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Old 08-17-2016, 12:29 PM
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What was good about the Star Wars prequels?

I remember enjoying the movies at the time (I was just finishing high school when TPM came out), while recognizing a lot of the flaws. Watching them later, the flaws seem to overpower a lot of the good scenes. But here are the things that I thought worked and still hold up:

TPM -- I thought the pod race was fun; I liked Boss Nass's underwater city (though his army was ridiculous); Qui Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan were great, even with clunky dialogue; the final lightsaber fight was very cool; and that's about it. Both the final space battle and the ground battle were totally ridiculous, I thought.
AotC -- I enjoyed the bounty-hunter sequence; the clone-troopers and Jango Fett were pretty cool, as was the dogfight in the asteroid field; the battle in the arena was cool, especially when all those Jedi appeared (I loved it when all the lightsabers lit up); and Yoda's lightsaber fight was fun (if a bit silly).

RotS -- The opening space battle and the death of Dooku were okay; the opera scene was very good and perhaps the only good dramatic scene in the whole prequel trilogy; the reveal of Sidious alternated silliness with coolness, I thought (Windu was alternately powerful enough to handle Sidious with effort, but was so easily dispatched when Anakin turned on him -- or was it a trap by Sidious?); Obi-Wan's fight with Grievous was fun, and the Order 66 sequence was well done; Yoda's fight with Palpatine was cool; and Obi-Wan and Vader's final fight was very well done (except for the "higher ground" silliness).

RotS was by far the best, and perhaps the only one that was overall still a good movie, I think. TPM was overwhelmed by Jar Jar's ridiculousness, and baby Anakin's pointlessness, while AotC was overwhelmed by the awfully written love story and dialogue. RotS still had a lot of weaknesses, but I don't think they took over the movie like the other two.

Last edited by iiandyiiii; 08-17-2016 at 12:29 PM.
  #2  
Old 08-17-2016, 12:36 PM
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What was good about the Star Wars prequels?

Absolutely Nothing!

say it again y'all

Last edited by Qadgop the Mercotan; 08-17-2016 at 12:36 PM.
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Old 08-17-2016, 12:39 PM
yellowjacketcoder yellowjacketcoder is offline
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I have long felt you could have improved the prequels with three changes that would be fairly minor in the grand scheme of things:

1. Use Hayden Christensen for all three movies instead of two. Anakin is not interesting as a 9 year old. Plus it solves the creepy factor where Padme is much older than Anakin. For that matter make Padme a twenty-something but keep Portman as the actor.

2. Drop Jar-Jar. Comic relief is fine, slapstick is not.

3. Have someone else write the romantic dialog for Anakin and Padme.
  #4  
Old 08-17-2016, 12:39 PM
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Naboo was insanely beautiful. It makes me sad that I can't actually go there. (Seriously.)
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Old 08-17-2016, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by yellowjacketcoder View Post
I have long felt you could have improved the prequels with three changes that would be fairly minor in the grand scheme of things:

1. Use Hayden Christensen for all three movies instead of two. Anakin is not interesting as a 9 year old. Plus it solves the creepy factor where Padme is much older than Anakin. For that matter make Padme a twenty-something but keep Portman as the actor.

2. Drop Jar-Jar. Comic relief is fine, slapstick is not.

3. Have someone else write the romantic dialog for Anakin and Padme.
Even better, get a more talented actor for Anakin. Unless the problems were with dialogue and directing, and not Hayden's acting.
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Old 08-17-2016, 12:50 PM
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Naboo was insanely beautiful. It makes me sad that I can't actually go there. (Seriously.)
Visually, they were great. One thing that I really liked was that the state of the art in CG during the stretch when the movies were released allowed for a lot more, and a lot more visually impressive space battles and scenes than in the original 3, where they had to use a bunch of models and clever visual effects. To use an example from TPM, how would they have done the Trade Federations' droid army had they tried to do it in say.. 1980? "Jason and the Argonauts" style stop-motion animation? Men in droid suits?
  #7  
Old 08-17-2016, 12:52 PM
Richard John Marcej Richard John Marcej is offline
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Even better, get a more talented actor for Anakin. Unless the problems were with dialogue and directing, and not Hayden's acting.
EXACTLY!!!!

