Want to hear something that only some of you that know me really well will of already known? I am a really big fan of Star Wars! Not just the movies but most of the material outside the movies. I say most because a lot of the shit in the Extended Universe such as Palpatine Surviving the end of Return of the Jedi, Sparky the force sensitive droid and Chewbacca getting crushed to death by a god dam moon is really fucking stupid to the point where I'm really glad a lot of it isn't cannon. So yeah, the movies are my main source of enjoyment when it comes Star Wars. As some of you might also know I grew up in the 2000's so the prequels were my Star Wars. I grew up with the prequel films and I was only about three to four years old when The Phantom Menace came out. And I loved these movies. I knew Star Wars existed but never actually saw any of them until around the time Revenge of the Sith was about to come out. I honestly got a lot of enjoyment out of the prequels. Back then I didn't even know that the Prequels were hated so much by the fan base due to how I didn't spend so much time on the internet and when I learnt about it I was actually wanted to watch them again one day to see if I could still enjoy these movies now as an adult as I did when I was a kid with little to know standards who actually thought My Gym Partners a Monkey, Fanboy and Chumchum and post movie Spongbob were good. So after a few years of putting it off and only a month after The Force Awakens came out in cinema I sat down and watched the entire Saga in chronological order starting of course with The Phantom Menace. Do I still love these movies? Spoiler alert, no but it's not for the reason everyone else might give you like "It ruined the franchise" or anything. In fact, even as a kid I'm pretty sure I hated that augment. Of topic for a minuet but the song "George Lucas Raped Our Childhoods", yes that's an actual song, was a stupid song back in 2005 and it's a stupid song in 2019! And yes, if you changed it to "Kathren Kenady Raped Our Childhoods" I'd say the same thing. But enough about how I hate the "Ruined our childhood" augment and onto my thoughts on the movies.
The Phantom Menace
If I'm going to start giving my honest thoughts on these films I might as well start of positive and say that I don't think The Phantom Menace is really that bad. I don't think it's a good movie but I do think it's an entertaining movie.
There is a lot I do enjoy about this movie. The pod race while I'll admit did go on for a long time and I hated that they just shoehorned in Jabba the Hutt just to connect it to the original trilogy (This isn't the only time in these movies they do that) but for what it is the race is entertaining to watch. I loved the new planets Nabbo and Coruscant, especially the architecture on Nabbo. Actually, those two planets are some of my favourites visually in Star Wars. One criticism that these movies do get a lot of is the shear over kill in the CGI department. And while I do admit I am really not a fan of how fake a lot of this movies locations are not all of it is CGI like some people think. They actually did use some miniature sets and filmed some of it on location. In fact for the parts on Tatooine they actually returned to Tunisia which is where they filmed the original Star Wars which is nice. And of course I loved the fight between Obi Wan and Qui Gon Vs Darth Maul, especially with the background music in this fight. Spoiler alert, this, among a few select others, is the only fight in the trilogy I liked because the rest ranged from silly to even more silly!
I also have to give a lot of credit to the cast because I do like a lot of the actors they brought in. Liam Nelson as Qui Gon, Ewan McGreogor as Obi Wan, Samual L Jackson as Mace Windu, there's a lot of talented actors in this film. I think the real problem with these characters is less the actors and more the writing. And yes, that goes for Jack Loyd as Anakin Skywalker as well. I feel like he was one of the most unfairly hated things in this trilogy. You know how the actress who plays Rose in The Last Jedi was harassed and bullied to the point where she shut down her Instagram account all thanks to some people taking there hatred for the character way to far and not being able to distinguish fiction from reality!? Yeah, imagine that but towards a at the time 10 year old kid! Yes, Star Wars fans were extremely toxic even back in 1999! It destroyed the poor kids life. He was picked on by other kids, harassed and just generally it's hard for me not to feel sorry for him to the point where I actually understand him not wanting to be associated with Star Wars anymore.
