The Star Wars Prequel Trilogy Retrospective/Review (1999-2005)

So today, for the first time in over a decade, I watched the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy with a friend of mine…

This trilogy of films, starting 32 years before the original story, tells the tale of young Anakin Skywalker. After being freed from slavery by Jedi Knights Qui Gon Jin and Obi Wan Kenobi, Anakin is taken to Coruscant, the capital of the galactic republic. After the death of Qui Gon at the hands of Darth Maul, Obi Wan takes responsibility for training Anakin, who is believed to be the mythical chosen one. Over the next decades, Anakin grows up and becomes a powerful Jedi, fights in the Clone Wars, but is eventually corrupted by Darth Sidious, which leads to a final battle between Anakin and Obi Wan.

Aside from one of them, they are as bad as everyone says they are. A series that did not enter into the late nineties and two thousands gracefully.

Episode 1 is the worst of the bunch. An absolute bore of a film. If I had to say nice things about it, I would say that the CGI in the Blu Ray remaster looks nice and it makes it seem like the special effects have aged decently, the world building is okay, and the last portion of the film from the Darth Maul fight onward is pretty fun. But the other 80-90% of this film is complete trash. The script in this movie is absolute shit. The pacing is horrible, the dialogue is atrocious, and the characters were all lame and had no interesting elements to them (Qui Gon was a bit of a dick, Jar Jar was…Jar Jar, he’s terrible comic relief, and Darth Maul and Obi Wan weren’t even around to make a dent). The acting was absolute garbage, as Liam Neeson Ewan MacGregor, Natalie Portman, and Kiera Knightley, sounded like they did not give a shit and were there because they were getting that big time cash money. Further, Jake Lloyd gave an especially bad child performance. Worst of all though, this film didn’t feel like Star Wars at all. Bogged down by boring scenes of political discussions that belonged on Star Trek. I want lightsaber fights, grand adventures across space, shooting lasers at bad guys. Not…trade disputes. Overall, a complete dumpster fire of a film.

Next up, Episode 2. A slightly better, but still god awful affair. It cut to the point much quicker, some of the acting was better (Ewan sounded like he was more into the material this time), and the special effects looked nicer. But good god, is everything else still bad. Firstly, The writing is just as insufferable, but now we have the problem of the romance scenes between Padme and Anakin. What was supposed to be flirtatious and romantic came off as creepy and uncomfortable. Further, and on top of that, Hayden Christiansen can’t act for shit and he made the dialogue that much worse. Secondly, none of the action scenes were that great. The last battle scene was a giant wall of noise and it became a bit of a bore. Some of the lightsaber duels were tolerable, but none of the saber duels in this trilogy were that good to begin with. Overall, more bearable than the first movie, but still trash.

Finally, we capped off our day with Episode 3. Faults aside, I liked this movie. It was a half decent way to close the loop on the initial 6 movies. Passable script, decent characters and performances (Ewan gives a solid performance as Obi Wan, and Ian McDiarmid gave one of the best cartoon villain performances ever as The Emperor), decent special effects, etc. It was the movie, out of all 3, that felt like a Star Wars movie. It moved along at a brisk pace, it had some quippy and funny dialogue, and it had some interesting character work. However it is not without its faults. Hayden Christiansen still cannot act for shit, and he and Natalie Portman have zero chemistry. Further, like the rest of the movies, the lightsaber duels aren’t that interesting. They’re quite honestly noisy and obnoxious. The final battle between Obi Wan and Anakin had a couple decent moments, but otherwise it was quite blustery. Still a decent movie though, and I had fun with it.

Overall, while these 3 movies are the weakest of the Star Wars saga, they completed it and closed the loop. They have spawned a plethora of funny memes, and George saw his vision through to the end. Now that Disney is beating this franchise to death, let’s be appreciative that these 6 movies, as a whole, form a full narrative with a beginning, middle, and end, and is a satisfying thing to experience. Despite 1 and 2 sucking ass, give them a watch.

Episode 1: 3 out of 10

Episode 2: 4 out of 10

Episode 3: 5.5 out of 10 (Maybe a 6 if I’m super generous and in the mood)

Original trilogy retrospective

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *