Ok, I've had a nerdy bug in me all day that I'm going to let out whether you want it or not.
There really isn't much dispute over the original trilogy so I won't be talking about that so much. The prequels though are a different story. Obviously they had many faults, but I do think too many people look right over some of the really good things that they brought.
The Phantom Menace:
I was born in '81 so this was the first new Star Wars movie I was able to catch in theaters and by that I mean the special editions of the originals don't count cuz I had already seen them before the '97 re-release. At the time I really wasn't that big of a Star Wars fan. I "just" liked the movies and my friend couldn't use his ticket on opening night so I went instead. This was before the internet spoiler craze so I really went in without knowing a damn thing. I had only just heard of Darth Maul that week as I was flipping channels and Entertainment Tonight was talking about the movie. So when I consider those things, and the fact that I was still a teenager, I think it's understandable that I didn't hate the movie like so many Star Wars fanatics. I actually liked it. Enough to see it multiple times. Ok, so Jar Jar was a bad idea and he drove most people crazy. People lose site of the fact though that this movie brought not one, but two of the best characters in ALL of the Star Wars series. One being Maul, and the other being Qui-Gon Jinn. The biggest problem I have with Episode I is that they were BOTH killed off. I understand the need to kill Qui-Gon, but I do not think it was a good idea to kill of the Sith. Especially the way it was done. The guy absolutely kicks the asses of 2 Jedi at the same time only to go down like a punk (a Sammy J reference for you nerds). He should have been the Vader of the prequels instead of the villain of the week treatment that we got with the 3 movies. And that fight sequence is the best in the whole series, by far. Duel of the Fates is also one of, if not the best musical piece by John Williams, period. With Qui-Gon, not only do we get Liam Neeson, but a character who is actually more interesting than Obi-Wan. Who woulda thought that? Then you have Natalie Portman who I never get tired of looking at (I'm the same age as her so it was ok for me to enjoy her presence at the time). Jake Lloyd wasn't the greatest actor but he was just a kid so I can't really fault him and if great actors have trouble with some of the material, I can't expect a 10 year old to master them. Yes, the script was a little hammy, but show me a Star Wars movie that doesn't have some bad dialogue. Even the great Alec Guinness was not very fond of what he had to work with. I will also gladly admit that the movie was a little too kiddy overall but I think that's what Lucas was going for so he achieved his goal. I could have done with about 10 fewer minutes of that damn pod-race though. Jesus Christ, it wouldn't end. The midiclorian (sp?) thing wasn't so much of a letdown for me as it was for others, but again, I wasn't THAT into Star Wars before so it didn't really bother me at the time. Watching it now, Anakin's conception does feel glossed over. And perhaps it was my ignorance but I had no clue until late in the movie that Sidious and Palpatine were the same person. The Jedi council was cool to see but man was Samuel L. Jackson ever miscast. I'll cut myself off there with this movie.
Attack of the Clones:
This is my least favorite of the prequels. It's still entertaining at times but my God, that love story. Barf! I like a good love story as much as the next person but this was laughable. And the dialogue was seriously cringe-worthy. "My planet is full of sand. It's coarse and gets everywhere. Not like here where everything is soft and smooth." As he gently caresses her arm. Are you effing kidding me with this ****? "Ani? My goodness, you've grown." And so plays the theme song for Shaft. Hayden Christensen is such a bad actor, folks. He was worse than the kid in the first movie. He also spends 3/4 of the movie either bitching or trying his best to look angry. The love is just so forced all in all, that I really couldn't care less about these two. And I can't imagine why Padme would fall in love with this sap. Obi-Wan is really the one who's interesting here. The scene where he meets Jango Fett for the first time is probably my favorite because it's one of the few scenes in the movie (maybe the only one) with actual subtext. Speaking of Fett, probably the coolest character in the movie and like Darth Maul, killed like a chump. One thing though that is a peeve of mine is when things happen out of convenience for the story to move along or to just please the fans in a cheap way. The Spider-man movies drove me nuts for this reason. Fett is a cool character and I haven't read any of the books, but to have him be the troopers is a little much and seemed too obvious that Lucas was just throwing him in there cuz Boba was popular in the originals. And we never even got an explanation on the difference between Storm Troopers and Clone Troopers. Another one of these is Dooku being Qui-Gon's master and Yoda being Dooku's master. Are there no other Jedi? Everyone is linked? Let's be a little more realistic. Pretty much everything on Geonosis bored me. Even the light saber fight at the end wasn't that fun to watch. Seeing Yoda fight for the first time gets a meh from me and this was the first time we saw a fully CGI Yoda which is a thumbs down. And I'm very pissed that the BD release of The Phantom Menace has a new, CGI Yoda.
Revenge of the Sith:
The best of the prequels and the only PG-13 Star Wars film for obvious reasons. While Anakin is shown to be quite stupid throughout, it is enjoyable to watch Ian Mcdiarmid at work in this movie. Plus, his fight sequence with Windu is one that has my heart racing every time because of what we know will happen. I do think all of that part was well done and it was great to see how Darth Sidious got the deformed face. Probably the best bit of directing by Lucas in these films comes right before when Anakin is about to make his fateful decision. It's just him looking out the window and Padme doing the same thing from the other side of the city. The combination of no dialogue plus the eerie music playing in the background was enough to speak volumes and I really have to give Lucas credit for such a simple but well crafted scene. For months, I heard about General Grievous and how menacing he's be and boy was that a lie. I didn't hate the character but I still wanted something more than yet another CGI character. Darth Maul was scary because he was real. Order 66 was a sad yet well done bit. Dooku's death and the nod to Return of the Jedi in that scene was nice to see and in general, the movie did a decent job of bridging with gap between the 2 trilogies. The fight scene we heard about for so many years between Anakin and Obi-Wan was good, though there was yet again too much CGI. Watching Anakin burn with his limbs cut off is a disturbing image but we finally saw it. I just wish he didn't scream like a little girl, "I hate you". And these prequels would be nothing without some bad love action right before the final battle. "You're breaking my heart". Cry me a river. Yoda vs. Sidious was a dream matchup and played out with Duel of the Fates playing which is a plus. Which now brings me to my biggest beef with this movie which is Padme's death. WTF? She died of a broken heart? She lost the will to live even though she just gave birth to two babies who needed their mother? She sounds like a messed up biatch to me. And how does one die from a broken heart anyway? I had a bigger issue with this than with the infamous, "NOOOOOOOO!!!". I get why that was hated (I hate it more that it's in the BD release of Return of the Jedi as well) but I also understand why Lucas put it in. He was a Frankenstein fan growing up and that scene was taken right out of that story. Even the way Vader walks for the first time. His yell is pretty funny though and gave birth to one of the most useful sites of all time. Instant No Button! Star Wars funnies FTW!. The explanation of Qui-Gon coming back through the force and being the first to do it was something I liked because it touched more on how powerful he actually was. He is the one who discovered Anakin and defied the council after all. Luke and Leia and hearing their themes was pretty much the way to end it so no problems there.
Overall, I really can't hate on these movies like so many people. Yes, there is a lot of bad, but there is a lot of good too and after all is said and done, I honestly do believe that these movies did the originals a service.
PS. For anyone who actually read this, sorry for the lack of paragraphs. I kinda just vomited on the internet.
Hey Doc. Have you seen Green Lantern yet?
While I couldn't disagree with you more Nasti, your argument is well presented and I can acknowledge your opinion. Nice back'n'forth too guys, always great to start the morning off with a laugh.