in the third, so, why should the audience feel bad that he turned to the Dark Side? Look, people have complained about this trilogy ever since it finished in 2005, and while I enjoy poking fun at it and making diehard Star Wars fans angry by claiming Jar Jar Binks is my favorite character, I’ve decided that for the rest of this analysis, I’ll only be focusing on the positives of the prequels.
For starters, I should say that I only realized some of these positive aspects of the prequels after rewatching the original trilogy for the first time in ten years last summer. The thing I noticed about those movies is how small scale they were compared to the prequels. In addition, we only ever really see Luke being a Jedi in those movies, and each of the films take place on only two or three planets. With the prequels, however, we finally got to see the Jedi in their prime. Yes, Lucas went over the top with how many Jedi there are, and they all have Lightsabers that they have to swing around and whatnot, but it was still refreshing to see them in action before they were all wiped out. There’s also the fact that the prequels feel much more grand scale, at least Episodes II and III, in that they over the course of the plot, the characters travel to many different planets and exotic locations. Yeah, the CGI kinda sucks, but at least the worlds the prequels inhabit are creatively designed.
In terms of the story and acting, though, there’s very little redeeming value to any of the three movies. While I don’t think they’re quite as bad as many people make them out to be, Episodes I and II are still pretty rough to sit through, and are actually pretty ugly movies to look at. Episode III, on the other hand, I’m kind of a defender of. While I don’t think it’s very good, I feel that as far as just a fun sci-fi action adventure film, you could do a lot worse than Revenge of the Sith. The CGI is finally not too cartoony, and the action sequences are pretty fun to watch. I also like how the technology in that movie gradually becomes more and more like that found in A New Hope.
But of course, one can only speak positively about the prequels for so long before the well dries up. They’re not good movies, to say the least, but at least they work relatively well as a trilogy. It’s very unfortunate these movies turned out the way they did, but at least they won’t interfere with out enjoyment of the original three movies. I’m gonna go ahead and end this analysis much sooner than I regularly would. The Star Wars prequels have been analyzed and criticized to death by this point, and so by rambling on about them I’m really just beating a dead horse. They’re certainly not the worst movies out there, but given the amount of potential they had, it’s truly stunning they turned out as poor as they did.