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Why People Hate the Star Wars Prequels

by Eli Duncan, Opinions Editor

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For over 40 years Star Wars has been a staple for American movie lovers. The original 1977 film sits in thirteenth place in the American Film Institute’s (AFI) 2007 edition of the “Top 100 Greatest American Movies” list, which is up two places from the 1998 edition.

In 1999, George Lucas returned for more Star Wars with The Phantom Menace. The hype and expectations were high; teenagers from the 70’s were able to bring their children to see Star Wars just as their parents did to them two decades earlier.

Instead of the feeling of magic and wonder that they got from the first three Star Wars films (the original trilogy), they got the first step into the worst set of Star Wars since the holiday specials. As stand-alone films, The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith (the prequel trilogy) are objectively bad movies and would’ve been box-office flops without the name of Star Wars attached to it.

The magic of the original trilogy was that it was a simple story of good versus evil. Darth Vader and the Empire were the evil space Nazis fighting the good of Luke Skywalker and his band of rebels. All out war took place and as a result, three great films were produced.

The Prequel Trilogy was not about war or even a simple good versus evil. The trilogy started off with “… taxation of trade routes to outlying star systems is in dispute.”

For a movie with “war” in the name, trade disputes is a letdown and take away from the intense setting that captivated audiences decades before.

Lack of action, bad acting, terrible writing, and unmemorable characters with unmemorable lines made up the prequel trilogy. It was a boring, poorly written boredom fest that in grand total is about seven hours of watch time. If I had to watch senators argue about trade disputes between planets, I’d much rather hear snarky lines thrown at each other instead of the borderline racist portrayal of the Trade Federation members.

The original trilogy boasts three members on the AFI’s “Top 100 Heroes and Villains” list. The prequel trilogy has none; but how could they? The only real interesting villain in the prequels was Darth Maul, but he was on screen for all of 20 minutes. The only interesting good guy was Obi-Wan Kenobi simply because Ewan McGregor was the actor behind him, but even great acting can’t save a dreadfully written series.

The transformation from the young Jedi hero Anakin Skywalker to the feared Sith Lord Darth Vader was something fans from all over thought about for decades. The fan stories that told how he became Darth Vader was vast and well written and arguably better than how Lucas told it. Instead of watching the Jedi break the fundamental rules and become outcasted, he became Vader by killing a tribe of primitive species and not being granted the rank of Jedi Master.

The original trilogy had a great story arc; by the end of the trilogy, we see our heroes at rock bottom being lead into a trap to finally be killed by the enemy. The Rebel fleet was about to be destroyed and Luke was considering joining the Dark Side, but in the end, they prevail. They rally together and finally turn Darth Vader back into Anakin Skywalker, who brought balance to the Force.

By the end of the prequel trilogy, we are drawn into a lightsaber duel between four main characters that are all present in the original trilogy, so we know they will survive the ordeal. We are not left in suspense, we are just happy that it is almost over.

The laughably bad dialogue and CGI could have been forgiven if it had not been put into every scene and bad characters were added just for the sake of adding characters. One of the most famous examples is the most hated Star Wars character in the saga, Jar Jar Binks. Jar Jar was added for children to be a more inclusive film. He spoke like a child, made toilet jokes for a cheap laugh, bumbled around like an idiot for the entire trilogy, and made the movies feel more and more like kid movies instead of a space opera with adult themes that children could still enjoy.

Characters like Jar Jar had no redemption. They were always comic relief characters with no moments of bravery, just accidental success. The saga has always been able to pull comedy into it just by throwing in lines that the characters said. Jar Jar and the two Anakin portrayals were not funny and were simply annoying throughout the entire trilogy.

But that is not enough to make them hated among the set of nine, almost ten, movies in the Star Wars saga. If you take away any mention of the saga, that description would fit a lot of movies. The reason these are so universally hated was that it took the original trilogy and ruined it. Before we really knew Anakin, all we were told was that “… he was the best star pilot in the galaxy and a cunning warrior… and he was a good friend…”

Now, because of the prequel trilogy, we know that he was a whiny, annoying, terrible flirt who designed C-3po. It ruined the moment of redemption Darth Vader had in Return of the Jedi as he was no longer the description Obi-Wan gave him, he was an overly emotional guy with anger issues.

The prequels are just bad movies, they took movies that became one of the most beloved franchises for decades and ruined everything about it. Characters’ mysterious backstories were ruined with bad acting and poorly written dialogue and action scenes that left kids and adults on the edge of their seat was replaced with nothing more than the galactic equivalent of C-SPAN. In ruining the aforementioned aspects they didn’t only produce three bad films, but they disrespected a generation of beloved hero and villains and turned them into a laughing stock to cinema and its’ fans.

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