The Stigma Around the 'Star Wars' Prequels
'Star Wars' fans are a tricky people.
Star Wars fans are a tricky people. Even if you’re not a fan yourself, a person could be pretty familiar with the caricatured portrayal of Star Wars / Trek fans in the media. Which is not to say some portrayals aren’t accurate, the general population has come to the point where being dorky is almost just cool. Star Wars is a huge franchise based on an amazing science fiction story. But there is one part of this story that a lot of fans would like to forget and have seen a lot of critical scrutiny over the years, the Prequels. These films would be; The Phantom Menace (1999), Attack of the Clones (2002) & Revenge of the Sith (2005). But a funny thing has happened as years passed; the younger generations seems to have adopted a love for these films that was lost on the generation before.
The origin of this mostly comes from the fact that Millennials were the kids who grew up on the Prequels. They were young kids when the prequels were coming out which was the perfect age to fall in love with them. The lightsaber fights were entrancing to young eyes, all the bright colors and beautiful scenery swept them in! And those kids are now young adults who are sick and tired of hearing over and over again how much people hate the prequels. You could say Millennials just have a nostalgia bias for the Prequels but then that also goes into effect with the older generation & Original Trilogy as well, which is also not perfect. The bottom line here, is that the Prequels are not as bad as they’ve been made out to be.
At the very least, these three films are entertaining. Following the three main stars; Anakin, Obi-Wan & Padme. All three of them have traits and characteristics that are relatable and just plain great. I think everyone can agree that Ewan McGregor was meant to be young Obi-Wan. Natalie Portman plays a headstrong & great hero with Padme. And it comes down to the character people have the most issues with, Anakin. The funny thing here is, Hayden Christensen played the role accurately to what I believe Anakin would be like, so I never had a problem there. The younger generation does not appear to be as judgmental as the past generation, we appreciate the humor in it all rather than complain about the "bad quality."
Speaking from my view, as a child I always went right for the Prequels. I adored them and simply didn’t ever grow out of that love. I can recognize that they are not the greatest things to hit the movie screen and the script was sometimes just frustratingly cheesy. But one has to admit, some of those lines are too iconic to ever truly hate. “I don't like sand. It's coarse, and rough, and irritating, and it gets everywhere. ..” (Attack Of The Clones). It’s lines like those that really make it clear to me why Millennials maybe enjoy these films more because again, we, the younger generation are not quite as critical about media such as film as the past generation.
Fans of the Prequels almost have a rehearsed response ready for when it comes into conversation that they like the films. Because in my experience, almost nine out of ten times, somebody immediately attacks them. This is because their just seems to be this stigma around the Prequels that has yet to be shaken off.
Revenge Of The Sith appears to be the one film that people can all agree is not that bad. I think what really helps that fact is the story of Anakin's fall to the dark side that started with The Phantom Menace was handled really well & came to its emotional "ending" in that film. He went from a bright, sweet kid to an annoying teenager to a fallen hero. Which brings me to another tragedy of the Prequels which was the treatment of the young actor portraying Anakin in The Phantom Menace by upset fans. Because Jake Lloyd deserved better but that’s a side issue. Anakin’s growth throughout the films is underappreciated, Hayden’s facial expressions during his turn in ROTS are actually incredible. And the fight between Anakin & Obi-Wan is not only one of the best Lightsaber fights, but actually very emotional. The only reason Revenge Of The Sith is not my favorite is because I'm a sucker for Return Of The Jedi (Mark Hamill is literally the best, sorry not sorry).
I'm going to end this by saying that overall, I do like The Original Trilogy better. But The Prequels are not the worst things in the entire world. I adore them to no end without shame! The films have been judged long enough and deserve the love that is finally blossoming for them! Because in the long run, the franchise will have to acknowledge their existence for the sake of story! So please, enjoy these films without shame!
What is your favorite film in the Prequel trilogy? What is your favorite Star Wars film of all time?