That's pretty much everything I liked about the Phantom Menace. And considering we are at the point of talking about the negatives let's start with the one you are probably expecting. Jar Jar Binks! In my honest opinion Jar Jar is one of the worst characters in the entire Star Wars saga! He's annoying, he get's in other characters way, he doesn't have a personality interesting enough to even admit he's a decent character and his speech method is annoying. Like imagine if messa wrote a like this though messa summery of the bomb bad prequels? Do you want to know what the worst part about Jar Jar is though? Despite him being one of the most obnoxious characters in the movie, he's also one of the best at the same time! We learn about where he's from, his people and has at least some depth to him! There's even a really popular fan theory that Jar Jar was originally going to be this Yoda like Sith Lord where he appears as a dumb ass on the surface but is actually this really powerful being similar to how Yoda was introduced in Empire Strikes Back. There's even evidence of this by how Jar Jar sometimes waved his hand in a similar manner to Jedi using there Jedi mind trick to become general and how he mimicked the lip moments of general Panaka before escaping Nabbo. People also point to how Jar Jar fights in a similar way to the Drunken Fist style of Martial Arts but I really don't see how that ties into the theory at all. It's a cool theory I will admit but it doesn't change my opinion on Jar Jar. Or the rest of the "Surprisingly Deep" prequels.
Aside from Jar Jar none of the other characters I find interesting. I can't even tell you about what most of there backstories are because of how little we get to know about them. And yes, I'm aware most of these characters are better in the books or the games but do you really think everyone watching these movies is going to go out and read or play those? I mean by the end of this movie all we knew was that Qui Gon was a Jedi Master, Padme is a queen and Darth Maul is a bad guy who's just there! Yeah, I've had my opinion on Darth Maul bottled up for years now but it's finally time I came out with it, even as a child I never understood why Darth Maul was so popular. I mean, he's good a cool design sure. He's got a cool lightsaber, alright. He....... Only has like four or five lines in the entire movie. But other than that he doesn't really do anything in this movie aside from killing of Qui Gon and then "dying" soon afterwards. I say dying because spoiler alert, he comes back in The Clone Wars and they explain away his survival that he "Held onto his hatred of Obi Wan." Am I the only one who feels like his survival was only for fan service? Because that's what it feels like to me. If I could change anything in this trilogy I'd make it so that Darth Maul is the villain though all the three movies. Make him the Darth Vader or the Kylo Ren of this trilogy. Flesh him out a bit more, give him an actual personality, hell even make us care for him if that could be possible. Work with what we got rather than jumping around villains all the time.
As much as I love the Pod Racing it did feel like it went on for a long time and could be seen as filler. Plus can we just bring up the fact that Anakin Skywalker, who's only a child in this movie, pilots a Starfighter into the Trade Federations command centre and blows it up. Anakin, a child, blows up the main villains base. This child, who has lived as a slave for most of his life and only just got his freedom saves Nabbo by accident! And people say Rey is a Marry Sue. I guess it could be excused since Anakin does race pods but I'm pretty sure a ground based pod racer that hovers above the ground would have an entirely different operating mechanism from something made to be flown into space and designed for combat.
And of course, there's the problem with how this movie and the rest of the trilogy thinks that because it's a prequel to the original Star Wars that means EVERYTHING has to be connected. I always brought up Jabba The Hutt making an appearance at the Pod Race but there's also the fact that R2-D2 is the only surviving droid during the escape from Nabbo or that Anakin Skywalker built C-3PO! I repeat, C-3PO was made by the kid that is going to become Darth Vader! Oh also, Greedo's there! And he's friends with Anakin! Ugg.
Yeah, there's a lot of problems I have with this movie. It's actually kind of sad because I remember this being my favourite out of the prequel films but looking at it now I'm kind of not really that big on it. Honestly though, it does have stuff I really like such as that race and the final duel. I don't actually have an opinion on the Midiclorions thing but I know that if I don't bring that up in this review I'll never hear the end of it. So no, I don't think The Phanom Menace is the worst Star Wars movie. I say that because the next movie in this trilogy is!
Attack of the Clones
In my honest opinion I think Attack of the Clones is not just the worst movie in the prequel trilogy but the worst Star Wars movie period! And if your expecting me to start of with the positives I hate to break it to you, I only like Count Dooku's Lightsaber. That's it! Something that doesn't even have that big of an impact on the movie is my favourite thing in this film. Okay well, there is also the music in not just this movie but the whole trilogy. I love this sound track! And I know that George Lucas loves this soundtrack to because they reuse Duel of the Fates both here and in Revenge of the Sith and the moment they use the song in this movie isn't even for something epic, it's just used for Anakin riding a speeder bike.