There's another post on the boards where they're asking for the Worst actor in a Great movie. IF any of the SW prequels were great Hayden would win as worst actor hands down. If acting talent was reason all actors got a job Hayden would still be in the unemployment line.

BUT - getting back to the OP here, "Duel of the Fates" for the soundtrack in The Phantom Menace was ...well, awesome! How good is it? It challenges The Imperial March (Darth Vader's Theme) for one of the best soundtrack pieces ever.
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Old 08-17-2016, 12:55 PM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman are both good actors. And the rest of the cast was mostly world-class. They all pretty much came off shitty because of the bad script and abysmal directing.
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Old 08-17-2016, 01:03 PM
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Things I liked:

1) Ewan McGregor

2) The whole pod-racing thing, even if it is logically absurd.

3) Darth Maul, and the entire duel scene

4) Obi Wan screaming at Anakin: "You were supposed to be the chosen one!" It's a great moment, and probably the most genuine drama of the entire prequel trilogy.

But as others have observed, the stupidity largely outweighs any momentary goodness.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard John Marcej View Post
BUT - getting back to the OP here, "Duel of the Fates" for the soundtrack in The Phantom Menace was ...well, awesome! How good is it? It challenges The Imperial March (Darth Vader's Theme) for one of the best soundtrack pieces ever.
YES!

Last edited by Chihuahua; 08-17-2016 at 01:04 PM.
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Old 08-17-2016, 01:08 PM
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Yeah, forgot to mention the music, which was very good from what I recall.
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Old 08-17-2016, 01:08 PM
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That there were only 3 movies and not more is really the only decent answer.
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Old 08-17-2016, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman are both good actors. And the rest of the cast was mostly world-class. They all pretty much came off shitty because of the bad script and abysmal directing.
This has been my belief, as well. Going into AotC, Christensen had received acclaim for his work in "Life as a House", and was nominated for both a Golden Globe and a SAG award for it. Portman has done well in dramatic work, and won an Oscar for "Black Swan". Samuel L. Jackson, Ewan McGregor, Christopher Lee, Ian McDiarmid, Liam Neeson, Pernilla August -- all very good actors.

The prequels had horrible, stilted dialog (the romantic dialogue in AotC being a particularly egregious offender). Even going back to ANH, Lucas was well-known for not being strong at direction (or, at least, at giving useful direction to actors). And, you had actors trying to perform while in front of a green screen, against another "actor" who would later be added in via CGI. Given all that, it's no wonder that even great actors looked like crap in it.
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Old 08-17-2016, 01:19 PM
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They were a jobs program that kept many talented people employed and housed.
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Old 08-17-2016, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Chihuahua View Post
4) Obi Wan screaming at Anakin: "You were supposed to be the chosen one!" It's a great moment, and probably the most genuine drama of the entire prequel trilogy.
I can honestly say this was pretty much the only moment in the entire prequel trilogy I thought had any worth or value.

It was, for the first time in damn near nine hours of film, the first time I found myself emotionally involved in the films. It meant something. Finally, a character I sort of cared about was believably expressing an emotion that was a logical result of the things that had happened leading up to that moment.

And that's pretty much it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kenobi 65
Given all that, it's no wonder that even great actors looked like crap in it.
It's perhaps instructive to note that the actors did a pretty good job in "Star Wars," even though it's Lucas directing. The thing is

1. While the dialogue is simplistic, it makes sense. The characters behave in a logical fashion.

2. They're actually CHARACTERS. They have distinctive personalities, and

3. Yeah, they're acting against each other, not green screens.

The dialogue and story in "The Force Awakens" is no better than in "Star Wars," really. But the actors are given actual characters, with distinctive personalities, so they do great.

