Redeeming Qualities of the Star Wars Prequels
It’s no secret to Star Wars fans that the Prequel films are considered “controversial”. For the first generation of fans that grew up on the classic films, the Star Wars Prequels seemed like a letdown. Too much dialogue, not enough action, the characters could be bland at times, and of course, Jar Jar. I get that George Lucas created him to attract the younger audience, but did he have to act that dumb?
However, despite all the flak the prequels have gotten, the thing is that they’re actually good. Don’t get me wrong, if I wanted to watch self-centered grown-ups play politics, I’d watch Game of Thrones over the Galactic Senate. Once you eliminate all the flaws of the Star Wars Prequels, though, they’re good movies. Now before you execute Order 66 on me, I want to defend my position. So, here are my reasons why the Star Wars Prequels weren’t as bad as some people think.
They Had the Best Lightsaber Duels in the Films
While the lightsaber duels in the original film were undoubtedly great, I don’t think they hold a candle to what the Prequels gave us. Whereas the the lightsaber duels in the classic films were slower, the Prequels did the opposite. They were all about fast-paced acrobatics and incredible music. The level of choreography the actors put into the duels was so good, the fights looked like deadly dances.
Much of the Prequels lightsaber duels success stems from the improvements made to filming by the time The Phantom Menace came out. As a result, I think George Lucas and his team wanted to go all with the fights. Combined with the masterful score of John Williams, and you got some of the best sword fighting seen in a movie.
The one downside to all this was that it made the lightsaber duels in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi look lame in comparison.
It Opened Up a New Era of Star Wars
In the sixteen years between Jedi and the release of The Phantom Menace, Star Wars had not remained quiet. The franchise had been kept going through different media, from books to comics to even video games. However, almost all of this material took place during or after the events of the films. Everything before that was largely unknown.
The Prequels films changed all that. Suddenly, Star Wars was able to travel back to a time when the Old Republic and the Jedi still existed. When Obi-Wan was in his prime, and when Anakin was still a Jedi Knight. As a result of the Prequels, many unanswered questions about the franchise were finally solved such as:
- How did Anakin become a Jedi
- Why did the Jedi Order Fall?
- What were the Clone Wars?
- Who was Luke and Leia’s mother?
The Star Wars Prequels were like a breath of fresh air for the franchise. Now writers and studios had a new era from which to work with. As a result, we got some of the best characters in the entire franchise, as well as some of the best cartoons.
It Gave Us Two of the Best Star Wars Cartoons
Speaking of cartoons, two of the best Star Wars cartoons of all time were a direct result of the existence of the Prequels. The first one, despite no longer considered canon because of Disney, remains a cult hit with fans. The Force remains strong with Star Wars: Clone Wars.
Created by Genndy Tartakovsky, already famous for Dexter’s Laboratory and Samurai Jack, this micro-series had all the hallmarks of Tartakovsky. From the art style to the extended use of scenes with no dialogue, Star Wars: Clone Wars was some of the man’s best work. The micro-series would earn three Emmy awards during its run, and would serve as a major part of the Star Wars canon. The series’ so popular that even after Disney moved it out of the canon, fans have pushed for its return in some form.
Then we Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the show that brought the franchise to new heights. Tartakovsky’s Clone Wars was amazing, but The Clone Wars helped improved on it; it made Anakin’s personality far more likable. In addition, it introduced characters like Ashoka Tano and Captain Rex, who are now fan-favorites in the franchise. I look forward to the day Ashoka gets her own movie. Plus, it managed to bring Darth Maul back from the dead, and made him scarier than he already was.
It Shows Us the Original Jedi Order
Until the Prequel films came out, everything the fans knew about the original Jedi Order came from second-hand sources after it fell. While Luke eventually rebuilt the Jedi in the Expanded Universe timeline, what we knew of the original Order came in fragments. The Emperor was very thorough with wiping out knowledge about them.
With the release of The Phantom Menace, fans finally got to see what the Jedi were like before they fell. While they did indeed try to be the paragons of peace and justice that Obi-Wan said they were, there’s more to it. Viewers saw firsthand the flaws and failures of the Jedi Order firsthand. For all the good they try to do, the Jedi also prove to be very arrogant, rigid, and unwilling to change with the times. I think that the notion of detaching themselves from all emotions, even positive ones like love, is bantha poodoo. In a way, Anakin was right: the Jedi could be just as bad as the Sith. If Rey rebuilds the Jedi Order, I hope she fixes all their mistakes.
Half of the reason why Star Wars is so great is because of the music behind it. John Williams is a legend of cinematic scores, and the Star Wars films are some of his finest work. One song, though, stands out above all the others: Duel of the Fates.
First played in the climatic duel between Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Darth Maul, Duel of the Fates is nothing short of John William’s masterpiece. From the epic orchestra to the choir chanting in Sanskrit, this song is as epic as it comes. It’s one of the best songs from Star Wars, and widely considered one of the best things of the Star Wars Prequels. When you hear that music play, you know things are about to get epic.
As further proof, when this TV ad for Rise of Skywalker mixed “Imperial March” with “Duel of the Fates”, I went crazy with excitement.
The Prequels Legacy
Maybe the Star Wars Prequels were never as good as the classic trilogy. To be fair, though, could anything live up to the nostalgia and epicness of the classic films? When you get down to it, though, the Prequels aren’t as bad as some people may remember. When they’re at their best, they can hold their own against the rest of the franchise.
Moreover, it’s the legacy of the Prequels that makes them a good part of the franchise. They opened up a new era for Star Wars and brought it back into the public eye. If it wasn’t for the Prequels, Star Wars wouldn’t be the media juggernaut it is today. Not to mention, we got some really good characters out of it.
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