... Oh right, Anakin. Now I actually didn't mind Anakin when he was a child in Phantom Menace. Sure, he was a bit stupid but he was actually tolerable. Grown up Anakin in Attack of the Clones though, no. And yes, my reason for hating Anakin IS because of how much he whines and whines and whines! Obi Wan tries to keep Anakin in line? Whines. Just buried his mother? Wines about Obi Wan who has nothing to do with it. Want's McDonalds but Obi Wan say's no because they have food at home? Okay that doesn't actually happen but would you really be surprised if it did and Anakin whined about it? And it doesn't help that the romance between him and Padme is one of the worst romances I've seen! Yeah, we all know about the whole "I don't like sand" line that's been a meme for several years now but neither him or Padme seem to have any chemistry between them, only really awkward and bad dialogue. Plus, if I heard that the person I loved had just killed a bunch of women and children I would run straight out of the room!
Actually, I probably should elaborate on that a little because I feel like it was a really big missed opportunity. Anakin returns to Tatooine because he keeps having dreams about his mother in danger and hopes to save her before anything bad can happen. Unlucky for him she dies as soon as he finds her beaten and bruised to death tied up at a Tusckan Raider camp. And seeing as how he just saw his own mother die Anakin is of course pissed and goes on a hate filled killing spree of the entire camp. I should like this scene because it is actually a really great way to show just how unhinged Anakin is considering he's going to become Darth Vader but all we get is five seconds of the start of it before cutting to a different scene!
But that's just one character, what about the rest. Well, they aren't any better. Now I love Christoper Lee! I think he has some really great roles under his belt. But Count Dooku is honestly one of his weaker character. Not for his acting, that doesn't have anything to do with it but rather just how his character is just there. He's just being a villain and that's it. At least he actually has dialogue unlike Darth Maul. And Jango Fett isn't a much better henchmen either, in fact I'd even go as far as to say Jango is worse than his son Boba in the original trilogy because at least Boba did something with delivering Han Solo to Jabba the Hutt. Jango just kills one un-important Jedi and then pop goes his head! Oh sure, his DNA was used for the clone army which would eventually turn on the Jedi and Jango knew this and wanted it because of how much he hated the Jedi. And by the way, that detail about him hating the Jedi isn't even explained in the movie! That's another example of shit being explained outside the film! And speaking of the Clones remember in A New Hope how the Clone Wars was brought up? You had no idea what it was, your mind wandered, what was it like? Is this what you were thinking? A movie with there name in it where they don't even show up until the last 30 mins of the movie for a big battle scene that isn't fun to watch for more than once?
And that segways into the action of this movie. Oh boy, the action. You want to know how silly this movie can be with it's stunts and action? One of the first action scenes in this movie is Obi Wan jumping out of a glass window grabbing onto a droid the size of a base ball and holding on for a very long time without slipping off only for the droid to be shot causing him to fall into Anakins speeder! And then soon after wards Anakin jumps out and lands on another speeder and holds on incredibly tight without letting go! The next one is a little more reasonable being a fight between Obi Wan and Jango. Obi Wan actually drops his lightsaber and Jango loses his jetpack and pistols meaning both have to resort to using there own fists in what's honestly not that bad of a scene. It's even more intense with Boba piloting the Slave one using the ships lasers to help out his dad. The whole droid factory scene with Anakin and Padme was pretty silly though and felt way to goofy with some of the CGI. I actually don't have an opinion on the whole thousand jedi vs battle droids thing, I thinks it's just average at best aside from C-3PO's head and a Battle Doirds head being swaped around leading to some really silly moments but I know that if I don't also bring THAT in this review then I'll never hear the end of it either.
Then we get to the climax of the movie with Obi Wan and Anakin vs Dooku. Now the the start of this fight actually has a bit of promise. It's not over the top for the most part and both Obi Wan and Anakin get taken out at different points. And then Yoda shows up and ruins it all. I don't like seeing Yoda fight. With all do respect, this is goofy and stupid to look at! I would of been fine if it was just Yoda using the force to help him out here but no, he pulls out a lightsaber and starts flipping about the place like a kid who just drank caffeine for the first time on a trampoline! I genuinely question how Christoper Lee felt when filming this and swinging his lightsaber at nothing or how he even kept a straight face while filming!
