Snarcasm: The ‘Star Wars’ Prequels Were The Best Movies All Along

Star Wars prequels

Snarcasm is a weekly series where I encounter and try to understand the worst articles on the Internet. This week, I take on my fellow millennials who’ll say anything for a click. 

OK, we already talked about Star Wars a few weeks ago, but that was more about Piers Morgan and how irrelevant his film commentary is. That said, a similarly contentious article about the revered Star Wars saga was recently dropped on my doorstep with “It’s a trap!” scribbled across the label.

Writing for Toronto Star, Ian Gormely presents his case for why we may have been a little too harsh with the Star Wars prequels. Of course, that means his headline is…

Why the Star Wars prequels are better than the originals

And they say clickbait doesn’t write itself.

Now to be fair, the subhead is a little less sensational:

A generation of fans who grew up with the more recent trilogy make a compelling case that those are the superior films.

*shrugs*

Alright, you have an element of an interesting think piece here because younger viewers like me gave the prequels a pass, which is arguably similar to how older fans forgave the original trilogy for its ample flaws. I don’t agree, but it’s a worthwhile argument.

Then the article starts.

The prequels never stood a chance.

Right. One of the most anticipated films of the last 20 years never stood a chance. And yet the hype surrounding The Phantom Menace was astronomical, more so than this year’s The Force Awakens (because hey, we’ve learned the hard way not to get our hopes up).

The prequels very much stood a chance. People over the age of 15 just didn’t like them.

Hampered by two decades’ worth of expectations and hype, George Lucas’s deep dive back into the Star Wars universe was destined to disappoint.

I’m sure Ian would have said the same thing about The Empire Strikes Back if it had been terrible.

Star Wars (awkwardly retitled Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope when Lucas rereleased it in 1997) and its sequels were generation-defining movies.

Awkwardly? I grew up in this time period, too, and I don’t remember having an issue with the naming conventions. And if they had kept the name “Star Warsfor just the fourth movie, that would have been way more awkward.

Also, why even bring that up?

When Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace arrived in May 1999 fans were met with a film that was visually (computer-generated effects) and tonally (it was aimed at kids) miles away from their beloved originals.

When he says aimed at kids, he’s implying that the movie was mostly aimed at kids. Which isn’t true at all if you remember any scene from The Phantom Menace about trade negotiations, political squabbling, and multiple Jedi blathering instead of fighting until the last ten minutes.

And just to be clear, I enjoyed The Phantom Menace as much as I did Revenge of the Sith. I think they’re decent, even average movies. Their mediocrity is all the more depressing, of course, when you compare them with the original trilogy. Attack of the Clones is the only Star Wars film (in my opinion) that gets a failing grade.

 Subsequent prequels, Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, moved closer to Lucas’s originals, but many fans felt betrayed. This wasn’t their Star Wars.

He’s framing this argument as if Lucas was some sort of visionary trying to create something different, but those pesky fanboys were just too afraid of change. The problem, obviously, was that this change we got in the prequels was filled with annoying issues that even kids pretty much shrugged at.

Granted, we loved the prequels as kids. At the time, they were beautiful spectacles that forced us to wade through hackneyed plots to get to the stylized action. But not once did I ever consider them better than the original trilogy, solely because they were designed to be depressing departures, while the rest of the saga was filled with…well, hope.

J.J. Abrams’ upcoming seventh film, Episode VII: the Force Awakens, will reportedly hew closer in style to the original trilogy. 

Reportedly? Why did this blog spam suddenly remember it’s on a news publication?

But here’s the rub: a lot of people went to see The Phantom Menace — it made a billion dollars at the box office. Now in their 20s, this generation of Star Wars fan grew up not knowing a world without digital effects or Jar Jar Binks.

You know, unless we watched Quentin Tarantino movies instead.

To get a better sense of how they view the Star Wars universe we asked three deeply passionate fans to share their thoughts on the prequels.

Nice prank, Ian! For a second, I thought you were going to crowdsource your opinionated article with anecdotes instead of arguments—

Stuart (do you really want to know his last name? Isn’t privacy a thing in cases like this?)

Current Age: 26, which means he was 10 when Phantom Menace was released in 1999.

Why is this happening?

I’m going to leave out the heaps of personal data Ian dishes out for this guy, including his inclusion of (and I’m not joking) working for Virgin Radio.

I loved Darth Maul. The final lightsaber battle, that was the best lightsaber fight I’d ever seen.

Really? Because even my 8-year-old self still preferred Luke’s freakout in Return of the Jedi. Different strokes, but perhaps you loved that lightsaber battle more because the rest of the movie was so forgettable? Maybe?

Fans of the old series were looking for that nostalgia that they could relive. When the Phantom Menace came out, that’s when I think I was getting the experience that my dad and his generation had when the originals came out.

The problem is you think you had the same experience, but you’ll never know. And that’s fine. It’s great that you enjoyed these movies, but how can you compare that with someone’s else’s experience with a different movie during a different era? It would be like me telling my grandmother that seeing Get Hard was the equivalent of her going to see Gone With The Wind on opening night.

