In 1999, as Star Wars: The Phantom Menace was awaiting the day of its premier, many extremely excited fans dressed up and waited in line on couches for their spot to see the very first movie of the prequel. Though it may be surprising to today’s audience due to modern negative reactions to the film, the first viewers had favorable thoughts and believed it lived up to their high expectations.
Why has there been such a shift in the appreciation of the prequels? We need to move past the exaggerated glory of the originals and re-examine the prequel movies again. If my readers re-watch the prequel movies, they will find a greater backstory that adds dynamics to each of the old characters and employs a strong use of the technology of the time in order to expand on the original films’ plot to create a new dimension and a new world.
It is hard to make a sequel or a prequel to any movie, let alone a highly rated and well-known movie. Filmmaker George Lucas actually accomplished this well. He not only gave us a plot line that is easy to follow but one that is full of twists and turns.
The audience never quite knows where the story is going to take them until the very end. We not only get to see the back story of Darth Vader, but many don’t realize they are even seeing the backstory of this intense character until they hear his name: Anakin Skywalker. Through watching the three prequels, viewers gain a new sympathy for Darth Vader. Because of this, the audience feels the greater impact of the redemption when Darth Vader finally throws Darth Sidious over the ledge in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.
Not only do Star Wars fans get a history of Darth Vader , but the fans also see the backstories of Obi-Wan and Yoda. In the original films, the Star Wars fans were only able to see Obi-Wan or “Old Ben” as a clever, old Jedi and mentor to Luke. Because of the prequels, fans now hold a greater love and appreciation for Obi-Wan and his Jedi skills.
One of the best parts of the Star Wars prequels is the vast and underrated scenery. From the complexity of the numerous high-tech ships; to the barren desert; to the saloon-like outskirts of the Republic; to the massive, complex, busy capital of the Republic; to the beautiful calmness of the meadows and village Padme grew up in; to the variety and creativeness of each battle site; to the dank, water-surrounded Kamino in Attack of the Clones; to the splendor of the palace and planet of Naboo there is no end to the variety of beautiful sets George Lucas and his team provide to watchers of the movies.
While even I, a major lover of the Star Wars prequels, can agree that at times the writing is not ideal I think that it is false to say that these prequels are bad movies. Yes, they are no Citizens Kane, but to say these are bad movies is not only a disservice to the series but a disservice to Lucas himself.