Is it obvious at this point that I really don't like Attack of the Clones? I guess if there is one other thing I do actually like it's the planet Kamino. I honestly love the contrast of what it looks like on the outside with the dark stormy weather compared with the inside being all clean and fancy but that's about it. And before I forget before leaving for Naboo Padme makes Jar Jar Binks her representative on the galactic senate while shes away and you know what he does? He gives emergency power to Supreme Chanceler Palpatine who spoiler alert is The Emperor who then issues the clones to attack Genonosis starting the Clone Wars and basically meaning that Jar Jar is the sole reason for the events leading up to and during the original trilogy. Let that sink in for a moment!
Revenge of the Sith
Finally, we are at the last movie in this trilogy, Revenge of the Sith. People considering Revenge of the Sith to be the best movie out of the prequels and some even say it's there favourite Star Wars movie. And it's easy to see why because I do think this is the best of the trilogy. And honestly I find myself putting this movie in between Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones when it comes to personal enjoyment.
I love the opening to this movie with the battle over Coruscant! It doesn't waste any time and get's straight to a big battle going on up in Space and I love the shots of the planet that we get and once Anakin and Obi Wan get into General Grievous's command ship (Oh yeah before I forget they introduced ANOTHER fucking villain!) and they have there rematch with Count Dooku it's pretty good. Sure, Obi Wan get's taken out again like in Attack of the Clones but it's not a silly fight like it was before. Plus the ending of this movie seeing Anakin's transformation into Darth Vader and baby Luke being given to Owan and Beru was a really bittersweet moment to end the movie on because for the longest time this was the final Star Wars movie. And of course, I can't talk about my favourite moments in this movie with out bringing up the Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise. And it isn't for the memes either, the actual scene is really good just on it's own. Not only does it cause Anakin's faith in the Jedi to faulter with how this dark lord was able to use the force to create and save life but it adds a lot of mystery to the lore. The way Palpatine tells the story implies that he was there and may of even been Plagueis apprentice who killed him but they never directly say it leaving it up to you to wounder if he really was there or if he just knows about it..... And then they ruin that mystery by releasing a book that pretty much spells out to you that Palpatine was Plaguei's apprentice. Have I mentioned yet that I'm really not a fan of the Legends Continuity?
Also, I have to give massive credit to Ian Mcdirmid for his role thought all of the prequels as Palpatine. He honestly puts in one of the best performances out of all the cast, second is Ewan McGregor as Obi Wan. I can't really describe it though text but just watch the movie and you would understand what I mean. Also, Jar Jar doesn't have a speaking role in the entire movie! Oh happy days! One criticisms I honestly struggle to understand with this movie is the whole "Anakin turns to the dark side to quickly." I hear this complaint so much and every time I do I always assume that they just skip to the point where Anakin does turn without looking at the context as to why. Anakin has been tempted and tugged towards the dark side thought the prequles and the moment that made him turn fully was when he helped to kill a jedi master. If I had to chose between the Jedi who are a bunch of child kidnapping extremists and a dark order that manipulates and corrupts other right after I killed a member of the former I'd chose the one that at least promises to save my wife! It doesn't change my opinion on the Anakin and Padme romance but still.
That's pretty much everything I like about this movie. Yeah, as much as this movie has the reputation that it's the best prequel film it's not a perfect movie and my opinion on the quality is that, to qoute Thanos because this sure as hell won't get old any time soon "Perfectly balanced, as all things should be." When it comes to things people love about this movie the most common thing I hear is the Order 66 scene in which the moment in the Star Wars cannon that the clones turn on there Jedi Masters. And I will admit, it is a pretty dramatic scene... That would honestly be better if we actually knew anything about the Jedi that were being slaughter in this montage. Oh sure, I know who they are NOW but imagine a casual fan or someone who only watches the movies watching this for the first time back in 2005. They would be so confused as to why they played this dramatic music over the deaths of character that no one would know anything about. Don't get me wrong, the idea of Order 66 is an interesting one just executed poorly and while I give credit to Geroge Lucas for not shying away from the fact that the total massacre of an order that takes children under it's care who would also get caught in the massacre just like in real life, children are incredibly easy to beat and are not a challenge at all.
