Tuesday, March 18, 2014

True or False: I Can't Stand Those Bloody Star Wars Prequels


21 comments:

david_b said...

True.

1) Pointless money-grabbing Lucas strategy to pad his retirement.

2) Adds nothing to the original SW myth, actually deflates it's originality and grandness.

3) Horrible CGI, weak acting, dull stories. No gravitas whatsoever..

Give me 'Star Wars' and 'Empire Strikes Back' (no 'Episode 4 and Episode 5'...) with Hamill, Ford and Fisher any day.

david_b said...

Forgot to add.., my 14yr old imagination back in 1977 was MUCH better.

In my current old age, I frankly don't recall much of what I imagined, but I just know it was much better.

Kid's imaginations usually are.

Anonymous said...

True. IMHO, Star Wars and Star Trek were both ruined when they got too big for their britches, the former with the pretentious prequels, the latter with the endless sequels and spin-offs, both beating a dead horse.

Part of it is the money-grubbing producers trying to milk every last drop from the franchise, and part of it is the fanboys trying to elevate a movie or TV series into a Philosophy of Life.

Edo Bosnar said...

True. Although I'm no longer as big a Star Wars fan as I used to be, I agree with David that the prequels actually diminish the original trilogy with their utter awfulness.

The story is truly awful and the characters are largely uninteresting, and add to that the fact that the main - or one of the main - protagonists is Darth Vader. Seriously?!
Also, the better part of the action mainly involves a few actors jumping around in front of green screens.
All in all, the only part of either of the three movies I like is the saber duel between Yoda and Duku in the second one - because I admit, I'd been curious about how Yoda fought with a lightsaber ever since the character was introduced.

William said...

The prequels did for Star Wars what "Wolverine Origin" (the comic series) did to Wolverine. Which is destroy the coolness factor that a vague and mysterious past provides a character. Anakin Skywalker's backstory was really only hinted at in the original trilogy. All we knew was that he was once a great Jedi (possibly the greatest) and for some unexplained and tragic reason, he was seduced by the dark side of the force and went rogue, helping the evil Emperor to destroy the Jedi. And that's all we needed to know about his past. Period.

But, just like with Wolverine, the prequels ruined all that great backstory by filling in the blanks that our own imaginations had previously provided for us. So, as in the case of Star Wars, instead of a story in which a once great man falls from grace in a Shakespearian level tragedy, we learn that Darth Vader is actually a self-centered, whiney, douche who basically throws a temper tantrum when he doesn't get his way, and goes on a rampage killing all of his friends. Not exactly the epic grandeur of tragedy and loss that I had always imagined.

Now, all that being said (and you'll think I'm crazy) but in answer to the question posed I'm going to say FALSE.

"But Bill, you just spent two paragraphs ripping the prequels a new one. So, how could you say you don't hate them?"

Because I don't hate them. As prequels to the original Star Wars trilogy they are disappointing (to say the least), but as stand alone movies they aren't that bad. I can't honestly say that I "can't stand" movies that I have watched multiple times (and own on Blu Ray). I don't' love them as much as the originals, but I don't loathe them either. I like some of the new Jedi (like Mace Windu and Qui Gon Jinn), and the movies are fast paced, and action packed with plenty of eye-candy, and even some pretty decent dramatic moments that I look forward to seeing when I watch them. They aren't my favorite movies of all time, but they definitely aren't my least favorite either.

Colin Jones said...

Is this the easiest true or false ever? TRUE - an orgy of CGI and terrible characters like Jar Jar Binks. The original trilogy was a cultural phenomenon but the prequels were just "meh". Prequels are a big mistake anyway as they have to be forced to fit with the established story even where it doesn't make sense.

J.A. Morris said...

True.

But each of them have at least one great scene.

Phantom Menace has the great pod race.

Attack Of The Clones has the gladiatorial battle that features Harryhausen-esque monsters. And Yoda's saber duel was good.

But on the whole, they did more harm than good. The whole midi-chlorians business was stupid, Jar-jar was obnoxious and the Trade Federation were ugly Asian stereotypes.

