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A defense of the Star Wars prequels - giving credit where credit is due (and lacking)

Updated: Nov 3, 2021

Art by Brett Corpuz

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I decided to take on the ambitious project of watching every second of canon Star Wars media in chronological order. Why? Because I'm a huge Star Wars nerd, and quarantine had been dragging on for a while, so I decided I should do something stupid that takes a ton of time that I wouldn't have had otherwise. A few days ago I finished the Clone Wars, an amazing animated show set between episodes 2 and 3, which is not only awesome as its own show, but as an addition to the Star Wars franchise in general. With the Clone Wars out of the way, it was time to move on to Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, and with that, the age of the Galactic Republic was over, so I've decided to give it some credit where credit is due.

Before we begin, I'd just like to say - I'm not saying these movies are very good. From a superfan nerd's perspective, I enjoy them, however, when I am forced to look at it through a critic's (or normal, non-Star wars obsessed person's) point of view, they are pretty bad, especially compared to their predecessors. Which brings me to my next point: I'm going to look at the prequels solely on their own. I will not be comparing them to the original trilogy, Disney's sequel trilogy, or The Clone Wars, which deserves a separate article about how it made the prequels (and all of Star Wars) so much better.

Now that I've gotten those things out of the way, this is where the fun begins.

By far, the best part of the prequels is the score. The soundtrack across all of these movies is simply phenomenal. John Williams has once again delivered a plethora of amazing songs for these movies, the most iconic of which is probably “Duel of the Fates”. You may not recognize it by the title, but I'm sure you would if you heard the song. It is a masterpiece that fits any sort of epic battle.

Just as awesome is “Battle of the Heroes”, another song fit for any sort of climactic duel like Anakin's and Obi-Wan's. “Across the Stars” is a quite different, but beautiful orchestral love theme that makes Anakin and Padme's "romantic" scenes on Naboo almost worth watching. Unfortunately, I can't mention (or find links to) other fine additions to the collection such as “General Grievous's Theme” or the “Droid Army March” without making this article go on forever.

Something I appreciate about the prequels is that at the end of the day, the bad guys win, which is very rare, especially for child-friendly material. Sure, sure, technically the good guys win at the very end in the original trilogy - but at what cost? The story of Anakin Skywalker (which is really what all of Star Wars is truly about) is a truly tragic one, albeit poorly told at some parts, but I like that George Lucas was able to fully tell the story he wanted to tell by making the prequels. Also, this doesn't really count, but if you look at the outtakes and behind the scenes content, it seems like everyone who worked on it had a really fun time.

The films also have some good lessons. There's a lot we can learn from the Jedi Order. Being mindful of our feelings, but not acting upon them is a useful lesson, as well as avoiding jealousy and hate.

Episodes I and II are very bad when it comes to, you know, being movies, but in my opinion Episode III is significantly better than the other two (although that isn't really saying much). I think that most people had given up on the Prequels after watching episodes I and II, and those who were persistent enough to watch episode III didn't give it a full chance. If they were ever to redo the prequels, I'd say that not much about Episode III would have to change, honestly, which is something I can't say about I and II. There's a refreshing lack of terribly-written love scenes, Jar Jar only has a few seconds of screentime, and the action scenes are fun to watch. Palpatine's dialogue trying to build mistrust between Anakin and the Jedi Order is pretty interesting and (for once) well-written. The Separatists (aka the bad guys, from the movie's point of view) are actually correct about the Republic Senate's and the Jedi Order's corruption, and I start to wonder if the Republic is all it's set out to be. The Separatists are, in a way, the good guys, if only Palpatine didn't take advantage of the war to take over the galaxy. It's not as black-and-white as it seems from a young child's eye. As Obi-Wan would say, only a Sith deals in absolutes. I know I said I wouldn't mention it, but this discussion is expanded upon in so many ways in The Clone Wars - please, please go watch it.

That's the extent of the prequels' not terrible aspects, and I thank you for giving me a chance to explain my seemingly impossible point of view. If you completely disagree with me, and think that there's not a single good thing about these movies, that's fine. Just don't ruin the fun for the people who do like them. With that said, have a good day, and may the force be with you.

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