Last edited by RickJay; 08-17-2016 at 01:50 PM.
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Old 08-17-2016, 01:49 PM
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Whoever has the cooler soundtrack wins. That's why in The Final Countdown, the Nimitz would have annihilated the Japanese.
  #16  
Old 08-17-2016, 03:37 PM
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Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman are both good actors. And the rest of the cast was mostly world-class. They all pretty much came off shitty because of the bad script and abysmal directing.
I think that Ian McDiarmid was the only actor in the whole set of prequels who looked like he really knew what kind of movies he was in (bad, cheesy scifi) and appeared to be enjoying himself.
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Old 08-17-2016, 03:42 PM
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iiandyiiii:

In Phantom, I found the race to be a low point, not something good at all. Very generic and predictable while not moving the story forward.

This was the only one of the three I saw. Looking at the plot summary, etc., nothing pops up. But Dominic West did play a Naboo guard, that's something. McNutty still working in the protection biz.
  #18  
Old 08-17-2016, 03:46 PM
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Episode III is underrated. I like it. It is at least as good as Return of the Jedi. The Order 66 Scene is one of the best sequences in any of the movies. I also love how the end comes full circle into the original Star Wars. I remember I went to see it in a late night showing when it first came out and when I came home around midnight I put Star Wars on because I felt like I had to watch it after that ending.

I like the overall story of Palatine's rise. The details are where the problems are but the idea of a Democracy that dies under its own weight and rot from within is a good idea for a story.

Coruscant in Episode II is beautiful and was a very different setting for Star Wars up to that point.

The Arena fight in Episode II has a fun Ray Harryhausen vibe, in fact it looks to me some of the effects purposely have the herky jerky stop motion look as an homage to it.

Episode I? Umm...well I am sure the crafts services on set was amazing.
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Old 08-17-2016, 03:51 PM
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I liked the light saber duels, especially the Darth Maul duel. I also liked watching Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine especially in Revenge of the Sith. Those were the only parts that I enjoyed watching.

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Old 08-17-2016, 04:21 PM
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I agree with most of the OP's points. I thought Ep. III was an OK movie - not amazing, but not a piece of crap like the first two. You put it well - all three had a few good points, but the third was the only one where the bad stuff didn't completely overwhelm the good.

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Originally Posted by bump View Post
Visually, they were great. One thing that I really liked was that the state of the art in CG during the stretch when the movies were released allowed for a lot more, and a lot more visually impressive space battles and scenes than in the original 3, where they had to use a bunch of models and clever visual effects. To use an example from TPM, how would they have done the Trade Federations' droid army had they tried to do it in say.. 1980? "Jason and the Argonauts" style stop-motion animation? Men in droid suits?
Lucas specifically waited to make TPM until CGI caught up to his vision of what the movie should be.

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In Phantom, I found the race to be a low point, not something good at all. Very generic and predictable while not moving the story forward.
I saw TPM in the theater on a massive screen with a pumping sound system, and the pod race was great. My heart was racing and I was fully invested. Since then I've seen it on a home entertainment system a few times, and it fails to impress me. It's probably a combination of things that explain the difference for me - watching with a crowd of people cheering throughout, CGI that was amazing at the time but commonplace now, pod engine sound effects that made your chest shake. I guess I can understand both reactions to it, but of the people who aren't impressed, I wonder how many people saw it first in a nice theater.
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Old 08-17-2016, 04:53 PM
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I liked the giant fish in TPM. I'm a sucker for a good sea monster.
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Old 08-17-2016, 04:57 PM
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I saw TPM in the theater on a massive screen with a pumping sound system, and the pod race was great. My heart was racing and I was fully invested. Since then I've seen it on a home entertainment system a few times, and it fails to impress me. It's probably a combination of things that explain the difference for me - watching with a crowd of people cheering throughout, CGI that was amazing at the time but commonplace now, pod engine sound effects that made your chest shake. I guess I can understand both reactions to it, but of the people who aren't impressed, I wonder how many people saw it first in a nice theater.
I liked the pod race as a self-contained action sequence, but it really wrecks the pacing of the film over all. And they needed some major character derailment to get Anakin in the driver seat. Qui-Gon cheats at dice to get a minor child to compete in a race that we're explicitly told no human pilot has ever survived. That's seriously fucked up, and you kind of have to ignore that it ever happened to continue like Qui-Gon as a character.
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Old 08-17-2016, 05:07 PM
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I liked the pod race as a self-contained action sequence, but it really wrecks the pacing of the film over all. And they needed some major character derailment to get Anakin in the driver seat. Qui-Gon cheats at dice to get a minor child to compete in a race that we're explicitly told no human pilot has ever survived. That's seriously fucked up, and you kind of have to ignore that it ever happened to continue like Qui-Gon as a character.
An excellent point. Then again, the film that it pulls you out of kind of sucked, so I think I liked it for that.