I think having Vader yell "nooooo" may have been the worst of all the "retcons".

Murray said...

True, true, thoroughly, unequivocally true!

Old habits and memories of wonder had me see the "Phantom" a second time with a friend. Unlike the many multiple viewings of the original three, I nearly fell asleep. I walked out of the cinema stunned and confused. A movie with the "Star Wars" label boring??

Hindsight kicked in. There was a certain whiff about "Return of the Jedi" that indicated the Lucas Magic Machine was sputtering. Time and thought had not refilled the fuel tank.

Sheer inertia of some flavour had me see the next two exactly one time each. And if it wasn't for blogs like this, I'd put them out of my mind forever.

Humanbelly said...

I only say "False" because the words "can't stand" may not be sufficiently negative. I'm. . . not sure, William, that they can really be honestly evaluated from a stand-alone perspective (although the fact that you're able to enjoy them isn't a problem for me at all-- and is certainly a plus for you).

I could go on for pages about loss of vision, tonal shift, greed, marketing, etc-- but it is a busy work-day, so I'll only recount one experience.

HBSon was 10 when we saw Ep.3 in the theater. He was a HUGE SW fan at that age, and even though he recognized that the first two prequel films weren't quite as good as the original trilogy, he was still totally wrapped up in the experience, and followed everything very closely. Something that was hard to resolve for a youngster (at whom the marketing machine was TOTALLY targeted) was the fact that the resoundingly evil Darth Vader from the original trilogy was the person who we become completely attached to in the prequel. Kids buy into protagonists and surrender themselves to them and become personally invested in them in adventure films-- they always have. Then, late in that final film, there's the scene where the emotionally and morally flailing Anakin, in his frenzy to purge the universe of all Jedi, blunders into that sort of "Baby-Jedi" pre-school room. It is obvious what Anakin is about to do (even though it happens off-screen)-- and I hear a quiet, truly-despairing "oh no. . ." from my little boy, sitting next to me in the theater.

And I hated George Lucas at that moment, for being such a criminally irresponsible storyteller. For causing unnecessary, deliberate, and inappropriately complex and impossibly confusing emotional pain in the youthful market that his franchise was undeniably aimed at. It's not deep, nuanced, character-driven story-telling at all-- it's just the same sensationalistic "Death & Trauma equals Depth" delusional writing that we've seen in the comic book industry. Dark = Substance.

Even if a kid gets it intellectually, they don't have the emotional maturity to process it. . . and the pain is all the more acute. Lord, it makes me mad still, all these years later. . .

HB

Doug said...

I agree with those who've said that the "first three" films ruined some of the imagination we'd held through the real first three films. My example is that I never felt that Annakin had any of Luke's toughness, his heroic impulsivity -- only reckless impulsivity. Annakin was never a hero for me. In Padme, we could at least get a sense of Leia's nobility and heroism, her moral compass. But Annakin was, after the "first" film, not a likable character for me. I felt that Obi-wan was much more as I would have imagined him than Annakin was as portrayed.

But like some of you have said, I don't write off the three films in their entirety (well, maybe Phantom Menace... confused, indeed!). There are elements that are well done, pretty cool, etc. I actually enjoyed seeing Chewbacca's world in the third film, and doing my math it doesn't bother me that he'd be so much older than Han and the gang.

HB, as a dad I could totally relate to your story. Little kids surprise us sometimes, don't they -- and what a shame that that's the sort of surprise you got.

Doug

mr. oyola said...

I am going to say "false" - I can stand them - they aren't torture or dentistry - they are fun to make fun of, generally terrible, but some have their moments (I like Obi-Wan on that giant lizard thing).

I kind of think of them as Star Wars "elseworld," with what I had come up with in my imagination and played out with my Star Wars action figures when I was a kid being the "real" prequel.

Kids friggin' love those new movies - I had my chance. They have theirs. The prequels can't "ruin" the original trilogy unless they overwrote them somehow and no matter how much Lucas has tried, he can't come to my house and take my original cuts of those movies. ;)

Am I being too reasonable?

