My thoughts on the Prequels are these: they don’t exist, and they are terrible. Regardless of those two statements’ mutual exclusivity, they are both true. I will not be rewatching the Prequels in preparation for The Force Awakens because if Disney and J.J. Abrams are smart–and they are–there will not be a single reference to anything Prequel-related. Disney will keep selling Jar-Jar shit because it sells, but General Grievous is not getting his own spin-off cartoon show.
When Phantom Menace came out, I saw it at Mann’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood on opening night. My apartment was in the building directly next door to the theater (this is true) and the line snaked under my window for a week prior. I witnessed several fistfights between grown men dressed in Jedi robes.
My childhood friend Phil (the one who owned the Y-Wing I so coveted) and I had good seats. The Chinese is enormous–around a thousand seats–and it was packed and people were whooping and the air was crackling. Because it was Hollywood, famous people were there: we saw Sean Astin, who had gotten fat to play a Hobbit, but we did not know this, so we just made fun of him for being fat.
(Also–and I swear this happened–before the lights went down, John Moschitta addressed the crowd. He was the fast-talking guy who did the Fed Ex and Micro-Machine commercials, and a Star Wars fan, apparently. Whether he had been hired, or invited, or just taken it upon himself to address the nerds we’ll never know. What we do know is that no one gave him a microphone and you can’t do the fast-talking bit very loudly, so no one could hear him and he shut up quickly. Swear that happened.)
And we cheered. Every time anything even vaguely Star Wars-related appeared, we cheered. Skeleton Threepio? YAY! Midget Greedo? Yay! Shitty CG Jabba? Yippee!
On Tuesday or Wednesday, I went back to Mann’s Chinese Theater. These were the days with long afternoons and there was no one to plot with. There were a handful of other unemployable types in there and the movie began.
I do not remember much, Enthusiasts, but I do recall needing three smoke breaks. Had I not smoked at the time, I would have taken it up to give myself a reason to leave the theater and gather myself before exposing myself to this bullshit for another half-hour or so. Phantom Menace committed the worst of all possible sins: it was boring.
Star Wars (Fuck “Episode IV” or “New Hope:” it’s called Star Wars) is a story about a boy, a wizard, and a soldier rescuing a princess from an evil castle ruled by a monster. When the monster comes after them, the boy blows up the castle by believing in himself. THAT’S THE WHOLE STORY. Why are there trade negotiations in my Star Wars and–in the unlikely event that they belong there–why are Jedi doing it?
Please don’t pick apart the Prequels detail-by-detail. Literally no one wants to hear that, and it’s already been done as well as it’s going to be done.
Fine, but there is a new form of madness that stalks the innertubes: The Prequel Rethink. Have we got it all wrong about the Prequels? Should we get them down from the Problem Attic? Perhaps they’re sheer fucking genius and you’re just a sloppy turd wallowing in your own muck, how about that?
The insane and frankly boring Ring Theory has been bandied about, but besides the pretentious twaddle it bursts at the seams with, it fails to recognize that a movie needs to stand on its own, not as part of some dopey 8-hour space-opera tone-poem that only exists in the author’s over-educated head. It also rests on a premise of George Lucas being a dramatic mastermind, when the truth is that the best movies George Lucas ever made were written and directed by other people.
There is also Machete order, plus a recent “non-cheese” edit of Phantom Menace and a legendary-but-rarely-seen edit of the same film by Topher Grace, of all people.
Don’t let any of these people tell you what to do: let me tell you what to do.
Ignore the Prequels entirely, unless you have children that you mistakenly showed them to and they enjoy them because they are stupid children. (I’m not calling your children stupid. I’m saying that all children are stupid. Now, your children might be dumber than average, but I don’t know: I’ve never met them.)
Otherwise, make like your buddy TotD and watch the OT (Only Trilogy) in the right order. I’m starting tomorrow night, and maybe we can all enjoy a movie together.
ps I mentioned that detailed analysis of why the Prequels sucked had been done before, and better; this was true.