But you're right: it's great action, it's crap storytelling.
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Old 08-17-2016, 05:20 PM
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I you view the series as basically being the story of Ewan MacGregor fighting to investigate and staunch the Sith from taking over the universe - just to fail - it isn't bad. If you view it as an ensemble piece or as being the story of Darth Vader, then it's crap. A 2.5 hour or 3 hour cut of the 3 movies would probably be pretty good.

Personally, I appreciated the fairly realistic world-building and intrigue that developed over the course of the trilogy. Granted, most people didn't seem to like that as it took away from the fun/adventure spirit of the originals. The second and third movies, while maybe not comparing particularly favorably to some of the better actiony political thriller movies, are still entertaining. Outside of the Annakin romance, they aren't bad films, just bland.
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Old 08-17-2016, 05:25 PM
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Midichlorians could have been an interesting idea, but they clashed too hard with... everything. If you had set up the Jedi as more of a clinical force-wielding, possibly somewhat corrupt organization that adorns itself in a light religious facade instead of a straight up temple run by too-wise-for-you morons, the use of Midichlorians to measure force would have served as a useful contrast from the universe we see in the original trilogy.

It would be a clinical, jaded way to view this magical, taoist philosophy, perhaps highlighting Obi-Wan and Anakin as people who actually try and follow the philosophy (and thus establishing Luke as the redemption of the Jedi, a powerful force wielder who uses the light side and follows the actual philosophy).

But I guess this is more "fix the prequels" instead of "things it did correctly."
  #26  
Old 08-17-2016, 07:21 PM
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One thing I will give Lucas credit for, is that he learned from his mistakes. Sure, Episode II was bad, but it wasn't bad in the same ways as I, even though it could have been (in addition to the ways it actually was bad).
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Old 08-17-2016, 08:16 PM
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Old 08-17-2016, 08:35 PM
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Obi-Wan mixes it up nicely with Jango Fett in Attack of the Clones.
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Old 08-17-2016, 08:41 PM
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Darth Maul was one badAssMotherFucker!
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Old 08-17-2016, 08:42 PM
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One thing I will give Lucas credit for, is that he learned from his mistakes. Sure, Episode II was bad, but it wasn't bad in the same ways as I, even though it could have been (in addition to the ways it actually was bad).
Not so sure about that. The Ewoks? :roll eyes:
Then we got Jar Jar. :roll eyes sumMore:
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Old 08-17-2016, 08:50 PM
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Limiting myself to only talk about the things that were good, since pointing out the bad things has been beaten to death:

- Ewan McGregor was a great young Obi-Wan
- The characters of Qui-Gon, Mace Windu and Count Dooku are pretty cool/had potential
- Darth Maul looked great, and "Duel of the Fates" is awesome
- Likewise, "Battle of the Heroes" is awesome
- The word "younglings" makes me giggle whenever I hear it
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Old 08-17-2016, 10:27 PM
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Whoever has the cooler soundtrack wins. That's why in The Final Countdown, the Nimitz would have annihilated the Japanese.
And Gob Bluth would have annihilated the Nimitz.
  #33  
Old 08-18-2016, 12:10 AM
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I wasn't a fan of the prequels by any stretch, but there were many aspects of the plot that were decent and could have been quite good with a little connective tissue.

