Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Half-Hearted Defense of the “Star Wars” Prequels

I seem to read alot of stuff about the Star Wars movies. I have a special love for the original trilogy because of so many cool memories I have surrounding my viewing of those movies.

Unfortunately the prequels came out at a time when they were subject to much more analysis than the original trilogy ever was. We had all those years to bitch about Episode One that it was near impossible to enjoy anything in Episode Three.

Follow the link to an interesting post about the prequels that takes a view I didn't ever realize. I think he gives Lucas more credit than he deserves because I feel that any similarities between the Jedi and the Sith are purely an accident. Lucas doesn't think or look that deeply into anything. However, the author of the post does take an interesting point of view.

"Lots of people complained when the prequels came out that Lucas’ vision of the Jedi philosophy was sterile, emotionless, inconsistent and creepy. But this is not a bug; it’s a feature. Lucas didn’t accidentally make a Jedi code that made his heroes seem unpleasant, he deliberately made the Jedi just as absolutist and unsympathetic as the Sith, only from the other direction. The Jedi’s commitment to detachment and an impersonal “greater good” is as dangerous in its own way as the Sith’s unrestrained and unbridled passion."


Budd said...

of all the things that bothered me, this was not one of them. there is a 7 part video series on youtube with a guy explaining most of what is wrong. It is pretty good.

Budd said...

found the link: Star Wars: The Phantom Menace Critique

JBond said...

This was a good read. Thanks for posting the link for us!

There's a lot of Star Wars hatred being spread around these days and, although I know it's because the fans love the originals and the material in general so much they wanted to see the prequels succeed and are sad that they didn't meet their expectations, I'm confident that, in time, more people will grow to appreciate them all.

Being a child born in the mid 70s I'm a bit of a realist about the films. I grew up with Star Wars being talked about and played with as toys before I even saw 1 minute of the original film. By the time I was old enough to understand the film in the slightest, it had already been played a dozen times by my older brothers each time it was on TV. Although episodes 4 and 5 are clearly the superior films for various reasons, I think everyone from my generation and younger fell in love with the material...not the plot of the films...I was way too young to understand exactly what I was seeing on screen but I know that a 4 minute litesaber dual between Ben Kenobi and Darth Vadar was awesome to behold..and to see blasters fired and ships destroyed made me very happy.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, being old enough to see ROTJ in theaters when it was released also made me old enough to hear adults of the time talk about how childish this episode was and how many things they hated about it. I think there's a generational divide with these films that allow for people of various ages to take different things away from it. I loved each episode of the original triliogy although I also heard my older brothers talking about how stupid the Ewoks were (almost exactly like adults today speak about the Gungans and primarily Jar Jar and Boss Nass) how bad some of the acting was...etc. For every moment or character of the new trilogy that people pick a part I can give you a part..or character from the original trilogy that it mirrors and that we, as kids at the time, were fine with as adults were not. Bumbling Droids and bumbling Stormtroopers, political and religious plot lines that don't exactly make their marks. CGI that adults consider horrific and ridiculous compared to Henson puppets of yore.....horrific puppets that we thought were real when we were kids that our parents laughed at because they were obviously not realistic in the slightest to them. I submit that had I been old enough to understand what adults at the time were saying about episode 4 and 5 when they were released I'm sure they weren't such flattering opinions either. Some people are still looking at the reviews of the original films with rose colored glasses. I recall that people that were old enough to understand the films plot and all it's nuances not liking them as much as we think they did. But we, as kids...loved every second and waiting patiently...for 25 years for another chapter. These movies are for kids and for adults that still have the heart of a child. With all the flaws I'm able to spot as an adult viewer of the new trilogy, the kid in me completely appreciates every minute of those films as well. Each time I was any of the 6 chapters I find something new I love about the film and I grow sadder that I may never be around to witness another chapter. I trust that in 30 years their will be kids that were 4 when 'Phantom Menace' came out that will have very fond memories of those films...and they will remember hearing adult chatter about how much of a let down they were.

I'm glad to see their are a few 'knights' still left, young at heart enough to discuss what was great about these films and not keep viewing them and reviewing them with the eyes of 30-40 something year old tainted adults!

Keep up the good fight!

D.I. Felipe González said...

I´ve loved Star Wars since I saw if for the first time on film (it was Christmas, 1977).
I didn´t like much the prequels, mainly because they are poorly edited. A lot of fan-edits have appeared, with a better storytelling technique than the originals.
The prequels are also overdesigned, they used graphics artists instead of industrial designers (as in ESB) to create the images we see onscreen, loosing a lot of the credibility I love to watch over and over in episodes IV to VI.
What I really don´t like is the Clone Wars series, they are just making it all banal.
We are Jedi warriors.