Tuesday, October 25, 2011

5 Good Things From The Otherwise Terrible 'Star Wars' Prequels

It's no coincidence that this entry is similar to the last one because initially, one of the things listed here used to be in that other list, #1 to be specific. But then I got to thinking, anything that involves Star Wars deserves an entry of its own because there are plenty of things to be said about the six movies. But for this entry, I'm just going to focus on the prequels.

Indeed, I am a huge Star Wars geek, although I'm not a purist by a long shot. Sure, there are things that George Lucas did to the franchise that I look upon with disdain. But remember this, people didn't go to see the prequels out of sheer curiosity alone. Disastrous as they were, there are things about it that weren't too bad.

Things like;

#5 The universe

As much as I disliked the video game approach to the storytelling, you have to admit that hours of work the concept artists put into coming up with the environment resulted in a breathtaking escapism. The only thing that completely hindered us from appreciating them a lot more was the fact that the actors seemed totally detached from the background; Which is not their fault because you really can't act when all you can see is the green and blue screen.

#4 The Clone Wars

We didn't get to see their full potential in the films, where they were only a step above the droids of the Trade Federation Army. But the more you know about the Clone Wars, the more you can't deny that the Clone Troopers were pretty badass. I don't remember ever wanting to be a Stormtrooper back when I saw the original trilogy. But when the Clone Troopers came to the rescue in Attack of the Clones [2002], and how the Jedi eventually became their commander, I thought it was all really really cool.

#3 The Sith

I had a great time relearning about the Sith when The Phantom Menace [1999] came out. Before then, all that we know about them was that they're the opposite of the Jedi, and The Emperor and Darth Vader were the last of them. A lot of fans treasured this air of mystery about the Sith, I can understand that. Seeing the ham-handed way Anakin was drawn to the Dark Side made us all think that the Sith comprised of whiny man-children who wanted nothing to do with maturity.

Well, that has more to do with poor writing and less to do with the Sith themselves. No, sir. The Sith were badass; case in point, Darth Maul.

#2 Certain aspects to the lightsaber duels

For a business empire, the Trade Federation were nothing short of stupid considering how they invested in an army made of utterly useless droids. I remember yawning whenever the scenes where the Jedi took on the droids because there were no sense of danger in them at all. But then Darth Maul came along and kicked the Force out of Qui-Gon Jinn.

Some fans complained that the duels looked too choreographed and they lasted way longer than they needed to. To which I would always respond with, "... and why is that a bad thing, again?" If you ask me, the lightsaber duels had a lot of character, where each wielder adopted different fighting styles that also reflected their personality; Whatever little personality that they had.

#1 Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi

For me, this has got to be the biggest saving grace of them all. The prequels boasted a lot of big name actors like Christopher Lee, Liam Neeson, Natalie Portman, Samuel L. Jackson and even Hayden Christensen wasn't a bad actor. But considering how poorly their characters were written, I think literally any actor could take their place and we wouldn't miss them at all.

I mean, do you remember ever debating who could better portray Anakin Skywalker? Of course you couldn't because you didn't! Any actor who can play a fourteen year old trapped in the body of an adult could bring Lucas' vision of the character to life. I'm not sure if the same can be said of Ewan McGregor.

Sure, he was just as disoriented as his co-stars due to working with the green screen. But Ewan McGregor (♥) brought an air of charisma that was comparable to the original Obi-Wan, Alec Guinness. Plus, he looked good swinging that lightsaber around. In other words, it was made believable that Obi-Wan could be stoic and a badass at the same time with Ewan McGregor playing the part.

Honourable mention: Natalie Portman (♥) who summoned enough emotion to cry on-screen in Revenge of the Sith [2005], an amazing feat once you consider how horrible the script was.


asrap virtuoso said...

You missed one thing...the Yoda fighting scene in Attack Of The Clones!!! To see someone who is hundreds of years old, needs a cane to walk... but when its a matter of survival... and use a light saber a masterful like that.... i practically wanted to stand up an applaud in the cinema (i managed to resist in the end, but...)... it was just awesome.

As for Hayden Christensen, I despise him. Not as much as Jake Lloyd, but he really ruined Vader's credibilty. Before the prequels Vader was probably one of cinema's greatest ever villain. He had an aura to him. Now, he looks like a boyish-looking moaner lost from the set of the Twilight franchise.

Mamü Miguel Ellezda Vies said...

Yeah, I suppose that is included under #2 :D

As for Hayden Christensen, I'm not sure if it's his fault at all. He did fine considering the material given to him. It's Lucas who really didn't know how to write character-based movies. Not anymore, at least.

asrap virtuoso said...

What a coincidence that only a day after this post I got my hands on the documentary-movie "The People vs George Lucas" (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1325014/).
Anyway, I linked this post of yours to my review of that movie because I thought it would be relevant discussion for the whole Star Wars debate. Hope you don't mind.

p/s: another positive from the prequel... a weird al yankovic song!!

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