Anakin being brought before the Jedi Council, for example. The debate about Anakin's fate would have been so much more powerful if Dooku had been present as a Council member: he takes up for Qui Gon and champions Anakin, perhaps to the clear annoyance of Yoda; from the start, Anakin has a respect for Dooku that carries over to the next two films. Maybe before Qui Gon and crew return to Naboo, there's a little scene between Dooku and Qui Gon talking about dissatisfaction with the Jedi order. Wouldn't take up but a minute of screen time, and doesn't change the established plot one bit. But the story would be enhanced by the deeper character relationships experienced on-screen.

I'd credit the prequels with wanting to be more ambitious by taking some interest in the politics of the Republic and trying to make political maneuvering a driving feature of the plot. The relentlessly somber tone, while not particularly fitting for a space opera based on Saturday matinees, created an adult, moody atmosphere in a few places. Palpatine was a good character for the most part. Ewan McGregor was very good considering what he had to work with in many scenes. Christopher Lee was criminally underused, but great when on screen.

There. I've said some nice thing about the prequels. Must go take a scalding shower now.
  #34  
Old 08-18-2016, 01:52 AM
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That there were only 3 movies and not more is really the only decent answer.
You beat me to it.
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Old 08-18-2016, 03:45 AM
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Obligatory link to What If Episode I Was Good.
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Old 08-18-2016, 06:11 AM
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I love the costume design.
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Old 08-18-2016, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by magnusblitz View Post
Limiting myself to only talk about the things that were good, since pointing out the bad things has been beaten to death:

- Ewan McGregor was a great young Obi-Wan
- The characters of Qui-Gon, Mace Windu and Count Dooku are pretty cool/had potential
Okay, I hate to nitpick subjective opinion, but can you tell me what was cool about any of those characters?

They were played by highly skilled actors, I will grant you that. But it is difficult to even describe Qui-Gon Jinn and Mace Windu as "Characters." They move about on screen and say and do things, but what are their characters? Especially Mace Windu - is he impatient? Patient? Sad? Angry? What are his strengths and weaknesses? He's no character at all, really, and if he wasn't in the films it would barely have made any difference.

Qui-Gon and Mace Windu display little emotion and don't seem to have coherent motivations. Windu has no character at all. Qui-Gon is singularly obsessed with Anakin, but we're never really given any insight to that and the distraction of the totally illogical, incoherent invasion-of-Naboo plot gets in the way. Qui-Gon is supposed to be a good guy, but he lies, manipulates, and places people in hideous danger to further his ends. You're left unsure what to think of him.

By way of comparison, please compare Qui-Gon to Morpheus, as played by Lawrence Fishburne, in "The Matrix." The two characters are superficially similar; they are both supernaturally talented warriors who are preoccupied with finding a Messiah. Both are middle aged veterans who take on mentoring roles.

"The Matrix," however, offers a clarity of purpose and character. Morpheus's entire story is about finding Neo and confirming he is the Messiah. (I know the term of art in the movie is "The One," but it's a Messiah figure so I'm going to use that all around.) That's the point of the movie, and by concentrating on the finding of the Messiah, the Wachowskis allow the viewer to learn about and understand what Morpheus is about as a person, because all his words and actions move the plot in a logical fashion and reveal, in a manner consistent with that plot, the character of Morpheus. He is a man of absolute faith, for whom doubt and skepticism are openly rejected. His faith makes him vulnerable but it provides him with the strength to carry on. It also informs him interactions with all other characters, causing conflict with those who lack faith. Morpheus is, if anything, a fanatic, or a zealot. He's a good guy, but his fanaticism causes conflict with others and tests the loyalty of his underlings, while at the same time giving him power over them and a sense of authority and mentorship.

Qui-Gon is... uhhh... I mean, honestly, I'm not sure. He sets upon Anakin as the Messiah, which is fine, but the rest of "The Phantom Menace" doesn't really have anything to do with that story, and his attachment to Anakin doesn't develop beyond his decision that Anakin is the Messiah. He is supposed to be a mentor but acts unethically and stupidly. I don't really get him at all.

Quote:
Darth Maul looked great, and "Duel of the Fates" is awesome
See, same thing.