And this movie has yet ANOTHER villain in it! Technically two because of Palpatine but I'm mainly talking about General Grievous. Now Grievous is a bit of a special case because there actually was some build up to him.... Outside the movies! Yeah, he was prominent in the animated micro series Clone Wars and this isn't the same Clone Wars that had five seasons plus one on Netflix that I'm sure all of you are familiar with that again, not everyone who watches these movies will watch any non movie material yet his not even given a proper introduction almost as if you were expected to watch Clone Wars before Revenge of the Sith. Suddenly I'm getting Kingdom Hearts flashbacks of how you can't just play 1,2 and 3, you HAVE to play everything in the series. That's an even more ironic statement considering Star Wars is owned by Disney now. Not to mention, he's killed half way thought the movie as well. What was wrong with Count Dooku, other than the face that he was an under developed villain, that he had to be replaced with a new one? Why not keep Dooku and maybe even give him some depth. I really did mean what I said before about keeping only one villain for the whole trilogy because if it was then maybe we would get a more interesting villain. Not keeping things consistent doesn't always mean it's going to be good.
Speaking of things that are not consistent that brings me to the lightsaber duels. I already talk about the Dooku fight but then we get to the Obi Wan and Grievous fight. There are match up's where I really have to think hard about who would win taking into consideration there move set and powers. But then there's fights like this that make that job REALLY easy! Do I even need to point out how easily Grievous could floor this fight with his four arms and four lightsabers agents Obi Wan and his one lightsaber? The only other fight in this movie that I think is solid aside from the Anakin vs Dooku one is Mace Window, yes I'm purposefully saying window for a reason that would make seance if you watch the film, vs Palpatine. Other than the silly spin that he does at the start the fight is short but good. Which is more than I can say for when Palpatine fights Yoda. You know how I feel about seeing Yoda fight so think about how much worse this is with both combatants flipping about! I roll my eyes every time I hear Yoda say "Not if anything to say about it I have." And what's worse is that he's saying that in his backwards speech two! Lastly the Obi Wan vs Anakin right is a balance between both good and silly for me because the first half of the fight is grounded and fine. Nothing to silly, it's just fine. Then it goes to them swinging on ropes and surfing on top of lava, it's just silly. I'm really torn with how I feel about the action in this movie because on one hand I love half of the duels in this fight but on the other hand that's just it, I only like half of them.
Lastly I want to talk about some of the plot inconsistency. First of, Yoda knows Chewbacca! *Bangs my head agents the wall.* Okay, fine, whatever! I've said it before, not everything needs to be connected! But there's one thing I've never gotten until recently. Why doesn't C-3PO remember any of this? I've always questioned this until recently when I remembered a line that was dropped at the end of the film. Someone just say's to "Wipe the droids memory." Yep, they explain away C-3PO not remembering any of this by having him wipe his memory. Plot convenience! There is one other thing I have also never gotten either and that's that in Return of the Jedi Leia say's that she "Remembers her mother and that she was very beautiful." But Padme died right after she and Luke were born so how could she remember? And she wasn't remembering her adopted mother either. Maybe she tapped into the force or something? Maybe she has some photos lying around or something? Or maybe Geroge Lucas just fucked up and in all the attempts to connect the two trilogies he forgot about this little detail.
Welp, that's it! I just gave you my honest thoughts about the Prequel Trilogy. Looking back on these films now that I'm almost 23 I actually forget what it was about them that made me love them as a child. Maybe it was the flashy visuals, the soundtrack, the fact that it was Star Wars, who knows. These films use to be pretty high up on my ranking of Star Wars movies but now they are pretty low. And if your really curious then my personal ranking goes like this.
1. Empire Strikes Back
2. A New Hope
3. The Force Awakens
4. Return of the Jedi
5. The Last Jedi
7. The Phantom Menace
8. Revenge of the Sith
9. Rouge One
10. Attack of the Clones
I'm still glad that I got to look back at these films because despite how they really are products of there time I do still have some nostalgia towards these flims. Again, I grew up with these movies so that's expected. Needless to say unless I'm doing a marathon it's going to be a while before I watch these films again.