The Star Wars prequels, ah where I do I begin? George Lucas directed all three of his last installments to conclude his Star Wars universe. There was a lot of criticism concerning the three movies more specifically The Phantom Menace (yes, I’m looking at you Jar Jar Binks). But for some reason, I don’t sense that these prequels get enough credit where it’s due. Sure we can talk about the irritating Jar Jar Binks, the repulsive relationship between Anakin Skywalker and Queen Amidala, and the over use of CGI in the films. But the question I feel that should be asked is; What are some of the things that stood out among the films that actually deserve some recognition? Here are 10 things I found most enjoyable about the Star Wars prequels. Spoilers ahead!
- The Wookies
Sure Chewbacca is the true star here. The wookies are an advanced civilization. They constantly train for combat especially if an invasion on their planet Kashyyyk occurs. They are also very fearless and intelligent and will stop at nothing to claim victorious. It’s probably best to leave them alone understanding that they boast a stronger physical presence than most of the beings who live in the Star Wars universe.
As much as we all dislike The Phantom Menace, I have to say that one of my favorite parts of the movie was actually the podrace. You can say all you want about why it was mainly in the film. I have found that most of the arguments stated that it was a merchandising campaign especially for the video games. However, I must be truthful and mention that I actually own Star Wars Episode 1 Racer for the N64. I LOVE that game and still do to this day. But that’s not the core reason why I enjoyed it in the film. The podrace brought us a little more about the standard of living in Tatooine. We already knew that this planet was rich with thugs, bandits, bounty hunters, and so on and so forth. We also knew that Jaba the Hutt lived on Tatooine from his appearance in Return of the Jedi. So to me, the podracing in the movie really showed what people do for entertainment in the desert planet. What do people do for amusement? The answer: Gambling on the podraces.
- General Grievous
For me, Revenge of the Sith was by far the best of the prequels. One of my favorite characters in that film was General Grievous. Grievous is simply a bad a–. I mean come on you just look at him and are immediately terrified. A half alien/half robotic cyborg, Grievous has held his own over time. He has four mechanical arms! Perhaps what makes him most frightening of all was that he bested strong Jedi Knights throughout his life. He holds onto their lightsabers as trophies to remind his foes just how powerful he really is. Grievous has also mastered the art of the lightsaber. In combat, he can place one lightsaber in each of his hands thus making him nearly unstoppable. Grievous in my opinion is a very underrated Star Wars villain and earns the spot at number 8 on my list.
- The Jedi Knights
Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi; yep they’re the ONLY Jedi that are shown in Lucas’s original Star Wars trilogy. However, the newer trilogies allowed us to get a glimpse of how many Jedi there actually were before they were all eventually annihilated by the clones in Revenge of the Sith. There were so many different Jedi from all over the galaxy. Nearly every planet in existence had their share of Jedi. It was nice to see the dedication and passion the they had. A large number of them took part in the senate to help establish peace around the universe. We even got a glimpse of young Padawan’s in training. I believe that Lucas did a fantastic job of introducing the Jedi and the important role they played in the Star Wars universe.
6. The Clone Wars
One thing that Lucas has done consistently well throughout all of his movies was to give fans plenty of eye candy. By that I mean every Star Wars movie had some form of epic battle sequence that took place. However I am mostly referring to Episodes II and III. The ending of Episode II was certainly the highlight of the film. Episode III dove right into a battle at the very beginning. Lucas has done a tremendous job with giving us plenty of space and land battle sequences. This is no doubt one of the big highlights of the earlier trilogy. Lucas dove deeper into the creation of both the droids and the clones. The clones took on a much bigger role for the Galactic Empire in the original trilogy. Lucas firmly established this in the newer trilogy.
- The Lightsaber Battles
If there’s one thing the newer trilogy improved upon it’s the lightsaber battles. By introducing us to more Jedi, Lucas clearly had to make the easy choice by using the lightsaber more often. There were so many scenes in which a lightsaber was used. It was the primary weapon used in the newer films. With so many memorable scenes to choose from I’ve decided to share my personal favorite lightsaber duel: Obi-Wan Kenobi vs Anakin Skywalker. This scene was the icing on the cake in the Revenge of the Sith. After Anakin Skywalker had destroyed the rest of the Senate of the Trade Federation, he immediately had to face the man who was his personal Jedi trainer. Not only was this scene epic in every way, but the emotional toll it took on both characters was overwhelming. They were like brothers and were prepared to fight to the death. Anakin’s mind was twisted by Darth Sidous and the only man who could try and stop him was his own master.
- John Williams’ Score
Who is arguably the greatest most prominent movie composer of all time? John Williams, that’s who! Not only is the score remarkably well done in all three films, but Williams consistently used most of the original themes throughout the trilogy. This feature was used more often in Revenge of the Sith. I could listen to the Star Wars soundtrack any day of the week and never grow tired of it. Consistency is important and that is where Williams shines through.
- Darth Maul
You just look at him and are immediately petrified. Darth Maul brought the title “Sith Lord” to a whole new level. With the look of a devil, Maul is one person you dare not mess with. Perhaps the most redeeming factor of the Phantom Menace was the climactic battle between Obi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon Jinn, and Darth Maul. This battle was in my opinion one of the greatest lightsaber duels in all of the Star Wars movies. With a double-sided lightsaber, Maul could take on two Jedi at once. He proves to be a very formidable opponent until he is outsmarted by Obi-Wan and is cut completely in half. I truly wish they had kept Maul a little longer in some of the other sequels. He was no doubt the biggest highlight in the film by what’s considered to most fans the most disappointing of the Star Wars movies.
2. Darth Sidious
Arguably the greatest actor in all of the prequels, Darth Sidious brings us that malevolent presence we haven’t felt nor seen since Darth Vader in the old trilogy. It also doesn’t hurt that they recasted the same actor (Ian McDiarmid) for the same role. It wasn’t until Revenge of the Sith where we actually saw him as the evil Darth Sidious. McDiarmid even played the role of Chancellor (later Emperor) Palpatine extremely well in all the films. He gave loyal fans a menacing villain and a performance that in my opinion could not be matched by another actor.
Now to my number one selection!
1. The Negotiations between the Senate and the Trade Federation
Got ya! Obviously I’m just kidding about this choice. Now here’s the real #1 choice!
- (The Real #1) The Films Tied in Nicely to the Originals
This is perhaps the most important quality of all three films. George Lucas did a sensational job tying in all the loose ends of what was to come in Episodes IV, V, and VI. There were so many questions that were answered such as: “who were Leia’s parents?; how did Luke end up on Tatooine?; what happened to all of the Jedi?; how come C-3PO and R2-D2 couldn’t recall their past?; and most importantly, how did Anakin Skywalker become Darth Vader?” All of these questions were answered.
As much as we may dislike the sequels, we can’t deny that Lucas poured his heart and soul into these films. He himself has created his own universe and told it beautifully all the way through the course of six films. By now, fans are more than excited to see what the new Star Wars films will bring us. J. J. Abrams has grabbed a hold of the torch from Lucas and will become the next person to take us on this incredible journey throughout the Star Wars universe. Abrams, it’s your turn now.
So my question to everyone is: What did you enjoy the most about the prequels? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!