Ian’s next conveniently positive anecdote comes from someone who was 6 when The Phantom Menace came out (I wonder why we aren’t talking about Attack of the Clones at all?)

If you look at Star Wars as an epic Grecian tragedy, (the prequels) contextualize the original trilogy so well. It actually lends the original trilogy a lot more power when you know the history behind it

At times, this happens, sure. Notably in Revenge of the Sith when we get some solid scenes of Anakin getting seduced by the dark side. But come on, that’s a fraction of the whole film, which was mostly nonsense dialogue, deadpan characters, needless explanations of things that were better left to our imaginations, and sand, everywhere.

The worlds, the designs and the sci-fi concepts they introduce (in Attack of the Clones) are the best in all of Star Wars.

No.

No, they are not.

No reasonable fan with a straight face can say that the worlds of Attack of the Clones — Coruscant (which we’d already seen before), Tattooine (which we’d already seen before), Naboo (which we’d already seen before), and an asteroid field (which we’d already seen before) — were superior to anything in the other films, including the prequels.

Scrap those rehashed locations and you’re left with the green screen that is Kamino and Geonosis, which was basically Tattooine with mountains and a CGI factory.

Simply put, saying Attack of The Clones has the best worlds and designs is like claiming Chappie is a better Neill Blomkamp movie than District 9.

They made the political parts of The Phantom Menace that people hated, the political intrigue, actually interesting.

Oh really? I wonder how many people can tell me (without looking it up) why Jango Fett was trying to assassinate Senator Amidala. Or how Palpatine specifically got his emergency powers. Or why the clones were working for Jango, but ended up in the hands of the Republic by the very end. Or why Dooku betrayed the Jedi. Or what Anakin’s deal is with SAND EVERYWHERE, HE’S FROM A SAND WORLD SO HE SHOULD BE USED TO IT.

Sorry. Unresolved issues.

Star Wars was an adventure story and now they give it scope. It’s more than a ragtag team trying to take on the whole world. It almost becomes a political thriller.

Now we’re just throwing words into sentences and calling them paragraphs, people.

A ragtag team? Of a girl, her stalker, and two droids who offer nothing to the plot but are only there because we remember them from other movies? Or were you referring to Obi-Wan and…um…that fat alien from the diner? Oh, those dang misfits!

Ian provides more anecdotes, and what’s funny about them is that these guys completely admit the elements of the prequels are terrible. One guy notes “the crappy love story,” but justifies it by saying people were invested and had to see what’s next. You know, like clickbait.

And that’s it! Ian ends the article…there. No conclusion…hmmm…comments are closed, that’s interesting…

I guess I missed the part where Ian and his friends actually make a case for why the prequels are better than the original trilogy. Or bring up specific things about the original trilogy. All I read was a laundry list of subjective observations and straw grasping for the sake of getting attention. That’s the Snarcasm guarantee.

Guys, I’m not trying to hate on anyone who loves the prequels. I get it. They can be guilty pleasures because we saw them at an age when all we wanted to see on the big screen was a cacophony of lightsaber fights and epic space battles. And the prequels absolutely delivered on that.

But let’s not kid ourselves, pun intended. The prequels were fan service, but for the lowest common denominator. They were the Fast and Furious movies in space, except they were intended to be more compelling, which makes them all the more cringeworthy. I don’t mind re-watching them and appreciating decent moments throughout, but you’re never going to convince true fans of any age that they’re better than what we got with the original trilogy.

And please don’t watch Chappie

Hey! If you’ve come across a silly article that deserves the snarcasm treatment, send it my way via Twitter or the comments below!

I’m Jon and thanks for reading this. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hey on Twitter! @JonNegroni

 

Advertisements

16 thoughts

  1. I’m 19 now, Episode III was the only movie I watched in cinema, and I watched the original trilogy way before the prequels thanks to my brother introducing me to Star Wars (and Lego Star Wars 🙂 )
    I have to say I liked the Prequels. I think they have their place.
    Both trilogies have their flaws and strengths, the only thing I really hate is the shitty lovestory and Jar Jar. I can always deal with plotholes, but those scenes are kinda painful to watch. In Jar Jars case, no wonder, that lovestory could have been very interesting, if the dialogues weren’t awkward as hell. But I liked to see the republic before it’s fall, the political intrigues, even if they were not shown perfectly on screen. And it was really impressive to see Anakin and Obi Wan fight at the peak of their power, especially cause the fight was actually real, with plastic sabers, but it was real.

    In early december before Episode 7, I will make a marathon with 4,5,6,1,2,3 so I will maybe able to compare them better again, since until now I only marathoned the trilogies seperatly.

    Like

  2. Thank GOD we have the Clone Wars cartoon to help make up for it. I agree with LU1J1X. I was probably 8 when I first saw episode 2 on TV, and I admit it, I liked it, but now, I kind of hate the prequels. They have their high points (pod race, Maul, arena fight, tons and tons of lightsabers) and their lows (Jar Jar, love story, too much cgi). A lot of people say that the Clone Wars series was what the prequels should have been, and I heartily agree. It expanded the universe, gave us new, fleshed out characters, even clones and other minor ones. But most importantly, they gave us an Anakin that was BAD. ASS.

