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Star Wars fans like the prequel trilogy. Not all Star Wars fans love it or like it. But on whole, Star Wars fans like The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith. It isn’t for me to say how you should feel about them. But I can tell you as a fan that doesn’t like the prequels, but rather as a fan that loves the prequels, I hate it when people give me hyperbolic, pre-packaged criticisms of the films that address a tiny speck of “sand”-sized flaw in one of the most imaginative series to be released from 1999-2005. As films of their day, they’re brilliant, fun, and entirely unique. I can think of another franchise or two from the era that are often heralded as “great movies” but I sincerely don’t think they hold up or look as good or timeless as the last three films George Lucas directed.
I fall on the cusp of the first two trilogies. I’m young for an original trilogy kid, born just before The Empire Strikes Back and was ending my teenage years as The Phantom Menace was released. So I’m kind of old for a person of the prequel generation, if you will. I feel an attachment or a cultural ownership of both trilogies and they both encompass what I would define as my “youth.”
We’re at a point now where the hardcore prequel generation is growing up and they’re not really digging antiquated criticisms of something wholesome, fun, and unique which encapsulated their childhood. The vitriol and hatred that seethed from the rotting flesh of message boards is not being accepted as “truth” with a capital “T” any longer.
Watch Mojo posted a video that seemed like a knee-jerk video. It seems like they thought “Hey, everyone will agree with this opinion and the work will be easy.” The Prequel Memes Reddit got word of the video and massively downvoted the it with YouTube’s thumbs down option. As of the writing of this, Watch Mojo has 14 million subscribers–2000 that liked the video and 15,000 that gave the video a thumbs down.
When the video first hit, Naboo News notes it was called “Top 10 Reasons Why the Star Wars Prequels Still Suck” but it has since been retitled to “Top 10 Reasons Why the Star Wars Prequels are Hated.” I suppose they decided to not own their opinion as firmly as they did when the video was first uploaded.
The comments so far are full of modified lines from the prequel trilogy that made me laugh:
Now, I’m not saying the prequels are perfect movies. I’m not saying the original trilogy films are prefect or the sequel trilogy or the anthology films. There’s no such thing. So far, every Star Wars film has enriched the larger tapestry that forms the Star Wars saga. Criticizing the films is important. Without solid criticism, there’s no reason for Star Wars to grow, evolve, get better, and remain relevant. At this point, a portion of the discourse has spent more time talking about how bad the prequels are than they ever spent watching them and with that they’ve lost perspective. I also hope as we continue to get solid films like The Force Awakens that are good movies but really conservative on the risks they take, an appreciation for the risks George Lucas took will hopefully permeate into the mainstream discourse around the second Star Wars trilogy.
Most people I know have these films in their movie collections. Most people concede there’s some strange if not outright questionable choices that go down in certain moments. But for the average Star Wars fan those things are not enough to dismiss the films any more than it would be to dismiss A New Hope for Luke having a few whiny fits here and there.
Bad movies are forgotten and the Star Wars prequels are not forgotten. It might be a good idea to make sure the horse is actually dead before you try and beat it because in this instance, it backfired. The horse got up, ran out, and yelled “I’m Leeroy Jenkins!”