Anonymous said...

Not as good as the original trilogy, but not the worst movies I've seen. The first two were better than the third one, for me.

Mike W.

Edo Bosnar said...

By the way, I love that lower image you posted: sad storm trooper is very sad (maybe experiencing existential angst over the fact that he's just a clone of a bounty hunter).

Tony said...

True..but mr. oyola brought up a valid point. Our generation will always have "our Star Wars" and that's the little wide-eyed kid in all of us. It can't ruin our memories of that first time. Mr Lucas found a way to introduce the Star Wars saga to a new generation. Sure the prequel has too much CGI, stupid, annoying aliens and such. But the kids thought it was cool. My 12 year old thinks it's the greatest. I hated "Man of Steel" but my youngster loves it. Even with the cheesy 70's effects, the original Superman movie is the benchmark. Movies back then were more difficult to make, but they had a certain "feel" or "character". They seemed more "real". Of course, the scenes in movies now, would have been impossible back in the 70's and 80's. How would Lucas film the Hoth scene now? Would the high priced talent even venture outside? Anyway, we are from a different age. BTW, Lou Ferrigno was the only person to play a real Hulk.

david_b said...

I might disagree ever so slightly with the 'ruining of the original trilogy' rationale.

1) Granted if you ONLY watch the first three (well, first two, as I agree with Murray, I was pretty bored with 'Jedi' ~ All I could think about was 'OK, we'll see a toy of this, we'll see a figure of him, etc..'), and never watch the prequels, our (and I am talking to OUR generation, not our kids), our joy is not lost.

2) But, if you walk with me for a bit on this.., I weep for the concept where everything has to be 'explained'.

As mentioned here, I don't like the overwhelming sense that every great concept of old has to have a prequel (Alien, Trek, SW, even Indiana Jones had the 'Young Indy' adventures..). There's something to be said for just **leaving** the mystery in.

To me, that's what entices us far more.

Granted some will argue, 'Well then, don't buy the movie ticket'. Trust me, I don't.

Others will argue, 'Well, do you buy a novel and rip off the first couple of chapters before you sit down to read it..?' Eh, bug off, wankers.

But in the grander scheme, it's all show business and making a profit anyways, isn't it..? And if it does nothing but generate enough interest for Target to restock new versions of classic Kenner X-Wings and Millenium Falcon toys, I'm alright with that.

Anonymous said...

I can't answer for the entire prequel run since I've never seen the third episode. I think I caught some of it on TBS? Was there a volcano?

I don't like them as movies. Jar Jar Binks was a horrible character. Anakin building C-3PO? The second movie was a bit better.

One thing that makes this hard to answer is do we know if the prequels are done? I remember seeing the first trilogy in the theatres, then buy them on VHS, remember that, then the re-imagined ones came back to theatres. Took the kids. Then wasn't there a change when they were released on DVD? With Star Wars, it's like hitting a moving target.

That being said, true. I can't stand them.

The Prowler (still wondering about the Star Trek drive by).

Anonymous said...

Some thoughts @ the prequels--

The space battles were good, esp. Episode 3. Darth maul was cool.

The complex plot and pace were tedious. A fart joke in a Star Wars movie? WTF?

Personally, I would rather NOT have seen Anakin/Vader and Boba Fett as children. Their backstories did not live up to my expectations, in a way ruining the characters ( kind of) for me.

And the chemistry between Anakin and Amidala----there was no chemistry at all.

The prequels mostly failed, IMO.

starfoxxx

Graham said...

True. I don't even want to watch the first three anymore.

William said...

Hey Edo, the first time I ever saw that image of the Stormtrooper up top, it was a meme that had the caption "Those were the droids we were looking for." and I laughed my ass off.

Anonymous said...

True. Sadly, even with advanced CGI the newer prequels don't stand up to the original three movies, testament to the fact that well written stories and vivid characters trump soulless CGI and wooden acting any time.

- Mike 'what was Lucas thinking when he created Jar Jar Binks?' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Anonymous said...

google:
red letter media phantom menace
That is all...

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