    Like

  3. I was talking with my friend a few days ago. I think we both agreed that “Attack of the Clones” was the worst prequel film.I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks this. Why is it that Episode 1 gets all the hate? That one was okay.

    Like

  4. I hate the prequels. Not because they were terrible movies but because they were such a disappointment and they really pulled back the curtain on George Lucas (even moreso than the whole Han/Greedo debacle). I think the clickbait would have worked on me. Thanks for breaking it down so well. Reading the original article on its own might have driven me insane.

    Like

  5. I think Ian was trolling in order to receive Internet traffic. I like the prequels because it dealt with adult things (I don’t know, I’m using the term loosely here) and it sets up almost everything in the Original trilogy (Again, really loosely here). But I think III is the best prequel out there, only one on par with the originals and I know of the prequels’ faults. The fact that someone is defending the prequels just for the sake of it is considered desperate even by regular Snarcasm titles. (One last time, really loosely because this time every Snarcasm so far is unique in their own way).

    Like

  6. I was born in 2000, I didn’t watch any Star Wars movies on theaters, since my parents didn’t like that type of movies, and didn’t take me to watch them. But when I was 8 years old, they gave me Star Wars Episodes IV, V and VI on DVD,and I loved them, they were just so awesome. A couple months later, I got the prequels, and I just didn’t believe how awful they were compared to the original ones. I did like them, they were pretty cool, compared to other things on theaters, when I was a kid (cough Twilight *cough), they just weren’t as good as I expected them to be. I liked the originals more than the prequels, and I watched them when I was only 8 years old, in 2008… Btw Snarcasm is great!

    Like

  7. I think you’re overhyping the original Star Wars trilogy. There was actually almost no character development throughout the series (other than Han Solo). Luke gets stronger, but his character doesn’t change, and Leia and the rest are totally consistent. The plot of the original trilogy works, but it was clearly just an excuse for cool scenes in an extremely well-done sci-fi universe.
    The prequels have an even weaker plot than the originals, but that’s not the point. As the science of special effects improved, the producers of Star-Wars were able to make even better battles. The fight between Yoda and Palpatine is more spectacular than any of the battles in the originals. There is legitimate character development for Obi-Wan from the first to second movies, and they manage to explain Anakin’s defection to the dark side.
    Criticizing the prequels for their weak plot and ridiculous characters doesn’t make any sense, because compared to movies where the plot is actually a priority (like the Pixar movies) all 6 of the Star Wars movies are lacking.

    Like

    1. Yeesh, I could do a Snarcasm just for this comment…

      Alright, well first off, it’s not me “overhyping” the original trilogy. The high quality of these films has been above question for 40 years now, with fans and critics almost unanimously agreeing that they hold up both as good movies and as culturally important movies.

      “Almost no character development throughout the series (other than Han Solo).”

      Well, that’s one-third of the main protagonists, so you’re already generalizing. Also, I suggest you listen to the first few lines of dialogue uttered by Luke in A New Hope and then listen to his first few lines in Return of the Jedi. That’s not a character who undergoes “almost no character development.”

      “The fight between Yoda and Palpatine is more spectacular than any of the battles in the originals.”

      This is a subjective debate, but just consider the fact that the fights in the original trilogy were never meant to be spectacular. They’re about the conflicts within the characters first and foremost, so it’s off base to judge them otherwise. Some of the battles in the prequels are more fun and visually interesting, obviously, but that doesn’t detract from the original trilogy. It just makes the two trilogies different in what they were trying to accomplish.

      So yeah, criticizing the prequels makes a ton of sense because the original trilogy is a set of movies that countless people cherish and still revisit pretty frequently. They offer so much more in terms of a rich mythology, suggestion of deeper themes and characters outside themselves, and of course, memorable characters. They’re not 100% universally beloved, just like any other movie. But that doesn’t mean we can’t compare one trilogy that’s obviously good with another that clearly isn’t.

      Like

  8. What people forget about the original trilogy is that there really hadn’t been any good science fiction in theaters before them. At all. And spare me with “2001”, it’s a good movie, but come on. Anyway, when “Star Wars” hit theaters it blew people’s minds. There had never been movies like this. They hadn’t been possible. Suddenly, it seemed like movies could be set anywhere and be about anything And it was done with a low budget, by today’s standards. Trying to compare the prequels to the original trilogy is like saying a Toyota Prius gets better mileage than a Ford Model T. True, but that doesn’t make it better or more important.

    Like

    1. The brilliance of Star Wars (1977) is that it borrows from 2001, Flash Gordon, and others, but adds something painfully missing from all of them: simplicity. Not in its mythology, of course, but in its story and characters. In that way, Star Wars was certainly first to bring mass appeal sci-fi to the big screen. Heck, it paved the way for all types of complex genres to be seen as big budget event movies. Jaws helped, too.

      Like

What do you think? Comment here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s