I would have LOVED to know who the hell Darth Maul was, but we're never told. He does look cool. But why is he there? What's his objective? IT's not even clear to me why he's on Naboo at the end of this film. When he was chasing Amidala, was he trying to kill her? If so, why is his concentration at the end on fighting the Jedi? Does he have a problem with Qui-Gon?

Like, wouldn't that be cool if he had a backstory with Qui-Gon? When he says he'll finally have his revenge... revenge for what? But you're never told and oh, he's dead.
  #38  
Old 08-18-2016, 09:40 AM
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Episode I did have a great trailer...
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Old 08-18-2016, 09:44 AM
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I liked the overall plot, hated the execution-- the dialogue, lack of character development, in-your-face love story, bad acting, the over-abundance of goofy aliens in TPM, etc. Everything everyone else has said.

The Clone Wars was great. Watching it helped me to actually like Anakin, and it dug deeper into a lot of stuff that helped me appreciate the story much more. You got to see the Jedi council as deeply flawed and morally challenged. You got to see that Anakin didn't just turn dark because he was in love with Padme. It gave some insight into what it meant for Anakin to be "the chosen one." And after watching The Clone Wars, when I re-watch the clones execute Order 66 in Ep III, it's a real punch to the gut; these guys fought in the trenches with the Jedi for three years, became friends with them, earned their respect, etc. So when Commander Cody orders the clones to shoot Obi-Wan, it was a "Holy shit" moment that I didn't have before watching the Clone Wars.

So I guess, The Clone Wars, while not one of the prequel trilogy, was part of the prequel universe, and that, to me, was the best thing about the prequels.
  #40  
Old 08-18-2016, 11:49 AM
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ftg ftg is offline
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Originally Posted by TroutMan View Post
I saw TPM in the theater on a massive screen with a pumping sound system, and the pod race was great. My heart was racing and I was fully invested. Since then I've seen it on a home entertainment system a few times, and it fails to impress me. It's probably a combination of things that explain the difference for me - watching with a crowd of people cheering throughout, CGI that was amazing at the time but commonplace now, pod engine sound effects that made your chest shake. I guess I can understand both reactions to it, but of the people who aren't impressed, I wonder how many people saw it first in a nice theater.
I did see in the theater. Ask yourself: What was the point of such a long segment? Getting your pulse racing isn't a valid plot justification.
  #41  
Old 08-18-2016, 12:11 PM
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TroutMan TroutMan is offline
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I did see in the theater. Ask yourself: What was the point of such a long segment? Getting your pulse racing isn't a valid plot justification.
The point is to inject some excitement into a movie that spent too long on trade agreements. As Miller said above (and I agree with), the pod race is terrible for the plot and there's no justification for it in that regard. But as a standalone sequence, it was a lot of fun.

If you're making the point that there are other reasons to not like that segment besides not seeing it in the right environment, then I'll agree with that. My question above was asked in the interest of learning why people didn't like it, not asking "what the hell is wrong with you?" The entire plot was such a hot mess that one more bit like this didn't even register for me. But it certainly is a valid reason to not like the scene, so consider me edified.
  #42  
Old 08-18-2016, 03:02 PM
outlierrn outlierrn is offline
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Naboo was a cool planet, and they had cool ships.

When Qui Gon meditates in the middle of a sword fight. It's the only time he seems like a badass to me.
  #43  
Old 08-18-2016, 03:47 PM
ISiddiqui ISiddiqui is offline
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I thought there were quite a bit of fun/good moments in the prequels that were overshadowed by the bad moments. However, I did think the overarcing storyline of a crumbling Republic was a good, and in that story, Ian McDiarmid's scheming Palpatine was great. I also thought Ewen McGregor's Obi-Wan was quite fantastic.

I do believe that getting someone else to write the dialogue and as someone said above, adding a handful of scenes that added connective tissue would have made the prequels as decent but not great movies (maybe aside from Episode 3, which I really enjoyed as is) rather than what they are remembered now.
  #44  
Old 08-18-2016, 04:04 PM
nightshadea nightshadea is offline
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someone said lucas should of had larry kasdan do the screen play and the guy who directed empire do them ......
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